One of the reasons I love French macarons is that there are so many flavor combinations. This combination came to me in a fit of divine inspiration (or maybe just a fit of the munchies) last year when I was still flush with pecans from the granddaddy pecan tree. And what goes better with pecans than a touch of bourbon? These little treats are SO decadent, SO rich, SO aromatic, and SO worth it.
- 1 cup finely ground pecans (toast before grinding)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together ground pecans and powdered sugar. Then sift mixture and if there are any large lumps of pecans, discard.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whip room temperature egg whites until frothy. Then begin gradually adding granulated sugar. Increase whipping speed and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Add egg whites to pecan mixture and begin folding gently until no powder remains and mixture is fully incorporated. Do not overmix!
- Put batter in a piping bag, and using a large round tip, pipe into roughly 1½" circles onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. If your macarons have little pointy nipples where you pulled off the pastry tip, get your finger barely wet and tamp down the tip. No nipples on macarons!
- Whack the pan on the counter, hard, a couple of times, to release any trapped air bubbles.See how the tops are shiny?
- Now you need to let them rest for 30-60 minutes, until the top looks matte and it has formed a crust that does not stick to your finger when you touch it. This is a super important step, do not skip!
- When your macarons have formed a crust, bake at 325 for around 15 minutes. My macarons took 17 minutes to bake. How do you know when they're done? My absolute test is when I can very, very gently use two fingers to move the macaron on the parchment paper. If it moves, it's done. If it wants to stick to the paper or the top looks like it's going to move without the bottom part, then it's not done yet.
- Remove from pan and cool completely.
Now, you can use your favorite buttercream with these, but I like to use Swiss Meringue Buttercream, because it’s not quite as sweet as American-style buttercream, which allows it to showcase the bourbon flavor a little better. I use Martha Stewart’s recipe and add about 1 tbsp good quality bourbon to it, but you can add more or less to your own taste.
Use a piping bag to pipe onto a macaron, and cap with a second macaron to make a wee little sandwich. For best results, put these sweet little babies in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator overnight. The frosting soaks in just a bit to the macaron and makes SUCH a mouth-watering melty texture, it puts all other desserts to shame. Even if your frosting doesn’t require refrigeration, store them in the fridge so the macarons don’t get soggy.
A final note, definitely do not skip the step of toasting your pecans! This is one of those small steps that elevates your baking and makes other people wonder why your stuff tastes so much better than theirs. The texture and taste of toasted nuts do not compare to raw nuts.
I would love to hear what you think if you make these!