Rose and Lavender Macarons

Macarons are such a delight to eat! Aside from the variety of scrumptious flavors available, I enjoy tasting the different textures of a macaron. The cookie’s crisp outer shell contrasted by its tender and chewy center, followed by the creamy filling, can all be experienced in just one bite.

My very first attempt at making macarons did not turn out very well. I didn’t pay attention to my technique and completely overmixed the batter–the cookies turned out flat and had no feet at all. After several months of practice, I am proud to say that I can bake beautiful, tasty French macarons on a large scale! There are still times when I don’t make perfect macarons (they really can be finicky), but for the most part I have, dare I say, mastered the French meringue method.

I’ve tested several recipes since I first started making macarons, but the one that I most closely followed was Not So Humble Pie’s. For the filling, I have made flavors ranging from a simple chocolate ganache to a pumpkin buttercream.

I completed a major macaron project just a few weeks ago–making hundreds of rose and lavender macarons as favors for my brother’s wedding. I based my rose and lavender buttercream recipes on the ones from You can do it…at home! and Plant Food Fabulous. It took awhile to get into the flow of the large-scale process, but towards the end I was able to produce a good number of batches in one day.

Ingredients for Macaron Shells:
125 g (1 cup + 2 Tbs) almond flour or 125 g (11/4 cups) blanched almonds
215 g (13/4 cups) powdered sugar
100 g (3 large) egg whites, aged
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
35 g (3 Tbs) granulated sugar
1-3 drops gel food coloring (optional)
chopped almonds, flower buds, etc. for shell toppings (optional)

Prepare the dry ingredients: Grind the almonds and powdered sugar together in a food processor for 2 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides. Sift the mixture twice, regrinding any large pieces of almonds if necessary.

Prepare the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites on low speed until bubbles begin to form (speed 4 on the KitchenAid mixer for 1 minute), then add the cream of tartar. Continue to mix on low speed until the cream of tartar has dissolved and the egg whites appear frothy (about 1 minute). Add the granulated sugar in three portions, while mixing on medium speed, until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites have soft-medium peaks (speed 6 on the KitchenAid mixer for 2 minutes). Continue mixing on high speed for 1-2 minutes, until the egg whites have firm, glossy peaks (speed 8 on the KitchenAid mixer). Add food coloring, if desired, then beat on the highest speed just long enough to evenly disperse the color (speed 10 on the KitchenAid mixer for 30-60 seconds).

Perform the macaronage: Gently fold the dry ingredients into the meringue in 2 to 3 portions. To properly fold in the ingredients (i.e., to evenly mix while deflating some of the air in the meringue), scrape the spatula along the bottom of the bowl, then bring the spatula to the top and press down into the batter. Check the consistency of the batter in between every few folds. The batter should slowly fall off the spatula in ribbons, and any peaks should flatten out in about 15 seconds.

Pipe the batter: Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (about a 1-cm diameter). Pipe circles on a baking sheet fitted with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Use a template to ensure uniform circles.

Rest the piped batter: To eliminate any air bubbles, firmly rap each baking sheet against the counter (while keeping the sheet level). Place decorative toppings on half of the shells, if desired. Rest the sheets on the counter for 30-60 minutes, until the tops of the shells form a skin–the batter should not stick to your fingers when lightly touched.

Bake the shells: Bake the macaron shells, one sheet at at time, at 275-325°F for 15-18 minutes, until the shells don’t wobble and can be easily removed from the parchment paper. Allow the shells to cool down before filling them.

Makes: 30-35 filled cookies

I normally bake only one sheet at a time, but time and oven space were big issues for making large-scale batches. Halfway through baking my first tray of macarons, I moved that sheet one level down and placed a second tray of macarons above them. For the rose macarons, I added one drop of red food coloring to create pink shells, and sprinkled the top with chopped almonds (this was more for the look than the flavor). I placed 3-4 lavender buds on the shells for the lavender macarons.

Ingredients for Rose Buttercream
100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
65 g (2 large) egg whites
155 g (11 Tbs) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
1 Tbs + 2 tsp rose water

Prepare the meringue: Place the sugar and egg whites in a double boiler and whisk continuously, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 160°F. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk the egg whites on medium-high speed, until a stiff, glossy meringue forms and the bowl is cool to the touch.

Make the buttercream: Switch out the whisk with the paddle attachment, and beat the meringue on medium speed while slowly adding the butter. Make sure each addition of butter has blended in before adding another chunk.

Flavor the buttercream: When all the butter has completely blended in, add the rose water to the buttercream mixture. Continue beating until the mixture is well-combined.

Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients for Lavender Buttercream
60 g (1/4 cup) heavy cream
1/2 tsp lavender buds
113 g (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
200 g (12/3 cups) powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Steep the lavender in cream: Place the heavy cream and lavender in a saucepan over medium heat, until it comes to a boil. Leave the lavender to infuse in the cream for 30 minutes off the heat. Strain the mixture and allow the cream to cool to room temperature.

Make the buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and salt, then beat on low speed until well-combined. Continue beating while adding the lavender-infused cream, one tablespoon at a time, until the buttercream reaches the right flavor and consistency.

Makes: 3 cups

I tend to have leftover buttercream after filling one batch of macarons, but the great thing about buttercream is that it stores well. Buttercream can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a few days, or in the freezer for a few months. To reuse the buttercream, simply whip it in the bowl of a stand mixer until it comes to the right consistency.

Prepare the buttercreams: Place the buttercreams in the refrigerator if they are too soft to work with. When ready to use, transfer each buttercream to a piping bag.

Assemble the macarons: Match like-sized macarons to each other in pairs. Pipe the buttercream in the center of one cookie. Gently press down on the filled cookie with the other cookie until the filling just spreads to the edges.

Mature the macarons: Place the macarons in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 24 hours (to allow the flavor and moisture of the filling to infuse into the cookies). Allow the macarons to come to room temperature before serving.

Macarons can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for a few months. Since I had to make several hundred macarons ahead of time, I stored most of mine in the freezer, then in the refrigerator one night before the big event. After my big project, I’m a little macaron’ed out at the moment. However, I do plan on baking macarons again and will create different flavors I haven’t tried yet!

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72 thoughts on “Rose and Lavender Macarons

  1. oh my goodness-how fantastic! Those are gorgeous and what a lot of work–labor of love :-) Packaged so prettily, too. You have a lucky duck brother. Congratulations to him and glad if you enjoyed your task. I tried making macarons once and didn’t go well. But am with you in loving the different flavors and textures. Had one yesterday with a devil’s food like cookie and sriracha chocolate filling. You’re amazing, Ada :-D

    • Thank you! I can’t take credit for all the work though–as I was pumping out macaron shells, my mom and aunt helped assemble and package them :) Wow, a sriracha chocolate filling sounds very interesting! I must try this next time :D So glad you stopped by, Liz!

  2. I am always scare to make macaroons since it is a very delicate sweet (although I enjoy to eat them so much) Can I please ask how many times have you make the macaroons? is there any tips in folding the ingredients? How will you know that the batter is ready? Thank you

    • Hi! I would say I’ve made macarons about 8 to 10 times prior to this project (I started less than a year ago).

      To understand the technique, I watched dozens of videos and looked up so many tutorials! It seems some people fold their ingredients in very gently (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDo0SgDKLVw&feature=player_detailpage#t=103) while others press hard into the batter (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKuV7do4GrA&feature=player_embedded)–it basically depends on how stiff your meringue is (the stiffer it is, the more you’ll have to fold to deflate some of the air in the meringue).

      The way I fold my batter is similar to the first 30 seconds of the 2nd video. I start off very gentle while I’m adding in my portions of the dry ingredients; once they are all added and mixed into the meringue, I begin making harder strokes into the batter.

      A general tip I read is to count a total of 40-50 strokes to know when the batter is ready–I would say this is a good guideline when you first start making macarons, but it may not always be the case (I don’t even bother counting anymore). People also say the final consistency of the batter should be lava-like. I would also suggest spooning out a small amount of the batter onto a plate–when the top smooths out on its own in ~15 seconds, then it is good to go. If you still see a big bump or peak after 25-30 seconds, then the batter is underfolded. If the batter flattens out quickly on its own, then it has been overfolded.

      It seems many people have different techniques, so the only way you’ll really know when the batter is ready is to practice and get a feel for it on your own. Don’t be scared! Even if they’re not perfect, they will still taste good and people are willing to eat them haha.

      • Thank you so much Ada for your amazing reply. I will watch carefully those two video clips and read your recipes and will give a very first try to make those cute little macarons (maybe within this month). I will let you know if it turn out successful or not! – Oh dear!! Don’t know why, but I feel a bit nervous and excited at the same time now :D

  3. Hee hee I think it is especially great to talk about making the food that is the representation of you on this blog! When I get my new, controllable oven next week macaroons are something I will be trying.

  4. Hi Ada – Wow – this is the definition of labour of love! Very inspiring and so beautiful too. Wonderful packaging and I love that the assembly was a family affair! Looking forward to reading more of your work!

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  6. Ada, you did a great job! The packaging with the macaroons makes them look professional! Great job. Hope the wedding went well! :) Mission Macaroon Marathon success! I’ll have to try it out some time.

  7. I just stumbled upon your blog and this is the first post I saw and I have to say these are some really beautiful cookies. I made macarons on my blog as well, but yours look elegant and fancy!

  8. The rose and lavender macarons look delicious and I love the way you’ve package them with ribbons. Thanks for sharing. Have a lovely weekend!

  9. these are awesome for your first time! we have tried to make them about three times already and only the first batch came out accurate (ugly but accurate). inspired again. love the blog can’t wait to do some reading on it. Thanks to Shanna for the intro. happy cooking!

  10. I’ve always wanted to bake macaroons but I’m really intimidated by the process. You, on the other hand, have made it look sooo easy! Your recipe has actually convinced me that I can make these! Thanks so much for sharing and easing my nervousness!

    • You’re welcome, Radhika! So glad you enjoyed viewing this post! Hope you get to try making macarons soon–it was intimidating for me at first as well, but it realy just takes practice and you’ll get the hang of it. Please let me know how yours turn out! :D

  11. These look gorgeous and the lavender & rose touches sound amazing. I am thinking of making macarons one of these days, but not sure I could pull it off like you’ve done so beautifully here. Thanks for sharing!

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