Disclaimer: I am officially in Fall mode! Forget spring, forget summer, bring on the sweaters and everything pumpkin flavored! I’m sure some (maybe many) of you are still in summer mode. Where you live in the world may be such that you’re still getting blasted by hot weather. But here… here in Western Norway, the week long forecast is showing an hour of sun next Saturday, and that’s supposedly the next time we’ll see sun. In the meantime, we’re looking at cold, rainy weather. The sort of weather that makes you want to curl up by your fireplace with a good book and a hot cup of tea. And because it’s Fall, said cup of tea would definitely have to be Chai. Which got me to thinking: wouldn’t Chai tea make perfect rainy day macarons? Why yes, yes I think it would!
Chai Tea Macarons
Makes about 20 macarons
For the macaron shells:
4 egg whites + 1 tbsp. egg white powder OR 1/2 cup water + 4 tbsp. egg white powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (packed) almond flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. chai tea
For the filling:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
If you’re new to macarons, have no fear! These things are not nearly as finicky or as frightening as they often appear. To make these, start by whisking together your almond flour, powdered sugar, and chai tea. For this recipe, you’ll want to use fairly fine chai tea (I found the stuff inside the prepackaged tea bags works pretty well). Trust me, you don’t want to bite into a big chunk of that stuff! If you want really smooth macaron shells, you can pulse this mixture in a food processor using 2-3 second intervals, but if you’re food processor died on you (like mine did), it’s ok to skip this step. You macarons will be just a smidge lumpier than if you had had the food processor. In a separate bowl, whip you egg whites and egg white powder (or egg white powder and water) until frothy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold your meringue into the dry ingredients, folding until the ingredients are just combined (over mixing can lead to cracking in the shells as they bake).
Preheat your oven to 200*F (95*C) and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. To make sure your shells are uniform (and therefore evenly baked), it helps to make a template before hand. Personally, I just trace around a circular cookie cutter on a plain piece of paper for my template. For this recipe, you’ll want your macarons to be about 1.5 inches across, otherwise you’ll have to adjust the baking time. Scoop your macaron batter into a piping bag, and pipe your first tray of shells. Important note: only pipe one tray of shells at a time, and only when they’re going to go right into the oven. Piping your shells in advance can dry out the tops and lead to cracking in the shells (have you noticed just about everything leads to cracking in the shells?). Before baking, give your baking sheet of shells a few good hits on the counter to release any air bubbles in the batter. Bake the shells for 15 minutes, and then increase the temperature in your oven to 350*F (175*C) and continue baking your shells for another 9-11 minutes, or until they can be pulled away from the parchment paper easily. Be sure to let your oven cool back down to 200*F (95*C) before putting in the next batch.
To make the filling, simply whip up your heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and cinnamon, and continue whipping until the whipping cream stiffens. If you’re going to eat these macarons right away, you can pipe some whipped cream filling onto your shells and start sandwiching them together. If you’re not going to eat them right away, I recommend waiting on filling them (the whipping cream gets kind of watery the longer it sits). That being said, you can, in fact, store these in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months as long as you freeze them immediately after filling.
On a completely unrelated note to baking, my current cozy-up-next-to-the-fireplace-and-read book is Mr. Pernumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore. So far, I’m really enjoying it! What are you reading? Join the conversation in the comments below!
Macaron shell recipe adapted from Les Petits Macarons