Given the choice between cashews and almonds to munch on, I choose cashews. Salted and roasted please if that’s not too much to ask. Thank you.
When I started making macarons, I ground salted-roasted cashews from Costco with powdered sugar. That combination made the yummiest macarons in my opinion, but did not produce the smoothest shells French macarons are known for.
Not long after, I discovered Nuts Online and ordered cashew flour enough to last me 6 months. I always get carried away. To toast cashew flour, preheat oven to 350F then spread cashew flour on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until toasted, stirring once, 8 to 10 minutes. I never bake my macarons with a dash or pinch of salt. I use 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt per batch. Sometimes more.
Today, after a few messages exchanged between me and my friend An, I decided to try another macaron recipe, something out of the ordinary. I separated two (2) eggs, lined the baking sheets with my template, then Silpat on top and started measuring the ingredients.
- 4.5 oz powdered sugar
- 4 oz cashew flour
- 1/2 oz unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- egg whites from two (2) eggs
- 2 oz granulated sugar
- The above recipe is loosely adapted from Martha Stewart’s Parisian Macarons. I missed the egg-count by one. The batter was on the dry side, but produced the most amazing mistake.
- Knowing my oven, I baked at 300F as usual, not at 350F with the door slightly ajar. Sixteen (16) minutes.
- The chocolate-nut flour shell and sprinkles on top was inspired by a video Xiaolu shared via Twitter @6bittersweets.
- Separate eggs, reserving yolks for pate a bombe, my base for French butter cream. Leave egg whites out, covered.
- Line two (2) cookie sheets with macaron template, then Silpat mats on top.
- Fit 12″ pastry bag with #805 plain seamless tip.
- Pulse confectioners’ sugar, cashew flour, kosher salt, and cocoa powder in a food processor until combined, or sift together. If you want smooth macaron shells, sifting is a must. Honestly, I don’t always do this. But may be a convert.
- Whisk whites with a mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar (like a continuous sprinkling), and whisk until stiff peaks form, no more than 3 minutes.
- Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with an Ateco #805 or #806 Plain Seamless Tip, and pipe 1.5″-inch rounds 1 inch apart on Silpat-lined baking sheets.
- Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or until they form a film. This works for me.
- Make filling. Chat with friends on Twitter. Walk dog. Run on the treadmill. Make crank calls.
- Preheat oven to 300F and bake for 16 minutes. Please check your oven at 14 minutes. The shells should not burn. Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling.