Friday, January 18, 2013

French Macarons - Fresh Mint

These Fresh Mint Macarons are absolutely delicious and unique.  While the fresh mint retains its wonderful herbal taste, the addition of creme de menthe subtly releases itself and creates the most light, delicate flavor working in symphony with the fresh mint, adding a cool minty flavor that is absolutely divine.

You can see the fresh mint in the ganache.  So delicious.

Fresh Mint Macaron
Adapted by Pierre Herme Macarons


For the Macaron Shells:

300g of Conectioner Sugar or Icing Sugar
300g of Almond Flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
110g of liquefied egg whites
green gel or powder food coloring (the amount used depends on how bright you want the color to be, keep in mind macarons fade when baked.)


300g of castor sugar or granulated sugar
75g of spring water
110g of liquefied egg whites
I recommend making this the day before to allow the ganache to set.

300g of Valrhona Ivoire couverture chocolate or white chocolate
300g of Heavy Cream
12g of fresh mint leaves
15g creme de menthe


Ganache First:

  • Remove the mint leaves from the stalks, rinse, dry and then finely chop the leaves.  
  • Bring the heavy cream to a boil and remove from the heat. 
  • Add the chopped mint to the heavy cream and infuse uncovered for ten (10) minutes.  
  • After ten (10) minutes, strain the cream into a bowl and retain and set aside the chopped mint.  
  • Set the cream aside.

Sidebar:  It is important not to cover the cream while the mint leaves are infusing and DO NOT INFUSE THE MINT LEAVES LONGER THAN TEN (10) MINUTES.  Mint infused for longer then ten minutes, looses its cool mint flavor and tastes like dried grass.

  • Chop up and melt the white chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water until melted.
  • Pour the cream mixture over the melted chocolate a third at a time, whisking from the center moving your way outward.  Make sure the cream is still warm before you pour it over the chocolate, if you have to, reheat the cream until it is warm.
  • Add the mint leaves that you infused in the heavy cream and the creme de menthe.
  • Once the ganache is mixed thoroughly, pour it into a gratin dish and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the ganache to prevent a skin forming.
  • Place the ganache into the refrigerator to set.  

Macaron Shells and Italian Meringue:

  • Preheat oven to 325 - 350 degrees (again, each oven is going to vary and you are going to have to practice to see what temperature works best for you).  
  • In the meantime let's start measuring out your ingredients.  Remember Mise En Place!!  Trust me, you will have no time to be running and measuring once you start the macarons!
  • Measure the almond flour and confectioners sugar and then run it through a food processor for a couple of minutes.
  • Sift the almond flour and the confectioners sugar into a bowl and set aside.
  • Measure 110 grams of egg whites and pour them on top of the almond flour and confectioner sugar mixture, BUT DO NOT MIX TOGETHER.
  • Add your food coloring now to the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture and set aside.  (It has been my experience that I have to go deeper or brighter in color, as they fade when baked.)
  • Cut a lemon in half and take the bowl of your stand mixer and rub it with the lemon.  Wipe the bowl dry with a paper towel.  This will ensure all grease has been removed, which can deflate your Italian meringue.  Pour the other 110 grams of egg whites into your cleaned mixer bowl and attach the whisk attachment.  Set aside.
  • In a saucier pan or saucepan place the 300 grams of sugar and 75 grams of spring water over low heat.  Attach a candy thermometer.  The sugar will begin to melt.  Stir a few times, but gently.  Take a pastry brush (make sure no oils are on it, and dip it into water and wash around the sides of the pan where sugar may have splattered).  The reason you are doing this is so crystals do not form.  
  • Continue to cook the sugar, until the sugar has dissolved, and the candy thermometer reaches 115 degrees celsius or 239 Fahrenheit, 
  • When the candy thermometer reaches 115 degrees Celsius or 239 degrees Fahrenheit, simultaneously start whisking your egg whites in your stand mixer on medium-high.
SIDEBAR: The stand mixer I use is a KitchenAid and because the egg whites are such a small amount, I have to lift the bowl up for a few seconds, until the egg whites start to foam, then I place the bowl back into its place.

  • When the sugar syrup reaches 118 degrees Celcius or 244 degrees Fahrenheit, pour the hot sugar syrup over the egg whites gradually to temper the egg whites. Then add the remainder of the sugar syrup.  Make sure to pour the syrup down the side of the bowl so it doesn't splatter.  
  • Continue to whisk the egg white for approximately 2 (two) minutes until you have a soft peak that look like this:


Sidebar:  Do not be tempted to over mix the egg whites because your macarons will not bake properly.  Here is an example of an over mixed egg whites.  See the difference?

Broken Meringue will doom your French Macarons!!

  • You now have made Italian Meringue. Yay!!
  • Add the Italian Meringue to the almond batter mixture and with a clean spatchula (you are going to need a long handled spatchula ) mix together by using the J-fold method.  The J-fold is performed by bringing your spatchula down the middle of the bowl starting at 12:00 o'clock moving towards 6:00 o'clock and then bringing the batter up to the left of the bowl to the 9:00 o'clock position.  Give the bowl a quarter of a turn then repeat the folding process.  In essence you are making a J shape with the batter.  Be sure to incorporate the batter from the bottom of the bowl.
Sidebar:  There is a video from ChefNini showing you how to fold macaron batter.  You can find this video on YouTube entitled Macarons par chefNini.  Check it out it is helpful.
Sidebar:  If when mixing your batter you want to deepen the color by adding more food coloring, do so at the beginning to allow you enough tie to mix in the additional food coloring, without taking a chance of over mixng just to incorporate the color.  Remember, in additional turn, can ruin your batter.

  • Now for the macaronage.  Macaronage is the process wherein you are folding in the Italian Meringue into the almond flour mixture.  Once you start to fold the batter and the ingredients start to become incorporated pay , attention to the consistency of your batter.  This is vital as you can ruin your macaron batter quickly.  Continue folding the batter.  The macaron mixture is ready when the batter thickly coats the spatchula and drips off the spatchula forming ribbons and within approximately 10-15 seconds disappears back in the batter.  Again, this is going to take practice!

You do not want the macaron batter too thin as it will run right our of your pastry tube.  If it is too thick, the little peaks that form once piped, will not flatten out when resting.

Again, this takes patience and lots of practice.  Your Italian meringue and macaronage will determine your success.

Here is are some pictures from prior posts depicting what the macaron batter should look like when it is ready to be piped and macaronnage is achieved:

  • Line your half sheet pan with parchment paper and attach a #808 pastry tip to a 16" disposable pastry bag with half the batter.  
  • Using a rubber bench scraper push the batter up to the tip.  Place a piece of  plastic wrap on the surface of the remaining batter to prevent it from drying out and forming a skin.
  • Start piping 3.5 cm circles spacing them one inch apart.

Sidebar:  It is best to make a template for piping your macarons in 3.5 cm circles.  Insert the template  under the parchment paper and remove once you are done piping.

  • Once you are finished piping rap the sheet pan a couple of times on the counter to flatten the tops of the macarons. Your macarons should not have peaks.
  • Place the piped macarons on a table and let rest for thirty (30) minutes. They will loose their shine and feel dry to the touch, once they are done resting.
  • After thirty (30) minutes place a rack in the center of your oven and place one tray of macarons in.  Bake for 12-14 minutes.  (Again, baking times will vary oven to oven, practice, practice)!

Sidebar:  The macarons should NOT be baked until they are golden or browned on top.  If they are, you overbaked them.  You can test to see if they are done by lifting a macaron off the pan, I usually sacrifice the ones on the end of a row to check.  They should appear chewy in the center, but not mushy or wet.  Also they usually will lift easily off the parchment paper.  Once cooled, they should have a slight crunch on the outside shell and chewy in the center.
  • Once the macarons are done remove from the oven and slide them off the sheet pan onto a cooling rack.  If you keep the macarons on the sheet pan, they will continue to cook.
  • Continue to pipe, rest and bake until all batter has been used.


  • Before piping the ganache, line up the macarons according to size. We are only human and sometimes are piping results in shells that are not exactly the same size.  As these will be sandwiched together you want to make sure they are close to the same size as possible. 
  • Place the ganache in a disposable 16" pastry bag with a #808 tip and pipe a generous amount of the ganache onto the center of half the macarons and top with the remaining shells.
  • Store the macarons in the refrigerator for 24 hours until they are matured.  Bring to room temperature before eating. 

    • Sidebar:  A french macaron is not ready to eat until they have matured for 24 hours.  Trust me, they taste totally differently after maturation, because the filling seeps into the macaron creating a delicious symphony of flavors. 


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