Light, crispy little almond meringue cookies, AKA French macaroons are just waiting to be filled with your favorite filling. Try these lavender lemon French macaroons for a new flavor sensation!
Living with a Frenchman certainly can keep me on my culinary toes. He is super patient about any type of food I make, and is willing to try just about anything. Except paleo carrot cake, but we won’t go into that right now.
Being French, he knows a LOT about food and the flavors and textures it should have. Talk about pressure some days. “More salt”, “More garlic”, “Crispier edges”. Of course, in the end, it makes for a much better dish. I am truly grateful for his encouragement, tips and ideas.
Until he wanted some French macaroons. Not the cookies that are made with shredded coconut and dipped in chocolate. True French macaroons. Light, crispy almond meringue cookies. A true work of art.
And thus began my quest.
This lavender lemon French macaroon is the result of umpteen trials, sweat and to be honest, quite a few tears.
Making French macaroons is all about technique. Too many lumps in your almond flour or sugar? Fail. Too much folding the batter? Fail. Not enough folding the batter? Fail.
Fail, I did. Many, many times. I didn’t get the cookies crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside. The flavor was “off”. Fail, fail, fail.
Not one to give up, I worked at this nearly a dozen times, trying every single technique I could find on the internet. I gotta be honest, for a classic French dessert, there sure are a LOT of differing opinions on how to do the right technique. What I have found is that the simpler, the better.
Some ideas for making the best French macaroons:
- let your eggs get to room temperature. They will whip into stiff peaks faster and easier.
- Grind, grind, grind your flour and powdered sugar. Ideally, running it in a blender or food processor at least 2 times will help get rid of any chunks. Chunks=no bueno, as they will overpower the egg whites and your cookies will fail.
- Sift that flour and sugar mixture at least 2 times as well. Remember, chunks are NOT your friend.
- Let your macaroons dry on the cookie sheet for at least 20 minutes before you put them in the oven. Some say you don’t need to do that, but when I didn’t, they were a failure for me. I found I achieved a crispy texture on the outside far more consistently when I let them dry out before baking.
- Don’t be afraid to put them BACK into the oven. You are wanting to “hear” your cookies. Tap them on the top gently and if they sound crunchy and hollow, they are done.
- Be okay with failure. Just DON’T give up. French macaroons can take a couple times to really get the technique down. Hang in there, you CAN do this!
- 107 grams almond flour
- 176 grams powdered sugar
- 5 grams dried lavender flowers
- 3 large egg whites
- 55 grams granulated sugar
- red, blue, yellow gel food coloring
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place almond flour, lavender and powdered sugar in a blender or food processor. Blend together for 2-3 minutes to remove any chunks and make sure they are super fine. Sift through sifter 2 times, removing any leftover chunks and reblending. After the second time, toss any leftover chunks that remain. Due to their consistency, the lavender flowers may NOT fully blend. However, the flavor will still be imparted in the flour mixture, so no worries. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add egg whites and cream of tarter. Slowly add the remaining sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time while mixing on medium high speed. Continue to mix egg whites and sugar until fluffy and stiff peaks form. Add in food coloring, 15 drops red and 5 drops blue and whip until light lavender color is achieved.
- Pour the almond flour and sugar mixture in the egg whites all at once and fold until batter is well combined. This is the technique that makes French macaroons “French”, to be honest. Take 1/2 the batter each time, and fold it clockwise in one smooth motion. Fold until the batter is almost pancake batter consistency, about 50 strokes.
- Place the batter into a pastry bag with a small round tip. Make 1 1/2 inch rounds on the parchment paper, about 1 inch apart. Carefully tap the sheets on the counter to remove any air bubbles, and allow the cookies to dry.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and place an empty baking sheet on the top rack. This will keep the cookies from overbrowning. Set the baking sheet with the cookies, working with one sheet at a time, on the middle rack.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes. They are done when they lift easily from the baking sheet without tearing. Remove the baking sheet and allow cookies to cool fully while still on the baking sheet.
- To make the buttercream, place softened butter and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Whip until light and fluffy. Add 15 drops of yellow food coloring, and continue to whip. Add lemon juice as necessary to get desired consistency.
- Fill with buttercream on one cookie, the top with another to make a sandwich.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.