Thursday, October 14, 2010

Midweek Macarons: Cinnamon Apple Macarons with Apple Butter Buttercream and Tart Green Apples



This season, I've been a tad bit obsessed with apples. (and pears.)  Trust me: I've been resisting the strong urge to have every post on this blog be about apples.  I don't know--does anyone else go through phases like this with fruit and ingredient obsessions?  Or am I just particularly weird?

These macarons are my love affair with apples encapsulated in a tiny two-bite form.  It's as if you take everything amazing about an apple and squeeze and compress it--with great, magical pressure--into a single macaron.  The shells are cinnamon-spiced and sweet, brittle on the outside with just enough chewy bite on the inside.  The buttercream is packed with the essence of apple flavor from the intense homemade apple butter mixed in--an apple butter that sat stewing and bubbling on the stove over low heat for two hours, caramelizing with the brown sugar and soaking up clove and cinnamon fragrances.  And, at the heart of the macaron: an extra, extra tart crunch from chunks of crisp, fresh green apples lightly tossed in sour lemon juice and woodsy ground cinnamon.  I barely shared any of these with anyone else, being so busy gobbling them up myself.


Have you entered the Breast Cancer Awareness giveaway yet?  You have until this Sunday!

Also, a special shout-out to desserts for breakfast readers Laura Lee and Zizikalandjai. They let it slip in previous comments that their birthdays are coming up this weekend, so consider these macarons my little birthday treat to you two. :-)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


[Want more Midweek Macarons? --> Strawberry + Red wine + Mascarpone Cream]


Read on for recipe...


Apple Butter
recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks
makes ~20 oz. apple butter, far more than you'll need for apple butter buttercream, but delicious to have around for other uses!

2 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, and in chunks
4 cups unfiltered apple juice
1/2-2/3 cup light brown sugar*
1 tspn cloves
1 tspn ground cinnamon
juice of half a lemon

1. In a large pot over medium high heat, combine the apples and apple juice and cook until the apples are completely tender, about 15-25 minutes, depending on the size you chop the apples. If a foam forms, you may skim it off if desired.
2. Remove the pot from the stove and let cool briefly. Puree the apples and apple juice in a food processor or blender until completely smooth.
3. Return the puree to the pot and add the brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
4. Return the pot to heat and simmer on medium/medium-low heat, trying to maintain 220 degrees F. Cook for 1-2 hours, stirring regularly, until mixture really thickens and darkens and bubbles/splatters. Remove from heat when desired consistency is reached.

*Add only 1/2 cup sugar for a less-sweet apple butter. I used 2/3 cups sugar and while still really good, it was a little on the sweet side for me.




Cinnamon Apple Macarons
makes ~50 small macarons or 20-30 large macarons

for macaron shells*:
200 gr powdered sugar
120 gr blanched and slivered almonds
10 gr freeze-dried apple
1 heaping Tbspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn green powered food coloring, if desired
30 gr granulated (superfine, opt) vanilla sugar (for directions on making homemade vanilla sugar, see here)
100 gr egg whites, aged 1-2 days at room temperature or a week in the refrigerator, at room temp
1/4 tspn cream of tartar

1. Prepare two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper and a pastry bag with a large round piping tip.
2. Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, dried apple, cinnamon, and green food coloring, if using, in a food processor and grind until a fine powder. Sift thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, have ready the granulated vanilla sugar.
4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, quickly stir the mixture until the entire surface is covered with foam. Then, start whisking the egg whites, gradually adding in the granulated vanilla sugar. Whisk until you reach glossy, almost-stiff peaks.
5. Gently fold the sifted almond and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites in three to four stages, just until the ingredients are incorporated and the batter slowly re-absorbs peaks.
6. Transfer the macaron mixture to the prepared piping bag and pipe rounds on to the lined baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets on the table a few times to release air pockets.
7. Rest the macarons for at least 30 minutes (and up to 60), until the outside shells are no longer tacky and sticky to a light touch.
8. Preheat oven to 290 degrees F, with the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
9. Bake the macarons in the oven, one sheet at a time, for 24-28 minutes total, rotating the sheet half-way through the baking time to insure even baking.
10. Remove from oven and let cool.

*Note: the resting and oven temperature and times are adjusted to what works in my kitchen and oven (which, to my knowledge and according to two oven thermometers, is quite accurate). Please note that you may have to adjust according to what works in your kitchen and oven.

for apple butter buttercream:
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup apple butter

1. Whip the egg yolks until light and shows definitive streaks when you move your whisk through them.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and stir until the sugar is completely wet. Cook over medium high heat, without stirring, until the sugar reaches 238 degrees F. Immediately remove from heat and (carefully!) gradually pour into the egg yolks while whisking, being careful not to hit the whisk wires.
3. Continue whipping the egg yolks on medium high until the the outside of the bowl is no longer hot or warm to the touch.
4. Add the butter in while beating, one tablespoon at a time.
5. Once the butter is incorporated, beat in the apple butter. Use immediately to fill the macarons (or, if you refrigerate the buttercream, bring to room temperature and beat to restore texture before using).

for assembly:
1 small tart green apple, in small, thin chunks (thick enough to still have crunch, though!)
lemon juice
ground cinnamon

1. Toss the apple chunks with a light coating of lemon juice. Then, sprinkle with cinnamon.
2. Fill the macarons with the apple butter buttercream and apple chunks. Let the macarons "cure" in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight before serving.



Enjoy!

38 comments:

  1. Deliziose come sempre le tue ricette e le idee delle foto, ciao xoxxo

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  2. These look truly amazing! I love the display with the tree! Too cool.


    http://ashleyanderic.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. The debut! I absolutely love that you strayed from tradition macaron etiquette with that thin layer of filling, and instead opted to beef it up with apple cinnamon chunks. I think I'd prefer you macarons anyday. And nothing is wrong with a healthy obsession now and then!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

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  4. Beautiful! I love the idea of including a piece of apple. Very smart :)

    The chalk background is absolutely stunning, too.

    My family isn't really into fruit desserts, so back home I did mostly chocolate or vanilla flavored things. But now that I bake more for people who do like fruit, I'm happy to be able to bake seasonally. Right now I'm in an apple mood - like you - but I don't have the restraint to not post it all. I'm pretending it's just a temporary theme :P

    I'm hoping to start using pumpkin soon, but I'm having a difficult time sourcing both the squashes themselves and the cans of the processed stuff. Boo.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love! if I were to make macarons it'd be either penaut butter and chocolate or these ones! Apple is my favorite food! they look amazingly delicious!
    I'm new here by the way. hi :) Love yout blog!

    -Amalia

    http://buttersweetmelody.wordpress.com/

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  6. Love these!! So creative and fun!

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  7. Om nom nom. I'm having a bit of an apple affair too - and I still have plenty in my fruit bowl...

    Also, I adore the chalkboard tree.

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  8. These look so delicious and I LOVE your apple tree:) So clever!

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  9. Thank you so much, all!

    @squirrelbread: Oops! I didn't even know macarons are traditionally stuffed with just a thin layer of filling. ;-P I've always been a double-stuffed oreo kind of girl.

    @whisk-kid: hm... I'd heard tremors about a pumpkin/squash shortage. :-( Hope you can find some soon--can't wait to see what you do with it!

    @buttersweetmelody: Welcome to the blog!

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  10. I just died looking at your macarons. LOVE! And your chalk drawings are so cute! Fave is the "nom" reference to your eaten macaron. XOXO!

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  11. This looks so good and fun. I admit I have ingredient OCD as well ;).

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  12. Well I don't know if it's a rule; that's just how I've seen them. In photos, mind you. Never actually eaten one... and I'm sure I have no idea what I'm talking about. Double stuffed is always better in my book!

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  13. @Kath Diaz: you'll actually have to thank @squirrelbread for the "NOM" inspiration, I think--she mentioned on twitter at some point, so I thought I should include it in the photo. :-)

    @Tunde: glad I'm not the only one!

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  14. OMG! Thank you for the shout-out! Zita LOOOOVVVEEEESSSSS Dessert
    For Breakfast!!!

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  15. Hi there! You've inspired me to make macarons for my 24th birthday next month! Because there's nothing like a kitchen challenge to distract one from the onslaught of the mid-20's. Thanks!
    -Anita

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  16. @Zita: you are so funny! :-D Happy Birthday!

    @Anita: oh, mid-20s. I. feel. your. pain. Best to drown it in some booze + macarons. Wait, even better: boozy macarons.

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  17. Gosh not happy. Just wrote my rant and internet explorer chucked a sad on me.

    Anyway I said something some what along the lines of:

    Apple macarons! Well, I haven't ever tasted an apple flavoured macaron (sadly it doesn't seem a popular flavour but somehow pistacio is) which makes it even more novel.

    But on the other hand I'm actually here to unashamedly gloat.

    The story goes:
    Sometime long, long ago (April this year actually), you had a post whereby you had put up the recipe to an insane looking black forest cake and your "in Una Selva Luminosa" collection which I excitedly showed my boyfriend and he agreed that the pictures were pretty great.

    Now apparently I also unthinkingly said something along the lines of "Ahhh~~ imagine if I could get big prints of them and put them in my apartment. Wouldn't that look fantastic?"

    Then yesterday, he pulls my birthday present that he's been hiding in his cupboard out for me, and turns out he bought 4 prints out of 8 in the collection from you and framed them here in Australia and now they're hanging on my apartment walls, one in the lounge and one in my bedroom.

    So, I don't really know what the point of this whole rant is, but I guess its just to say, your work is gorgeous and it looks even better on my walls!

    Love
    Iris

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  18. Iris! This is absolutely amazing--I'm so happy to have been a part of this, though to be perfectly honest, I had no idea what Mark was planning. So thrilled that to hear that you love the photos and that they are decorating your walls well. :-) Happy Birthday!

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  19. I love your macaron tree. Beautiful and gorgeous recipe too.

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  20. I love the apple-cinnamon combination, but I'm really afraid of making macarons - it seems so complicated and I'm afraid of failure, but your photos are so tempting I'll have to make them one day :)

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  21. I love apples in an ordinary an-apple-a-day kind of way but your description of these macarons nearly had me drooling. And don't worry, I go through ingredient obsessions too :).

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  22. oh yumm.. i have been meaning to make macarons lately, this recipe looks amazing!

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  23. That chalkboard macaron tree is SO CUTE. Since I go through obsessions about everything, it should be no surprise that I have ingredient... fetishes. Right now it's dill.

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  24. These are phenomenol!!! Perhaps a new fav macaron for me!! Lovely photos!

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  25. ooo i love your photos, especially the ones with the chalk drawing of a tree (with mac apples). that's just so creative! bet the macs tasted really awesome...you can't go wrong with apples and cinnamon! :)

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  26. What a delicious looking apple treat. I have so many apples this Fall from my trees and can't figure out what to do with all of them. A girl can only eat so much applesauce LOL. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
    *kisses* HH

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  27. I love how you drew (or someone did) a picture of a tree and had the macarons as the "apples." very smart and cute.

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  28. I love how you drew (or someone did) a picture of a tree and had the macarons as the "apples." very smart and cute.

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  29. ooo i love your photos, especially the ones with the chalk drawing of a tree (with mac apples). that's just so creative! bet the macs tasted really awesome...you can't go wrong with apples and cinnamon! :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. @Kath Diaz: you'll actually have to thank @squirrelbread for the "NOM" inspiration, I think--she mentioned on twitter at some point, so I thought I should include it in the photo. :-)

    @Tunde: glad I'm not the only one!

    ReplyDelete
  31. This looks so good and fun. I admit I have ingredient OCD as well ;).

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you so much, all!

    @squirrelbread: Oops! I didn't even know macarons are traditionally stuffed with just a thin layer of filling. ;-P I've always been a double-stuffed oreo kind of girl.

    @whisk-kid: hm... I'd heard tremors about a pumpkin/squash shortage. :-( Hope you can find some soon--can't wait to see what you do with it!

    @buttersweetmelody: Welcome to the blog!

    ReplyDelete
  33. These look so delicious and I LOVE your apple tree:) So clever!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Love these!! So creative and fun!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Beautiful! I love the idea of including a piece of apple. Very smart :)

    The chalk background is absolutely stunning, too.

    My family isn't really into fruit desserts, so back home I did mostly chocolate or vanilla flavored things. But now that I bake more for people who do like fruit, I'm happy to be able to bake seasonally. Right now I'm in an apple mood - like you - but I don't have the restraint to not post it all. I'm pretending it's just a temporary theme :P

    I'm hoping to start using pumpkin soon, but I'm having a difficult time sourcing both the squashes themselves and the cans of the processed stuff. Boo.

    ReplyDelete
  36. These look truly amazing! I love the display with the tree! Too cool.


    http://ashleyanderic.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!

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