cinnamon macarons with apple buttercream

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Macarons have been all the rage recently, and yet, I’ve had no real desire to make them myself. This, even though they’re known to be finicky, and I do love making my life unnecessarily complicated. But while I do love a challenge, I don’t particularly love meringue cookies.

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This is probably because I’ve never gotten them quite right, as they always seem to be chewy in the center instead of crisp the whole way through. Maybe the precise directions included with many macaron recipes could help me avoid this pitfall. If not, at least they’d be filled with swiss meringue buttercream.

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One of the hallmarks of good macarons is the foamy feet around the bottom edge, which show that your macarons rose up in the oven instead of spreading out. When I started to see those feet form, I made Dave come over to look through the oven window with me and give me a high-five. I was also happy with the smooth tops of the cookies, and it goes without saying that I was happy with the apple buttercream, which was noticeably and pleasantly appley.

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The only problem? A chewy center. I guess practice makes perfect. Fortunately, I think it’s safe to say that meringues are good enough to make again.

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One year ago: Butternut Squash Risotto
Two years ago: Pomegranate Glazed Salmon
Three years ago: Sun-Dried Tomato Jam
Four years ago: Sushi Bowls

Printer Friendly Recipe
Cinnamon Macarons with Apple Buttercream (adapted from Tartelette)

Makes about 20 sandwich cookies

For a lot of meringue-making tips, read Tartelette’s article.

110 grams blanched almonds or almond meal
200 grams powdered sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
100 grams egg whites (from about 3 large eggs), aged overnight
25 grams sugar
Pinch salt

Apple buttercream:
4 egg whites
1¼ cups (8.75 ounces) granulated sugar
Pinch salt
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
⅓ cup apple butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a food processor, process the almonds and powdered sugar until the nuts are finely ground. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed (high speed if using a stand mixer) until soft peaks form. Use a large rubber spatula to fold the nut mixture into the egg mixture. After about 50 folds, the batter should be evenly mixed, with no streaks of egg white.

2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Spray the lined sheets lightly with cooking spray. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a wide (about ½-inch) round tip. Pipe quarter-sized rounds onto the prepared pans, leaving about an inch between rounds. Gently rap the baking sheet against the counter to pop any large bubbles. Set the piped dough aside for 1 hour.

3. Adjust a rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies are lightly browned around the bottom edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack; cool for about 5 minutes, then use a thin spatula to transfer the cookies from the pan to the wire rack. Cool completely before filling.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand-held mixer), combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 160 degrees.

5. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment; beat the egg white mixture on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and it has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is thick and smooth, 3-5 minutes. Add apple butter and vanilla; mix until incorporated.

6. Pipe the buttercream onto the flat sides of half of the cookies.  Top with the remaining cookies.  Serve immediately or cover and store overnight in the refrigerator (bring to cool room temperature before serving).

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  1. Anshu says:

    Perfect macarons! And they are supposed to be chewy in the centre not crunchy.

  2. Malia says:

    I’m no macaron expert but I was thinking the same thing as Anshu, they are supposed to be chewy in the center. They sound great!

  3. bridget says:

    Ah, see, this is the problem with making something you’ve never really eaten before. Mine were almost sticky inside – is that right?

  4. Anshu says:

    They look like they gave you no trouble coming off the silpat which means they were perfectly baked! Well done! I’ve only made them a handful of times myself. Like you I’m not crazy about macarons but they make great gifts because everyone else I know seems to love them.

  5. I have felt the same way about trying macaroons! The promise of apple buttercream though has be enticed. CONGRATS on your feat…and the feet 😉

  6. Wow, apple buttercream! I’m in love with that idea. And your macarons look gorgeous.

  7. Bridget, I’ve never really been all that interested in making macrons, either, but this recipe might have convinced me.

  8. It sounds like you made them perfectly! They are a bit tricky! I love the idea of making cinnamon ones – they sound wonderful!

  9. oooh, i’m going to try these for christmas!

    am i dumb or are the rest of the apple buttercream directions missing?

  10. bridget says:

    pam – No, you were absolutely right. The Printer Friendly link had the rest of the directions for the buttercream, but neither page said anything about filling the macarons. Everything is (hopefully!) straightened out now!

  11. Apple buttercream sounds delicious.

  12. I am totally intrigued by this apple buttercream! I think it’s about time I finally got around to making macarons. Yours look perfect!

  13. Alain says:

    Bridget, are you eating those macarons fresh?, if so, then they probably been sticky and chewy a lot!. For best taste, Macarons need to rest in the fridge for more than 24 hours, then take them out to room temperature and then taste.

  14. Wendy says:

    Your macarons look better than most of the tutorials out there and you think you didn’t something wrong. Girl, enjoy your cookies. They look fantastic.