Tiramisu macarons (with coconut flour)
85 grams egg whites (2 large eggs) (1)
68 grams of granulated sugar
38 grams powdered sugar
28 grams coconut flour (2,3)
2 grams instant dark roast coffee powder (could also use espresso powder)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
2 tbs heavy cream
1 tbs granulated sugar
⅛ - ¼ tsp vanilla extract (really just a splash)
Prep. Time → 180 min
Cook Time → 15 min
1. Why coconut flour? My inspiration for taking on this challenge is based out of personal interest. While studying abroad I had the opportunity to stroll along Les Champs Elysees and visit the main Laduree location, packed with beautifully colored macarons of every flavor you could imagine. However, I could only look at the perfectly crafted delights, because my immune system decided twenty-one years ago to be an overachiever. Having a nut allergy is far from the end of the world, but sometimes more than others in gets in my way. In order to supply the nut-challenged with this tasty treat, I set out to create a recipe that most closely replicated the characteristics of a traditional macaron: a two-cookie sandwich made up of a filling of choice, and two cookies with a hard top that cracks when you bite into it, and a light but slightly chewy inside. And don’t forget the feet! (8)
Even though this recipe was my own concoction, to start a frame of reference I followed a traditional macaron recipe, which is cited below. I not only changed almond flour to coconut flour, but I also withheld from using some other ingredients in the cookie, and I used a half-portion of the filling. The filling part remained the same for my recipe, and all credit goes to the original baker. Along with my devised recipe are some important notes (marked as footnotes throughout the recipe for easy reference in the Commentary section) about the process, ingredients, and the science behind what is happening and why. These comments coincide with the ingredients to describe what I used and why, but also follow along with the directions for a more detailed explanation of the steps along with pictures for demonstration.
Separate egg yolks from egg whites and let the whites warm to room temperature after measuring. (1) If you are like me and do not want to waste the yolks, check out the second recipe cited below recipe for a delicious lemon curd.
3. Measure out coconut flour, powdered sugar, and coffee and sift into a bowl together. (4)
4. Prepare a piping bag (or Ziploc baggy with one of the corners cut off) and a cookie sheet. Line the cookie sheet with two pieces of parchment paper. On the bottom sheet, draw circles of about 1.5 inch diameters evenly spaced roughly an inch apart (could be closer, but no less than a centimeter). Lay the top sheet over this, such that you can remove the bottom sheet without moving the top sheet when ready to bake.
5. When the egg whites have reached room temperature, beat with an electric mixer in a medium or large bowl until white and foamy. Gradually pour in the granulated sugar while continuing to beat the mixture. When all of the sugar is added, keep beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form. (1)
6. Add the vanilla and sift in half of the dry mixture from earlier. (5) Carefully fold the egg whites and dry ingredients together until just combined. Sift in half of remaining dry mixture, fold until combined, and then sift in the rest. Continue folding until the batter has a consistency of a smooth milkshake. The mound of batter should seem to “melt” when you pull the spatula away, and any batter on the spatula should slowly fall back into the bowl. A good measure is if it is the consistency of pancake batter, you’ve gone too far, but if you pull the spatula through and the cut remains after 15-20 seconds then keep going. (6)
7. Gently transfer about one third of the batter to the piping bag and start piping in the stencils. Refill with another third and repeat until the batter is gone or until the cookie sheet is full. (7)
8. Tap the cookie sheet a couple of times on the counter to bring air bubbles to the surface, and allow the batter to settle a little bit. Let the macarons rest on the cookie sheet for about 1 hour before baking. If you can touch all of them gently with your finger and not get sticky, then a skin has formed and they are ready for the oven. (8)
9. Set the oven at 340 oF and bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes. When you can touch the outside and they are not sticky or wobbling to the touch, then they can be taken out. Cool the cookies completely before filling or trying to remove them from the pan.
10. In a medium bowl, beat together all filling ingredients until a thick icing forms. Spoon the icing into a piping bag and carefully pipe onto half of the cookies. Match up the cookies to make sandwiches of similar sizes. Store the finished macarons in a sealed container in the fridge for up to about a week/week and a half.
11. For aesthetics and a bit of extra flavor, I sprinkled cinnamon on top of some, but this is purely optional.
12. **Disclaimer: My final iteration did not produce feet on the cookies...
1. It is important to use egg whites from whole eggs instead of using a measured amount from a carton. The ones from cartons are sometimes modified enough that they will not longer whip into the type of meringue needed for the batter. The temperature of the eggs is also important, because at room temperature the eggs more readily disperse, allowing for the meringue and providing a lighter texture. For an easy way to warm cold eggs in a smaller amount of time, place the bowl in a warm water bath as shown below. The water should be warmer than room temperature, but not warm enough for, say, tea. For an example of stiff peaks, the second photo is a ready-to-fold meringue:
14. 2. Changing the almond flour to coconut flour is the main difference in this recipe. Most people with nut allergies are not sensitive to coconuts, and thus they are able to eat macarons baked with this flour. Although it seems like a one for one trade, almond flour and coconut flour behave very differently in baking. Both flours are in the nut/seed flour family, which means the can be ground more finely than wheat flours, and makes them ideal for this type of baking. However, coconut flour is very hydrophilic, which means it loves water. Compared to almond flour, coconut flour will absorb much more water in a recipe mixture, which must be accounted for when making the trade. In my case, I altered the proportions of the coconut flour to the egg whites and decreased the amount of coconut flour by a factor of four compared to the original amount of almond flour. The picture below is an example of the mixture seizing, or becoming too dry. This happens because there is too much coconut flour for the amount of eggs, and all the water in the egg whites gets absorbed. An analogy would be if you put a couple of sponges in a bathtub of water, there would still be water, but if you put a bucket of sponges in a bucket of water, the sponges would be holding all of the water.
15. 3. The coconut flour I used was from the grocery store as opposed to homemade (coffee grinder + shredded coconut). In the past, I have used this method when making coconut macarons from a recipe and not from scratch, and it has worked much better. I would suggest making your own coconut flour, as the shredded coconut tends to have a higher water/liquid content remaining in the coconut pieces, and thus easier to use with less eggs. If I were to try this recipe again (for an eleventh try) I would use homemade coconut flour and see how that changes the result.
16. 4. For the cookies as a whole, is it very important to weigh your ingredients rather than use measuring cups. This type of baking requires a lot of precision, and more of that can be achieved through weighing and not measuring.
17. 5. When working with the meringue (beaten egg whites and sugar mixture), the ultimate goal is to keep it from deflating. You want to handle it carefully because the air in the meringue needs to stay there for a proper bake of the macarons. In the vanilla-adding step, it is important to add the vanilla after the beating has occurred. Adding the vanilla too soon will actually denature the proteins in the egg whites because the vanilla extract is an alcohol. Another meringue-handling note is the importance of sifting the dry ingredients. Sifting is the process of putting air in between the powder particles so that the dry ingredients are lighter when mixed into the egg whites. The action of sifting instead of dumping keeps the egg whites from deflating under the weight of the powdered sugar and coconut. Here is my method of sifting the dry mixture:
18. 6. Folding the dry ingredients into the meringue may seem counter-intuitive, since it will ruin the airy meringue, however a careful method of folding will incorporate the dry mixture without disrupting the air too much. The trick is deflating the meringue to the exact right extent, which will produce light, but sturdy macarons. Below is the target consistency for your batter before piping.
19. 7. When you are ready to pipe, the instructions say to only put a third of the batter in at a time. Even though this is inefficient, having the batter weighed down by itself in the bag, and being handling for more than it needs to be is not preferable. Going back to maintaining the airy meringue, handling the batter too much in the bag and having added weight will deflate the egg whites, so piping as little as possible at a time is best. Here is a picture of my batter piped on the cookies sheet after tapping the sheet and ready to rest:
20. 8. Resting the macarons might be the most important step. In order to bake properly , the macarons need to rest in dry air until a skin has formed, which usually takes upwards of half an hour. On more humid days, it will take longer. This formation of a skin allows for the top of the cookie to rise all together and stay smooth and harden while baking. The cohesive rising also allows for the iconic “foot” of the macaron, which is the ruffled part at the base of the cookie. In order to ensure a dry environment for the resting period, you could use a fan, like shown below:
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