Strawberry Basil French Macarons

I am FINALLY sharing my French macaron recipe! 
Many people have asked me throughout the years to teach them how to make these.
They're super pretty, and always a hit when I bring them to gatherings. BUT these little sandwiches of joy are superrrrr finicky. One wrong move and the whole batch is ruined.. and that is a sad, sad day.

Strawberry shells:

100 g almond flour
165 g powdered sugar
10 g powdered freeze dried strawberries
100 egg whites
30 g granulated sugar

1. Prepare two baking sheets with silicone mats. (I use a Silpat or the mat from this macaron kit, here).
2. Prepare a pastry bag with a small sized round tip. 
3. Sift almond flour, powdered sugar, and powdered freeze dried strawberries. Disregard any large pieces left over.
4. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment beat egg whites until foamy. Once foamy add the sugar. Continue beating until you get firm peaks. If the peaks are not firm and stand on their own, the macarons will not turn out.
5. Now is usually the time where I add some food coloring.. Just a few drops will do. Keep in mind some of the color will fade a little as they bake.
6. Once the whites are whipped, start incorporating the dry ingredients SLOWLY, by hand. You do not want to deflate the egg whites. Sprinkle in half of the dry ingredients in and fold slowly and carefully. Add the other half of dry ingredients and do the same. The batter should have no dry specs, and should still have thickness and hold its shape.. like the consistency of pancake batter.
7. Pour batter into pastry bag and pipe quarter sized dots onto your silicone mats. I like to give the baking trays a couple firm bangs on the counter top to get out any air bubbles.
8. Let them rest at room temperature until a skin has formed. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the humidity in your house.
9. Once a nice skin has formed bake at 280 degrees for about 17 minutes.

When you take them out of the oven they should have smooth tops and the coveted 'feet' on the bottom.

Basil Buttercream:

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

1. Pulse basil leaves in a food processor until well chopped. 
2. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to food processor and pulse until basil sugar mixture is fully combined, and resembles a loose paste.
3. In a bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment, which together butter, basil/sugar mixture, and remaining powdered sugar until well blended.
4. Add vanilla and milk, beating until everything is incorporated and frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. 

Gently pipe filling onto one side of a macaron shell, and sandwich with another half.

Your macarons should taste good on the first day, but letting them sit for a few days with the filling will allow the insides to soften a bit through some magical osmosis, and that is when they are amazing.

"As soon as they're made they're not ready to eat, but they're really at their best after 24 or even 48 hours,"... "An osmosis takes place between the garnish and the biscuit. When freshly baked this is hard and crisp, but it absorbs some humidity from the filling and its inside becomes more tender while the crust on the surface stays intact." - Pierre Hermé

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Photographs by Sierra Hunts of Nutritional Foodie

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