Another macaron baking adventure! Yes, but this time I tried a twist on things. I decided I wanted to try a fruity and tangy Spring/Summertime themed combination, and start with mango as the base shell. For the filling, I originally thought lime would be the best, but then after pondering it further, mango and coconut go extremely well together also. I polled my Facebook group during the heat of the moment indecision making process that was going on in my kitchen to see what they thought. Coconut or lime?
I’m kinda silly sometimes when I ask for other peoples’ opinions cause I end up kinda just doing what I felt from my gut all along. Most people voted for coconut, but I couldn’t let go of the lime idea. So I incorporated both!
I used this book to guide my basic recipe, but honestly the last two times I’ve followed her recipes from this book, I haven’t been very happy with the results. The flavors are great, but the macaron shell itself has always turned out a bit funky. Very moist and the shells don’t come out even and smooth. I’m not sure what the deal is, but maybe I should take the time to investigate this piece of advice (if I can even find it there…). I’m up for the possibility that maybe it was just the fact that I did something a bit different to the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture. For the mango flavor, I purchased this freeze dried mango at Trader Joe’s thinking since it lacked moisture, I could just put it through a food processor to turn it into a dried mango flour. And it was a miracle! It worked!
For the filling, I searched all over the place for ideas on a not-too-sweet lime/coconut buttercream. I ended up just winging it and making up my own. Using cream cheese with a bit of butter and some powdered sugar did the trick just fine.
I’m so excited that I discovered freeze dried fruits to put into macarons! How genius! I can’t wait to discover more to play with (blueberry, pineapple, strawberry), and finally discover the perfect ratio so they consistently turn out great! These were still delicious even though they weren’t the “perfect” macaron. The mango flavor came through very well… it was mouthwatering. I just wanted to eat one after another after another. Give this a try if you’re feeling adventurous… ;)
- For the Mango Macaron:
- 3 Tablespoons freeze-dried mango powder (from approximately ½ a bag of this, processed in a food processor until finely ground like flour)
- ¾ cup finely ground almond flour
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 large egg whites, separated and set out at least 24 hours ahead of time
- ¼ cup superfine sugar
- orange food coloring paste
- mango extract, optional
- For the Coconut-Lime Buttercream:
- 3 oz. neufchâtel cream cheese
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
- ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
- zest of 1 lime
- juice of ½ lime (or more depending on how thick/thin you'd like the filling to be)
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the freeze-dried mangos in a 7-cup (or more) food processor and pulse until they become finely ground into a powder. Add the ground almonds and confectioners' sugar, continuing to pulse and blend until most of the chunks are gone and finely ground.
- Place the egg whites in a large stainless-steel bowl and whip until holding soft peaks. Gradually beat in the superfine sugar to make a firm and glossy meringue (stiff peaks). Beat in the orange food coloring gel to give a bright orange color.
- Using a spatula, fold the mango-almond mixture into the meringue ⅓ at a time. When all the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, continue to cut and fold the mixture until it forms a shiny batter with a thick, ribbonlike consistency. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit of water.
- Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch plain tip. Pipe 20-24 (depending on how much batter you ended up with--the original recipe claims you can get about 32 individual shells out of the batter, but I didn't find that to be the case unfortunately) small circles onto the prepared baking sheets. Tap the sheets firmly onto a work surface to remove air bubbles. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes up to 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, rotating half way through the baking cycle. Be sure to keep a close eye on them toward the end as they brown quickly. It's a fine line between baking them long enough so they're not doughy and gooey in the center, but not so they look burnt on top.
- Cool for 10 minutes. Carefully peel the macarons off the parchment paper and let cool completely. Mine weren't completely done after I pulled them out, so I popped them in the oven again for about 5-7 more minutes.
- Prepare the buttercream cheese filling: in a medium-sized bowl, whip the cream cheese and butter together until thoroughly combined and fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar ⅓ at a time. It may be very dry and thick. If you've already zested your lime, squeeze in the lime juice now. Then add your lime zest and coconut flakes! Voila.
- Sandwich pairs of macarons together with the coconut-lime buttercream.