Being from Hawaii, I have a special fondness for macadamia nuts. At this point I have made pistachio, walnut, hazelnut, sesame and almond macarons, so I decided it was time to make macadamia nut macarons. My chief obstacle was finding ingredients: unsalted macadamia nuts and passion fruit. Since macadamia nuts are quite oily, I had to mix them with the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour when I ground them, otherwise the mixture became too pasty. I was also torn between flavors for the ganache, in the end I made some with chocolate, some with lilikoi (Hawaiian word for passion fruit), and some with both lilikoi and chocolate filling. Lilikoi is one of my favorite flavors in the world, so these were my favorites, closely followed by the lilikoi-chocolate macarons…
Detail of lilikoi and lilikoi-chocolate macarons on a black EVA platter with white porcelain EVA teacups.
Hawaiian macadamia nut macarons
2/3 cup unsalted macadamia nuts (70 grams)
1/3 cup almond flour (30 grams)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (100 grams)
2 egg whites, aged, at room temperature (75 grams)
1/4 cup sugar (65 grams)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional, but great if you have it)
I was unable to find fresh passion fruit…so I used a frozen purée that I reduced into a dense jelly.
1/4 cup cream
100 grams bittersweet cooking chocolate
1. Chop the macadamia nuts and mix them with the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar. Use a coffee grinder or food processor to grind them into a flour. Macadamia nuts are oily, so the flour is a bit pasty and harder to sift. Sift this mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, and re-blend and re-sift any nuts that are too coarse to filter. Save the last crumbs of coarse nuts to sprinkle on top of the macarons before baking.
2. Age the egg whites by separating the yolks a couple of days in advance and let the whites sit in a jar at room temperature. Whisk egg whites at a low speed for 1 minute and then add the regular sugar and cream of tartar, beat 1 more minute at low speed. Cream of tartar is not commonly used in Spain, so I bought mine abroad, but it really helps build the meringue. This being said, I have made macarons without using any tartar.
3. Beat the egg whites at high speed for 2 more minutes so they form into stiff, glossy peaks. Set a timer for this because it’s difficult to estimate the minutes. If the batter is over-whipped, the macarons get air bubbles and hollow out underneath the shells. If you want colored macarons, this is the moment to add food coloring, but macadamia nuts don’t inspire bright colors, so I left mine naturally colored.
4. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients. Using a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue, then press the flat side of the spatula firmly through middle of mixture and rotate the bowl slightly. This process is called “macaronage” and reduces air bubbles in the batter. Add the second half of the dry ingredients and continue the macaronage until batter is glossy and flows like lava. Getting this right is part luck and part practice, there are countless videos online for how to achieve a proper macaronage! I think the main thing is not to over mix the batter.
5. Rest a pastry bag inside a vertical cylinder to transfer the batter into the bag, then close the
top. Cut a small hole in the bottom tip of the pastry bag. The batter should be fairly stiff, but you don’t want it to come out too quickly, I cut my hole to less than 1 cm in diameter.
6. Either onto a parchment sheet or a macaron mat, pipe batter into 1 inch round cookies. I do this in a swirl and make each cookie quite small because they rise considerably in the oven. A macaron mat helps to make the cookies perfectly round and the same size and the raised rims contain the batter from spreading out on the sheets. Some people use a template with circles underneath the parchment paper, but I love my macaron mats.
7. Drop the baking sheets hard onto the counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles. Sprinkle the tops with the leftover macadamia nut bits. Then let the macaron sheets sit for 30-40 minutes to dry so that they create a slight crust on the surface.
8. Preheat oven to 160ºC.
9. Place the macarons in the oven on the middle rack and lower the heat to 160º C (320º F). Bake macarons for 16 minutes, after 8 minutes, take the tray out and face the front to the back so both ends of the tray get evenly baked. Only bake 1 sheet of macarons at a time. If your macarons are very large, bake a few minutes extra.
10. Once the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the sheets. Defrost and reduce the passion fruit purée over a low heat into a thick jelly. In a separate pot, heat the cream and chocolate over a low heat into a thick chocolate sauce, let cool. Use a butter knife or spatula to spread the lilikoi paste on half of the cookie shell bottoms, and another spatula to spread chocolate on the other half of the cookie shells. Then sandwich the two halves together. If you want only lilikoi or only chocolate, each of these fillings pairs excellently with macadamia nuts as well. Store the macarons in a closed storage tin in the refrigerator or freezer.
Enjoy your macarons with a nice cup of tea!
Detail of lilikoi and lilikoi-chocolate macarons on a black EVA platter.
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