I feel like it’s been forever since I posted an actual recipe on this blog. My backlogs are officially out of control because I’ve been cooking and baking a lot but not posting too much recipes. But since my most recent series of travel diaries are officially done-ish, I think we can go back to regular programming.
As a celebration for finishing my travel posts, I thought I’d post about these scrumptious Matcha Macarons with Red Bean Filling just because I’m in the mood to indulge you guys with something special and pretty and yummy. 🙂
Macarons are NOT hard to make although admittedly they can be finnicky if you don’t take certain things into consideration. I’ve written a bunch of personal tips and tricks I’ve adapted in my macaron-making here and here so I won’t repeat them at length, but I will take you on a step by step walkthrough of this recipe because I really want you all to try it out.
I know a lot of people aren’t fans of red bean but I figured we’re making matcha macarons– might as well pair it in a classic manner! If you really detest red bean then go ahead and fill these with a white chocolate-matcha buttercream as I did here.
Before we head on to the recipe, I’m just going to do a SHAMELESS plug: I’m finally done with my travel video! It’s all about my Japan trip last April (the subject of all the aforementioned travel posts) and I really enjoyed looking back on all the things I saw there as I put this together. And now I miss Japan terribly. GREAT.
It took me less than a day to edit this, but the tough part was actually sitting down to start it haha! I kept putting it off but now I’m in the mood to edit more videos, and I think you’ll be seeing a baking video up soon. Yay!
Here are my more detailed blog posts about all the locations in the video:
ATSUTA SHRINE / TAKAYAMA OLD TOWN / SHINHOTAKA ROPEWAY + TONAMI TULIP GALLERY / SHIRAKAWA-GO / TATEYAMA KUROBE ALPINE ROUTE / MATSUMOTO CASTLE / FUJI KAWAGUCHIKO SHIBAZAKURA / HOTOU FOODOU AT FUJI KAWAGUCHIKO / TOKYO SKYTREE / ASAKUSA’S SENSO-JI / SNAPSHOTS OF ODAIBA
NOT IN VIDEO: TOKYO DISNEYSEA Part 1 / TOKYO DISNEYSEA Part 2
Okay. Now we’re really getting down to business with the macarons. I’ve segued enough. This recipe makes use of my favourite macaron shell recipe so far from Sprinkle Bakes. It starts like any macaron recipe does: “ageing” egg whites to room temperature, and sifting stuff.
These days I don’t really age my egg whites for more than a few hours, but I still don’t use cold egg whites. When I wake up the morning I’m making macarons, I separate my eggs and leave the whites on the countertop; then I eat breakfast, do my morning routine, maybe cook or bake something else, before I finally check on the egg whites again. I let the whites sit somewhere between 3 to 4 hours on my countertop and by then I’m happy with how long I’ve aged it. (If you can even call it that.)
Now we whip it good! The reason for bringing egg whites to room temp is because cold egg whites don’t whip as well. (And I don’t like leaving whole eggs on the countertop because then separating them will be a pain.) Again, clean utensils are the way to go here. And if you’re whipping these up I always say it’s better to overwhip your whites into super stiffness rather than underwhip them. I usually stop when I get these nice peaks and flip my mixing bowl over to make sure nothing is moving in there.
Then I give my dry ingredients a final sift into the egg whites.
This is where it gets a little tricky, though actually once you get the feel of the batter after that first attempt at making macarons, it’s the same thing in every succeeding recipe you make. Measurements may differ recipe to recipe, but this magma-flow batter stays the same.
You’ll want to fold everything in (under and over motions) nicely without losing all that fluff in the egg whites, but sometimes even after you incorporate the dry ingredients the batter will still be super stiff. Just keep folding until it’s still thick but falls in a continuous but slow flow. Like magma. The ribbons of batter disappear back into the batter after a while. I don’t know how else to explain this. Maybe I’ll make a video one day. 🙂
Now you pipe the batter into rounds, which I can be terrible at in terms of trying to keep my rounds uniform. Just make sure not to pipe too much and make them too big, since the macarons will still expand in the oven.
Another step I don’t skip is banging my tray on the counter. This helps to pop them air bubbles and even out the surface of the macarons. Then I leave them for at least 30 minutes to develop a skin. These two steps, always.
Now we put them in the oven, which is to me honestly the TRICKIEST part of all. Oven temperatures differ so make sure not to bake these into ovens that are too hot else they’ll crack on top. That’s often my problem. I sometimes have to turn down my oven just a little when I see the macarons starting to rise on their feet and the shell showing signs that they’re about to crack.
Et voila! Pretty shells with feet! The surface of some of my macarons aren’t too smooth because I threw in the chunkier bits of almond flour into the batter anyway after sifting. (I know, counterproductive much?)
The buttercream is simply some softened butter whipped with sugar and some chunky red bean paste from a can. You can get these red bean pastes from Asian stores. I buy my Japanese and Korean ingredients from Cartimar, and I highly suggest for those living in the Metro Manila area to pay this place a visit if you’re into cooking Japanese and Korean food. 🙂
So what else can I say about these macarons apart from the obvious? It’s quite straightforward really. The bittersweet matcha does well to keep the sweeter red bean in check. And I definitely recommend eating these cold. Pop the macaron sandwiches in an airtight container to avoid moisture, and just refrigerate overnight. Most master macaron-makers would tell you this resting stage is an important step in allowing the cookies to attain their optimal flavour. The shells and the filling will somehow gain better harmony.
Matcha Macarons with Red Bean Buttercream Filling
Makes about 16 macarons
For the shells
- ¾ cup almond flour
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 2 teaspoons matcha powder
- 2 large egg whites, aged to room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- ½ cup caster sugar
For the Red Bean Buttercream
- ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 6 tablespoons smooth or chunky red bean paste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the macarons
- 1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment.
- 2. Sift almond flour and confectioners' sugar together 2 to 3 times and discard the large bits. Set aside.
- 3. Whisk egg whites with the whisk attachment of the mixer until foamy. Attach the bowl and whisk to the mixer, sprinkle cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form. Reduce speed and gradually add the sugar. Once all sugar has been added, increase speed to medium high and beat until stiff peaks form. To test, flip the mixing bowl over. The mixture should not slip, slide, or move.
- 4. Sift flour mixture over the stiff meringue with a fine sieve. Discard any lumps or coarse bits that remain. Sift in matcha powder.
- 5. (If coloring the batter, place a bit of gel food coloring on the end of a rubber spatula before you begin folding the mixture.) Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into the meringue using short strokes at first as the batter is very stiff. Once the batter loosens, fold with bigger strokes, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as you go. To test if the batter is ready, it should fall from the spatula like flowing magma, forming thick ribbons that disappear into the mixture after a few seconds.
- 7. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe 1 to 1-1/2 -inch even rounds on the parchment lined baking sheets. Take the tray and bang on the countertop about six times, or until the surface evens out the macarons flatten, and all the air bubbles in the batter have popped. Let piped macarons stand uncovered for 30 minutes to an hour to form a "skin".
- 8. When ready to bake, decrease temperature to 325ºF (160ºC) just before placing the baking sheet in the oven. Bake pans one at a time for 10 minutes, turning halfway through. (If first batch of macarons have some cracks on them then the oven is probably a bit too hot. Turn it down to 300ºF or 150ºC for the next batch.) Once baked, leave on wire rack to cool completely.
Make Red Bean Buttercream Filling
- 9. In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar together until fluffy. Mix in red bean paste and vanilla extract.
- 10. Pair shells together. Place a small spoonful of buttercream on one shell and top with its partner. Macarons are best eaten after allowing the flavours to mature overnight. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Macaron shells adapted from Sprinkle Bakes blog | Buttercream adapted from Thirsty for Tea blog
Ahh green tea. This magical ingredient makes me love all sorts of desserts I normally don’t. Prime example, turning my dislike for white chocolate on its head once matcha is added to the mix. I always forget that matcha Kit-Kat’s are made with a white chocolate base, and it’s actually my favourite flavour among all the Japan-released Kit-Kat’s I’ve tried.
As for macarons, which are typically a bit too sweet for me to eat more than occasionally, matcha also makes the experience more balanced. Speaking of macarons, my favourite ones so far are from TWG. I don’t really buy into the hype of Laduree (which just opened in the Philippines recently) and its super expensiveness, so I just pretty much make my own when I’m in the mood. For my Philippine readers, what’s your favourite macaron shop? I’d love to hear from you!