Almond is one of my favorite flavors and these macarons have heightened almond flavor and smooth praline buttercream filling.
Traditional macarons are made with almond flour so the base is already lightly flavored, we are just kicking it up a notch. By adding almond extract to the batter the almond flavor shines through at a whole new level.
Have you ever made your own praline? Once you start you will find so many uses for this easy but decadent sweet treat.
How to make your own praline:
Praline can be made with any nuts, but in this version I opted for almond to add more sweet nutty tones. Praline comes together with just a few ingredients. Sugar, water and nuts, in this case we used blanched almonds. You can easily find blanched almonds generally in the bulk nut section of your grocery store.
Prepare a baking sheet with a silpat mat. Begin by placing the water and sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat. Do not stir. Allow the sugar to melt and begin to caramelize. If you notice sugar crystals forming on the sides of the saucepan use water and a pastry brush to remove. You do not want the crystals being absorbed into the pan.
Once the sugar and water have turned a deep golden color swirl the pan continuously as the color deepens. Quickly add the blanched almond slices and stir to coat evenly.
Moving quick, pour the almond mixture onto the baking pan. The size and shape is not important as we will be breaking it up, just make sure it is evenly spread.
Allow the praline to dry until hard, it generally takes about an hour, you will know it is dry when it is smooth and cracks easily.
To use the praline in a buttercream place, break the praline into small parts and place in a food processor or chopper. Blend until it is a fine dust. This dust will be added to the buttercream. This would also be a fantastic addition to ice cream, sugar cookies and the tops of a dark chocolate brownie!
- 1 Stand Mixer with whisk attachment
- 1 Kitchen Scale
- 1 Fine Sifter
- 2 Silpat Mats
- 1 Piping Bag
- 1 Round Piping Tip
- 1 Double boiler or small sauce pan with heat proof bowl
- 1 whisk
- 1 Sturdy Spatula
- 100 grams Fine Granulated Sugar
- 100 grams Egg Whites
- 105 grams Powdered Sugar
- 105 grams Almond Flour
- 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
- 1 cup Blanched almonds
- 1 3/4 cup Sugar
- 1/3 cup Water
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter softened
- 3 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 tbsp Almond Extract
- Praline powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- Prepare a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper
- Add water and sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat
- Allow sugar water to come to a rolling boil, do not stir. Boil over medium low until it becomes caramel in color.
- As the color turns caramel, lift aaucepan and slowly roll it around.
- Once a deep golden color add the almonds and stir until fully combined
- Pour the hot mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and allow to cool for at least 1 hour.
- Prepare baking sheets with silpat mats, wipe each sheet with a paper towel dampened with white vinegar.
- Prepare a piping bag fitted with a round tip.
- Heat 1 inch of water in a double boiler or a small saucepan over low-medium heat.
- Measure granulated sugar and place into heat proof bowl
- Measure egg whites
- Measure almond flour and powdered sugar, place in a seperate bowl and mix lightly.
- Add egg whites to granulated sugar and place over boiling water in the heatproof bowl
- Whisk the egg whites and granulated sugar vigorously for at least one minute over the heat. The sugar should begin to melt and the eggs should become frothy, test the sugar between your fingers – if you can feel sugar continue for 30 seconds. Be sure to not cook the eggs by continuing to move.
- Immediately place the egg mixture onto your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Whisk on speed 2 for 2 minutes.
- Turn the speed up to 4 for 2 additional minutes.
- Turn the speed up to 6 and begin to monitor your meringue looking for tracks to begin showing. Once tracks are showing, test your meringue every 30 seconds.
- The meringue should form stiff peaks that do not bend when the whisk is flipped upside down. This can take up to 15 minutes depending on the humidity in your home.
- Once the meringue has formed stiff peaks turn the mixer off and add the Almond extract/Almond paste.
- Add the powdered sugar and almond flour to the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Turn your speed up to 6 and COUNT OUT LOUD TO 6. Immediately turn your mixer off.
- Continue to fold the batter slowly checking the consistency with every fold. Look for the batter to flow off the spatula, you should be able to draw at least 2-3 figure 8's.
- It is better to undermix then overmix.
- Once you have the right consistency add the batter to your piping bag fitted with the rounded tip.
- Holding the bag straight up and down pipe the macarons with even pressure.
- After 1 tray is completed, tap it against the counter 25 times to release the air, turn the tray and tap it again another 25 times. Pop any remaining air bubbles with a toothpick.
- Move the first tray to the side, and preheat the oven to 320° F.
- Pipe your second tray, allowing the first to dry.
- Dry times vary based on humidity, check the shells by lightly pressing your finger into one. If no batter transfers, and the shell bounces back slightly – they are dry.
- Place the tray, one at a time, in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Then turn the tray and bake an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking tray.
Almond Praline Buttercream
- Check that the praline made earlier is hardened, if so, break into small pieces and add to a chopper/food processor.
- Pulse until the praline becomes a fine dust
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the butter and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Add the powdered sugar, praline dust, almond extract and salt.
- Beat until combined and the consistency is thick and creamy.
- Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
- Match tops and bottoms of macarons by size, leave each pair with one bottom up and one bottom down to make pairing the filled macarons easier.
- Pipe the almond praline buttercream onto the bottom side up macaron, place the matching top on top of the buttercream
- Store finished macarons in an air tight container overnight. They are better the next day,