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Issue Eight / Entertaining Ideas,Recipes

Recipe: Cherry Blossom Macarons with Black Sesame

Recipe & Photographs by Kathrin Koschitzki

Satisfy your inner cookie monster with these tiny, colorful hamburger-shaped treats that are cuter than Hello Kitty, as well as fluffy and delicious. 

Is there anything more kawaii than a cherry blossom macaron? Resembling tiny pink hamburgers, these petite and delightful cookies offer a creamy filling—made with white chocolate, the essence of cherry blossoms and black sesame—sandwiched between super-fluffy meringue-like wafers that melt in your mouth. Some sources suggest that the French-style macaron dates back to 1533, and after variations have developed in Switzerland, Japan and Korea, these adorable treats have finally been popping up all around the US and Canada in recent years. Make some now for a friend’s party, a date with your best friend or just for you. You know you deserve them.

Ingredients (filling)
7 ounces / 200 grams white chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces / 120 milliliters heavy cream
5 tablespoons (5 ounces / 150 grams) crème fraîche
Cherry blossom essence
Black sesame seeds

Ingredients (shell)
1 cup (4.4 ounces /125 grams) almond flour, sifted through a very fine sifter
3⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4.4 ounces / 125 grams) confectioners’ sugar
4 medium egg whites (3.1 ounces / 90 grams)
1⁄2 cup plus 5 teaspoons (4.4 ounces / 125 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce / 30 grams) water
Food coloring (your favorite rose or violet tone)

Method (filling)
Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a boil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan and pour it over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to rest for about two minutes, then stir until the mixture is smooth and the white chocolate is completely melted. Allow to cool for about five minutes, then stir in the crème fraîche and a few drops of cherry blossom essence. Cover the bowl with foil and refrigerate it until the mixture thickens.

Method (shell)
Place the almond flour, confectioners’ sugar and half of the egg whites in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until well combined.

Place the remaining egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and fit an electric mixer with the whisk attachment.

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the syrup registers 235°F / 113°C on a candy thermometer, at which point you should start beating the whites on medium speed. (They should reach soft peak consistency.) When the syrup reaches 244°F / 118°C, slowly and steadily pour it into the egg whites with the mixer still running. Continue beating until the egg whites turn into stiff, glossy peaks, about three minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, fold a third of the meringue into the almond flour mixture until it is thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the remaining meringue. Add food coloring, folding in after each drop is added (a little goes a long way), until desired color is attained.

Fill a piping bag fitted with a number 10 pastry tip. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use some of the batter to anchor the corners down to the sheet. Pipe small dollops of the macaron mixture onto the parchment. If you have small peaks on your shells, carefully tap the baking tray on your kitchen surface and they will disappear.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325°F / 165°C. If available, set the oven to convection.

Allow the macarons to rest for 20 minutes to allow them to dry out a bit. To test them, carefully touch them with a fingertip; if they aren’t sticky, they are ready to bake.

Bake the macarons for six minutes, open the oven to allow excess steam to escape, rotate the baking sheet, then continue baking for an additional six minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and cool the macarons completely.

To assemble, fill a piping bag with the white chocolate ganache and dollop a bit on the bottom (flat) side of half of the macarons, then sandwich the remaining halves on top. Roll the edges in black sesame seeds.

Although it is hard to resist, the filled macarons need to rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a full day before you eat them. If prepared this way, the moisture of the filling makes the shell as soft as it should be.

Note: While cup measurements are provided in this recipe, a scale to weigh out ingredients is highly recommended. Baking is an exact science, and it is doubly so when making delicate confections such as macarons.Use high-quality white chocolate for best results.

Makes about 30 macarons

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