Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patty's Day Macarons with Baileys Mint Chocolate Buttercream

Happy St. Patty's Day everyone! The weather was absolutely gorgeous yesterday (no humidity=one happy girl) and it gave me the perfect excuse to make some St. Patty’s Day inspired macarons!

These popular little French beauties are simple to make and the flavor options are endless. Trust me, after making them at home, you will never want to pay $$$ for these delicate confections again!

St. Patty's Day Macarons

{yield: about 40 shells for 20 or so cookies)

3/4 cup ground almond flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg whites
3½ tablespoons granulated sugar

Mint Chocolate Irish Cream Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream with Hint of Mint Chocolate 

To start, combine the almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor and process for about a minute. Sift the mixture into a bowl and set aside.  

Using a stand mixer and whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium-low until they are frothy. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and when soft peaks have formed, add the granulated sugar to the egg whites (you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the sugar)

To give the macarons their green color, add a couple of drops of green food color gel and whisk the egg whites on medium-high until they come to a stiff peak, but are still glossy in color.

Add half of the sifted mixture to the meringue and using a spatula, start to fold the mixture together. It will take around 8-10 strokes. Then add the remaining mixture to the bowl and continue to fold.

You know the mixture is the right consistency with it falls off the spatula back into the bowl and reincorporates withing 20-30 seconds. Be sure to not over mix (about 50 strokes or so). Add half of the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (I used a Wilton size 10).

To make the shamrock, pipe 3 heart or "v" shapes at right angles of each other. Then pipe a straight line from the middle of the shamrock down to create the stem. Continue piping the shamrock design until you have roughly 40 shells. 

Once you have filled the cookie sheet, tap it on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles that might be in the mixture. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and let the shamrocks sit for 15 to 30 minutes.  This process allows the "feet" of the macarons develop

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes and rotate the cookie sheet half way though.  The tops of the macarons should be firm, but glossy and the bottoms should have officially formed their "feet."  Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the cookie sheet. 

While the macarons shells are cooling, start the buttercream filling by adding the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and the magical ingredient...Baileys Original Irish Cream with a Hint of Mint Chocolate (you can never go wrong with mint and chocolate in my book) in a mixing bowl!

Mix on low until the powered sugar is incorporated, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft and fluffy.

Remove the shells from the parchment paper, fill with the mint chocolate buttercream and lightly press shells together.

Macarons taste best after 24 hours, so place the shamrocks in air tight container between sheets of parchment paper and place in the refrigerator.  Remove and let sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. 

Who ever you decide to share these magical macrons with will definitely think they had the luck of the Irish on their side!

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