A crack of the knuckles, a light breath to blow some dust off the keyboard, and I’m sitting down at my computer with purpose again. I must remember to enjoy the little things! Oh little blog, how I missed you! I want to apologize to you friends for the lack of updates since holidays began. Interestingly enough it is when most blogs show the highest number of post but when you work two jobs in retail, then take a vacation to visit family your time for cooking gets shorter. Many days I would get home at 11pm, go to bed and start the day over at 8am – 11pm again. I know, I did it to myself so only I am to blame, but it was nice to have the extra money, and work at a job that I cannot even express how much I enjoy it compared to the other. Okay, enough about me and my weirdness enjoying a busy holiday season at the country’s biggest shopping mall.
On to the real matter at hand, food. Well with me it’s more sweets and desserts, but you know that by now. I have had this combination on my list since my first batch of macarons came out all lovely and puffy. At the local market I seen these limes that were the size of a large lemon and they smelled fantastic. Then what is in a basket on the end cap? A bag of organic shredded coconut which was on sale. I knew it had to be so I picked up both and went home on a mission.
It took mostly visual tweaks to get what I was looking for from these cookies. The first batch I used just the green color and it looked like the color teal from a bad prom dress in the 90′s. They tasted great but when the look doesn’t match the flavor it throws the mind off a bit. In that first batch I also learned that if you are going to put anything on the top of the macaron to decorate, make sure the cap is set. Meaning, it isn’t tacky to the touch. When baked it will help form the dome but it also helps anything added to the top of the cookie from sinking into it. I am here to make the mistakes for you and trust me, many are made.
The green color was finally achieved by following the basic shell recipe from my chocolate macaron post and adding to the whipped egg whites 3 drops of forest green food coloring gel and one drop of chocolate brown food coloring gel. It got me the perfect green color I was looking for to represent a lime. I used my now-standard Swiss buttercream recipe and a basic lime curd recipe for the filling.
The finished product was shared at a dinner party with some friends as an after dinner treat. The host is not a fan of sweets that don’t involve chocolate, but for him to make a comment about how just amazing these were in the complexity of textures and flavors had me blushing. The light but not overly sweet Swiss buttercream with the tang of the lime curd balanced out with the sweet crunchy shells perfectly into an almost addicting combination. So of course I had to share it with you my friends. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and I wish you the best this coming new year. You will see more of me in 2012, with new recipes and of course more macarons! Full recipe below!
Coconut and Lime Macarons
Posted by Lia S on January 2nd, 2012
Lime and coconut team up with sweet macaron shells to make a thing of beauty.
Yield: 20 macarons
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Juice of one lime, large (or two small)
- Zest of one lime, large (or two small)
- Pinch of salt
- 3 egg yolks (save the whites for your macaron shell recipe)
Swiss meringue buttercream
- 5 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 c granulated white sugar
- 2 c (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature cut into 1 tbsp pieces
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or paste (optional if adding liquor)
Coconut macaron shells
- 110g blanched slivered almonds or almond meal/flour
200g confectioner’s sugar
100g aged egg whites (3 egg whites), room temperature
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
Green and brown gel food coloring, 2-3 drops
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine the butter, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and salt, whisk to combine.
- Add in one yolk at a time until combined.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until thick like a heavy sauce. Pour into a bowl and place cling film over the top resting on the curd to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate overnight up to 1 week.
Swiss meringue buttercream
- In a heat-proof bowl add the egg whites and a pinch of salt. Whisk vigorously until all the whites are broken up. Add in the sugar and place over a pot of simmering water.
- Whisk the mixture consistently while heating. The mixture will become thick and frothy and take on a creamy color. At this stage if it appears that the sugar has dissolved, touch the egg mixture and rub between your fingers. If it feels smooth it is done. If you feel even a slight gritty texture keep whisking and every 30 seconds feel the mixture until smooth when rubbed between your fingers. FYI: Sugar melts at 186°F and in accordance to the USDA and FDA guidelines eggs should be cooked to 145-155°F to be safe. You do not need a candy thermometer to make this frosting which some sites suggest. Just due to the melting point of sugar your eggs are heated to a high enough temperature to be safe. Just make sure that when you rub it between your fingers it should feel smooth with no grittiness left at all from the sugar.
- Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the egg mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
- Reduce to medium heat and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue adding the butter once each addition has been incorporated. After the last piece of butter has been added around 30 seconds later the mixture will look separated or curdled. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth, it will come back together after a total of 3-5 minutes.
Coconut macaron shells
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. If you only have two cookie sheets, place one on a wire rack to create a flat surface. This is so you can double up the cookie sheets for baking the shells. If using parchment paper a great trick for if you’re new to macarons is to draw out circles using the base of the piping tip to create a guide for me while piping. With a pencil and the Adeco #804 tip create circles in a 5×8 pattern on one side of each sheet of parchment. When you have made your circle guide on one side, flip it over so you don’t accidentally pipe the mixture onto the pencil drawings.
- Grind the almonds and confectioner’s sugar in a food processor. Grind for 2-3 minutes until fine and like sand in texture. Sift 2-3 times to lighten the dry mixture. Reprocess as needed to get out all of the big pieces of almonds ground down, and lumps out of the sugar. You are looking for the consistency of sand.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer (I found a hand mixer more successful). Whisk the egg whites until a foam tarts to foam, it should have a slight tinge of the color of the egg whites in the folds of the ribbons. Slowly add in the sugar while mixing and whisk until a medium stiff peak forms. Optional Note: After the sugar has been incorporated and the egg whites are at a soft peak add two drops of green and one drop of brown gel food coloring. As soon as you can hold the bowl upside down over your head with out it falling out, the eggs are done.
- Sift half of the dry mixture onto the egg whites, and mix in to lighten. Sift in the remaining dry mixture, and begin to gently fold in. Once mostly combined, tip the bowl at a 45° angle. Spread the mixture out on 1/3 of the side surface of the bowl, sweep under and fold it over on it self. Repeat this process 10-12 times. When you reach the 10th time, stop and lift up a spatula full of the mixture if it forms thick ribbons, watch the mixture and count to 10. It should absorb into the rest of the mixture with only slight indication of edges, your mixture it done. It should just very slowly settle on itself.
- Pour mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. I used Adeco #804. Pipe out following your guide pattern (make sure the side with the pencil led is facing down onto your prepared cookie sheet. Gently tap the bottom of your sheet twice to remove air bubbles, and let it set out to dry to form a shell. What you’re looking for is it to not feel tacky. When the shells are no longer tacky to the touch (this can be 15 minutes to an hour), sprinkle generously with flaked coconut. The coconut will toast lightly and add lovely flavor and texture to the cookies.
- Bake at 300°F for 18 minutes. Once finished baking, if you are using parchment let the shells cool for 10 minutes and then transfer the tray to refrigerator to cool the rest of the way. When the shells are completely cooled they will come off of the parchment quiet easily. If you are using a silpat you can let sit out to cool until you can easily remove them from the silpat.
- Once the shells turn over easily without sticking to the mat or paper, transfer them to a wire rack and slide the next parchment or silpat with shells onto the top sheet of your doubled-up baking sheets. Follow the same baking temperature and time, repeating the cooling process as well to remove the shells from the parchment.
Assembly: Match up the shells by size and pipe a ring of buttercream around the inside of one of the shells. Using a squeeze bottle, squeeze a blob of lime curd in the center. Place the other shell on top and lightly press together. Completed macarons can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a week or so. Let come to room temperature before eating.