week 9. almond macs x fresh cherry buttercream + fruity pebbles

using my base recipe, I subbed out cocoa powder for the equivalent amount of almond flour.

these were a HUGE mess. most ended up cracked and lopsided. I'm pretty sure I know what happened. I forgot to shift the standing mixer from 4 to 8 at the correct time. when the syrup reached 248 degrees, I realized it was still mixing at 4, so I was only able to mix on 8 for about 30 seconds before the syrup cooled too much to incorporate.

the batter seemed fine, but clearly wasn't. since I was decorating these for pride, I was able to cover up much of the mess with royal icing rainbow stripes. I also decorated the cracked, hollowed out individual shells with royal icing and fruity pebbles and made "mac mountains" because mistakes still taste delicious.

my plan was to charge $1 for each cookie and donate to Equality Illinois, but since they were such a mess, I felt bad charging for them. so I gave them out for free as usual and just made my own donation in the same amount as intended!

ingredients | shells

mixture a:                  
almond flour                                                37g

almond TPT*                                                300g
powdered sugar                                        38g

egg whites                                                      73g      
food coloring                                               4 drops

mixture b:
egg whites                                                      73g
salt                                                                       0.5g
water                                                                  50g
sugar                                                                  188g
light corn syrup                                          10g

* TPT means equal parts powdered sugar and another ingredient, in this case it’s almond flour, and you will use 150g of each to equal the 300g.

method | shells

bring all ingredients to room temperature.

from “mixture a,” sift together the almond flour, almond TPT, and powdered sugar into a large bowl and set aside. (it’s important to sift to make sure everything is very fine).

from “mixture b” whisk the egg whites and salt in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment set to 4 and leave it there while you make a syrup.

make a syrup from “mixture b.” first add the water, then the sugar, then the corn syrup into a small saucepan. pour the sugar in very slowly so that it all gets incorporated into the water, being very careful not to get any on the sides of the saucepan or your syrup can crystallize. do not stir!! stirring can also cause crystallization. just let it do its thing.

heat this syrup on medium until it boils and reaches 248°F. really, don’t stir it!

tip: you can take the chill off the eggs if you hold the bowl over the heating saucepan for a few seconds while swirling it around or stirring it.

turn up the standing mixer to 8 to create soft peaks while the syrup is still heating up to the right temperature.

to create the meringue, slowly pour the hot syrup along the side of the bowl into the mixing egg whites and let it mix until it’s stiff, but still shiny.

take the egg whites from “mixture a,” plus a spatula full of the meringue and mix it into the sifted almond, powdered sugar mixture that you made earlier. fold this together with a spatula until you form a thick paste. this is where I added the 4 drops of food coloring.

fold the rest of the meringue into that paste until it becomes glossy and slightly runny. (you’ll know when it’s done when the batter slowly falls off your spatula like a thick ribbon and settles into itself in the bowl after a few seconds. you don’t want it to be any runnier than that because you don’t want the mixture to spread once it’s piped).

scoop batter into a pastry bag fitted with about a 10mm piping tip, and pipe quarter sized bulbs onto parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a sheet pan.

tip: if a little nub from where you released the piping bag doesn’t settle into itself, you can use a small paintbrush to tap it down.

tap the bottom of the pan a couple times to prevent any air bubbles while baking.

bake on your oven’s convection setting at 280° for 15 minutes. for the first 5 minutes with the oven door closed, and the remaining 11 minutes with a wooden spoon propping the oven door open a bit (I added 1 minute to my usual 10 minute baking time to accommodate the extra wetness of the food coloring).

let cool completely before filling.

ingredients | fresh cherry buttercream+ fruity pebbles

unsalted butter                                        1/2 cup
powdered sugar                                       1   1/2 cup

salt                                                                      1/4 tsp
almond extract                                         1/4 tsp

fresh cherries, chopped                    1/4 cup
fruity pebbles                                             eyeball it

method | fresh cherry buttercream

bring butter to room temperature.

use a hand mixer or paddle attachment on a standing mixer, set on medium-high, to cream the butter until light and creamy.

add the powdered sugar and mix on low until totally incorporated.

add the almond extract and salt and beat on medium high for a couple minutes until fluffy.

stir in cherries until incorporated, then mix on high for a couple minutes until well incorporated and creamy.

I refrigerated this until I was ready to pipe to keep the cherry juices from separating.

pipe bulbs of buttercream to fill your mac sandwiches.

place a couple pinches of fruity pebbles cereal around the bulb of buttercream before sandwiching together.

refrigerate these guys when you're done. they actually taste better after a day of refrigeration than they do right after baking.

tip: the sizes of all of your shells will tend to be slightly different, so make sure you buddy up your shells to similarly sized partners so that the entire cookie is a consistent size.

ingredients | royal icing

egg white                                                       1, large
powdered sugar                                       1 1/2 cup
lemon juice                                                   1 tsp
almond extract                                          1/2 tsp

water                                                                  1/2 tsp at a time
food coloring                                                a few drops per bowl

method | royal icing

mix egg white with hand mixer or in standing mixer until frothy.

add in powdered sugar and mix until shiny.

add in lemon juice and almond extract and mix until fully incorporated.

add in water 1/2 tsp at a time until it reaches the consistency you want.

divide into 5 bowls, and stir a couple drops of gel food coloring into each one until you reach desired colors. I did red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.

use right away, or store in the fridge if you plan to use later.