Almond Macaron with Cannoli Filling
from Better Homes & Gardens
1 1/2 c. finely ground almonds
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
1/4 c. granulated sugar
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
in medium bowl, stir almonds and powdered sugar and set aside.
in large bowl, combine egg whites, vanilla, salt and beat with electric mixer until frothy.
gradually add granulated sugar to egg mixture (about 1 tbs. at a time) while beating on high until soft peaks form (tips curl).
gently stir in nut mixture.
spoon mixture into large piping bag fitted with large round tip (about 1/2 in. diameter).
pipe 1 1/2 in. circles about 1 in. apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
let stand about 30 minutes before baking.
meanwhile, preheat oven to 325° F.
bake in oven for 9 to 10 min. or until set.
cool on cookie sheet on wire rack.
carefully peel cookies off parchment paper.
in medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until combined.
add ricotta cheese and beat again until combined.
stir in chocolate chips.
spread cannoli creme on one shell and sandwich with its pair
This was my first attempt at making macarons. I had always thought macarons were these elite desserts that only a seasoned French pâtissière but after purchasing the Better Homes & Gardens Fall Baking magazine and discovering a whole section dedicated to macaron recipes, I decided it was not such an intimidating dessert and that I would challenge it with my spatula held high.
I made quite a few tweaks here and there for the macaron filling. Instead of the suggested almond butter frosting filling, I decided to use the recipe for cannoli creme filling mentioned in another macaron recipe. I also realized too-late that I did not have the required 4 oz. of cream cheese (more like an oz. or oz. and a half) so I compensated by replacing the missing cream cheese with more ricotta. I wasn’t too familiar with cannoli cream to start off but Maya did a taste test and approved it. What do you know, it may even have made the creme healthier by cutting fat!
All-in-all, the recipe was easy to follow and once I got a rhythm going with my shell piping my macarons started to become more unified in size and shape (the magazine suggests tracing 1 1/2 in. circles on the under-side of the parchment paper using a cookie cutter first to guide you…a tip I, of course, chose to ignore).
Of almost 46 shells I made, I had about 15 to 16 successful macarons. My biggest problem was the baking. Some of the shells were cracking and many could probably have used an extra minute or two longer in the oven. I also lost a few shells that I had placed in the bottom shelf of the oven. These guys probably did not get enough heat, they were deflated and looked more like flat chewy cookies than the puffed crisp shells a macaron should be. Definitely still tasted amazing, but just could not pass as macaron shells.