Sunday, June 5, 2011

Vanilla Bean French Macarons

French macarons are always special. But now that they have become so trendy I wanted to make them even more special. These Peonies inspired a simple painting done with gel food coloring on the macaron shell. 

Peonies have a short growing season, so get them while you can. 

There are endless flavors for macarons, but vanilla bean and chocolate ganache are my favorite. And quickest to make, I might add.

Vanilla Bean French Macarons 
Many macaron enthusiasts swear that you absolutely must measure ingredients by weight rather than volume. Although macarons can be temperamental, I have never had a problem measuring by volume, as this recipe is written. 

makes about 35 macarons

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup superfine sugar
  1. Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Cut vanilla bean open lengthwise and scrape seeds out with a knife. Add seeds to bowl. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
  3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.
  4. Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons.)
  5. Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Chocolate Ganache Filling

1/2 cup heavy cream 3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (preferably 70 percent cacao) 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
Bring cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour cream over chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Let stand for 2 minutes. Add butter, then whisk mixture until smooth. Let cool, stirring often. Use immediately.
 Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

To hand-paint macarons
Gel food color
Wet paintbrush and dip in a very small amount of food color. Practice your design on paper first, then on macarons. To make my peony inspired design, make arcs starting on the outer edge of macarons. Make a second and third, if necessary, row of arcs. Use a smaller brush with another color for the center of flowers. 

For another macaron update, I made a macaron butterfly. While piping the circles I made a few lines. Then I used the ganache to glue to wings to the body and let harden in the well of an egg carton.


  1. I truly am in awe. I can't cook or bake, no wonder I didn't get a husband until I was 35!

  2. What a little work of art! They look delicious!


  3. wow, this is just amazing. What special treat for any guest...which I would LOVE to be.

  4. You amaze me, Marina! These are gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous!

    I hope you've had a nice weekend!

    Baby Talk without the Babble

  5. Wow!! Stunning! Too pretty to eat! : )

  6. Amazing photography of those beautiful peonies in the blue bottles.... and a perfect dessert to go with it...loved what you did with the gel food coloring to create those peonies on the macaron shells... its beauuutiful! You are so talented! Thanks for sharing. Come by sometime if you get a chance. Have a lovely week!~Poppy

  7. Well done on the macs... i would never have thought of using cream of tartar?

  8. Little masterpieces! I will echo the commenter above: You amaze me also! These are beautiful and I've always wanted to make them. Also, you are a great photographer, as I've told you before. OK, enough with the compliments, I don't want you to get a big head. ;)

  9. You made those and you painted them? No wonder you have 10.000're one clever woman.

    Thanks for visiting.

    I'll be back for more shock and awe.

    xo jane

  10. My mouth is still hanging wide open! Gorgeous!!!

  11. That is so cute and yummy looking!

    New follower here stopping by from Monday Mingle!

  12. Absolutely beautiful! Wish I could taste one!

  13. I've been a little afraid to try macaroons, but I'm a vanilla bean fiend so I think I will finally take the plunge. Love the flowers, too.

  14. Beyond words gorgeous!! You are doing some amazing photography! I bought peonies from Trader Joe's this weekend. They are my second favorite flower =)))

  15. Very creative, well done you! Love Linda x

  16. Mouthwatering images. I love macaroons, but yours have reached an entirely different level!

  17. I'm really gonna have to find my food processor again! Love these! Your blog never disappoints. Thanks for stopping by the S&R weekend hop again! Have a great week,
    Heartfelt Balance Handmade Life

  18. You have a fantastic blog ...... one of the best looking macarons I have seen till date. Artistic !!

    Luv your blog ....following you :)

    I have a give away on my blog please join if u wish :D


  19. You have definitely mastered the macaron, and the painted peonie is beautiful! Love the butterfly:)

  20. woww.. the macarons look sooo beautiful .. i would hardly feel like eating them :) woww..

  21. Wow. What stunning photographs. Really beautiful. Your recpies looks simply delish too!

  22. "HI !!" Your blog and photos are amazing and I flipped through a couple of pages to find you also re-do furniture and decorate. I am really good at all these things, but not as good as you! Sheeze, your perfectionist qualities make me feel like a slacker.
    (French)Macaroons have gotten really trendy. I somewhat follow the baking trends and I was so happy when cupcakes became trendy because I love them. I also love Macaroons but I am more into the traditional coconut Macaroon. They are selling the French Macaroon all over Brooklyn now and from what I've seen in the bakeries in New York I'm pretty sure Donuts are making a huge comeback....and Baked's about time we bake donuts! Anyway...really great blog. I love it.

    I've stumbled here through Kristen's blog. My name is Baxter Bunny and I'm a bunny who lives in Brooklyn with a blog, (because everyone has a blog these days!)

  23. STUNNING blog my friend! Macorons are popping up everywhere and I have been planning to make them on my own. I'll have to try your recipe!

  24. These are absolutely beautiful. I love peonies (and macarons)!

  25. Oh my goodness!! Beautiful photos and superb macarons! The filling - yummi! can be used for other cakes and desserts ... Thank you for the recipe ;)

  26. Gorgeous peonies and painting! The macarons recipe sounds delicious. And that butterfly is super cute!! ^.^

    Btw, I stumbled and hope you'll stumble Bat Signals back.

  27. Oh, these look delicious. I tried making macarons a few weeks ago and it went terribly wrong. I got so mad I threw them in the garbage :)

  28. Wow you are one talented lady! These are absolutely beautiful! If they didn't look so temptingly good i wouldn't dare eat them to mess up the beautiful painting!

  29. Really pretty & unique! Visiting from Centsational Girl's party!

  30. Visiting over from Centsational Girl..I love macarons or at least the look of them. Living in NY and I have yet to taste one!! Sad :(
    Lovely blog you have here. Jackie

  31. Beautiful!!! You are SO talented! I'm doing good to just BAKE the cookies! :)

    Hope you have a wonderful day!

  32. These are gorgeous!!! Thank you so much for linking up!! I am definitely going to try vanilla bean next time I make them!!! really so gorgeous! Thanks:)

    xoxo Hanna

  33. Ah! Those are gorgeous and look DELICIOUS! I'm going to try them soon!



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