These sweet and tart lemon macarons are filled with a tangy lemon buttercream. The lemon French macarons feature actual lemon zest as well as lemon extract to bring all the flavor without weighing down the iconic light and airy macaron texture.
4Tablespoons(57g) unsalted buttersoftened to room temperature
1 to 1 and ¼cups(120-150g) powdered sugar
zest of half of one lemon
1 to 2Tablespoonslemon juice
pinch of salt
BEFORE YOU BEGIN...
I highly suggest watching this video on folding macaron batter.
Use the template provided at the bottom of this blog post to place under your baking mats as a piping guide.
Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Set aside.
Sift together almond flour, powdered sugar, and lemon zest into a small bowl. You may have to press the mixture through the sifter near the end of the sifting, and some larger pieces of zest or almond flour may be left behind. Discard these larger pieces and sift again into the same bowl. Add the salt, whisk together gently, and set aside.
Heat a small pot of water over medium heat until it steams. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites and granulated sugar. Place bowl over steaming pot, to create a double boiler.
Whisk the egg whites and sugar vigorously until sugar melts completely and egg whites become white and frothy, about 1 and ½ to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place bowl back onto stand mixer.
Fit stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk egg white/sugar mixture on high speed until medium peaks form. Stop the mixer, add the extract and food coloring, then, increase the mixer speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.
Gently shake half of the dry ingredients into the bowl, then, using a spatula, fold the mixture (do not stir) with the method demonstrated in this video. When all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, shake in the remaining half of the dry ingredients and continue to fold batter carefully and test for consistency when necessary (reference the video).
Scoop batter into a large pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe 1" circles onto prepared baking sheets. Bang baking sheet on counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.
Allow macarons to rest 30-45 minutes until a skin forms. You should be able to lightly run your finger over a mound of batter without disturbing the batter. When a strong skin has formed, preheat the oven to 300°F (149ºC).
Bake one tray at a time of the macarons for 14 to 16 minutes. After 14 minutes, open the oven, pull the tray slightly out of the oven, and gently push on the edge of one macaron at about a 45º angle. The mound should not move off of the feet. If it moves at all, bake for an additional 2 minutes and test again. When macarons are fully baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before moving them off.
In a medium size bowl with a handheld mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
With the mixer on low, add in the powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. If frosting is too stiff, add some more lemon juice or you can use milk or cream. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
When macaron shells are completely cool, carefully remove them from the baking sheets.
Pair macaron shells together with similarly shaped/sized shells, then flip the shells over so their flat surfaces are facing up.
Pipe a small amount of lemon buttercream onto one macaron shell, then carefully place the matched shell on top to make a sandwich. Macarons stay fresh at room temperature up to 5 days, or in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Keep in mind, macarons will lose crunch as time goes on. Baked macaron shells freeze well, up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.
Egg whites: do not use pasteurized egg whites. Crack an egg and use a real egg white.
Gel coloring: do not use liquid food coloring. AmeriColor is my go-to gel coloring.