Photo by Amir Menahem
Last month, I went on one of the best trips of my life with Vibe Israel. Me and five other extremely talented bloggers were invited on a week-long tour of Israel, centered around one of my favorite subjects: pastries.
That’s right… a pastry tour.
Honestly, every second I spent in that country was truly amazing; I met so many kindhearted people, made new friends, and all around had such an incredible experience. I was immersed in the culture for 7 days of heaven where we toured historical sights, explored the colorful markets, visited different cities, learned to cook all sorts of incredible pastries, and ate more food (read: carbs) than I ever thought was physically possible.
I tried hummus for the first time (you’re probably thinking “how’s that possible?!”… I know, I know…), walked the Via Dolorosa, prepared an unforgettable Israeli brunch with Atalya, ate the most incredible Shabbat dinner with the founders of Betzavta, and spent an entire day learning from outrageously talented pastry chefs Alon Shabo, Uri Scheft, and Adi Sibrower. I don’t know how I got so lucky.
I’ll definitely share more details (& photos) of the trip in future posts, but today’s takeaway?
COFFEE AND CARDAMOM BELONG TOGETHER.
While touring the Old City of Jerusalem, we stopped at Sandouka. They import their coffee beans allll the way over from Brazil, and the beans are roasted on a blazing surface of some ancient machine located on the shop’s second floor.
The roasted blend is then cooled and transported by a pipe directly into baskets on the ground floor, where it is ground and packed into paper sacks. Most of Sandouka’s blends are laced with cardamom, which gives the coffee a distinctive, warm flavor and taste. It’s hard, if not impossible, to walk by without stopping, taking in the smells from their shop, and falling in love.
Today I’m sharing a recipe with you that is based on that coffee and cardamom love — these cardamom coffee macarons. The cardamom adds a simple but warm touch, particularly in this sweet recipe, where the beauty of the flavor is all in the balance.
As always… read through the recipe before beginning and keep an eye out for the next macaron recipe!
Vibe Israel organized and invited me on an all-expenses-paid trip, though I was not compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the companies and brands that make Mike Bakes NYC possible!
Cardamom Coffee Macarons
For the Macarons:
- 135 grams egg whites (approx. 4 large eggs) at room temperature
- 120 grams granulated sugar
- 130 grams almond flour
- 225 grams powdered sugar
- 2 grams ground cardamom
- Garnish: ground cinnamon optional
For the Coffee Buttercream Filling:
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- In a medium bowl, sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar, and ground cardamom then set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Continue to beat until your whisk begins leaving visible trails in the foamy egg whites.
- Once you can see trails, gradually add the granulated sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue forms stiff peaks. (Be sure not to over-whip your egg whites otherwise you risk drying them out.)
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, add the dry ingredients to the meringue and fold with a rubber spatula from the bottom of the bowl upward then press the flat side of your spatula through the middle against the side of the bowl. (The batter will look very thick at first, but it will get thinner as you fold.) Continue folding until the batter gets to a lava-like consistency.Pro Tip: The figure 8 test is a great way to check your batter’s consistency; pick up the batter with your spatula and let it flow down into the bowl while drawing the figure “8”. If it can do that without the batter breaking, immediately stop folding.
- Transfer the batter into a large pastry bag with a medium-sized round tip, such as a Wilton 2A plain round tip.
- Holding the piping bag at a 90 ̊angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into 1.5-inch rounds about an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Feel free to print out a macaron template if you’re worried about size/uniformity). Sprinkle ground cinnamon on the top of each shell, if desired.
- Holding the baking sheet with both hands, carefully bang the sheet firmly on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. (If you don’t release the air bubbles, they will expand during baking and crack your beautiful macarons shells.)
- Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all the batter (usually about three sheet pans worth.)
- Let the macarons rest and dry for 30 minutes or until a skin has developed before baking; on a humid day, it might take an hour or more. To see if it’s ready to be baked, lightly touch it. If the batter doesn’t stick to your finger, then it’s ready. (Don’t forget to remove the macaron templates, if using, before baking!)
- While the macarons are resting, preheat the oven to 300˚F (150˚C) and position the oven rack in the center of the oven.
- Bake the macarons, one tray at a time, for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through the baking process.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and cooling completely on a wire rack. (If the bottoms are a tiny bit sticky, keep them on the tray to cool off for an additional 10-15 minutes. If, however, the bottoms are already brown, they peel off cleanly, or they appear over-baked, then carefully take them off the tray immediately to cool down.) Repeat the baking process with the remaining sheet pans.Pro Tip: It’s always better to over- rather than under-bake your macarons as the maturation process can typically salvage ones that are over-baked.
- While macarons are drying and baking, prepare the coffee buttercream filling. Add the espresso powder to the heavy cream in a small cup and stir until well combined. Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and gradually add heavy cream/espresso powder mixture until well combined and desired consistency is reached.
- Transfer the coffee buttercream into a pastry bag and fill the macarons, then gently sandwich together.
- Store the filled macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days and bring back to room temperature before enjoying.
- Macarons are best enjoyed the next day after they mature in the fridge (since the flavors will be absorbed into the shell). If your shell is hard/crunchy/over-baked, letting them mature will also cause the shells to absorb the moisture from the filling and soften up / give them their signature chewy texture.