lavender, with its lovely floral taste, seemed like the perfect flavor to pair with french macarons, the elegant little sandwich cookies we have all come to know and love. so i gave it a try, and the pairing was perfect! the lavender lends its distinct flavor to the macarons in a very intense way, but their overall taste is still delicate and subtle. plus, the chocolate ganache provides a deep richness that really balances out the sweetness of the macaron shells, and the cocoa nibs sprinkled on top provide a dark, chocolatey crunch that makes these a very special treat. these macarons made for a really beautiful dessert, and the flavor combination is definitely one i would recommend in a heartbeat.
- 4 oz almond flour
- 7 oz powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons dried lavender, ground (in a spice grinder or food processor)*
- 4 oz egg whites
- 3.5 oz granulated sugar
- cocoa nibs, for sprinkling (optional)
- 5 oz semisweet chocolate
- ¼ cup almond milk**
- sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar, and ground lavender. set the dry ingredients aside.
- put your egg whites and a pinch of the sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. whisk on medium-high speed until you see soft peaks. then, with the mixer on low, slowly add in the rest of the sugar, then turn the mixer up to high speed. whisk the mixture until it has stiff peaks.
- now, add your dry ingredients to the egg mixture all at once. with a spatula or a wooden spoon, fold it all together – at first it will seem like the dry ingredients won’t incorporate, but just keep folding. you want to keep folding until the batter is “lava-like” – basically, it should fall from the spatula in thick ribbons that slowly ooze back into the rest of the batter.
- line two baking sheets with parchment paper. put the batter into a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe it into small circles about an inch apart on the parchment. once you are done piping, sprinkle cocoa nibs (if using) on top of half of the shells. then, take each baking sheet and bang it hard against the countertop a few times – this releases any air bubbles hiding in your batter. now, let the baking sheets sit out on the counter for at least 15 minutes, until the macarons are dry to the touch. while the macarons are drying, preheat the oven to 350°f.
- once the macarons are dry, set one of the baking sheets on top of another empty baking sheet and put it in the oven. bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the macarons peel off easily from the parchment. repeat with the other baking sheet.
- let the macaron shells cool completely.
- put the chocolate in a small bowl.
- heat the almond milk on the stove or in the microwave until it just comes to a simmer.
- pour the warm almond milk over the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is completely smooth.
- let the ganache cool until it is thick enough to pipe onto your macaron shells.
**i wanted to keep these non-dairy, so i used almond milk to make a vegan chocolate ganache. it wasn't quite as smooth as one made with heavy cream, but it still worked perfectly here. but, if you want to make yours with cream instead, go for it.