- 6 large egg whites
- 1-1/2 cups hazelnuts
- 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- Dash salt
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- ESPRESSO FILLING:
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons water
- 6 large egg yolks
- 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
- 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- Place egg whites in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Place hazelnuts in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake 7-10 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel; cool. Rub briskly with a towel to remove the skins.
- Place confectioners' sugar and hazelnuts in a food processor. Cover and process until hazelnuts are ground.
- Add salt to egg whites; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add superfine sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Fold in hazelnut mixture.
- Place mixture in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Pipe 1-in.-diameter cookies 2 in. apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° 9-12 minutes or until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Cool completely on pans on wire racks.
- For filling, in a heavy saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; cook over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Add a small amount of hot mixture to egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Cook 2-3 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in espresso powder and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
- In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in cooked sugar mixture. Beat in confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Refrigerate until filling reaches spreading consistency, about 10 minutes.
- Spread on the bottoms of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 5 dozen.
Originally published as Hazelnut Macarons in Taste of Home Christmas Annual Annual 2012, p168
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