Coconut Lime Macarons

What’s the difference between a macaroon and a macaron? In a few words, coconut and almonds…and also how you say it. Macaroons (mac-uh-ROONS) are coconut-based, either made by folding coconut into meringue or combining it with sweetened condensed milk. Macarons (mac-uh-RONNS) are almond-based, made by folding a combination of finely sifted powdered sugar and almond flour into a meringue.

I’ve made coconut lime macaroons before, so why not coconut lime macarons? These treats have a wonderful flavor profile, and were a big hit with Mike’s coworkers.

Ingredients

For the shells

  • 120 grams egg whites, at room temperature (from 3-4 large eggs)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 40 grams superfine sugar, sifted (about 3 tablespoons)*
  • 200 grams powdered sugar (about 2 cups)
  • 100 grams almond flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • Green gel food coloring

For the lime curd filling

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 6 tablespoons butter

Preparation

Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine powdered sugar and almond flour and pulse for about 30-45 seconds. Sift into a large bowl, discarding any large bits, and set aside.

Place egg whites and salt in clean, dry, grease-free bowl. Using the whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low speed, then increase to medium/medium-high speed and whip until egg whites are foamy and no longer translucent. Slowly add superfine sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, whipping until stiff peaks form. Add coconut extract and a few drops of your desired food coloring. Whip again to combine, but be careful not to over-whip; you still want stiff peaks but don’t want to take the meringue too far and have it become grainy.

Add 1/3 of your dry ingredients at a time and fold in with a spatula, turning the mixture about 15 times with each addition, being very careful not to over-mix. The batter is mixed enough when it is sticky and smooth, and you can make an unbroken figure 8 with the batter as it drips off your spatula.

Place batter into a large piping bag fitted with a plain tip. Holding the bag upright, pipe rounds of batter about 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto the parchment, leaving about 2 inches between each circle. Gently tap or drop your baking sheets onto a counter top or table to release any air bubbles.

Let batter sit for about 30-60 minutes; the tops will form a skin that becomes dry to the touch.

While your macarons are resting, make your lime curd. Lightly beat egg yolks and pass them through a fine sieve to remove the albumin. Set aside in a medium bowl close to the stove for easy access; thoroughly wash your sieve and place it nearby for a second straining once the curd has cooked.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, lime juice, and lime zest until completely combined. Add butter and cook on medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

Working quickly, pour about half of the hot lime mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper. Pour egg mixture back into the pan and cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

Pour mixture through your sieve to remove the zest. To cool the curd quickly, I pour mine onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread it out, then once it’s cool I place it in an airtight container.  According to various food safety websites and other food blogs, lemon curd should last in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

To bake the macaron shells, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake one sheet at a time, for about 17 minutes, checking halfway; the macarons should form “feet” on the bottoms, but have smooth tops. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets.

Once macarons are cool, flip half the macarons onto their tops and pipe or spread filling on the bottom, then top with another macaron. Store in an airtight container at least overnight before serving. You’ll have some filling left over, so you can save it for something else (or just spread it on graham crackers, which is what I usually do with leftover frostings/fillings).

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Lime Curd

vanilla lime cupcakesWe have lemon curd, so why not lime? I used Martha Stewart’s key lime curd recipe and adapted it using regular limes. I was also surprised to see that this recipe doesn’t require tempering some of the lime mixture into the eggs, then returning the tempered mixture back into the pan for further cooking, like you do with lemon curd.

It does take a while for this mixture to reach the right consistency, so prepare to stand at your stove for about 12-15 minutes. The end result is absolutely worth it, though. You can use this curd in vanilla lime cupcakes, coconut cupcakes, or whatever else your heart desires.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 medium limes)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Preparation

Place a bowl and sieve next to your stove for easy access once your curd is cooked.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, eggs, lime zest, and lime juice. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture holds the shape of the whisk – this will take about 12-15 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in butter a few pieces at a time until butter completely melts.

Strain the curd through your sieve and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming.

Chill for about 3 hours before using; I chilled mine overnight.

Vanilla Lime Cupcakes

vanilla lime cupcakesMy recent cherry limeade cupcakes made me wonder…what if you took the lime cupcake, filled it with lime curd, and topped it with vanilla buttercream? You’d have an amazing cupcake, that’s what.

Before you worry about making lime curd, fear not: it’s much easier than you think. I used the Martha Stewart key lime curd recipe, but with regular limes, and it turned out very well.

My big plan is to add mint to these cupcakes, along with some white rum, and turn them into mojito cupcakes…but that’ll be another blog post for another day. When making these cupcakes, bear in mind that you need to chill your lime curd for about 3 hours before using it; you could also buy lime curd at your local market – look for it in the jelly section.

Ingredients

Lime Curd

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 medium limes)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Lime Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 12 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Preparation

Make the lime curd:

Place a bowl and sieve next to your stove for easy access once your curd is cooked.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, eggs, lime zest, and lime juice. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture holds the shape of the whisk – this will take about 12-15 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in butter a few pieces at a time until butter completely melts.

Strain the curd through your sieve and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming.

Chill for about 3 hours before using; I chilled mine overnight.

Make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners; this recipe yielded 18 cupcakes for me.

In a medium bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.

Add vanilla extract, lime juice, and milk and beat for about 30 seconds.

Add flour mixture in two batches, beating until combined, then fold in lime zest.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into cupcake tins, filling about 2/3 full.

Bake for 16-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the buttercream:

Place butter in a mixing bowl and beat for a few minutes using the paddle attachment.

Add powdered sugar.  With your mixer on low, incorporate the powdered sugar into the butter.  (Hint: I find that placing a kitchen towel over the mixer during this stage prevents a powdered sugar blizzard.)

Add vanilla and beat for 3 minutes on medium-high speed. Scrape down the bowl, then add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating for 1-2 minutes between each addition. You want a fluffy consistency that will be easy to pipe.

Assemble your cupcakes:

Using the small end of a melon baller, scoop out the center of each cupcake; reserve scraps for a trifle if you like, or just eat them as you wish.

Fit a piping bag with a plain tip and fill with lime curd; pipe curd into each cupcake. You should have enough for each cupcake with a few tablespoons of curd left over.

Fit a piping bag with a Wilton 1M swirl tip and pipe swirls of frosting onto each cupcake.

Store cupcakes in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes 18 cupcakes.