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An absolute treat!
The night before: Separate the egg whites and place in a covered container. Allow them to sit at room temperature overnight. Zest the lemon and spread the zest on a paper plate or paper towel. Allow it to dry overnight.
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper (circles traced for easy piping).
Sift together the almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon zest. Set aside.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites and granulated sugar. Turn the mixer to medium (speed 4 on a Kitchen Aid) and whip for 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high (speed 7) and beat another 3 minutes. Turn the mixer up to 8 and beat another 3 minutes.
Add the lemon juice (and any paste food color if using) and whip for one more minute on high speed. You should now have a very stiff, dry meringue. The whisk attachment will hold a large clump of meringue in the center. If not, continue beating for a minute at a time until it does. Remove the meringue from the whisk attachment and set the whisk aside. Add the dry ingredients all at once and fold them in with a rubber spatula. Gently fold until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and you have a shiny smooth batter. If you spoon some out and drop it back into the mix, it should blend back into the remaining batter within about 45-60 seconds. If it remains as a dollop on top, fold the batter a few more times.
Spoon some of the batter into a piping bag fit with a 1/2 inch round tip. Pipe the batter into the pre-traced circles on the baking sheet. Stop piping before the circle is filled as it will spread a little on its own.
Rap the baking sheet firmly on the counter or floor to remove any air bubbles. Allow the macarons to sit at room temperature for 60 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 300ºF oven for 18-20 minutes or until you can peel the parchment paper away cleanly. If you pick up a macaron and the top comes off, it’s not done. Remove the parchment paper to a cooling rack and cool completely before filling.
For the buttercream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy. Add the Limoncello, lemon juice and vanilla. Blend another minute or until fully incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth.
Pipe the buttercream in mounds onto half the macarons. Top with the other halves and twist to distribute. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Allow them to rest a room temperature about a hour before serving.
(Base macaron recipe adapted from Bravetart.)
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!