Pistachio Macarons

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Ingredients (9)

Cookies:

  • ½ cup fine-grain almond meal/flour (see Note)
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring

Filling:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

The central coast of California, near Paso Robles, may be best known for its wines, but the region is also the second largest pistachio grower in the world. Instead of using all almond flour in the batter, the addition of ground pistachios adds an extra chewiness and intense nutty flavor. The basic meringue-style French macaron is merely the springboard for your wildest color and flavor combinations. Here, green food coloring signals the tantalizingly crisp cookies are primed with pistachio.

Instructions

  1. 1Line two baking sheets with wax or parchment paper and have a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip ready (see Note, page 000); set aside.
  2. 2To prepare the dough, in a blender or food processor, grind together the almond meal, pistachios, and powdered sugar so there are no lumps. Sift through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
  3. 3Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or use a hand-held electric beater. Beat on medium speed until foamy. While whipping, gradually sprinkle in the granulated sugar. Add the food coloring. Continue to whip until the whites become green, thick, glossy, and stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  4. 4Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites, working in two batches. Be quick but gentle, and be sure to scrape down any flour that sticks to the sides of bowl. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag.
  5. 5Pipe the batter on the prepared pans into 2-inch circles, evenly spaced apart. You should have 12 per pan. Tap the pans a few times firmly on the counter top to level and knock out any air bubbles. Set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour to form a dry skin on the surface; this creates the cookie’s distinctive crisp shell.
  6. 6Preheat the oven to 325-degrees F.
  7. 7Bake the macarons for 15 to 18 minutes until the cookies are pale golden. Let cool completely in the pans before filling and sandwiching.
  8. 8To prepare the filling, put the cream cheese in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or use a hand-held electric beater. Beat on medium speed until very smooth and lump-free, about 2 minutes. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the cream cheese off the paddle and the sides of the bowl. While beating, gradually sprinkle in the powdered sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  9. 9To assemble, using a spoon or small spatula, spread a bit of the filling on the tops of the macarons then sandwich them together. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze.
    Ingredient Note: Almond Meal
    Also labeled almond flour, almond meal can be found in most markets. The finer the grain, the smoother the cookie surface will be. You can also pulse blanched almonds to a fine consistency.
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