Lavender White Chocolate Macarons

Summer is a busy time for traveling, visiting and occasionally inviting guests into your home. Like you, I’ve visited many homes, under many circumstances, and have seen a variety of methods employed by hosts to entertain guests and make them feel welcome.

It’s always interesting to see how different people manage house guests. What makes a good host?

I stumbled across an article from 1906 that described the importance of being a good host, going so far as to recommend that the master and mistress of the house sleep in the guest bedroom for several nights before guests arrive to identify things that need improvement. Talk about taking hosting seriously.

Is the mirror by which they dress too high or low or ill-lighted so that no bureau scarf will atone for it…Many people require more than one pillow and you should have several available…No matter how short the time, there should be a space for the guest to keep clothes and small things….Failure in simple acts of hospitality causes great discomfort to the visitor.

What’s important to you when you’re hosting guests at your place and what do you expect from others when they visit?

How about when you are the guest and someone else is the host? Do your expectations change? I love hearing what you have to say.

By the way, if you are entertaining this summer, I definitely recommend this recipe for Lavender White Chocolate Macarons.

We came up with the recipe idea on our recent trip to the Cape Cod Lavender Farm. Our visit was a bit off-season in terms of catching the lavender in full bloom but they had plenty of dried, edible lavender available and the farm was still a feast for the senses.

Macarons are notoriously temperamental and I recommend practicing the recipe. I’ve made a list of tips that have been helpful to me in the past. I hope you also find them helpful.

10 Tips For Making Macarons

Macarons are tricky business. Unfortunately, it takes very little to affect the recipe and turn your fluffy delectable creations into flat chewy discs. Here are a few tips for getting them right.

Before you start:

1. Age your egg whites. Measure out the egg whites and let them sit in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-7 days.

2. When you’re ready to make the macarons, do so in a dry, climate controlled room. Like chocolate, macarons don’t perform well in humidity. If you’re making these in the summer, turn up the a/c for several hours before you start.

3. Make sure the ingredients are dry. For example, don’t use almond flour that’s been sitting in a humid room. Keep it in an air conditioned room. Some people dry the flour out in the oven at a low temperature and then cool it before use. I haven’t tried it but it might work for you.

4. The consistency of the egg whites is critical. Chill the metal bowl from your stand mixer for about 20 minutes. Then, fit the mixer with a whisk attachment. Add a pinch of cream of tartar to the bowl. Add the egg whites and begin whipping on low speed. Gradually increase the speed. When the whites begin to take shape, add the sugar (and food coloring) and increase the speed again. The egg whites are done when you pull the whisk away and the egg whites stand up on their own and form peaks. The peaks should not be dry, however. They should be firm and glossy, and when you pull the whisk away, they should flop over a bit at the top.

5. Do not stir but fold the egg whites into the dry ingredients with a spatula. You want to do this fairly quickly and get the batter to just about the ribbon stage. That is, when you lift the spatula, the batter should fall down from the spatula in rippling stream.

6. Test the batter as you go along. Before you pipe anything, place a teaspoon of batter on a silicone baking sheet. Let the batter sit there for about 30 seconds. If the teaspoon of batter has a point at the top, from where you pulled away the spoon, keep folding – the batter is too thick. Test it again. If the batter spreads out on the sheet, you over-folded the batter and need to make the entire recipe for macarons again. The goal is to have the batter spread out a tiny bit after about 30 seconds on the cookie sheet- just enough for a slight spread in the batter and for the top to lose it’s point. It’s better to over-test than have to discard the batch due to too much mixing.

7. Use silicone baking sheets placed on cookie sheets. I learned this the hard way. French pastry chefs might be able to easily peel the macarons of parchment paper but for a novice, it’s hard to do.

8. Using a pastry bag, pipe the macarons using a #5 tip so that they are the size of a quarter. Leave space in between macarons because they will spread out slightly.

9. Allow the macarons to sit on baking sheets for 30 minutes to an hour. They will form a light skin on top and should not be sticky when you touch them. If they don’t dry properly, they’ll crack during baking. If they dry to much, they’ll taste like chewy lead.

10. Test bake a few macarons in your oven to make sure the temperature is right. Most recipes call for 350 degrees (180C). That’s too hot for my oven. I’ve learned to set my oven to 325 degrees. I only bake one sheet pan at a time. I rotate the pan after 9 minutes and I continue to bake for 2-5 minutes more depending on the size. They should be firm at the top but not brown. Once completely cool, remove from the silpat by peeling them away.

Sometimes the factors that affect them are out of your control. The most important thing is to be patient and persistent. The result is worth it.

Lavender White Chocolate Macarons

2 c plus 1 1/2 tsp (180 g) almond flour/ meal
2 c plus 2 1/2 tsp (240 g) powdered sugar
1/2 tsp (2 g) sea salt
1 pinch cream of tartar
2/3 c – about 4 large eggs (140 g or 150 ml) organic egg whites, aged
3/4 tsp (3 g) egg white powder
1/3 c plus 1 tbs (80 g) cane sugar

A few drops of purple food coloring (keep in mind, the color fades a bit during baking so it’s okay to add an extra drop of color to the batter)
Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the cream of tartar, the egg whites and the egg white powder. Whip the egg whites on low. Gradually increase the speed to medium high. As the egg whites begin to take shape, add sugar and food coloring. Whip until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Using a spatula, fold the egg whites into the dry ingredients.

Using a #5 tip and a pastry bag, pipe macarons about the size of a quarter onto a silicone baking sheet. Allow the batter to dry for 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C) (my uneven oven requires the temperature to be 325 degrees – it’s trial and error).
Bake the macarons for 9-12 minutes, one sheet at a time, rotating the pan half way through. They are done when they are puffed and firm but not brown.
Place the sheet pan on a cooling rack. Once completely cool, peel the silpat away from the macarons. Don’t use a spatula, you’ll destroy the foot ( the cool looking crumbly bottom that gives the macaron its distinctive look).

Lavender and White Chocolate Ganache

1 3/4 c (180 g) white chocolate, chopped
1/3 c (100 ml or 80 g) heavy cream
1 tsp (3 g) food grade lavender
1 tbs (15 g) salted butter, cubed and softened

Place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the heavy cream with the lavender and steep like a tea for 3-5 minutes or until you get the amount of lavender taste you desire. Strain and discard lavender. Return cream to pan and bring the cream to a gentle boil. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts. If you need more help melting the chocolate you can heat it on low in the microwave in 10 second bursts, stirring in between, until the chocolate is fully melted. Stir in the butter. Chill until the consistency is thicker but spreadable.

Spread desired amount between two macaron discs and press gently.

Bon Appetit!

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  1. Stunning! I love the lavender color, can only imagine how divine they taste. As far as overnight houseguests go, I try to avoid them. I find very few people are as polite as I would like and it makes the experience very unpleasant for me. I do try and be a good guest. I always bring a gift and offer to help!

  2. So so gorgeous! Love lavender and these sound quite divine.

    I’m embarrassed to host guests now, because we only have a very small space, and definitely nowhere to offer storage, nor properly-lit mirrors nor bureau scarves to boot. Good thing our guests so far have been our age and thus willing to sleep on the floor!

    As a guest in others’ homes, I tend to feel a bit shy… I always want to help out in the kitchen, but feel a hesitancy to immediately start opening all the cupboards and digging around, as I worry it might strike some the wrong way.

  3. Glorious photos as always — I’m thinking I should have made at least some time to see lavender fields in France when we were there. Love the little garden shed and the ONOR system. So lovely. You’ve nudged me to try macarons again. I’ve only made them once and think I’ve shied away because they worked the first time!

  4. What gorgeous macarons, El. I love the flavor of lavender in desserts and savory foods but haven’t made macarons before. I need to take the plunge and give them a try. Thanks for the great tips.
    As for being a guest or a host, I think being discreet, polite and a little laid-back is key, in both cases!

  5. Absolutely gorgeous photos. I wish I had the patience to make them.

    Maybe it’s the way I was raised but I find it rude and disrespectful to be unprepared when guests arrive. I don’t think it matters if you have a guest room. Courtesy isn’t for people with money only. You can still clean, put out nice food and show your guests nice places. I always have a little gift for them.

    I expect that they are clean, they offer to help, they stay out of my stuff and they leave when they say they will leave. When people are intrusive or overstay I don’t invite them back. Luckily this has only happen once. We usually have a great time and I love having people over.

  6. Glorious macarons! Thanks for the tips too. I love that you regularly use white and milk chocolate as well as dark. The variety is wonderful.

    I should have a degree at having house guests at this juncture in my life. The closer people are in age to college, the less likely they are to prepare. Once you get a bit older and settle into a home you can really begin to have fun with entertaining. Yes, we make a big to-do out (Martha Stewart Style) out of having people over. Robes, slippers, comforters, movies, food. We want them to feel welcome and cared for and to have a great time. We’re also proud of the decorating we’ve done on our place and love to show it off.

    What’s better than preparing gorgeous meals with your friends and enjoying them in a festive atmosphere? Your macarons are definitely on my list for gifts!

  7. Do you know if almond flour, meal and powder are the same thing? Where do you get yours? I haven’t been able to find any. Pretty macarons, by the way!

  8. Thank you for your thoughtful notes. I appreciate each and every one. IIn answer to the question, I believe Almond flour, almond meal and almond powder are the same. A quick Internet search will get you all the almond meal you require!

  9. I love spoiling people when they come to stay with me. 🙂 Most of my friends work so hard and I like to make my house an oasis for them where they can sit back, relax, sleep in, eat well, and go home feeling better than when they arrive. But I’m not posh or perfect, at all, and I have no problem asking for help when I need it. 🙂 Your macarons are stunningly beautiful. 🙂

  10. Stunning photos – you make it look so easy. I have conquered my quest to make the elusive French Macaron, yet they are still so finicky and difficult, that knowing how, and that I can is now enough. I couldn’t even enjoy eating them after all that fuss… but I sure do love them.
    GORGEOUS photos with the lavender. One of my favourite flavours.

  11. El, you have no idea how well timed this is. I read it to my family because we just had the houseguest from hell. I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say it involved a damaged car and a room that we’re going to be airing out for 6 months! At least we have a sense of humor about it ( not really). Yes, we bent over backwards to be hospitiable! Now I need a g&t and one of you gorgeous macs!

  12. I had to smile at the different types of host and hostesses and the article from 1906. I try to do as much to help the hostess that I can from helping to prepare food to making sure I remove the linens from the guest bed and bring them to the laundry room before we leave.

    These lovely macarons would make a delightful hostess gift too! The purple and white are so pretty together.

  13. I am copying this immediately. The best tips I’ve ever seen for macarons. Perfect results. They have always terrified me and I’ve never made them but with lavender.. how can they not be divine. Imagine being a house guest and finding these next to your bed. Divine.

  14. The delicate flavor of white chocolate sounds like a wonderful companion to the lavender. As for hosting, I’d say I fall in the middle of the spectrum. I like to prepare and make sure guests are taken care of but not so much as to make people feel like they are at a restaurant or hotel. I think there needs to be a bit of familiarity and a relaxed atmosphere to really make people feel at home.

  15. So unbelievably pretty. I’ve loved reading others comments on house guests. The reactions are funny. I agree with everyone a little. As guests, we all like to be pampered and allowed to do what we want. As a host, we want to keep people out of our stuff. I don’t encourage people to stay over anymore. It’s too much work -, especially if the guests act entitled, like some of my relatives! Different strokes for different folks. I do love the macarons.

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