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I’ve always followed this simple mantra: great ingredients + a little imagination + determination = great food & happy friends! Enjoy my blog and if you'd like, drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

xo- Jase

sesame macarons “two ways” - salted caramel tahini milk chocolate ganache macarons / coffee and halva macarons

sesame macarons “two ways” - salted caramel tahini milk chocolate ganache macarons / coffee and halva macarons

Hi!

With the ending of Game of Thrones last night, there seems to be a void of “what’s next?” Well I highly suggest that while you're figuring out what’s going to replace a show that's dominated the last 8+ years of most of our lives, you should be baking these INSANELY DELISH macrons! 

Erin and I are still going strong in our quest to master macarons. No matter how “on it” we feel, they surprise us with yet another learning curve. They are truly the shadiest bastards of baking! This month we expanded our normal duo baking day into a quartet when Jill and Rachel came over to my apartment! Rachel has been a huge supporter of ours and has also spent many months expressing her desire to learn macarons from us. She owns the absolutely delish tahini company, Seed + Mill. Once we were able to link our iCals together, it was a no-brainer that this month's macarons would be sesame inspired! 

We also knew we couldn’t just do one this month since Seed + Mill not only makes the best tahini but also out-of-this-world halva! Erin and I then realized we hadn't really ventured into doing duo favors before, so expect a lot more dual flavors coming at you this year.

Tahini and chocolate are ideal mates, so we first decided to modify Erin's caramel milk chocolate ganache by adding tahini into the caramel. This, on its own, is seriously crack in a jar. We paired this with a chocolate macaron shell and coated the ganache with a sesame brittle I happened to have made a few months ago. It adds a great texture to the silky ganache and chewy shell. 

For the second macaron, we knew we wanted a halva center. Seed + Mill has a whole range of delish flavors and the one that stuck out to both of us was coffee. We haven’t done a coffee macaron yet and we knew this was the way to start. German buttercream is the best for infusions, so we infused that with espresso beans and paired it with our classic vanilla bean shells. We dusted the shells post-bake with cocoa powder to add a touch of mocha vibe. These really deliver coffee in a new-ish way!

Baking days are fun especially when you have a group of friends with you. The four of us had so much fun and I think these macarons really show that. For this month, I suggest you gather some friends and bake these. They are themed around sesame but really the theme became “Friends Baking Day!” 

xo- Jase



Sesame Macarons “two ways” - Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache Macarons with chocolate shells and sesame brittle + Coffee and Halva Macarons with classic vanilla bean shells dusted with cocoa, coffee german buttercream and Seed + Mill coffee halva by Fox and Crane - foxandcrane.com
Sesame Macarons “two ways” - Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache Macarons with chocolate shells and sesame brittle + Coffee and Halva Macarons with classic vanilla bean shells dusted with cocoa, coffee german buttercream and Seed + Mill coffee halva by Fox and Crane - foxandcrane.com
Sesame Macarons “two ways” - Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache Macarons with chocolate shells and sesame brittle + Coffee and Halva Macarons with classic vanilla bean shells dusted with cocoa, coffee german buttercream and Seed + Mill coffee halva by Fox and Crane - foxandcrane.com
Sesame Macarons “two ways” - Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache Macarons with chocolate shells and sesame brittle + Coffee and Halva Macarons with classic vanilla bean shells dusted with cocoa, coffee german buttercream and Seed + Mill coffee halva by Fox and Crane - foxandcrane.com


…Good to Knows…

  • To save space and prevent you from scrolling for hours, I've compiled a section for all my macaron notes from my kitchen journal here! I'll keep this list updated and current as I discover new ideas, tricks and/or tips.    

  • We changed our piping tip for piping out the shells! Prior to this month, we have loved the ateco #805 for piping however by accident, and by accident I mean I wasn’t paying attention, I prepared and filled the piping bags with ateco #802 tips and we realized right away we loved the control of the batter flow much better.

  • Erin also discovered an amazing parchment. It's seriously macaron magic paper. We haven't had any macarons stick since. You can order this non-stick parchment paper on amazon

  • The Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache is best kept cool. Once the macarons are assembled, it will hold up for a few hours at room but should be kept cool for optimal results. Store all assembled macarons in an airtight container, in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat! 

  • This ganache definitely needs some time to set up. Erin suggests that allowing it to rest overnight is ideal for optimal results. You can also make all the other elements, sesame brittle and coffee pasty cream for the coffee german buttercream, a day in-advance as well. 

  • Since we are in the mist of changing seasons, please be aware that heating/cooling units create damp/dry air that can speed up or slow-down the drying of the macaron shells. Erin and I are very cautious of how weather affects the drying times and bakes of the shells. Shells can become over-dried in a split second. With humidity hitting us this month, our drying times have been very sporadic. So be cautious of this if you haven’t baked macarons in a few months. If you live in an area that has sporadic weather, prepare a head of time and don’t fret if it takes a batch or three to get acclimated to the weather and its effects. I suggest you factor the weather as a ingredient in the drying process

  • When it comes to creating macarons, these flavors and combinations are completely up to your liking. You are more than welcome to mix ‘n match! Be creative and have fun!! If you do bake these, I’d love to share in the moment with you. Tag me on instagram @foxandcrane and use my hashtag #foxandcrane so I may see your macaron adventures.



sesame macarons “two ways” - salted caramel tahini milk chocolate ganache macarons / coffee and halva macarons

Simply choose a flavor followed by the corresponding macaron shell recipe.

  • Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache Macarons: chocolate macaron shells filled with salted caramel tahini milk chocolate ganache and sesame brittle.

  • Coffee and Halva Macarons: vanilla bean macaron shells dusted with cocoa powder filled with coffee german buttercream and coffee halva.


Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache Macarons

…makes around 24 sandwich cookies…


Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache
270g milk chocolate, chopped
500ml heavy cream
250g organic tahini - we used Seed + Mill
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from one vanilla bean pod
3/4 tsp kosher salt
35g water
240g granulated white sugar
30g light corn syrup or liquid glucose
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Sesame Brittle (Optional)
1/2c white sesame seeds
1/2c black sesame seeds
3 tbsp raw honey 
1 tbsp water 

METHOD

Start off with using the Chocolate Macaron Shell recipe listed at the end of this post.

Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache
Place the chopped milk chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl, set aside. In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, place the cream, tahini, vanilla bean paste and salt, and place over low heat for just a minute or two. You are just warming the milk. Do not allow milk mixture to come to a boil. In the beginning it will seem as if the mixture is very thick, due to the tahini, but it will loosen up a little as it warms. Stir frequently and keep warm. Once warm, remove from heat before scorching/boiling and set aside. 

In a medium heavy bottomed pan, combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring or swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture is a deep amber color. Remove from the heat and add a third of the warmed cream mixture. Be careful as it will steam and sputter. Whisk well to combine. Add the second third, combine, then add the remaining cream, and whisk until well incorporated.

Pour a third of the caramel cream mixture over the chopped chocolate, then cover the bowl with a lid or plate and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Mix with a stick blender to emulsify the mixture. Add the remaining caramel mixture in two additions, mixing well with the stick blender to ensure even incorporation.

Cool the mixture to 95°f / 35°c (you can either leave it at room temperature, stirring occasionally, which will take some time, or you can pop it into the fridge, stirring and checking the temperature often), then add in the butter and mix with the stick blender to emulsify. Transfer to an airtight container and leave to set overnight in the fridge.

Transfer ganache to a piping bag fitted with a large round ateco #805 tip.


Sesame Brittle
Preheat your oven to 325˚f / 160˚c and place your rack in the center of the oven. Line baking sheet with silat or parchment paper, set aside. 

In small sauce pan, heat honey & water till incorporated. This will happen rapidly, do not scorch honey. Now stir in both sesame seeds and pour onto your prepared silpat/parchment lined baking sheet and spread mixture into a thin layer with offset spatula. 

Place mixture into your pre-heated 325˚f / 160˚c oven till the white sesame seeds are golden & fragrant. Watch closely to prevent burning. Appox 10-15mins.

Remove sesame brittle form oven and let cool on baking pan. Mixture will still be soft upon removing and will harden as it cools. Once completely cooled, break up to desired size. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. 


Coffee and Halva Macarons

…makes around 24 sandwich cookies…


Coffee German Buttercream
190ml whole milk
20g (about 2.5 tbsp) coarsely ground coffee
110g granulated white sugar
12g (1 1/2 tbsp) cornstarch
1 large brown egg
1 large broen egg yolk
½  tsp kosher salt

Halva (Optional)
coffee halva by Seed + Mill

METHOD

Start off with using the Vanilla Bean Macaron Shell recipe listed at the end of this post.

In a medium non-stick saucepan, heat the whole milk and ground coffee until they are just moments from simmering. (You're looking for those wisps of seam but no bubbles.) Remove milk mixture from the heat.

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, whole egg, egg yolks and salt until combined.

Now continue whisking with one hand and pour just a bit (about a half cup or so) of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture so that you are tempering the eggs. You do not want to cook them - they will turn to scrambled eggs! Then, while still whisking, add half of the milk mixture and whisk until it's combined, followed by the remaining portion of milk. Once everything is combined, pour the milk/egg mixture back into the medium saucepan.

Now heat the milk/egg mixture over medium heat, again constantly whisking, until it begins to bubble. You do not want it to boil so do not look away. This thickens quickly. Once it has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon, cook for just one minute more. Remove from the heat and pour into a container or mixing bowl and press plastic wrap over the surface. This is a must so that you avoid a think skin from forming and altering the texture. Place into the refrigerator until cold—a minimum of four hours, or for best results, overnight.

When your macaron shells are ready for filling, place your whisk attachment on your mixer. Press the cool pastry cream through a sieve in order to remove any bits of cooked egg and coffee grounds. Add pastry cream to your mixer bowl. On medium speed, slowly add the butter to the custard until everything has been added and your buttercream looks creamy, fluffy and lump-free.

Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a french star ateco #865 tip.


Macaron Shells


Macaron Shell Recipe Adapted from I love Macarons, in collaboration with Cloudy Kitchen

Vanilla Bean Macaron Shells
170g ground almond flour
300g powdered sugar
180g large brown egg whites (about 5-6 large brown eggs), at room temperature
160g granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from one vanilla bean pod
cocoa powder for dusting - optional

Chocolate Macaron Shells
170g ground almond flour
270g powdered sugar
20g cocoa powder
180g large brown egg whites (about 5-6 large brown eggs), at room temperature
160g granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from one vanilla bean pod
 

METHOD

Macaron Shells
Cut four sheets of light colored parchment paper to fit your baking sheets. Draw 1.5 inch (3.81cm) circles on one sheet of your pre-cut parchment paper to be used as your template guide for piping evenly shaped macarons, spacing them at least ¾ -1 inch apart and about 2 inch from the edge of the pan. 

  • To save you time, here is a printable template. Note: This templet is 8x11. You will need to print two sheets and lay them side by side to fit a half sheet pan.

Scale all dry ingredients. Separate your egg whites and yolks and prepare your equipment.

Sift almond flour and confectioners’ sugar through a medium-mesh sieve and place in a bowl. Repeat this step, discarding any bits that are too big to go through the sieve. Set mixture aside.

  • Some people like to place the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor and pulse them together before sieving. This is usually a great step if your almond flour is not finely ground or if you are making almond flour at home. I use a store-bought flour with a consistency that works great for me, so I don’t do this step but please feel free to try it out for yourself and see what’s best for you.

In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk your room-temp egg whites till bubbles start to form, then beat them on high speed with the whisk attachment until they start to foam and become cloudy white. Turn down to medium speed, and gradually add granulated sugar to the egg whites until all sugar is incorporated. Turn speed back to high and beat until you start to see stiff, glossy peaks form (about 5 minutes). At this time, add your americolor gel food coloring, if using color, and continue to whip the meringue on medium for a minute more, making sure you don’t over beat your meringue. 

For a great guide to measuring meringue peaks and to see what is under-, perfect and over-whipped, check out Zoë François’s instagram stories @zoebakes and her website zoebakes.com. She has the most amazing how-to’s and tip tutorials. Zoë is an invaluable resource for baking! 

Once your meringue reaches optimal peaks, slowly start adding your almond flour/confectioner sugar mixture. I like to add this 1/4 at a time. Start to fold the mixture into your meringue using a flat spatula. Tilt the mixing bowl to a 45 degree angle, mix the dry ingredients (1/4 at a time) into the meringue, scooping from the bottom towards you and folding everything onto itself while maintaining the body of your meringue. (Smashing through the center of the mixture will cause the meringue to deflate and we’d need to start from scratch.) Continue to add the dry ingredients with this folding method until everything is added.

At this time, start pressing and spreading the batter against the bowl’s walls. This step, which I think is the hardest to perfect and to understand, is called macaronage.

Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down. Repeat this process about 15-30 times.

  • So here is where I want to explain some things I’ve learned over the years. There are NO set times, folds or strokes. It really depends on how your batter is looking and feeling. While you are folding, pressing and spreading the batter, you want to constantly check the consistency. You are looking for something that resembles a nice lava that slowly flows off your spatula. Erin mentioned to me that as it falls off the spatula, you should be able to draw a figure 8 into the bowl without the stream breaking. The 8 in the bowl should then slowly incorporate back into itself.

Once the batter is to a thick lava consistency, you are ready to pipe your shells. Here is the youtube video I still use as reference for getting my macaronage techniques down.

Now get your prepared piping bag with a round ateco #802 tip[Make sure to twist and seal the tip of the bag with a clothes pin so the batter doesn’t leak out.] I like to place my pastry bag into a large glass so the bag is upright and sturdy.

Pour all batter into piping bag and again twist and seal the top of the bag with a clothes pin so it’s not exposed to air.

  • I don’t always do this trick, but sometimes I will seal the top of the bag with a rubber band to make it a bit easier and cleaner when piping. This recipe does make a large amount of batter, so if you aren’t yet confident with holding a larger pastry bag, the rubber band will help. Or you can split this amount into two smaller bags.

It’s now time to pipe your shells. Pipe the batter onto your prepared parchment lined sheet pans fitted with your printed or drawn circle templets. Hold the pastry bag at a 90 degree angle and,  with the tip very close to the parchment, pipe the batter until you’ve filled the circle. Quickly lift and twist the bag away creating a small tail to point. If your macaronage is correct, this will fall back into itself and the top will become smooth. The shells will spread just a bit. That is why having a inch of space between them is important. 

Once the tray is full, carefully slide out the template and repeat on your other prepared sheet pans. After the trays are full, I like to take a small dab of batter and adhere the corners of the parchment to the sheet pan to make sure the parchment stay in in place during baking. 

Firmly tap the sheet pan against the counter or a flat surface a few times. Keep the distribution of the vibrations as even as possible to prevent from deforming your circles to ovals. This step helps the shells hold their rounded shape and knock out as many air bubbles as possible. 

  • Pointer from I Heart Macarons: As macarons bake, small pleat-like frills form at the bottom of each shell. This pleat is called a pied, or “foot”. Without it, the pastry cannot be called a macaron. Some bakers attribute the pied to the macaronage, some to the oven temperature, and some to a good tap of the sheet pan on the counter before baking.

At this time, after you have piped all your shells and before they have formed a skin, ONLY if you’re using a topping such as sprinkles, spices, streusel etc, generously sprinkle the shells with the topping designated for this recipe. If you prefer more or less per macaron, please use your desecration as to how you would like the shells to be topped. Allow shells to start drying.

Preheat your oven to 300˚f / 150˚c and place your rack in the center of the oven, along with an empty sheet pan. You are going to preheat this sheet pan to use as the bottom sheet pan for baking the shells. You always want to have them double tray’d to prevent the bottom of the cookies from burning. I have found that when preheating the second pan, it helps give the shells some extra lift compared to a pan at room temp. 

While your oven and sheet pan are preheating, let your shells dry uncovered at room temperature for 15-45 minutes. There’s no “set in stone" time for drying. It’s going to depend on the temperature of your space, the weather and time of year.

As they dry, you are looking for thin skin to form on top like heated milk. You should be able to gently slide your finger across and leave no marks. I like to designate one or two shell as my testers in case one is still tacky and I scar the top. 

Once the shells have their skin, place the sheet pan onto the preheated sheet pan and bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the trays once halfway through baking. At the 15-minute mark, check them by lightly pressing on the shell with the back of your finger. If it’s sturdy without movement, they are done. If there’s a little movement on the pied “foot” (the ruffled bottom part), any jiggling at all, they need another minute or two. I will now set the timer at 1-minute intervals and watch them very, very closely. They can go from underdone to overdone in a matter of 60 seconds. 

  • Maracons are a learning experience and no two bakes are the same. Sometimes I have different baking times for the same batch of shells. The key is to be alert to each of your macarons’ needs.

Once they are fully set, place sheet pans on wire racks to cool, leaving the shells on the parchment and on the pan for 15-30 minutes. When the macarons are completely cooled, very carefully remove them from parchment paper by pulling the parchment paper away from the sell. If they are still sticking to the paper, toss into freezer for a few minutes and they’ll easily release from the paper. 
 

ASSEMBLY and SERVE

It’s time to play matchmaker! Pair your shells with matching mates of equal size, then pipe filling onto the bottom shell, making sure you evenly cover the shell. Gently top with its corresponding shell. It is best to store your finished macarons in the fridge for a few hours (for optimal results, overnight) to allow the flavors to mingle and “mature” so they develop that ideal soft interior texture with that perfect crisp exterior. Macarons may be refrigerated for about one week or frozen in the freezer for a few months in an airtight container. Enjoy!



Sesame Macarons “two ways” - Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache Macarons with chocolate shells and sesame brittle + Coffee and Halva Macarons with classic vanilla bean shells dusted with cocoa, coffee german buttercream and Seed + Mill coffee halva by Fox and Crane - foxandcrane.com


Provisions


Surface: Erickson Surfaces
Wooden Box: Michaels Crafts
Assorted Dishes: Vintage / Thrift finds

mini egg magic bars

mini egg magic bars