The most decadent and festive holiday treat goes to these chocolate pistachio macarons!
A chocolate shell dipped in dark chocolate, sprinkled with crushed pistachios and filled with a pistachio buttercream.
If you're looking to impress others (but most importantly yourself) you have to try making these little French cookies!
What You Need to Make Chocolate Pistachio Macarons
Macarons are pretty standard, and always require the same tools and ingredients (except for flavoring). These are the ingredients you need to make them:
- fresh egg whites (NOT carton egg whites)
- blanched almond meal
- powdered sugar
- granulated sugar
- cream of tartar
- dark chocolate
- roasted, unsalted shelled pistachios
- almond extract
Why Fresh Egg Whites and Not Carton Whites?
I can't tell you how many times I've tried to beat the universe and make macarons with carton egg whites. They're just so convenient and also don't leave lonely yolks laying around in the back of the fridge!
BUT the thing with carton egg whites is they are pasteurized. If you aren't familiar with pasteurization, it essentially is the heating of the eggs to kill any potential bacteria before its sold in stores. This is great and all for other purposes, but for macarons or any other egg white dependent recipe, its bad news.
When the egg whites are heated, it destroys the protein in the whites. This protein is needed for the whites to be able to trap air and expand.
So before you go reaching for a short cut and grab those carton whites....think again!
Also there are so many ways you can use leftover yolks (PASTA)!!!!
How to Make the Pistachio Butter Cream
Ok I swear this is the EASIEST, FLUFFIEST, SMOOTHEST butter cream you will ever make!
Its technically termed an "American butter cream" but it doesn't include shortening (GROSS) which is very normal. Here's what you need to make it:
- room temperature butter
- powdered sugar
- vanilla bean paste or extract
- ground pistachios
- You want to grind or process the pistachios into small pieces, almost to a dust before adding them to the buttercream. This can be done in a food processor or you can add them to a ziplock bag and hit them with a rolling pin or other blunt object to crush them.
- Then you will add the butter to the mixing bowl and cream it on medium to make sure the butter is smooth and lump free. Whipping it for a few minutes will also get the butter light and airy before we add the powdered sugar.
- With the mixer running on low, you will slowly pour in the powdered sugar, about ⅓ cup at a time and mix well after each addition.
- When all of the powdered sugar has been added whip the buttercream on high for 4-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Then the milk, salt, and vanilla is added. Vanilla bean paste will give your buttercream a richer vanilla flavor but vanilla extract is just as good too!
- After the milk is added, mix on low. The buttercream will look like its separating but keep mixing and it will slowly come together. Then whip again on high until its extra white, light and fluffy!
- After its nice and fluffy you can add the ground pistachios and mix until combined.
Chocolate Pistachio Macarons
Chocolate Macaron Shell
- 120 grams powdered sugar
- 138 grams almond meal
- 8 grams cocoa powder
- 102 grams egg whites, about 3 eggs, room temperature
- 110 grams sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 10 tablespoon room temperature butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- ½ tablespoon milk
- ¼ cup processed pistachio crumbs
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
- melted dark chocolate
- finely chopped pistachios
Making the Macaron Shells
- In a medium bowl, add the powdered sugar, almond meal, and cocoa powder. Sift them together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, add the sugar. Set aside.
- Prepare a piping bag with a round tip, a spatula, and a baking tray flipped upside down with parchment or silpat lining the top.
- In a mixing bowl, add the room temperature egg whites and begin whipping on medium with the whisk for 30-40 seconds, or until the whites start to get foamy.
- When the whites are foamy add the cream of tartar and keep whipping. Begin sprinkling the sugar into the whites by the spoonful. When all of the sugar is added increase the mixing speed to high and whip for 3-4 minutes, or until the whites reach stiff peaks.
- Using the spatula, add the whites to a large bowl and add ⅓ of the dry mixture to the bowl. Gently deflate some of the whites while folding in the dry ingredients. Once it is all incorporated, add the second ⅓ of the dry mix, continue to fold until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Begin the 'macaronage' by scraping the batter against the sides of the bowl and then back into the middle. Stop mixing when the batter falls from the spatula and you can make a figure 8 without the batter breaking.
- Fill the piping bag with the batter and pipe rounds directly above the pan. Once the pan is filled, rap the pan against the counter on all sides to pop any air bubbles that might be inside the shells. You can use a tooth pick to pop any of the bubbles that come to the surface.
- Preheat the oven to 300.
- Allow the macarons to sit on the counter to form a 'skin'. This can take anywhere from 15-40 minutes, depending on the humidity. They should look matte and not shiny and you should be able to touch them without leaving a mark when they're ready.
- Bake the shells for 13-14 minutes, or until you touch the top of the shell and it doesnt move.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack completely before filling.
Making the Pistachio Buttercream
- In a mixing bowl, add the soft butter and use the paddle to whip it for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar in small amounts, mixing to combine completely before adding more.
- Once all the sugar is added, whip on high until the butter is light and fluffy.
- Add the milk, vanilla, and salt and mix on low until combined. Then increase the spead to high and whip again until light, white, and fluffy.
- Per 1 cup of buttercream, add ¼ cup of finely processed pistachios and ⅛ teaspoon almond extract.
Assembling the Macarons
- Take one half of the shells and dip them into the melted chocolate. Sprinkle with pistachios.
- Fill the other half with a dollop of pistachio buttercream. Sandwhich the two halves together. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge and enjoy!
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