As you may know, I love coffee. I have it every morning. I grind my own beans at home. I have a fancy electric milk frother. I make my own lattes, cappuccinos, americanos, french presses, and regular old pour overs. It has become part of my everyday morning ritual. I strongly believe in having a consistence routine and coffee is big part of mine.
I went through a Matcha phase but it didn't last long. I was still sneaking in cups of coffee during this time. I just couldn't give up the taste and depth of it. I quickly went back to having coffee after about two short weeks of matcha.
Suffice it to say, I am not a fan of many beverages aside from coffee and the occasional chocolate milk. One drink that I really had a dislike for was Chai. Living in Utah, a lot of my LDS friends would always order a Chai whenever we went to Starbucks or Beans and Brews. They would offer me a sip and I would accept. It always tasted really awful. It was overly sweet, the spices didn't mesh, and it tasted extremely artificial in my opinion. After a few attempts at Chai I officially gave up on it.
And then one day while listening the the Bon Appétit Podcast, I heard of a thing called Masala Chai. This was the real deal. The Chai that was the original Chai. The Chai before the already-made powders and concentrates that you get in a carton at the grocery store. I honestly didn't know that these chain coffee shops chai's weren't the real chai! I quickly made the Bon Appétit Masala Chai recipe and I loved it. The spices were fresh and the drink was perfectly sweetened. Everything was natural and non-artificial (yes!).
And so I liked Chai. Not as much as coffee, mind you, but it became something I make on occasion. I decided that in celebration of (almost) fall, I would make some delicious Masala Chai Tea Macarons with the same spices that are in a real Masala Chai. No sugary concentrate or powder here my friends, just ground spices and black tea!
I made a very simple Masala Chai Tea mix by combining ground black tea and ground spices which include ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, and cloves. You can even use whole spices and freshly grind them into a powder if you wish to do so. It makes a big difference and if you do it, props to you! I opted for good quality already ground spices. You just mix all of that together and that is the flavoring for both the macaron cookies and the buttercream!
Now about the Macarons: I have made macarons a few times before and was never been satisfied with how they turned out. I always chose to make French Macarons and I felt that the texture was wrong each time. They weren't chewy and the domes of the macarons were almost always hollow! As for Italian Macarons, well, they were way to complicated for me to even attempt.
Then a thought popped into my head. Swiss Meringue! I use Swiss Meringue in a lot of my recipes if you have noticed. Most of my cakes are frosted with Swiss Meringue buttercream and I used it recently in my Mini S'mores Cookies recipe. I decided to try making macarons using a swiss meringue because it was a comprise between the French and Italian methods. Cooking your egg whites and sugar and then whipping created a more stable meringue. This was in contrast with the French method which produces a very unstable meringue but it also didn't require a temperature-specific sugar syrup like the Italian method. A perfect compromise!
After much testing with this recipe, I am so happy with the results! My newly developed "Swiss Meringue Method" Macarons came out with a crunchy exterior, a slightly chewy interior, and have the perfect little "feet" that Macarons are known for. The Buttercream that fills each macaron is delicately sweet and spiced with the same Masala Chai Tea Powder that is added to the macarons.
A couple notes for this recipe:
You NEED a digital kitchen scale for this recipe. Although this recipe is pretty easy and full proof, Macarons in general are extremely finicky and require the precise amount of each ingredient that just isn't possible to achieve using American measuring cups/spoons. Amazon has many digital scales for less than $15 (I have this one). You really can't convert this recipe to cups so please just buy a kitchen scale. I strongly believe that every kitchen should have one. Especially a bakers kitchen!
Almond Meal/Flour is basically just very finely ground almonds. Bob's Red Mill (link to that here) makes a really great one but you can also buy it at Costco which is where I get mine. You need to go through the extra step of pulsing it in a food processor then passing it through a fine mesh sieve to ensure that no big lumps of almonds get through into you macarons. Big lumps create imperfections within and on top of the cookies. If you don't have a food processor, run it through the fine mesh sieve a few times.
Thanks for visiting the blog this week everyone! I hope you enjoy this recipe.
Chai Tea Macarons
Makes about 24 Macaron Sandwich Cookies
For the Masala Chai Tea Mix
3 Teaspoons Black Tea Leaves (from about 4 tea bags)
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
For the Macaron Cookies
125 grams Egg Whites
125 grams Granulated Sugar
125 grams Powdered Sugar
125 grams Almond Meal/Flour
2 Teaspoons Masala Chai Tea Powder (recipe above)
For the Chai Tea Buttercream
125 grams Butter, softened
325 grams Powdered Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1-2 Tablespoons Milk
2 Teaspoons Masala Chai Tea Powder (recipe above)
For the Chai Tea Mix
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the black tea leaves into a semi-fine powder (it doesn't need to be extremely fine here). Add the rest of the spices and mix until fully combined. Set aside for later.
For the Macaron Cookies
Preheat oven to 300ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal/flour and pulse about 15-20 times to get rid of any big lumps. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Set aside.
Add the egg whites and sugar to a medium-large sized bowl. Place the bowl over a pot filled with a couple inches of water (the water should not reach the bottom of the bowl) and turn the heat to medium-low. Mix the egg whites and sugar constantly over the simmering water just until the sugar is completely dissolved-- about five minutes. Test this by dipping a clean finger into the mixture and rub it between two fingers. If you can feel any sugar granules, keep cooking and checking every 30 seconds.
Once the mixture is ready, transfer it to a stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment and whip on high speed for about 8-10 minutes or until the meringue is completely cool to the touch.
Using a rubber spatula, add in 1/4 of the meringue into the almond mixture and gently fold together just until combined. Add in the rest of the meringue and gently fold everything together. You will know it is ready when you lift some of the batter up and drop it down back into the bowl and it takes about 8-10 seconds to disappear back into the batter. The consistency should be like lava (I have never seen lava in real life but the internet has plentl of videos for reference. Haha.)
Transfer your macaron batter to a large pastry bag fitted with a round piping tip. You can use a macaron template or free hand it for this next step. Holding the piping bag straight up/perpendicular to the baking tray, apply even pressure to the piping bag, creating a perfect round of batter that is about 1 inch in diameter. As you are finishing piping each cookie, quickly swipe the piping bag in a half circle so you don't create a little "peak" with the batter. If you do have any peaks at all on the tops of the macarons, just get your finger wet with a little bit of water and gently pat it down. Repeat with the remaining batter, leaving one inch spaces in between each macaron.
Once you have piped all the macarons, tap the baking sheets on the counter 3-5 times to get rid of any air bubbles that may be lurking under the surface.
Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake for 13-14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.
Let the macarons cool on the baking sheets for about 10-15 minutes. Use an offset spatula to gently transfer the macarons to a cooling rack and let cool while you prepare the Buttercream.
For the Masala Chai Tea Buttercream
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and kosher salt on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about five minutes.
Add in the powdered sugar and and chai tea powder and start mixing on low until all of the powdered sugar in just incorporated. Add in 1-2 tablespoons of milk (depending on how hot/cold your kitchen is. You don't want the frosting too runny) and turn the speed to medium-high and whip until the frosting is no longer grainy from the powdered sugar, about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the Buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle.
To Assemble the Macarons:
Flip all of the macarons over and on half of the macarons, pipe a small amount of the Masala Chai Tea Buttercream into the center of each one (about 1 teaspoon of frosting per cookie) and sandwich with another macaron. Repeat with the remaining macarons!
It is completely optional to do so but I melted about 4 ounces of dark chocolate and put it in a small piping bag, snipped off the end and gave the tops of the macarons a little drizzle. Like I said, this is completely optional, I just did it to add a bit of color to the macarons.