Butter Pecan Macarons – Classic French macarons are baked with crumbled pecans on top and filled with a nutty cream cheese buttercream.
Yay for cookies! I’ve been so focused on ice cream the last month that baked goods have taken a little bit of a backseat. But no longer! Today I have a brand-new cookie recipe for you guys. It’s not just any cookie recipe, however…I’ve got fancy macarons today!
Macarons have been a fun cookie for me to make ever since I learned the proper technique during a baking class (which I detailed here). Since then, I’ve attempted various classic flavors. But today, I decided to use some creativity and develop a macaron flavor that you probably haven’t had before – Butter Pecan. You could say I’m adding a little Southern flair to this French cookie.
Check them out below!
How are these macarons made?
To get the flavor just right, I added a little vanilla to my classic macaron shell recipe and fill them with a homemade nutty buttercream made with cream cheese and almond and butter extracts. Rich doesn’t even begin to describe these babies!
For these macaron shells, I used my classic macaron shell recipe (powdered sugar, almond flour, and whipped egg whites) but added a little vanilla extract for flavor and a little color. To truly distinguish these macarons from anything you’ve ever seen before, I added a few pecan crumbles to the tops of the macaron shells before baking. How adorable do they look?!
The filling of a macaron is what gives it all the flavor. Therefore, it really needs to be perfect. Sometimes, you’ll see a filling with two components to really capture the flavor the right way, just as I did with my Pumpkin Cheesecake Macarons.
For this filling, I am using a cream cheese buttercream that is flavored with almond extract and butter extract. Butter extract’s flavor is so bold and deep and adds just the kick we need to take this buttercream over the top. Butter extract is new to me but it’s been around for a while. It’s typically used in yellow cakes to give them a richer flavor and distinguish them from a traditional vanilla cake. After seeing what it can do in this buttercream recipe, I cannot wait to start adding it more to my baking recipes!
Tips & Tricks
Do you guys remember my post on Nutella Macarons? I talked all about the things I learned in my macaron cooking class (what to do, what not to do) and gave you guys every tip I knew. Make sure to go back and read this post because, though I will have a few tips below, they will be in addition to the Nutella Macaron tips.
- You want to make sure to chop the pecans into tiny pieces – as small as you can get them. This ensures you don’t overload the macaron shells with nuts. These cookies are supposed to be dainty so you don’t want chunks of nuts here.
- I measure all the ingredients I use in this recipe (and all my macaron recipes) with a food scale. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting one. Macarons are finicky cookies so you really need to be precise here. This is similar to the one I have and I love it.
- A macaron template has always helped me keep my macarons the same size. This makes pairing up the shells so simple to ensure your sandwiches aren’t lopsided. Here is the one I used.
Butter Pecan Macarons
For the macarons:
- 3.5 ounces powdered sugar
- 2 ounces almond flour
- 2 ounces egg whites (about 2 large egg whites)
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ ounces granulated sugar
- 1 pinch cream of tartar (less than 1/8 teaspoon)
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- butternut buttercream (recipe below)
For the butternut buttercream:
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 4 tablespoons butter unsalted, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon butter extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
For the macarons:
- Prepare one baking sheet by placing two macaron templates on the sheet. You can print the templates above. Place parchment paper or silicone mats over the templates. Set baking sheet aside.
- Place oven rack in the lower half of the oven, but not all the way to the bottom. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Add powdered sugar and almond flour to the bowl of a food processor. Process the ingredients for about 30 seconds so that the mixture is super fine. Sieve the flour and sugar mixture three times. Set mixture aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add egg whites, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar and begin to beat on medium-high until it begins to foam. Once it starts to get foamy, begin to slowly sprinkle the granulated sugar into the egg whites until it's all been incorporated. Increase the speed to high to whip the meringue into stiff peaks. The meringue should have the consistency of shaving cream, NOT soft serve.
- Once the meringue is done, add one-third of the sifted flour mixture to the meringue and fold with a spatula. Do this step very carefully and slowly, cutting the mixture down the middle and swooping around. Once it’s incorporated, add a second-third and gently fold in. Then, add the final third. Mix just until it’s incorporated. Do not over mix. The consistency should be like slow-moving lava. To check for consistency, the batter should flow from your spatula like thick lava and hold a ribbon for a couple seconds. If it falls into clumps and doesn’t fall slowly, it is not mixed enough. Keep mixing slowly so that the batter deflates a bit and the proper consistency is reached.
- Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a smooth, round 1/2 inch tip. Holding the bag in two hands directly over the parchment, pipe a small amount of batter into the first circle stencil. Stop pipping right as the batter reaches the edge of the circle. The batter will spread so don’t add too much. Move on to the other circles until all the batter is gone. When you get to the end of the batter, a lot of it will stick to the bag. To push it down, use the edge of a bench scrapper.
- After you’ve pipped all the circles, smack the baking sheets on the counter a couple times to release air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop all the air bubbles. If you don’t do this step, the air bubbles will release steam while baking and crack the shells.
- Let them sit to dry out until the tops are smooth to the touch, about 30 minutes. They are done when you rub your finger over the top and your finger doesn’t stick.
- Bake macarons in preheated oven for 14-16 minutes. Make sure to rotate the sheet halfway through, for even baking. They are done when you can gently lift a macaron shell from the mat without it sticking. Remove from oven and let them cool for 5 minutes before transferring parchment sheet to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Lay half of the macarons flat side up on a baking sheet. Cut a little corner off the bag with the butternut buttercream and pipe a small cherry-sized amount of cream cheese buttercream in the center of one shell. Top with the other shell and gently press just enough to push the filling out to the edges. Do this for all the macaron shells until done.
- Once filled, macarons can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to five days. Or you can freeze for up to five months.
For the cream cheese butter cream:
- In a mixing bowl with whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, extracts, and salt and beat until well combined. Scrape buttercream into a plastic storage bag without a piping tip. Cut off a small corner off the bag and begin macaron assembly above.