Flavored with organic Nielsen-Massey lemon extract, these Lemon Basil Macaron have real lemon flavor in the shell and a hint of fresh basil in the buttercream for a fabulous sweet and savory combination. This post is sponsored by Nielsen-Massey but all opinions are my own.
I am obsessed with macaron. For those of you who are regulars to my blog, you should know this. But if you’re new to my blog, welcome! Yes, I have a slight obsession with these finicky little gems. I have 27 recipes on the blog for these delicious cookies. Well, now I have 28 thanks to Nielsen-Massey organic extracts.
There’s even to savory macaon recipes. Did you know you could make them savory? They don’t always have to be sweet cookies. Those are the most fun! Because it’s a flavor that most people don’t even think about. But I did and I put together some pepperoni pizza macaron and beet and goat cheese savory macaron.
I know what you’re thinking, “How did they taste?” They taste delicious! The shells aren’t as sweet as you would think. They’re just sweet enough to complement the tart of the goat cheese and the spicy of the pepperoni. I even took them to work and they were a hit there, too!
Since they were so successful, the first thing that came to mind when Nielsen-Massey contacted me about trying their organic extract was lemon and basil. I didn’t know how I was going to get that to work into a baked good. So, I thought about it. I contemplated some scones and then remembered the poison ivy muffins I made.
Granted that was based off a cocktail which sounds interesting and is still on the to make list. But lemon and basil are just an epic pairing like PB and jelly or garlic and butter. They’re perfect pairs that just taste great together! And that’s what lemon and basil are; a perfect pair!
And, well, me and extracts always equals delicious macaron. It’s just how I roll.
There’s one thing that everyone says about my macaron. People have tried macaron in bakeries, New Orleans (le Sucre), and in France. While those macaron are good, they’re not as flavorful as mine. That’s because I make sure that the shells have flavor, too. Why should the buttercream have all the flavor fun? Shouldn’t the shells have flavors in them, too? I think so!
I have several….SEVERAL lemon extracts and emulsions. They all have that lemon scented candle flavor to them. You know what I mean, right? That super strong fake lemon candy type flavor to them? None of which evoke fresh lemons or lemonade. Am I right?
That’s definitely not this extract. Nielsen-Massey has outdone themselves with this lemon extract. their organic lemon extract has perfect lemon flavor. It’s not overpowering like other extracts. There’s no fake lemon flavor in it either. It has a delicate lemon flavor that smells like fresh lemon and tastes like delicious, fresh squeezed, lemonade.
It’s the perfect lemon flavor for these light and delicate lemon basil macaron. The shells are full of fresh lemon flavor and the buttercream is full of fresh basil flavor. These lemon basil macaron taste like summer in a light and delicious cookie. The basil in the buttercream heightens the lemon flavor in the shells. Both flavors complement each other perfectly.
I even garnished them with a baby basil leaf on top. I had no idea that doing that would cause mini feet by the basil leaves. It made me laugh when I took them out of the oven. I put coconut chips on macaron before and they didn’t do that. I’m baffled as to why the basil leaves did, but they look sort of fun and interesting.
See what I mean about the mini feet? How cute is that?
Anyway, I was surprised by how delicious the buttercream came out. It has a perfectly light basil flavor. Not too heavy, but you could make it more so with more basil. I imagine these to be a nice light dessert cookie to have after some grilled chicken or shrimp. Even after a dish like scampi and piccata.
Confession. And I know I’ve said this before. I suck at buttercream. Truly. For those that can make consistent and delicious buttercream effortlessly I applaud you. Seriously. I can make the cookies all day every day, but then they’ll sit because I dread making the buttercream filling. I kid you not. That’s the only part about making these cookies that I truly can’t stand.
And I have another confession. I keep forgetting the oven temperature. Honestly. I keep setting it to 300 for some reason, but that’s not the right temperature! For me it’s 325. But I forget and they come out wrinkled like raisins. So, make sure you set the oven temp correctly. And hopefully you know your true oven temperature. If not, get an oven thermometer to be sure it’s right on temp.
And there’s the best shot! You can see that they’re crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I may have overcooked them just slightly, but not much to make them inedible. That didn’t stop the hubs from snacking on the shells that night. He even snuck on as we were headed up to bed. Which, in itself, is funny but because they’re lemon flavored makes it even more funny.
You see, the hubs isn’t a huge fan of citrus desserts. He’s not a huge fan of citrus in general. Even in his signature dish chicken piccata he doesn’t like it when there’s to much lemon. What I think is a hint he said there’s too much.
So, when I said these cookies had a hint of lemon flavor, I actually said, “There’s a hint. I mean, for me there’s a hint, but for you it’s OMG there’s too much lemon in these cookies.” Much to my surprise, he liked them! And didn’t say there was too much lemon. That’s how light and delicious the Nielsen-Massy organic lemon extract is.
- 4 ounces almond meal
- 7 ounces powdered sugar
- 4 ounces egg white, room temperature
- Pinch cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon organic Nielsen-Massey lemon extract
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 1/4 to 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped basil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream
- Pulse the powdered sugar and the almond flour in a food processor to form a fine powder. Sift three times into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large, metal mixing bowl). Sprinkle the cream of tartar over the eggs and hand mix the two together with the whisk attachment for the stand mixer (or hand mixer). Fasten the whisk attachment and beat the mixture on medium speed until foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar and continue to beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Sift 1/3 of the almond mixture into the bowl with the meringue. Add the organic Nielsen-Massey lemon extract and 2 to 3 drops of yellow, gel food coloring. Fold the ingredients together with a large spatula until incorporated. Continue sifting and folding until all the almond mixture is incorporated into the meringue and the mixture should drip slowly off the spatula; like lava flowing. (Think conditioner dripping out of a bottle. That works for me.)
- Transfer the batter to a large piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip and pipe 1 1/3 inch rounds onto a silpat covered baking sheet. There are several different templates out there. Two that I like are here and here.
- Preheat oven to 325.
- You’re going to LOVE this next part! Once all the batter has been piped or your sheets are full, grab the edges of the pan, secure the silpat with your thumbs (or any extra batter) and rap the pans on the counter. That’s right! You heard me! Bang them on the counter!! This releases any remaining air bubbles in the meringue. Continue rapping the sheets, turning occasionally, until no more air bubbles surface. Allow the macaron to rest on the counter at least 30 minutes or more depending on the humidity level of your kitchen.
- Once they’ve rested and the tops are no longer sticky to the touch, bake at 325 for 7 to 9 minutes. Rotate the pans front to back and top to bottom and bake an additional 7 to 9 minutes. Do the wiggle test to see if the meringue is cooked; carefully grab the top of the shell and if it moves easily from side to side when wiggled. This indicates that the meringue isn’t completely cooked. Continue to cook in 2 to 3 minutes intervals until they no longer wiggle.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before filling.
- For the buttercream:
- Cream the butter with the powdered sugar together in a medium mixing bowl and beat until combined. Add the basil and continue to beat until the mixture is light, fluffy, and no longer grainy. If the buttercream is too thick, add the milk or cream a little at a time until it reaches your desired texture.
- Place the filling in a piping bag fitted with a plain tip (or glam it up and use a star tip like I did) and pipe the filling onto one shell, almost to the edge. Top with another shell and allow to rest before serving.