Lavender and Honey Macarons
My favourite place to go at the moment has to be Mayfield Lavender in Surrey. It is just gorgeous. A huge field of purple that smells divine, just driving past it everyone turns their heads. If you haven’t stopped to have a walk through the rows and rows of lavender yet then make sure you do, you won’t want to leave and I’m sure you will be back. I can’t keep away, whether I’m just admiring the beauty of the purple plants, having a walk through the planted rows, buying bunches of lavender to make my flat smell just as wonderful as the field, doing aPilates class under a tree in the field, taking photo upon photo of the lavender or sipping a refreshing glass of delicious Lavender Lemonade. In fact I think I am due another trip there! Lavender is also a wonderful ingredient to add to your baking, a lovely light floral taste. I paired the lavender with honey to make these lovely Lavender and Honey macarons. I used Surrey Honey, a delicious local honey. The macaron shells are flavoured with the dried lavender buds on the top, this is all you need to flavour them with lavender, any more and it would be too much and I used the honey in the buttercream. The result, Lavender and Honey Macarons. I’ve also included some photos from the Lavender field at the end of this post, so scroll down to see the beautiful Mayfield Lavender.
To make these lavender macarons you will need (makes approx 20):
175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large eggs (whites only)
75g caster sugar
purple food colouring (gel or paste, not liquid)
dried lavender buds
pinch of salt
To make the honey buttercream you will need:
150g icing sugar (sifted)
75g unsalted butter
2tsp runny honey
Start by preparing a tray for the macaron shells (unless you have a macaron mat!). Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Under this I slide a sheet of paper printed with 3.5cm circles, this means I can create equally sized macarons and just slide the paper out before baking. Now make the shells. Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds into a bowl, pushing the almonds through the sieve so they are fine. If you have a food processor then give them a blitz in that. In another bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until the egg whites form soft peaks. Add the caster sugar a little at a time and whisk, the egg whites should turn thick and glossy. Add the food colouring, a little goes a long way. You have to add the colour before adding the dry ingredients because you don’t want to risk overmixing at that stage.
Once you have achieved your desired colour add half of the icing sugar and ground almonds and fold in using a spatula. Add the rest of the icing sugar and almonds and fold in. Don’t over mix it, you want the mixture to fall like ribbons from the spatula, not for it to be too liquid. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag, either fitted with a 1cm nozzle or with the end of the bag snipped off. Pipe small circles of mixture onto your prepared baking tray, using the printed circles as a guide. Remove the printed paper once finished. Lift the tray off the surface and drop back down from about a 15cm height 2-3 times, this helps the macarons have a good foot. Sprinkle the top of each macaron shell with a few dried lavender buds.
Leave the macarons at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes to form a skin. You should be able to lightly touch them without the mixture sticking to your finger. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 15 minutes and leave to cool on the tray. Now make the honey buttercream. Beat together the butter and icing sugar in a bowl until smooth, add the honey and beat well. Once the macaron shells are completely cool fill a piping bag with the buttercream and pipe a circle of buttercream onto the bottom of half of the macarons. Sandwich them together and they are ready to enjoy!
And now for some photos of the beautiful Mayfield Lavender fields: