These decadent chocolatey macarons infused with boreal vanilla are the perfect festive treat for your Easter celebrations.
After finishing culinary pastry school, I was awarded a bursary that invited me to complete three internships abroad. During one of these stages, I was fortunate to work under the tutelage of Patrick Roger in his world-famous chocolaterie during the Easter production rush. The passionate chocolatiers worked 70+ hour weeks to produce exquisite bonbons, sculptures, and confiseries for their ten Parisian boutiques. During the weekend, when I wasn’t catching up on sleep, Stu and I were busy doing “R&D” (code for “eating our way through Paris”). We let our indulgences run rampant in the Capital of Love and sampled all the culinary delicacies that it had to offer. And just in case you’re wondering: the best croissants can be found Au Pains d’Alexis – you’re welcome!
With Spring finally upon us and Easter celebrations just around the corner, we finally get to re-experience nature’s cycle of rebirth, which means longer, warmer days. During this seasonal period, I spend lots of time germinating seeds to have seedlings ready for my garden. I’m an avid gardener, but I’m still learning from all my mistakes. Last year, I was thrilled to find out that the indigenous flower Melilotus Albus (white sweet clover) shared an aromatic compound with vanilla, earning it the nickname Boreal Vanilla. If you dehydrate the flower properly, it can be infused into milk and cream. These infusions are best used as ingredients for a variety of baked goods (cakes, ganache, etc.) and the results are always amazing! My mind was already buzzing with recipes as I planted the seeds, but after several weeks, they never even germinated. This year, while catalogue shopping for new varietals, I came across the boreal vanilla grain and thought I’d try my luck again. Last week, I opened up the seed package, and to my surprise, tiny fragrant flowers came spilling out; I had accidentally bought the dried flowers instead of the seeds (Oops!). Still, better not let any of these aromatic petals go to waste!
My mind was set on macaroon fillings to celebrate Easter and spring, and what better way than with flowers and chocolate? Learning from Patrick Roger was a privilege, and I’m proud to apply his secrets to original homemade recipes inspired by local, seasonal ingredients. True to my core values, these festive macarons are an homage to my time in Paris as well as unique, indigenous products grown right here in Quebec.
How to make chocolate macarons:
100g egg whites
100g almond flour
100g powdered sugar
15g cocoa powder
1g dried white sweet clover flowers*
Mix egg whites with granulated sugar over a bain marie until sugar dissolves completely (55°C).
Whisk on high to hard peaks.
Sift almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder together (Guilty! You caught me! I never sift ingredients. Except, EXCEPT! when making macarons).
Fold into Swiss meringue.
Continue folding until the mixture looks glossy, it holds its shape but then slowly moves and looses its form.
Put into a piping bag fitted with a tip with a 1.5cm opening.
Keeping the tip parallel with the lined baking sheet, pipe disks the size of a toonie.
Lightly bang the sheet on the counter to help even out the shells.
Bake for 14 minutes at 300°F.
Chocolate macaron filling:
Make easy dark chocolate ganache recipe, adding 1g (or 1tbs of dried sweet clover flowers to the milk and bringing to a boil. Pour hot milk through a fine mesh sieve to catch the flowers and proceed with the directions. *Alternatively you can use other dried edible flowers (such as lavender or rose), add a fresh vanilla pod or grated tonka bean.
Once cool pair macarons together based on size, then organize the pairs on a sheet, one right side up and the other upside down.
Fill a piping bag with cooled and almost set chocolate ganache and pipe onto half the shells. Sandwich the pairs together and let set in the fridge.