Black sesame macaroons

December 16, 2009

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Yields 24 sandwiched macaroons

1/2 cup black sesame seeds or 1/4 cup black sesame seed powder
2 2/3cups confectioners’ sugar
2 cups ground almonds
Pinch of salt
6 egg whites, at room temperature
Generous 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)
1. Have on hand a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Trace 1-inch diameter circles, about 1-inch apart, on the parchment; turn the paper over.

2. In a food processor, work the sesame seeds with 1/3 cup of the confectioners’ sugar until finely ground. Add ground almonds, salt, and remaining confectioners’ sugar. Continue working until you have a fine powder. (If using sesame seed powder, skip this step; add powder with the other ingredients in step 3.)

3. In a mixer, beat the whites at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar, turn the speed to high, and continue beating until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.

4. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the sesame mixture into the meringue. Using the spatula, smear the batter against the sides of the bowl, then scrape it back together, being sure to scoop the batter up from the bottom of the bowl in the process. Use a firm hand, but not a sharp motion. Repeat this process about 10 times, until the batter looks glossy and runs off the spatula in a slow ribbon (as opposed to blobs) when you lift it.

5. Scoop the batter into the piping bag. Holding the bag perpendicular to the sheet, pipe the batter into the circles you outlined. The mounds of batter should be smaller than the circles, 1/2-to- 3/4-inch in diameter; they will spread. Rap the sheet firmly on the counter to knock out any large air bubbles. Using a fine sieve, dust the cookies with a light sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar. Set the baking sheet aside for 20 minutes or until the meringues feel tacky and barely stick to your finger. If the batter sticks, let them dry for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pipe the remaining batter on the other baking sheet in the same way.

6. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Bake the meringues, one at a time, for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. The macaroons should form a hard shell, but not color.

7. Remove from the oven, slide the parchment sheets onto a heatproof counter to cool for 10 minutes, then peel off the macaroons carefully. Leave to cool completely. Store in an airtight container overnight before filling with marmalade buttercream. Adapted from “I Love Macarons’’