At the start of my nut-free macaron adventures, I hated macarons. I hated my first three batches, I hated grating white chocolate, and I hated that they puffed up and cracked and didn’t look like real macarons.
Finally, I seem to have gotten the hang of them. Though my last batch of coconut macarons didn’t exactly go as planned, I’ve now had two full batches of macarons come out properly, with flat tops and feet, just as they should. The last time, I did this with my pumpkin seed macarons. More recently, I saw a comment on a nut-free recipe that mentioned using rice flour to make nut-free macarons. This seemed like a great idea, because I always have rice flour on hand, and I have so much difficulty finding pumpkin seeds without a nut warning attached to them. Also, any time I can skip a step (like grinding pumpkin seeds), I’m happy.
I used brown rice flour for this recipe. I’m not entirely sure how much of a difference it would make using white rice flour, though in my experience white rice flour tends to be a bit more gritty than brown rice flour. I didn’t notice the typical gritty texture with these macarons, though the shells themselves did end up tasting a bit like rice krispie cereal (which shouldn’t be surprising, given they are made out of rice, but it still took an embarrassing amount of time for my boyfriend and I to realize what we were reminded of while eating these).
I used a regular macaron recipe (check it out here), not a nut-free one, and simply substituted in the rice flour in a 1:1 ratio (by weight) with the almond flour. I also used egg whites from a carton – these are convenient for me, as I always have them on hand for royal icing. I rarely have problems getting pasteurized egg whites to whip up to stiff peaks, but it definitely takes a longer time than with egg whites straight from the shell. So I added a little extra time than what was recommended in the recipe and was able to get a nice, stiff peak on these egg whites.
I haven’t made anything with my matcha lately, so I decided to add a little bit of matcha to my egg whites, along with my vanilla, for flavour. Now, most macaron recipes recommend tracing out little circles before piping, but I got ahead of myself and just piped by hand. As a result, I ended up with monster macarons, so I do really recommend taking the time to trace those circles, unless you have a much better eye than I do for macaron sizes. I always forget that the batter continues to spread a little after it has been piped.
I’m not sure if it’s because of the size or just due to my strange oven, but I found I needed a little extra time with these, around 20-21 minutes. They started to look like they were browning a bit at that point, so I took them out. I’ve never been able to cook macarons until they peel off the paper; instead, the edges slightly peel up when they are straight out of the oven, and after cooling I am able to take them cleanly off the parchment paper. I’m not sure if that’s a sign that I should leave them in longer, but my oven is a bit testy and has a tendency to burn things so I’m always a little cautious when it comes to leaving things in for longer periods of time.
For the buttercream, I used Cupcake Jemma’s white chocolate buttercream. I made a half batch of macarons, so I also halved the amount of buttercream (and I still had some left over at the end). I took about 1/3 of the buttercream and added some more matcha (I didn’t think the shells got quite enough of the green tea flavour), then spread the green icing into one half of a piping bag fitted with a small open star tip. I spread the white icing on the other half, so when I piped the icing onto the macarons it gave a two-toned effect. This also tones down the white chocolate buttercream a little; I already find macarons to be quite sweet, so I thought it would be a little too much with only a white chocolate filling.
You can see the finished product below:
And here’s a zoomed in version to really show off those feet:
And one more shot just because I’m really loving these macarons!
My mom said these look like little hamburgers! So that got me thinking of how to do a hamburger macaron. Maybe add some little sesame seeds to the top before baking, and some fondant or modelling chocolate as a bun or cheese? Hopefully you’ll be seeing some tiny burger macarons from me in the future.