If you're new here, it will quickly become obvious I love
baking eating French macarons. This post is all about how to make them Irish-style AKA filled with coffee buttercream loaded with Bailey's Irish Cream.
A fun recipe to enjoy on St. Patrick's Day, or any day you're looking to booze up dessert! If you're a beginner when it comes to crafting macarons, you'll be best off checking out my troubleshooting guide first.
Back in 2011 when we lived in our small Cape Cod rental in upstate New York, I began my quest to conquer the technique of French macarons. Of course, Husband repeatedly begged me to add booze to each and every batch of buttercream. Who could blame him. He's married to me, after all.
The easiest way to achieve coffee buttercream frosting
To turn lightly crisp, melt-in-your-mouth macarons a little bit coffee and a lot Irish, simply add Bailey's Irish Creme to your a classic French buttercream or American buttercream recipe. Voila! You've got yourself an eye-opening, slightly intoxicating coffee buttercream.
You can also tip in a few drops of coffee extract. In the absence of coffee extract, you can dissolve a teaspoon or two of instant coffee into a teaspoon of water, and beat into the buttercream. This is what I do - because extracts are cha-ching!
Go slow in adding this paste, however. Add a little then sneak a taste and repeat. This way you can gauge the intensity to your liking.
How to craft crackerjack espresso macaron shells
For seriously coffee macarons, we take a trip down the coffee aisle. Incorporating actual brewed coffee would over-liquify the meringue and compromise its structural integrity. But by making a thick paste with instant coffee or espresso powder, you add that to-die-for coffee aroma and a hint of rich flavor to the shells.
Coffee macarons, two ways
#1. Whisk the coffee powder into the dry ingredients (above, left).
The simplest way is to whisk instant espresso powder into the dry ingredients after sifting. The powder will bloom slightly (give off its essential oils AKA flavor) when folded into the sticky meringue. Since coffee is acidic AND the granules will absorb any moisture left in the whipped egg whites, you may find this route gives you a more stable macaronage.
#2. Make a paste with a few drops of water (above, right).
This needs to be a much thicker paste than what you use to flavor the buttercream. Adding about a milliliter (¼ teaspoon) of water per teaspoon of powder gives you a nice thick consistency. Beware of adding too much water, as the excess moisture will compromise your meringue. Aim for the consistency of gel food coloring.
Depending on how intense you'd like the coffee flavor, you can add up to three teaspoons of powder. Once you've got your glossy, stiff peaks, stop the mixer and scrape the paste on the top of the meringue. Then beat a minute more. The meringue should still pass the firm peak test after you've incorporated the coffee paste. This is where I call my kids over just for fun and tell them I need to check whether or not the meringue falls out on their heads (although this really isn't a good way to judge whether your meringue is properly whipped).
To paste, or not to paste?
If you are an over-achiever (takes one to know one) striving for perfectly smooth, glistening macs, go the paste route. But if like most of us you have better things to do than wash dishes, toss that coffee powder in with the dry ingredients.
Whatever way to choose, you'll end up with intoxicating coffee macarons, and a boozy buttercream. At that point, who cares how you get there.
Yours in java,
French macarons exploding with coffee goodness! This recipe uses the Italian meringue method, which calls for whipping hot syrup into raw egg whites. Italian meringue is a bit more stable than meringue made using simpler methods, and for that reason, you can add a tiny amount of coffee paste or espresso powder to the batter without compromising the end result.
For an easy macaron shell recipe using the more basic French meringue method, and loads of macaron troubleshooting and techniques, check out my guide How not to make French macarons, seriously.
For Coffee Macaron Shells
- 180 grams confectioner’s sugar
- 108 grams almond flour (or blanched, slivered almonds)
- 90 grams fresh egg whites (from 3 eggs)
- 45 grams granulated sugar + enough water to make a thick paste
- Pinch of cream of tartar, optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coffee extract and/or instant coffee/espresso
- Green food coloring, optional
For Coffee + Bailey's Buttercream
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, salted or unsalted
1.5-2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted to remove lumps
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon coffee extract or 1 teaspoon instant coffee (dissolved in same amount hot water) OR
2-3 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
For macarons shells
- Line two baking pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- If using whole or slivered almonds, grind them with the powdered sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles sand. Stop to redistribute the mixture once or twice.
- Place the egg whites and instant coffee paste (if using) in a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
- Combine granulated sugar and water in a small pot, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- While the sugar syrup is boiling, whip the egg whites to a foamy consistency. If the whites are foamy before the syrup is ready, turn the mixer on to the lowest speed to keep them moving while you wait for the syrup.
- When the syrup reaches 244-248° F (120° C), remove from heat and immediately drizzle it into the egg whites with beater running.
- Turn beaters up to high, and whip egg whites until they cool to room temperature.
- Add coffee and vanilla extracts, and whip a minute more.
- Sift the dry ingredients directly into the meringue, folding them in gently but firmly. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as you fold.
- Fold until the batter ribbons off the spatula. Combined and thick, not over-mixed and runny.
- Transfer to a piping bag (or large plastic bag) fitted with a quarter-inch tip, pushing the bottom of the bag into the tip so it doesn’t leak.
- Pipe onto a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Optional: Let the piped macarons rest on the counter for 10 to 30 minutes. The shell will turn from shiny and sticky, to smooth and dull. You'll be able to touch the top without damaging it.
- Bake at 300° F for about 14 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through baking. Macarons are done when you can't wiggle the top of the shells away from the pied (feet).
- Cool a few minutes before removing from baking mat or parchment.
- Fill with buttercream and for maximum flavors and texture, store chilled for 24 hours before serving at room temperature.
For Coffee Buttercream Frosting
Beat butter on high speed until it lightens in color and increases slightly in volume. You can use a hand mixer, or stand mixer with a whip attachment.
In a few additions, add confectioner's sugar, beating well to combine.
Add extract and any instant coffee/espresso paste, and beat to combine thoroughly.
To Assemble Macarons
Pick out your best-looking shells and reserve them for the tops.
Spoon buttercream into a pastry bag (small round, or no tip) or a small plastic baggie. Cut a small hole in one corner, if using a baggie.
Pipe a small amount of buttercream into the center of half your macaron shells, filling the circle a little more than halfway.
Gently press your tops on the bottoms.
Serve immediately, or store refrigerated for up to a week.
Also serve macarons at room temperature.
The coffee ingredients you choose for the buttercream are entirely up to you! For the ultimate coffee flavor, use all three (instant coffee paste, coffee extract and Bailey's). Otherwise, bake with what you have and what you fancy.
Keywords: macaron recipe, coffee buttercream, buttercream with Bailey's