Lime Basil Macarons

We joined a CSA this year for the first time, and I have been really enjoying it so far. You just never know what’s going to show up in your share from week to week, so it makes it really fun to see what you might get. I can also feel really good about supporting local farmers, as well as feel exceptionally healthy for eating so many organic veggies, that I otherwise probably would not buy on my own.  One thing I’ve been struggling to use much of though is the fresh herbs that we get every week. We’ve been doing pretty good about keeping up on the fruits and vegetables, and even if we get something we don’t really care for (like beets) I can totally roast or steam them, put them through a food mill and turn them into baby food! (Poor Anastasia!)  But most of the time I end up throwing out most of the herbs after maybe using just a few leaves. If I was more organized and systematic about it I might have come up with a way to dry all of them so that they didn’t get wasted, but that just hasn’t happened. A few weeks ago we got some lime basil in our share.  I didn’t even know that there was such a thing! I knew about lime and lemon thyme, but I didn’t know about lime basil.  I nibbled on a leaf and found that it is really quite good, with a very noticeable lime and basil flavor. So I was determined this week I was going to find something to make with it instead of wasting it.

We did pretty good at using it actually. My husband was making some chicken alfredo and threw some in with the chicken to season it.  I pinterested (that’s going to become a real word just like googled, right?) and mostly found recipes for lime and basil, not necessarily lime basil. But I became intrigued by these lime basil macarons that I found.  My husband was a bit skeptical about putting it in baked goods, but I was determined to try it anyway.  So I used the same macaron recipe from Sprinkle Bakes that I have had success with before, and just altered it by adding the zest of one lime, and green gel food coloring.  Then I followed this recipe for lime basil buttercream. I ended up adding probably about a tablespoonful of chopped up lime basil, and because the lime definitely over-powered the basil, I added in a couple of just plain basil leaves from my basil plant.

Let me tell you what, these were really, really good. Maybe I was just in the mood for some good tart lime flavored cookies, but these hit the spot for me. The lime flavor definitely is most prominent, but you can notice a hint of basil flavor as well which pairs with it really nicely. When trying to describe it, the word that keeps popping into my head is that it’s a nice fresh flavor.  My only complaint…I wish I had more!

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Lime Basil Macarons (Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes French Macaron recipe)

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • Zest of one lime
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup of superfine sugar

Pulse confectioner’s sugar and almond flour in a food processor together. Sift together.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk egg whites with mixer on medium speed until foamy, then add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. Continue to beat with mixer while slowly adding in the superfine sugar until stiff peaks form. Sift the almond flour mixture and lime zest over the whites and fold until smooth and shiny. Add food coloring if desired. The batter should look like flowing lava as it falls from your spatula.

Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe 3/4 rounds on parchment paper about 1 inch apart. Tap you cookie sheet on the counter several times to release any trapped air bubbles. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature or until a skin has formed on the top of the macaron.

Reduce oven to 325, and bake the macarons for 10 minutes or until crisp and firm, rotating the cookie sheet half way through if you wish. If you are baking more than one batch, reheat the oven to 375 in between each batch, then reduce again to 325 before putting in. Let the macarons cool completely, then fill with the Lime Basil Buttercream.  For best flavor combination, refrigerate at least overnight before serving.

 

Lime Basil Buttercream

  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • Juice of one lime
  • 5-10 fresh, finely chopped basil or lime basil leaves, depending on your preference
  • 1-2 cups of confectioner’s sugar (The original recipe did not call for that much, but I think I used about 2 cups all total to get the texture I wanted)

Combine all ingredients except the basil leaves in a mixer until creamy. Fold the basil leaves in until combined.

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