Cayenne Pepper Macarons

Consider these a metaphor for what Valentine’s day should be: hot, sweet and most importantly, filled with chocolate!

The orange-red color of cayenne pepper is a sure giveaway of its spiciness, and a meager amount can have a big presence when added to a recipe – especially dessert.  I bought a fresh bottle last week and on a whim, I whipped up these spicy macaron shells.  Pairing them with ganache seemed like a natural choice, and if you are a fan of the chocolate/chili combination (usually sold in bar form) you will love these.

On another whim, I decided to make a short video of my macaron batter process. Warning: this may bore some of you to tears, and yes – my videography skills are lacking to say the least, but this is for those of you who want to see a little of my batter folding process.

I should say this; everyone has a different process, and this is what works for me.  Maybe it can work for you too.  I hope that you can use both the recipe and video together to have macaron success!


Note: Cayenne pepper can be omitted for plain macaron shells.

The red markings are made with a flat-head artist brush and a drop of red gel food coloring diluted in clear crème de cacao.

Cayenne Pepper Macarons

Makes about 14 sandwich cookies                                                                            [click to print]

Shells:

3/4 cup almond flour

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp cayenne pepper

2 large egg whites, room temperature

1 pinch cream of tartar

1/4 cup extra fine sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Sift almond flour and confectioners’ sugar together 2-3 times. Set aside.

Whisk egg whites with a hand mixer until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.  Reduce speed and gradually add extra fine sugar.  Increase speed and beat until stiff peaks form.

Sift flour mixture over whites with a fine sieve. Discard any lumps or coarse bits that remain.  Sift in cayenne pepper.

If coloring the batter, place a bit of gel food coloring on the end of a rubber spatula before you begin folding the mixture with it.  Normally powdered food coloring is used, but a small amount of gel does not disturb the batter.  I would not recommend liquid food coloring.

Fold with a rubber spatula using short strokes at first.  The batter will be very stiff.  Use bigger folds once batter loosens.  When batter is ready, it should fall from the spatula in a thick ribbon.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag.  Pipe 1 or 1 1/2″ rounds on the parchment lined baking sheets. Let piped macarons stand uncovered for 15 minutes to form a crust.

Decrease temperature to 325 just before placing the baking sheet in the oven.  Bake pans one at a time for 10 minutes, turning halfway through.

Note: After first batch has baked, oven temp should be increased to 375 then decreased to 325 just before the 2nd baking sheet goes in.

Chocolate ganache filling

4.5 oz. chocolate

1/2 cup heavy cream

Chop chocolate and place in a small bowl.  Heat cream on the stove-top until very hot but not boiling; pour over chocolate.  Mix until smooth.  Refrigerate until ganache is of spreading consistency.  Place a small spoonful of chocolate on one shell and top with a same-sized macaron shell.

More macaron tips from my very first batches here.

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Jessica @ How Sweet
Jessica @ How Sweet
10 years ago

I'm making my first macarons this weekend! Thanks for the video. πŸ™‚

Amanda
Amanda
10 years ago

These look AMAZING.

Estela @ Weekly Bite
Estela @ Weekly Bite
10 years ago

These are gorgeous! Truly gorgeous!

Unknown
Unknown
10 years ago

these are so beautiful! i love your video…so helpful:)

C&C Cakery
C&C Cakery
10 years ago

I actually have never made macarons before (I know, for shame), but this recipe (paired with your lovely video) has really put this lovely little cookie on my must-bake list. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

Unknown
Unknown
10 years ago

That looks so good. I like that you used cayenne pepper.

A.D.M.
A.D.M.
10 years ago

Absolutely fabulous! Love these! Being a southern girl (Louisiana) I am all for spice! πŸ™‚

Nina | Salt
Nina | Salt
10 years ago

These are BRILLIANT! Chocolate and cayenne is a great combo. Beautifully done!

Mara Campbell
Mara Campbell
10 years ago

These are so awesome!! I love the flavor combo and how you dressed up the outside of the macaron is great.

Lauren
Lauren
10 years ago

Looks so tasty! Thanks for the video. The music is kind of like a nice lullaby.

Sue
Sue
10 years ago

First your blog, then a magazine, then a book, and then an academy award for short film:) Next time I attempt macarons, I'm going to have your video right beside me(it will almost be like having you assist me)! I can already see that your batter is thicker than mine ever has been(hence my failures)…I'm feeling hopeful:)
Your video, with the music and style, was actually very pleasing to watch and listen to, Heather:) BTW, beautiful macs! Happy Valentine's Day!

chris
chris
10 years ago

Thanks for the video. It is very helpful.

Rosa's Yummy Yums
Rosa's Yummy Yums
10 years ago

So pretty! I love the flavors you chose.

Bises,

Rosa

Kelly
Kelly
10 years ago

I love the Cayenne chili chocolate flavor combo. Well done. Next time I see you, I'll bring you some of our local Olive & Sinclair chocolate in the Mexican Cinnamon Chili flavor. So good!

Heather Ozee
Heather Ozee
10 years ago

Yumo! Miss you.

Caroline
Caroline
10 years ago

Sweet and spicy! Love it!

Cookbook Queen
Cookbook Queen
10 years ago

Gorgeous, like always!! I vow to make macaroons soon!!

Amy
Amy
10 years ago

Thank you for the video! You make making macarons looks so easy! I've attempted to make macarons twice and each time they either came out cracked or they didn't produce feet. I will try again using your method.

Ali
Ali
10 years ago

Your video was great! I wish I had that resource when I tried your Espresso ones. They turned out great, but I think I need to revisit what an 'inch' is. Hehehehe mine were so tiny!
These looks so amazing, can't wait to try them! I'm going to attempt your Heritage red velvet cake in cupcake form on sunday. Fingers crossed!
Love your art/food, and am missing your posts, now that you're super woman!

Erika Beth, the Messy Chef
Erika Beth, the Messy Chef
10 years ago

These are gorgeous. The video will be very helpful for when I finally make macarons. I'm a little scared to.

Meg Luby
Meg Luby
10 years ago

so lovely! thanks for the video, i was considering making macaroons soon and then was scared off by a fellow blogger who had some literally flat results. you've replaced my confidence πŸ™‚
as always, thank you for sharing
-meg
@ http://www.clutzycooking.blogspot.com
@ http://www.myscribblednotebook.blogspot.com

Lacey @ dishfolio.com
Lacey @ dishfolio.com
10 years ago

LOVE the cayenne! Great photos! Plus the recipe looks divine. We'd love for you to share your recipe at dishfolio.com!

KristenF
KristenF
10 years ago

You don't let your batter dry for 30 minutes before placing in the oven? I was taught that the batter (once piped) has to dry a little (so it's not sticky to touch) or the Pied won't form. You did it without? Cool! Also, I think your video is perfect. These are hard to get right and seeing a video of what the batter should look like and how it transforms is one of the most helpful things I've seen with macarons. I'm obsessed with them and have made a million batches–the first several were total flops. Love the hot… Read more »

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
10 years ago

Hi shoelover!

Thanks for the kind words! The video is a very condensed and is meant to be used with the recipe. I didn't document the drying time in the video, which… perhaps I should have. I've always dried mine for 15 minutes, perhaps 30 is better? I'm always open for suggestions and tips. πŸ™‚

I am obsessed too! Thanks again!

Gloria Baker
Gloria Baker
10 years ago

I think look fantastic! gloria

Melissa @IWasBornToCook
Melissa @IWasBornToCook
10 years ago

These look amazing! So different!

linda
linda
10 years ago

i have taken 3 workshops (from different chefs) in macarons…
thank you so much for this video, it's great & reinforces!
these look so pretty with the pepper brush strokes…very artistic.
btw: love your vintage pyrex!

Lili
Lili
10 years ago

That video was WONDERFUL Heather! I've only attempted macarons once and this makes me want to try them again. You just have the best ideas and I love the tip about using the artist brush with the gel color and alcohol to achieve that cool effect. Just think, if the French patisseries get wind of this new look I have a feeling your creation will be emulated around the globe! xo ~Lili

Megan
Megan
10 years ago

I love the chocolate, chili combo. Add a little cinnamon to the ganache and I'm all over these cookies. Someday I hope my macarons look as pretty as your macarons! πŸ™‚

Cathy
Cathy
10 years ago

Just found this website and I must say it is an inspiration. I'm a novice baker, and have been drooling over macarons for ages, but find it quite intimidating with all the horror stories out there. Thanks for the video – I hope to be making macarons soon!

Julie
Julie
10 years ago

I love your blog! I found it yesterday and I have a major soft spot for it since I am a fellow Southern chick πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work!

Darla @ Bakingdom
Darla @ Bakingdom
10 years ago

Beautiful! I'm really excited to try macarons again. My first attempt was…mildly unsuccessful. They certainly could have been worse. πŸ˜‰ But yours are just gorgeous. I think I'm ready to try them again! Thanks!

Darla @ Bakingdom
Darla @ Bakingdom
10 years ago

P.S. I love the flame-y look to go with the spice of cayenne!!

www.sweetcreationsbystephanie.com
www.sweetcreationsbystephanie.com
10 years ago

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! With your video I was able to make my 1st macaroons. I broke many but I think maybe I made them a little too big? I linked to your blog from my blog to give you credit for the video that helped me so!

Unknown
Unknown
10 years ago

Oh my! These look delicious. You really inspire me to bake, and I am not much of a baker haha! So I would like to give you a 'Stylish Blogger Award'.

Greetings,

Miss Dee

cookies and cups
cookies and cups
10 years ago

Great combo! Love the brush you did on them, like little flames πŸ˜‰

We Are Not Martha
We Are Not Martha
10 years ago

I love that these are spicy! And they're SO beautiful… you are so talented πŸ™‚

Sues

Patricia Scarpin
Patricia Scarpin
10 years ago

Your macarons are absolutely perfect! Thank you for showing how to paint them – I've been meaning to do that but was afraid to try.
Beautiful!

Eve Harrison
Eve Harrison
10 years ago

I have been dying to make these but am so nervous!! I'm going to try this weekend. Thank you so much for all of the tips!

marla
marla
10 years ago

Heather, I am mesmerized with this macaron how-to video πŸ™‚ You did such a great job and now I feel like I could make them from scratch too. Very helpful. Love the paint dabs on the cookies – beautiful presentation! xo

anna
anna
10 years ago

So cute! They sound awesome. I love spicy chocolatey things. And food coloring + liqueur sounds like a way easier way to paint the shells than what I had to do at my internship (painting with colored cocoa butter).

NiamhG
NiamhG
10 years ago

Hi, I'm another one to say THANK YOU. Love the site and love these little guys. I also let them sit for about 15 minutes to form a skin. 30? Will try that. Anyway, what is the music? It's gorgeous. Keep up the good work.

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
10 years ago

Hi NiamhG!

Thanks so much for sending me kind words. The song is called "I love N.Y.E" (meaning New Year's Eve) and it's by Badly Drawn Boy. It is on the soundtrack from the movie "About a Boy".

snippets of thyme
snippets of thyme
10 years ago

I am making them right NOW! I keep watching your video over and over again to see if I am doing it right. If they come out well, I'll send you over to my blog because I will be SURE to take photos….

Cami
Cami
10 years ago

Heather, I have been blog stalking you without subscribing for awhile, but after this video I just had to follow you. Macarons have been so intimidating but thanks to you and that wonderful video I am so inspired. In fact I bought a kitchen scale just for macarons! Ever since your salted caramel cupcakes I have been inspired time and time again by your wonderful creations! THANK YOU!

NiamhG
NiamhG
10 years ago

Cheers Heather, I've watched that movie so many times. Should have recognised it. Thanks for reminding me.
Am just on checking out your beautiful crown jewel cake. It's my son, Harry's, birthday next week and I think he deserves a royal cake.
Keep it up.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

is how do you know if they are done? I took mine out of the oven with perfect domes and little frilly feet- but horribly undercooked gooey centers πŸ™

Krissy
Krissy
10 years ago

I'm going to make this for the first time tomorrow. I disagree with you completely, I think your video making skills are wonderful and it was extremely informative (not boring at all πŸ˜‰ These are truly beautiful as is your blog. I am a new follower and can just get lost looking around here. I will post tomorrow sometime and let you know how things went. Thanks so much for sharing.

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Just stumbled across this blog and post … and I've lost myself in your posts for hours! Your video was very helpful; I made my first batch tonight and they turned out well, just not nearly as perfectly round as yours. Thanks for making an overwhelming process seem easy!

lizruth
lizruth
10 years ago

after much frustration and failure, breaking up and getting back together, the french macaroon and i are finally getting along thanks to your recipe and video tutorial. you rock my baking world! much gratitude and appreciation to you.