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]
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.
I'm making my first macarons this weekend! Thanks for the video. 🙂
These look AMAZING.
These are gorgeous! Truly gorgeous!
these are so beautiful! i love your video…so helpful:)
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!
That looks so good. I like that you used cayenne pepper.
Absolutely fabulous! Love these! Being a southern girl (Louisiana) I am all for spice! 🙂
These are BRILLIANT! Chocolate and cayenne is a great combo. Beautifully done!
These are so awesome!! I love the flavor combo and how you dressed up the outside of the macaron is great.
Looks so tasty! Thanks for the video. The music is kind of like a nice lullaby.
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!
Thanks for the video. It is very helpful.
So pretty! I love the flavors you chose.
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!
Yumo! Miss you.
Sweet and spicy! Love it!
Gorgeous, like always!! I vow to make macaroons soon!!
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.
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!
These are gorgeous. The video will be very helpful for when I finally make macarons. I'm a little scared to.
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 🙂
as always, thank you for sharing
LOVE the cayenne! Great photos! Plus the recipe looks divine. We'd love for you to share your recipe at dishfolio.com!
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 »
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. 🙂
I am obsessed too! Thanks again!
I think look fantastic! gloria
These look amazing! So different!
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!
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
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! 🙂
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!
I love your blog! I found it yesterday and I have a major soft spot for it since I am a fellow Southern chick 🙂 Keep up the good work!
Beautiful! I'm really excited to try macarons again. My first attempt was…mildly unsuccessful. They certainly could have been worse. 😉 But yours are just gorgeous. I think I'm ready to try them again! Thanks!
P.S. I love the flame-y look to go with the spice of cayenne!!
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!
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'.
Great combo! Love the brush you did on them, like little flames 😉
I love that these are spicy! And they're SO beautiful… you are so talented 🙂
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.
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!
Heather, I am mesmerized with this macaron how-to video 🙂 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
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).
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.
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".
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….
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!
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.
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 🙁
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 😉 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.
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!
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.