I love the way these cookies look. The variety of possibilities for color and taste is amazing to me. I 've read endless blogs and articles about the secrets of making them and although once in the past I tried, I decided that Passover was the perfect time to give it another go seeing as they contain no flour. In our house, it is a tradition to bring each other a little gift for the holiday and this year my daughter gave me a beautiful cookbook "Ottolenghi" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. It is a book I would not necessarily have pulled off the bookshelf on my own, but boy am I glad she did! Wonderful recipes, beautiful pictures and great explanations. After spending the whole holiday leafing through the book ( over and over again!), I knew I had to try something. Being restricted by what I had in the house at that moment , I went for the macarons. They have three choices- salted nut and caramel, chocolate and lime/basil. I thought the lime/basil sounded different and interesting so I gave it a try. I followed the directions to the tee, and I think for a beginner, they came out quite well. A cute little foot formed on them and the insides were soft and chewy while the outside was just crunchy enough without falling apart when you bite into it. I loved seeing the bits of basil throughout the cookie itself and the filling as well. The combination of the lime and basil is unexpected but quite delicious. Reactions here were positive.
Cream the butter and powdered sugar together ( the recipe says to do it with a rubber spatula, but I did it in the mixer) until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the lime juice, zest and basil leaves and mix together until all are well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a cool place but not the refrigerator.
Make the macarons:
Heat oven to 170C. Sift powdered sugar and ground almonds.
Place egg whites and sugar in mixing bowl and whip on high speed until the whites become thick and full of air- stable but not dry.
Fold a third of the meringue mix into the sifted almonds and sugar until fully incorporated.
Add the rest of the meringue mix and fold until the mix is smooth and shiny.
Fill a disposable piping bag with the meringue mix and pipe small, equal-sized ( I draw circles in advance and then turn the parchment paper over.) circles onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Tap the entire baking sheet on the counter to even off the circles and let them sit in the open air for anywhere from 15 -30 minutes.
Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven for 12 minutes- depending on your even, you may need more or less time. The macarons are finished when they separate easily from the parchment paper without sticking. Be careful not to overbake them.
Fill a disposable piping bag with the filling and squeeze a small amount on one cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Leave at room temperature to set for about 2 hours. They can also be refrigerated for a shorter amount of time, but they should be removed in ample amount of time to serve them at room temperature.