Easy fillings for macarons?
May 5, 2017 10:53 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about making macarons this weekend! I took a class about a year ago and I'm excited to make the cookie bits but would like easier options for fillings (in particular modifications to premade stuff like jam or frosting that would create a nice taste and texture).

I am interested both in the "make something easy to put in the macarons" part and the "modify something existing to make it work as a filling" part.

Ideas I've considered/types of suggestions that would be helpful (these aren't real, I'm making them up, but if they'd work well tell me and I will use them):

-Boil raspberry jam (maybe with some lemon juice?) until it is the consistency of X (or not raspberry because of the seeds?)
-Mix peanut butter with...confectioner's sugar?
-A can of Betty Crocker chocolate frosting or maybe Nutella made thicker...somehow? Cornstarch? Is that what it's for?

A suggestion that would not be helpful:

-OMG I know SUCH a simple filling! You just take fifteen teaspoons of cream of tartar and mix them with twelve grams of hand-harvested cocoa beans but these MUST be from French Polynesia and then you use a bunch of other ingredients and do a fancy process to each one and also there's lots of complicated stirring and measuring that's sort of finicky and tedious and not as fun as kitchen mad science and also you have to get the timing right and let them sit overnight. NO. Do not make this kind of suggestion. Sorry to be harsh about this but it will make me crazy and I want to be very clear in what I'm asking.

Bottom line: I would like fillings for macarons that are, in descending order of importance:

-Likely to turn out well
-Don't have too many ingredients
-As close to traditional filling as possible in terms of texture
-Involve modifying standard ingredients as I think this is an interesting kitchen chemistry aspect of the project
-Don't take too long until you can eat them (like chilling overnight is suboptimal but okay, I will try not to be gluttonous)

Thank you for your help!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The easiest fillings I've done have been lemon curd (straight from the jar) and chocolate ganache. I haven't tried canned frosting, but it would probably work.
posted by angelchrys at 11:07 AM on May 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

I think they're traditionally filled with frosting. You could use a can of frosting and it would probably taste good.

You could also make a simple frosting by mixing soft butter, powdered sugar, a little milk, and any kind of flavoring like vanilla or lemon juice that you have on hand.

When I do this I usually don't measure anything. You want to start with a good amount of powdered sugar-- more than a cup. it shrinks when you mix it with a liquid. Add a tablespoon of liquid (if you're using something like lemon juice just use that, if you're using a dry flavoring add some milk or water), stir a lot. If you want it thinner, add more liquid, if you want it thicker, add more powdered sugar. If you stop here, it will harden into a glaze and will definitely stick cookies together but won't be as rich.

If you want to, you can then add in room temperature butter or a flavored fat like Nutella, cream cheese, peanut butter, etc and stir more. You can add as much or as little as you like, and you can taste frequently to see what you like. You can add more powdered sugar if you want it to be thicker.
posted by redorangeyellow at 11:08 AM on May 5, 2017

Dulce de leche. Which you could make yourself by heating a can of evaporated milk for several hours in a slow cooker or other form of steady-temp cooking implement, but it tastes JUST FINE if you simply buy a can or jar of it.
posted by telophase at 11:10 AM on May 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

you could definitely mix melted jam with powdered sugar and butter in various ratios to make a raspberry frosting, for example.
posted by redorangeyellow at 11:12 AM on May 5, 2017

Grind a nut of your choice (I use walnuts) as finely as possible in a food processor or coffee grinder. Mix to your taste with a combination of half nutella, half chocolate or vanilla canned frosting. It results in a lovely soft, nutty, smooth cream.

I haven't tried this, but you could use cream cheese softened with a tiny bit of milk aand sweetened with powdered sugar as a vehicle for a lot of flavors: instant coffee, lemon juice as suggested above, any number of flavor extracts such as almond or pineapple, ground cereal powder (I'm a huge fan of cereal milk in any form, including ice cream, that is made with cereal powder), fruit pulp, etc.

This sounds like a lovely weekend project! Good luck :)
posted by Everydayville at 11:18 AM on May 5, 2017

Ganache is one of the easiest things in the world to make.

Equal parts chocolate and heavy cream--maybe just a bit more chocolate than cream to make sure it's nice and firm.
Chop the chocolate up into small bits.
Heat the heavy cream until it's real hot but not boiling.
Dump the chocolate bits in the cream.
Mix it up.
Let it cool in the fridge until it's not hot anymore.
At this point you can whip it with beaters to make it lighter and fluffier, or just leave it super rich.

Anyway, it's just that and then you're totally done. Just shovel it into a piping bag and you're ready to splop it down onto your macarons.

You can do this with white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, whatever.
posted by phunniemee at 11:28 AM on May 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far -- I'm also really interested in flavors beyond "chocolate" or "frosting" (and I don't really want to use extracts) so if you have ideas on that front I'd love to hear them!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:31 AM on May 5, 2017

OK, in that case, check out a youtube channel called How to Cook That, specifically her series on chocolate truffles. Here's one. She goes through step by step (some real complicated, some super easy) on how to add flavor to chocolate ganache by letting the cream steep in flavored things before mixing in the chocolate. I think that may be up your alley?
posted by phunniemee at 11:35 AM on May 5, 2017

Response by poster: Not trying to be too back and forth here so sorry if it comes off that way but I was thinking non-chocolate flavors like pistachio or rose or pumpkin or cinnamon or whatever.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:38 AM on May 5, 2017

Could you use marshmallow fluff as a base for those flavors?
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:54 AM on May 5, 2017

Lemon curd mixed with a little jam (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry) would be delicious.
posted by belladonna at 11:58 AM on May 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

You could try ground up pistachios and fold it into whipped cream cheese, but it won't give you that intense pistachio flavor without extract.

Rose is also a flavor that's obtained using extracts, but you could also try a few drops of rose water (available in Persian or Mediterranean markets) with some sort of base. Plain whipped frosting might serve as a good base for rose water, or even vanilla pudding made with less milk than the instructions tell you, so it's thicker.

You could use cinnamon powder on a cream cheese base like I mentioned earlier, but cinnamon on it's own might be a bit blah. A nutella base mixed with cinnamon might enhance the flavor, and you could mix the nutella down with cream cheese to dilute the chocolate flavor.
posted by Everydayville at 11:58 AM on May 5, 2017

There is such a thing as pistachio butter; I bought a little thing of it on Amazon to flavor frosting, but you could definitely use it straight up as macaron filling.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:12 PM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Based off what fiercecupcake said, I bet some store-bought cookie butter would be phenomenal. If it's too thin, just incorporate powdered sugar til it's the right texture.
posted by Night_owl at 12:25 PM on May 5, 2017

I would just go to Trader Joe's (if you - hopefully- have one nearby) and see what they've got on the shelves. Off the top of my head: lemon curd, lime curd, Speculoos cookie butter (crunchy or smooth), apple butter, pumpkin butter, any flavor jam (I think most jams are fine as-is for filling consistency, but you could always reduce it in a pan and add cornstarch or a teeny bit of xanthan gum to help it along). Almond paste sweetened, or marzipan paste as-is or thinned a bit.

My favorite option is mixing up American buttercream because it's so easy, and thicker/denser than meringue buttercreams (butter and confec. sugar, a little hit of liquid dairy) and flavoring it with other things. Nutella, peanut butter, instant espresso that's been made extra strong.
posted by rachaelfaith at 12:53 PM on May 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

As a sort-of frosting suggestion, have you thought of maybe picking up a jar of malt for the cookie parts and using chocolate frosting? Mmm...malt ball macaroons :9
How about melting caramels in the microwave and using that for the filling?
Cream cheese will also melt in the microwave, making it easier to add flavors/powdered sugar/etc...red velvet macaroons?
posted by sexyrobot at 2:30 PM on May 5, 2017

Plum butter would be delicious. I don't think you'd have to do much to it; it's already cooked down, just with no pectin.

Passionfruit curd. Flavored honey mixed with something (mascapone?).
posted by stoneandstar at 4:40 PM on May 5, 2017

I know you said not so much frosting, but caramel mixed with coconut shavings or German Chocolate cake frosting would be unique and tasty.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:52 PM on May 5, 2017

I had matcha macarons with red bean paste in the middle, they were freaking fantastic. You can buy premade sweet bean paste at Asian grocery stores - look for "anko" which is the Japanese version and is typically very smooth and easy to work with. I think anko would be amazing with something simple like vanilla macarons or something nutty like hazelnut or almond to play with the nuttiness of the anko flavor. Black bean paste and sesame paste would also be yummy if you can find them. Tahini sweetened with powdered sugar is delicious but I wonder if it might be too runny?

What about apple butter or pumpkin butter with "snickerdoodle" flavor macarons? Like, a very restrained cinnamon sugar butter flavor. I feel like that would evoke pie in a refined way without trying to make pie filling work in a macaron.
posted by Mizu at 9:15 PM on May 5, 2017

I realise no recipes but if flavour inspiration is helpful you may want to browse the options sold here

Their filling is always a light frosting so the recommendations along those lines are spot on. Personally I prefer fruity fillings with a degree of acidity. They seem to cut through the sugary sweetness of the macarons - I can't cope with the non fruity ones - too much samy sweetness.
posted by koahiatamadl at 7:09 AM on May 6, 2017

Almost any spread in a jar makes for a nice filling. When I worked at a bakery the macarons filled with straight nutela were the best sellers. Trader Joes has Speculoos Cookie Butter which takes like really good ginger bread. You can also do stabilized whipped cream and berries -- though doing warm gelatin into cream can be stressful. Up to you! The hard part are the shells. You can fill them with almost anything and it will taste amazing. With jam you may need to strain off moisture and be sure to use seedless or the texture could be... questionable.
posted by palindromeisnotapalindrome at 10:38 AM on May 6, 2017

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