Macarons are notoriously finicky to make: but here’s the thing, while you may not get perfectly shaped cookies on the first try, they will still taste great. Call them something other than macarons and no one will be the wiser, or serve them crushed over ice cream. I find this version using rice flour a bit less fussy than the traditional almond, and if you proceed carefully, you too can achieve perfectly domed macarons with frilly little “feet.”
Green Tea Rice Macarons
with whipped anko filling
makes about 2 dozen small sandwich cookies
- ¾ cup rice flour
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons matcha (green tea powder)
- 4 large egg whites, or approximately 3/4 cup
- ¾ cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup anko (sweet red bean paste), store bought or homemade
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees (check the temperature with an oven thermometer). Make a template: cut sheets of parchment paper to fit two cookie sheets. Onto the parchment, trace one-inch circles, about an inch apart. A quarter or small pastry ring makes a good stencil. On top of this template, lay another piece of parchment. You’ll need one extra baking sheet too.
2. It’s important to measure carefully for this recipe. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the rice flour, powdered sugar, and matcha. Set up a pastry bag (I use an ordinary zip top bag with a corner snipped) with a regular tip––the screw-on part mean to hold decorative tips will do. Place the pastry bag in a pint glass with the top of the bag folded out over the rim of the glass, so it will be easy to fill.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Beat on medium high-speed with the whisk attachment for about 10 minutes. You want the egg whites to become stiff and glossy. They should clump in the whisk if you lift it out, and if you tipped the bowl upside down they would stay put. This may take more than 10 minutes.
4. When the egg whites are ready, stir in 1/3 of the rice flour mixture. Add the rest, and incorporate it by using a rubber spatula to fold and push the mixture against the sides of the bowl. You want to evenly incorporate the rice flour at the same time as you deflate the egg whites. A spoonful of the batter dropped back in the bowl should sit on top of the remaining batter for a moment before slowly melting back in. Getting the right texture here is the tricky part, and may take some trial and error.
5. Transfer the batter to the pastry bag. Squeeze out little rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, using the template as a guide. Rap each sheet firmly on the counter three times, to release air bubbles. Put the extra baking sheet under one sheet of macarons. Place them them on the middle oven rack, and bake for 14-18 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when you can peel one cleanly away from the parchment. Proceed to bake the rest of the cookies, one sheet at a time. After the first batch has cooled, you can remove to cookies and pipe more batter onto that sheet. (Save your templates to use again). Allow all the cookies to cool before filling.
6. For the filling, whip the anko with the whisk attachment of your mixer, adding about a tablespoon of water, a little at a time. You want just enough water to smooth and loosen it, without making it runny: the anko should become the texture of icing. Whip for about 5 minutes, until the color lightens to a pinkish brown.
7. Transfer the anko to a clean pastry bag, using the same pastry tip as before. Pipe the filling onto the flat side of a few cookies, then sandwich them with un-filled cookies. Continue util all the cookies are sandwiched.
8. For the best texture, refrigerate these in an airtight container overnight before serving. They will keep well for a week refrigerated, and a month frozen. Fore extra color, sprinkle a little more matcha on top just before serving.