raspberry macarons with coconut filling

This past weekend, I had four eggs left in my refrigerator which I elected to turn into pancetta cheddar scones.... and raspberry macarons. I made the macarons with my friend Lara in mind. At the time of making them, she was pregnant with twin baby boys. Seemed like a good occasion to make someone a tasty treat. I've always been really impressed with Lara and Dave's cooking. They were the ones that turned me to try lemon curd and I actually learned about macarons from Lara six whole years ago when we met. I remember her telling me how she had the most perfect macaron in Paris. 

I first attempted macarons pretty much exactly a year ago - and it turned out great. I'm still not sure how because according to the internet they are some finicky bitches. A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon this raspberry macaron and loved it from the pictures. I altered the original recipe because I have no idea where you find freeze dried raspberries that you then pulverize into dust. 

Turns out by the time I got Lara the macarons... she had the babies. So, I got to meet them and they are perfect. Alexander and Hannon weigh less than Eleanor - which is pretty hilarious to me. At one point, I got to hold both of them at once. It might as well have been Christmas. Little fingers. Little toes. Little chins. Plus, pretty cute baby sounds while they slept.
I'm currently on a plane to the West Coast and writing this at exactly 35,195 feet above Broken Bow, Oklahoma. That's pretty specific but also exciting. This is my third trip to LA in less than 4 months - but this time I'm making a conscious effort to go early and do something relaxing. I've chosen to go to the Desert. But, I did not realize how HOT it would be there. The girl who sits across from me at work suggested that I would get real sweaty but maybe meet the love of my life ... so just maybe that'll happen. Google Weather politely informed me it would be 105 F but my UberX driver told me that dry heat is fine - so hopefully no giant blonde frizzy hair with sweaty face in front of palm trees.

In the meantime, I have also flown over the Mississippi River and got pretty close to Niagra Falls. You can barely see them in the distance but they are there.
But, here's how it goes for the fancy macarons. Pictures are important to understanding how this works, so go back to my first macaron post for those. My new apartment might have a brand new fridge, but it has terrible lighting for taking recipe pictures.

(Step 1) Set your oven to 375 F
(Step 2) Combine your almond flour and powdered sugar in a flour sifter and sift until you have a nice, pretty pile. I have never believed in sifting before but I was amazed at how it changed the consistency. This is one million times worth it. My grandmother gave me a flour sifter for Christmas this past year .... it made this step so much easier.
(Step 3) In a mixing bowl, beat your egg whites with an electric mixer until nice and foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar until they develop stiff, glossy peaks. I added my sugar in 1 tablespoon at a time. If you think your egg whites are stiff enough, they probably aren't. Keep going. One blog I read said you should be able to flip your bowl upside down ... I make enough of mess in the kitchen without doing this step, but you get the idea.
(Step 4) Add vanilla and mix gently. If the mixture gets a little less stiff (TWSS), just toss that mixer on again for a jiffy.
(Step 5) After the meringue is stiff and glossy, you essentially get to mix it all up again - but none of that "folding in the egg whites" business. This is straight mixing folks and I loved it. Add about half of the flour/sugar mixture and stir with your spatula until mixed. Then, add the rest and stir again. 
(Step 6) This is now a "crucial" part in the macaron process.... you need to stir until the mixture is even and smooth. A smooth mixer makes for good meringues and that is what this is all about folks. What you do is spread the batter against the sides of the bowl, then flip it back into the middle, and repeat. And repeat. And repeat times 15 or so times. Just like the flour sifting process, I thought this would be all phony and silly and not worth it, I was wrong. You can see the difference in the batter.
(Step 7) Fill your "pastry" bag with the batter and squeeze it out gently into small circles on your parchment lined baking sheet. Note: the batter will settle a bit so, don't worry too too much about having a "tip" in the middle of your circle. Just try and keep your circles in similar small sized circles - about 1-1.5 inches. 
(Step 8) After you have filled you pan with little circles, whack the sheet against the counter several times. According to the post I read, "This will set the pied or little pastry lip at the base of the cookie (an essential for an authentic macaron)." Crucial. Now, set the tray aside for 30 minutes to dry. You'll know they are dry when you tap the surface of the circle and it does not stick to your finger. 
(Step 9) Place in the oven for about 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, turn the sheet so that the front-facing macarons are now towards the back of the oven for an even bake. If after 14 minutes, they are still super-soft, reduce heat to 325°, cover in aluminum foil and bake for 2 more minutes. Watch them carefully. Seriously. Don't get distracted by Netflix.
(Step 10) When the macarons are done baking, take them out of the oven and let sit until cool. When they are cool, they'll pop right off the parchment but they won't before then. 
(Step 11) Fill a new pastry bag with the filling and create about 1/2 inch dot on one macaron cookie, then sandwich another on top. Be careful not to squeeze the filling out on the sides.
(Step 12) That's it. Now eat them... and store them in the fridge.

Making the Filling
(Step 1) Place the chopped white chocolate in a heat-safe bowl.
(Step 2) Heat the coconut milk to a slight simmer and then pour over the chocolate.Let sit for like 30 seconds or so.
(Step 3) Mix until smooth and let cool on the counter or in the fridge. Then transfer to a pastry bag (like above for the macaron shells) and pipe onto the shells.
Note: If you are anything like me, you are impatient. I couldn't wait for this filling to cool and solidify ... so I just added powdered sugar. It worked like a charm. 
Shopping List
Shopping List
2/3 cup almond meal/flour
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar.
3 egg whites
5 tablespoons of white, granulated sugar
1 teaspoon raspberry extract

Filling
1 cup of white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/2 - 1 cup powdered sugar

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