January 13, 2013

Pecan Macarons

These macarons are the tasty result of a fortuitous mistake and a hungry husband.  Originally, I intended to make a macaron version of one of my favorite winter desserts - a buttermilk pecan pie.  Instead, I ended up with a super-delicious pecan punch-to-the-face in macaron form.

Until now, I had always bought pre-ground almond flour for my macarons.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find pecan flour anywhere, so I decided to grind my own.  Here's where I made the lucky mistake - not knowing how to grind nuts into flour, I accidentally beat my pecans into butter.  I momentarily stared down at my wet, gloopy, not-flour-like pecans, before adding some oil and sugar, telling my husband he should find something to eat with pecan butter, and throwing the stuff into the fridge.

After this I was much more careful while grinding my pecans, and eventually ended up with some pecan flour.  I made my macarons, and then made a buttermilk pastry cream to go with them.  While waiting for the pastry cream to set, my husband wandered over to the cooling macarons.

Mr. Buttercream: "Can I have one?"
Me: "One of the ugly ones.  That one there is a little weird and oval-shaped." (I always save the prettier ones for photographing.)
Mr. Buttercream: "Oh, hey.  Where did that pecan stuff go?"
Me: "It's in the fridge."

My husband spread some pecan butter on the macaron and took a bite.

Mr. Buttercream: "Wow, these are really good."
Me: "Really? Make one for me."

They were good.  Really, really good.  After the pastry cream set, I spread some on a macaron and tasted it.  It was good, but not as good as the pecan butter macaron.

So, that's how a mistake and a hungry husband led to my favorite macarons yet.

Hamburger?  Or macaron?

If you don't like pecans, stay far, far away from these macarons.  I love pecans, so to me, these are three bites of awesome pecan intensity.  My favorite thing about these is that the filling has very little sugar.  I often find macarons to be too sweet, and so these are a welcome not-too-sweet macaron.

Yum.  I've already made these twice in as many weeks - and I can't wait to make more.

Pecan Butter

5 ounces (142 grams) whole pecans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar

  1. In a food processor, grind the pecans until they start getting moist.
  2. Add the oil and sugar, and continue to grind until the butter reaches a spreadable consistency.
Pecan Macarons
Makes approximately 16 macarons (32 macaron halves).  Adapted from BraveTart's Macarons recipe.

2 ounces (57 grams) pecan flour
4 ounces (115 grams) powdered sugar
2½ ounces (72 grams) egg whites
1¼ ounces (36 grams) sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F.  You might want to invest in an oven thermometer to ensure your temperature is correct.
  2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  If you'd like to ensure macarons of the same size, trace some guide circles on the parchment paper, and then flip it over (so that you don't get pen in your cookies!).
  3. Sift the pecan flour and the powdered sugar together and set aside.
  4. Combine the egg whites and sugar and mix with an electric mixer on medium (4 on my KitchenAid) for 3 minutes.
  5. Increase the speed to medium-high (6 on my KitchenAid) and whip another 3 minutes, then go to high (8 on my KitchenAid) and whip for another 2 minutes.
  6. Add the vanilla and beat for one more minute on high.
  7. Dump the dry ingredients into your meringue.  Mix with a spatula until the batter melts back down in 20 seconds after being spooned out and dropped back in.
  8. Transfer the batter to a piping bag with a plain tip (a Wilton #7 tip works pretty well for me).  Holding the bag straight up, pipe batter out onto your parchment paper until you almost fill the circle you drew.
  9. After all the macarons have been piped out, bang the cookie sheet onto your counter top a few times to get the air bubbles out.
  10. Let the macarons sit for an hour (this may or may not be necessary, but probably doesn't hurt, especially if you're not sure about if you've over/under-mixed).
  11. Bake the macarons for 18 minutes.
  12. Remove, and cool completely before peeling the macarons off of the parchment paper.
  13. Once completely cool (only about 5 minutes), match up similar sized macarons.  Spoon about 2 teaspoons' worth of pecan butter onto the bottom of a macaron, and sandwich with its pair.
  14. Refrigerate.  These are best after at least 24 hours.


  1. Genius! These look ridiculously tasty! That filling... mmm!

    (And I always make my husband eat the ugly ones, too!)

    1. Thanks! Yes, that pecan butter filling was really, really good.

  2. Very nice alternative to almond macs, but where did you find pecan flour? Most definitely will try these bad boys :)

    1. I ground the pecan flour myself. I did this by carefully processing pecans in the food processor and sifting to get the bits that were ground enough. Be careful though - if you pummel your pecans too much, you'll get pecan butter!

      I think the best way to grind the flour is with a coffee grinder. Unfortunately, mine was all full of coffee beans and I was too lazy to clean them out.

  3. Made macarons for the very first time last night using this recipe. Though not nearly as beautiful as yours (I didn't fold the batter long enough), they were still DIVINE! I stumbled upon your recipe because I was all set to make some last night, only to find out I didn't have enough almonds on hand! And I processed my pecans in a coffee grinder carefully, adding powdered sugar IN the grinder with it to soak up some of the oils. Will be making these again and hoping to come out with gorgeous ones like yours!


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