Hi hi! Things are a little crazy around here but in a good way - I got back from the most amazing three days away in the Hudson Valley with friends, and today we are leaving for a wee weekend away for our friend’s wedding, and thennnn on Tuesday next week I go to Alaska! It’s the best type of busy, but travelling a lot always makes me a little frazzled - I miss my cat, and I don’t know how people who travel all the time manage to do it so well!
I currently have a peach pie in the oven - trying to make the most of the amazing peaches NY throws at us during the summer, but I just wanted to pop on here and share this recipe for cereal milk macarons that Jase and I made a few weeks ago! Cereal milk was made a thing by Christina Tosi a while back - it’s basically meant to be a nod to that milk that is left at the bottom of your cereal bowl. The original recipe uses cornflakes and brown sugar, but we took it in a different direction - infusing the milk and then using it as the base of a German buttercream, which we used to fill cereal inspired macaron shells.
We went with three different cereals, all of which seem to be nostalgic flavours. I didn’t grow up here so followed Jase’s lead - although I am absolutely partial to a sneaky bowl of lucky charms every now and then. We used to travel to the states and Canada a fair bit when we were younger, and we always saw lucky charms as a huge treat, but also used to sit eating it, wondering how candy can be passed off as cereal. Regardless - delicious. I can’t pass it up now. Alongside the lucky charms we also used Trix (which are similar to froot loops if you’re not from America), and frosted flakes (super sweet cornflakes). We used the infused milk as the base for a pastry cream, which then got butter whipped into it to transform it into a German Buttercream. This is one of the reasons I love German buttercream so much - you can infuse the milk for the pastry cream base, which means your options are almost endless.
We kept the shells pretty simple, with our standard vanilla bean shell, and then sprinkled some of them with crushed cereal once they had been piped out. They all turned out super, super cute, and all different looking, it was so hard to choose a favourite! We actually ended up making three batches (we have it down now and can pump them out), so the recipe below shows just the quantities used for one batch - we infused all the milk separately to yeild three batches of German buttercream, and followed the macaron recipe to give three batches of shells.
A few wee tips:
All my mac tips are in this post!
We made three types of cereal macarons here. The process is essentially the same, except for varying the cereal that you use to infuse the milk, and colouring and finishing the shells depending on what flavour you are using. In the ‘flavour variations’ section of the shells part of the recipe, I have outlined what we did for each flavour.
Same goes with the German Buttercream - the recipe here is for one batch, in which you can infuse the milk with the cereal. We made three batches, one for Trix, one for Lucky Charms, and one for Frosted Flakes.
We did end up adding a tiny drop of food colouring to the lucky charms and Trix buttercreams, just because the yellow of the egg yolk and butter offset the colour of the milk a little.
Cereal Macarons with Cereal German Buttercream - Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, and Trix French Macarons
- Makes about 24 Macarons -
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
A few drops of gel food colouring, if using
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Crushed Cereal to finish, optional
Cereal Milk German Buttercream
400g whole milk
75g cereal (Either Lucky Charms, Trix, or Frosted Flakes)
12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) Corn Starch
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
340g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- PROCESS -
Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle.
Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. If using, add gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here).
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture.
Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.
Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.
Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly.
Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth. Sprinkle the tops of the macarons with the crushed cereal, if using.
Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity.
About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven.
Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that!
Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.
If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper.
Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use.
-FLAVOUR / COLOUR VARIATIONS -
For Frosted Flakes Macarons, Sprinkle the shells with crushed frosted flakes once you have piped them out and banged them.
For Lucky Charms Macarons, colour the shells with mint green / avocado green gel food colouring
For Trix Macarons, colour the shells with deep pink gel food colour, and sprinkle some of the piped and banged shells with crushed trix.
CEREAL MILK GERMAN BUTTERCREAM
Place milk and cereal in an airtight container. Leave to sit at room temperature for an hour, shaking frequently, to allow the flavour of the cereal to infuse into the milk. Strain the mixture twice, and weigh the infused milk - you need 190g. Top up if needed.
In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium saucepan, heat infused milk and vanilla to just shy of a simmer. Remove from the heat.
Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.
Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow container or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight. If you need to speed this process up, you can place the pastry cream in a bowl, then place the bowl in an ice bath. Stir frequently.
Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment, and place the pastry cream in the bowl. Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together! Add food colouring if using, and transfer to a piping bag - we used round tips for lucky charms and trix macarons, and an ateco #867 tip for the frosted flakes.
Pair each macaron shell with another of a similar size. Pipe a circle of buttercream on one half, and then sandwich with the second shell. Add additional crushed cereal if desired. Finish with gold leaf if desired. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.