Ah, macarons. They are such wonderful and enigmatic things. The first time that I tasted a macaron was at a chocolate festival. There was a French bakery showcasing these delicate meringue and almond flour confections, and it was love at first bite. Since then, they hold a special place in my heart.
Making them, on the other hand, can probably bring a seasoned chef to tears. Even an experienced baker can botch these things. It seems like it takes equal amounts of skill and luck to get the almond flour, meringue, and sugar to come together in just the right way. The meringue has to be stiff, but not too stiff. The batter can’t be overmixed or undermixed. The weather can’t be too humid. The stars need to align. The baking gods need to smile upon you. You need to say a prayer.
I honestly don’t know what possessed me to try making them the first time. Perhaps I am just a glutton for punishment. Still, I tried, and failed. Then, I tried and failed again. And, I kept trying and trying. Then, I would sometimes succeed, but I still fail most of the time.For the time being, chocolate macarons are the only macarons that I can make with a fairly high probability of success. Any other kind is hit or miss. I’ve found that adding a teaspoon or two of cornstarch helps in this Florida humidity.
I came up with this coquito (Puerto Rican coconut eggnog) thanks to my coworkers. During an ice cream frenzy, my coworkers requested that I try making coquito ice cream. That gave me the idea to try making chocolate coquito ice cream sandwiches for the company’s annual holiday bake-off, but I couldn’t work out the logistics of storing it without having it melt before judging. So, I instead decided on trying to make a cream filling.
Personally, I am not a fan of coconut in most of its incarnations. Coquito and piña coladas are two ways in which I can actually tolerate it. And, these chocolate coquito macarons turned out so well that I couldn’t NOT share the recipe.
Chocolate Coquito Macarons
- ingredients to make 1 batch of chocolate macaron shells (recommended recipe here)
- ½ cup coquito (recommended recipe here)
- 6 tbsp softened butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
Prepare the macaron shells as directed by the recipe. Set them on a wire rack to cool completely.
In a small saucepan, bring the coquito and flour to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes a thick paste. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
Once the coquito paste is completely cooled, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer, along with the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then on high for 3 more minutes or until the frosting is no longer grainy.
Assemble the macarons by piping a small amount of filling on the center of a macaron half, then pressing another macaron half down over the filling to form a sandwich. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
Makes about 2 dozen macarons