I've been on a bit of a chai kick ever since I made my chai sugar cookies. I love adding spices to baked goods and now I just want to put chai spice in everything! Chai lattes with a shot of espresso (AKA dirty chai lattes) are one of my favorite fall drinks, so I transformed them into dirty chai macarons! The shells are like a chai tea macaron and they're filled with espresso buttercream.
Update: I originally made this recipe using the French method, but updated them to use the Swiss method after having way more success with it!
What You Need to Make This Recipe
- Egg whites
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Almond flour
- Powdered sugar
- Chai spice
- Unsalted butter
- Espresso (or coffee)
- Milk or heavy cream
- Brown food coloring (optional)
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1 - Sift the dry ingredients
You want to get the dry ingredients as fine as possible for the macaron shells so that they're nice and smooth! To do this, you'll want to sift and chop the mixture. Weigh the almond flour, powdered sugar and chai spice in a small bowl, and then run them through a sifter. Try to break down any large chunks so they make it through the sieve. Then, pulse them in a food chopper. Sift them once again, but this time get rid of any big clumps!
Step 2 - Make the meringue
This is where the Swiss method comes into play! Weigh the egg whites and granulated sugar into your (very clean) stand mixer bowl, and then whisk them over a double boiler on medium-low heat. Once the mixture reaches about 100°F, move the bowl over to your stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, stir at low speed and gradually increase to high speed. When the meringue starts to look white, add the vanilla extract. Continue to whisk until it reaches medium-stiff peaks.
Step 3 - Macaronage and piping
The final steps for the macaron shells! Macaronage is the folding of the dry ingredients into the meringue and it's super important to get the right consistency! Only add about a third of the flour mixture at a time and fold very gently. You want to create as few air bubbles in the batter as possible. Once the batter falls off the spatula in a smooth ribbon without breaking apart, transfer it to a piping bag with a round tip. Pipe circles on a silicon baking mat about 1 ½ inches in diameter. When the mat is full, lift and drop the pan a few times to get any bubbles to surface, then smooth them out with a toothpick. (I recommend wearing earplugs for this!)
Step 4 - Bake the shells and make the filling
Let the shells sit at room temperature until they're dry to the touch. While they're resting, preheat the oven and make the espresso buttercream! The filling is super simple. All you have to do is mix together the butter, espresso, powdered sugar, milk and food coloring. Make sure the espresso (or coffee) is cold when you add it, otherwise it might not incorporate with the ingredients very well.
Success Tips for Macaron-Making
- Don't try to make them when it's hot and humid outside! If it's too warm/humid, the macarons won't set properly after piping and they may crack
- Weigh your ingredients instead of measuring. (If you don't have a kitchen scale, I definitely recommend getting one!) Accuracy is very important! (This is why my recipe is only in grams)
- Make sure your egg whites are room temperature and the bowl you use to whip them is squeaky clean! These are both very important in reaching stiff peaks.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just the right amount. This is tricky and will take practice to get the perfect consistency down. A lot of recipes say to fold until they batter is glossy and can smoothly form a ribbon, so I tried to capture it in the photo walk-through below.
- Use a silicone baking mat. Parchment paper works too, but the bottoms might not bake or stick as evenly as on a silicone mat. Macaron mats also have little circles on them to help get equal shell sizes!
- Make sure your oven is at the right temperature - you don't want the shells rising too quickly or too slowly. Chances are, your oven isn't at the temperature it says it's at, so I always have my oven thermometer in mine to make sure it's where it needs to be.
- Don't put the shells in the oven before they're ready. You should be able to smoothly run your finger across the tops without them sticking at all. The time they need to set will differ based on your kitchen's temperature/humidity, but I always wait at least 30 minutes.
FAQ & Storage
In an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. I recommend refrigerating the assembled macarons overnight before you enjoy them!
Yes, these macarons are naturally gluten free.
I added a little caramel sauce for decoration and extra flavor!
Did you try this recipe?
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Dirty Chai Macarons
- Medium pot/double boiler
- Food chopper
- Measuring spoons
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment
- Piping tips and bags
- Silicon mat
- Oven thermometer
- Baking sheet
Chai Macaron Shells
- 90 grams egg whites (about 3 large eggs) room temperature
- 90 grams granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 95 grams almond flour
- 95 grams powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons chai spice *see notes below
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons espresso (or coffee) cold
- 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- brown food coloring optional
- Sift the almond flour, powdered sugar and chai spice. Transfer to a food chopper and pulse for 20 seconds in 5 second intervals. Sift them again and discard any large clumps.
- In the clean bowl of a stand mixer, mix the egg whites and granulated sugar over a pot of simmering water (double boiler) on medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches around 100°F (it should look like a transparent syrup underneath white bubbles).
- Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or remove from heat and use a hand mixer). Whisk on low speed for a minute, and then increase the speed 1-2 notches every 3-5 minutes. Once the meringue starts to get white and somewhat thick, add the vanilla extract. Continue increasing the mixer to full speed and whisking until it reaches medium-stiff peaks.
- Gently fold ⅓ of the dry mixture at a time into the meringue. Continue folding until the batter is smooth and creates a figure 8 without breaking when it trickles down from the spatula.
- Transfer the batter into a piping bag with a medium sized round tip. Pipe even circles (about 1½ inches in diameter) onto a silicone baking mat on top of a baking sheet.
- I recommend wearing earplugs for this step:Carefully lift your baking sheet about 6 inches and drop it onto the counter. Repeat 4 more times. (This is to help release any bubbles) Then, using a toothpick, smooth out any bubble holes or peaks in the batter.
- Let the macarons sit in a dry environment for 40-60 minutes. They're ready to bake when they're no longer sticky to the touch. Preheat oven to 315°F while the macarons set.*
- Bake for 12-15 minutes and then let them cool completely before removing from the sheet.
- Cream the butter, then add powdered sugar, espresso, milk, and optional food coloring. Mix until well combined.
Assemble the Macarons
- Transfer the espresso buttercream to a piping bag fitted with your preferred piping tip. Pair the macaron shells up and then pipe frosting on half of them, then sandwich them together.
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 teaspoon ginger
The provided nutritional information is an estimate per serving. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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