Play with your food: Macarons and Memories

By Nick Wuest,
ICC Pastry Arts student
(read more about Nick)

I take my immaturity very seriously. It is the deepest well of inspiration I can tap. So many of my creations begin with the same sentiment – “Do you remember?”

Here’s an example:

A friend of mine is very allergic to nuts and therefore missed out on the bounty of macarons I brought home during the Petits Fours unit. I felt awful as he sat aside while everyone, myself included, got to enjoy my progression from ok to really good to “beat that Chef Torres.” I promised him that the weekend project would be nut free macarons just for him.

Pretty standard so far right? Here’s where my train of thought rolls onto some bumpy track. One day riding the (actual) train home I thought “hey I want Salisbury steak one day soon,” which lead to “man remember how terrible (i.e.: delicious) those frozen TV dinner ones were?” which led to “remember how good it was when the corn got into the brownie?” Right there I dove for my notebook and wrote “sweet corn-chocolate mac!!”

That night (I can’t read or write on the train for more than a minute or two) I wrote what would become Sweet Corn Macarons with Brown Butter Chocolate Ganache.

That was all I planned on making this week since I SHOULD BE STUDYING FOR MIDTERMS but after visiting a craft market on Saturday and picking up some very fresh jams from my favorite local brand I called an audible and, writing the recipe in my head on the way home, added Coconut Macarons with Orange Ganache and Pineapple Jam to my agenda. They taste exactly like an Orange Flintstone’s Push-Up. Do they even make those anymore? This information is vital to the course of my week.

Finished 2

Special Equipment

  • Stand mixer with whisk
  • Candy or instant read thermometer
  • 4 half-sheet pans
  • Silicone baking mat(s) or parchment paper

Let these be a lesson in entertaining even the dumbest ideas.

Both cookies use the same mixing method (Italian Meringue) for its added stability. I have a double oven at home and can accommodate 4 pans at once. If you don’t then just make one then the other. Whatever you do don’t save any batter, as it will deflate. Pipe the entire bag then do the next one when you’re ready.


(400g – enough for 25 1 ½” diameter sandwiches)

  • 85g corn flour
  • 110g powdered sugar
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 25g water
  • 75g egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 30° syrup for brushing
  • sea salt flakes for garnishing


(380g – enough for 25 1” diameter sandwiches)

  • 20g coconut flour
  • 160g powdered sugar
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 25g water
  • 75g egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt

Pulse the flour and powdered sugar in a food processor very fine, sift and set aside.

Combine 100g granulated sugar and 25g water in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Combine the egg whites, tartar, and salt in stand mixer. When the sugar begins to boil begin whisking the eggs at medium. Cook the sugar without stirring to 240F then very carefully stream it down the mixer bowl into the egg foam. Whip at medium-high to stiff peaks.


Fold the sifted dry ingredients into the meringue in two additions until the batter reaches the proper consistency. This is a bit tricky to describe but when scooped with a spatula it will fall back into the bowl in a semi-fluid almost lava-like stream with a break or two. It’s not ready if it plops back in like a jam and it’s over mixed if it streams like a batter.

Pipe 50 rounds of each batter on a silicone lined sheet pan(s) about 1 ½” apart. Firmly tap the pans on a hard surface to evenly spread the rounds into flat circles. Place them in an area with a good draft and let them dry out until a skin forms on the surface that barely gives when lightly touched.


*If you don’t let it dry enough the surface won’t be strong enough to hold in the burst of steam and the top will crack. If they look like this then it wasn’t dry enough. Be sure to turn the trays to make sure they dry evenly.


While the macarons are drying, preheat the oven to 325°F and make the ganaches and syrup.



  • 75 dark chocolate, fine chop
  • pinch of salt
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 50g heavy cream

Place the chocolate and salt in a heatproof bowl. Cook the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until golden brown and aromatic, add the cream and bring to just below a simmer (right as steam starts to rise). Pour the hot liquid over the chocolate, wait 30 seconds, stir from the center out to combine. Pour into an uncut piping bag (with no tip), flatten out, and chill until ready to use.



  • 3/4 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 3/4 Tsp cold water
  • 130g white chocolate
  • 1 drop orange food coloring gel
  • 100g heavy cream

Bloom the gelatin in the cold water and set aside. Place the chocolate and food coloring in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to just below a simmer and pour it over the chocolate, sit 30 seconds while you microwave the gelatin about 15 seconds to melt. Add the gelatin to the chocolate and stir from the center out to combine. Fill another uncut piping bag the same as above and chill it until you’re ready.


(115g) – “30°” simply means 130% sugar to water

  • 65g granulated sugar
  • 50g water

Bring the sugar and water to a boil to dissolve. Remove from heat, keep at room temperature.


65g pineapple jam with small fruit solids in it

When the macarons have developed a proper skin bake them for 8-12 minutes, rotating halfway, until they are well risen and barely browned along the edges. Remove them from the oven, brush the corn ones with 30° syrup and sprinkle them with salt flakes, cool them in the pan on a rack.


Once cooled, carefully free them from the baking mat and pair up like cookies.

For the Corn/Chocolate ones, pipe a thin layer of ganache just inside the border of one cookie, place another on top and apply very gentle pressure along the edges to push the ganache to the edge and even out the cookie.

For the Coconut/Orange ones, pipe a ring of ganache around the border of a cookie then place a small amount of jam inside of it. Don’t press this sandwich as hard as the corn, these cookies are super delicate and the jam will spread too far.


Once finished, keep them chilled until ready to serve. Macarons get better with age and what is a slightly crispy cookie on day one will become an incredibly soft and chewy one by day 3 as it absorbs the moisture in the filling.

Finished 3Finished 1

When I was a kid (an actual kid, not a 28 year old one) I had a chemistry set that I was never really allowed to play with. Seriously, what kind of children’s chem set comes with highly toxic chemicals? I always wondered at the secrets inside of those little bottles. Now creation and discovery are processes I get to experience every day. “What would happen if?” “I wonder how this will taste.” “What in the world caused it to do that?!”

Honing my skills has opened up that chem set in a manner of speaking since fresh fruit tastes much better than hydrochloric acid. Every market visit is like getting to sift through those bottles and see what their contents can do.

Whenever someone asks where an idea like these macarons comes from, my usual response is a shrug and something along the lines of “I just thought it would be cool so I tried it.” It’s a simplification of the torrent of memories and fun ideas I try to bring to life each week.

Thanks for reading! Stay hungry,


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