My one & macaron-ly

Speculoos Macarons

If you’ve never tried cookie butter, you haven’t lived.

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Cookie butter is an ingenious foodvention made by pulverizing those tasty speculoos cookies that you sometimes get on airplanes into a creamy, dreamy spread.  Great idea, right?  You can smear it on toast or any other place you would put a healthy smudge of peanut butter (so, yeah, basically anywhere).
The speculoos cookies that form the basis of cookie butter are a Belgian spiced cookie that, for some, is an acquired taste, but, for me, it has always been a favorite.  Though I’m not typically a fan of crispy cookies, these perfectly spiced cookies are divine when dunked in a hot mug of coffee of breakfast tea — really gets my European blood flowing.

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Though I love cookie butter so much that I basically eat it right off the spoon, that’s actually a problem…I just eat it off the spoon!  I wanted to come up with a slightly more sophisticated vehicle for cookie butter.  Combining this desire with the the urge I’ve been recently experiencing to try baking macarons, I developed these Speculoos Macarons and couldn’t be happier!

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Most French chefs would probably laugh at me and call me a fille stupide if I claimed that the below recipe is actually a macaron, but, these cookies are definitely inspired by the traditional macaron technique — the whipping of the egg whites, the proportions, the shaping, etc.  I did, however, take the liberté of substituting the almond flour – the conventional macaron base – with finely ground speculoos cookies.  I also decreased the amount of added sugar, since the cookies themselves already contain sugar.  I had a hunch that this substitution would work, since ground almonds actually have a very similar consistency to ground shortbread cookies.

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Though the texture of these Speculoos Macarons is not identical to that of a French macaron (mine do not get that same super crisp outside and super airy inside), the flavor and texture that they do get is wonderful!
P.S.  One of my goals for this Christmas is the acquisition of an actual pastry bag — I feel bad driving the Ziplock-Bag Tree into extinction — plus, I have a feeling I can achieve more uniform cookies with the right equipment.

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So, you’re probably wondering where the cookie butter fits into all of this.  Smack-dab in the middle! French macarons usually have some sort of chocolate ganache or fruit curd sandwiched between them; mine have cookie butter.  Between the ground speculoos cookies within the macarons and the creamy cookie butter between them, the result is a delicious-yet-somewhat-cannibalistic example of the ultimate cookieception — it’s a cookie within a cookie within my tummy!

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Speculoos Macarons

310 grams ground speculoos cookies (31x 10g cookies)
3 egg whites (100 grams), room temp
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Speculoos cookie butter (Biscoff makes the “real” stuff, but most grocery stores make their own generic version, which works just as well)
Use a food processor or other pulverizing device to grind the cookies into the finest powder that you can possibly achieve.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the balloon attachment to beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy, ~2 minutes [NOTE:  You can certainly use an handheld electric mixer to whip your egg whites, just know that you will need longer beating times to achieve the desired peaks!].  With mixer on medium-high, add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, then beat until you have soft, glossy peaks, ~5 minutes [to check your “peaks,”  stop the mixer, and lift up the arm to see the peak – or lackthereof – that remains when the whisk exits the mixture].  Use a rubber spatula to quickly fold the cookie crumbs into the whipped egg whites, using no more than 20 or so swift strokes.  Transfer the batter into a large pastry bag, fitted with a large round tip (or a gallon-sized zip-top bag with a large portion of one corner snipped off).
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.  Pipe ~1 1/2″ diameter circles onto prepped baking sheet — these cookies will puff up as they bake, but you don’t need to allow for much spreading.  Let macarons dry out on baking sheet for 1 hour prior to baking.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees farneheit.  Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes, until tops and edges appear set and no longer look moist.  Let cookies sit on hot sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the baking mat or parchment paper to a cooling rack to cool completely, being careful not to lose any cookies during the transfer!
Peel cooled cookies off of the baking mat, and spread an 1/8″-thick layer of cookie butter on the bottom of one cookie, sandwiching another cookie (bottom sides together) on top of the spread.  Repeat with remaining cookies [Note:  if you baked an odd number of cookies, now is the time to eat the last one…for quality control purposes]

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