Well, I just couldn’t help myself. Despite the fact that I’m allergic to peanuts/nuts, I really wanted to try my hand at macarons. I asked Susan, who had just made these, if there was any possible substitute for the almonds required in making macarons. She even asked Helen, the macaron queen herself! But alas, the answer was as I feared – a macaron is of course not a macaron without almonds, hence the quotes around “Macarons” in my post title.
I pressed ahead anyway, as I always do with my allergy, and went searching for a suitable alternative. What I really wanted to try were soy nuts, but since the only ones I found were also processed in a facility that processes tree nuts (don’t ask me, I don’t get it either), that plan didn’t work out. Then, I had a different thought. Since I’ve had such a great experience with Sun Butter, I decided to give sunflower seeds a try. And while I’ve never had almonds so I can’t say whether these tasted anywhere close to real macarons, the sunflower seeds did add a nice, nutty flavor to mine. Topped off with a sweet brown sugar cream cheese filling, I was quite satisfied with the results.
- 2 oz. sunflower seeds
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 5 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/3 tsp real maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp meringue powder
Brown sugar cream cheese filling:
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp. maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. In your food processor, grind together the sunflower seeds and powdered sugar until you have a smooth powder.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until small peaks form. Then, add in the granulated sugar 1 Tbsp at a time. Beat until the mixture is firm. If you pick up the bowl and the mixture starts to slide out, you’re not done yet. Keep going until you can turn over the bowl and the mixture doesn’t budge.
Next, gently stir in half of the dry ingredients. Add in the maple syrup, merignue powder, and any food coloring you desire (I used a little bit of brown). Then, add in the other half of the dry ingredients.
Pour the batter into a pastry bag with a plain circle tip, about 1/2.” Pipe the batter on to the parchment paper in circles about 1″ in diameter, spaced at least 1″ apart. Rap the baking sheet on the counter a couple times to flatten the batter. Then, place an empty baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven and the “macarons” on a higher shelf. Bake for 14-16 minutes; let cool completely before removing them from the baking sheet.
To make the brown sugar cream cheese filling, cream the brown sugar and cream cheese together in a small bowl, and then add in the maple syrup.
Stick the filling in the freezer for a couple minutes to help the cream cheese firm up a bit.
Using a knife, spread some of the filling on one of the “macaron” pieces. Gently place another one on top to make a sandwich.