Send a delicate burst of sunshine to someone special with these sweet lemon cookies. Perfect treat for afternoon tea!
Macarons are very delicate. For accuracy in ingredients, we recommend using the metric measurements.
Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line 2 baking sheets with grid parchment paper. Fit piping bag with #12 piping tip; set aside.
In food processor, pulse almond flour and sugar until fine. Sift through fine mesh sieve into large bowl. Using a spatula, mix in egg whites to create a thick batter; set aside.
In a stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, add egg whites, food coloring and lemon extract; set aside.
Sugar syrup: In small deep saucepan, equipped with a candy thermometer, bring sugar and water to 226°F (108°C). At this point, begin whisking meringue on medium-high speed, creating soft peaks. Once sugar reaches soft ball mark, 240 °F (118°C) and egg whites have soft peaks, with mixer running on low speed, slowly and carefully pour syrup into the egg whites. Increase speed to medium high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes.
Using a spatula, gently mix in one-quarter of the meringue into the batter to loosen it. Gently fold in remaining meringue, one-third at a time, until blended. (Tip: batter should fall in a ribbon when spatula is lifted.)
Pour batter into prepared piping bag. Pipe meringue into 1½-inch (4 cm) rounds, onto prepared baking sheet, alternating on the parchment paper grid. Gently tap sheets against counter to release air bubbles. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes (piped macarons should develop a dry shell layer).
Place 1 baking sheet on the centre rack of oven. Leave oven door open using the handle of a wooden spoon. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove wooden spoon, close oven door and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until puffed, smooth and do not jiggle. If slightly jiggly, bake for another 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool completely on pan on wire rack. Repeat with remaining baking pan.
Butter Cream Custard: In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar and corn starch until creamy, about 2 minutes. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, warm milk, vanilla and lemon zest, about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk warm milk into egg yolks. Return mixture to saucepan; whisk in lemon juice. Cook and whisk until custard is thick and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into small bowl, remove and discard lemon zest. Cover top of custard with plastic wrap; refrigerate to cool completely.
In a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in chilled custard, ¼ cup (60 mL) at a time, scraping sides of bowl with each addition. Whip until fluffy and completely smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Place into piping bag fitted with a round #2A tip. Pipe custard cream onto one cookie and place another cookie on top.
Filled cookies can be stored in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Unfilled cookies can be stored in an airtight container, layered with parchment paper and refrigerated for up to 3 weeks or frozen for up to 4 months. Butter cream custard can be sealed and refrigerated up to 1 day.
Tip: In the mood for raspberry? Change the flavour by adding raspberry extract and jam to the custard buttercream!