Cocoa Macarons With Espresso Buttercream

Cocoa macarons with espresso buttercream

So even though Jen from Beantown Baker and I got together almost a month ago to bake together, we only told you about one of the recipes we made so far -- the chocolate hazelnut baklava. The other recipes we attempted together were cocoa macarons with espresso buttercream and hazelnut macarons with chocolate ganache. We had a great time whipping these up, piping them, cheering when they came out right, filling them, and sampling them.

Cocoa macarons with espresso buttercream

Joanne Chang (chef/owner of Flour Bakery + Cafe) created these recipes for a recent issue of Fine Cooking. You can find the original recipes as well as a step-by-step video of Joanne making the macarons over on Fine Cooking's website.

Joanne shared some macaron-making tips along with her recipes. Here are the ones I found most important:
  • Use a scale. If there's one thing I've learned when baking, it's that scale measure is much more accurate.
  • Use a flat, clean cookie sheet.
  • Separate the egg whites from the yolks, and store them in the fridge for at least a day before trying this recipe. (I did this 3 days in advance.)
  • Make sure the eggs are at room temp when you start this recipe. 
  • Whip your egg whites until they are stiff and glossy. Do not underwhip.
  • Touch the cookies before baking them, and make sure they are no longer tacky.

I've tried making macarons twice before, and both times, I failed. When I saw Joanne at the Mother's Day in March event earlier this month, we talked about these recipes, what worked about them and what we might have struggled with, and I thanked her for these foolproof tricks and recipes that actually worked for me! Even though I'm not working at the bakery anymore, I appreciate that I still have opportunities to learn from Joanne and that she cares so much about everyone having success with her recipes.

If you've struggled with macarons in the past or if you've never attempted them before, I hope you'll try these recipes. The cookies themselves are not difficult to make. You just have to make sure to carefully follow all the steps... and whip those egg whites well!

Photo courtesy of Beantown Baker

Cocoa macarons with espresso buttercream

Cocoa Macarons (adapted from Joanne Chang and Fine Cooking)
(Printable version)


1 cup (100 grams) almond flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) confectioners' sugar
4 egg whites (120 grams), at room temperature and at least a day old
4 tablespoons (50 grams) sugar


Line a clean, flat cookie sheet with a Silpat, and set it aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place rack in middle of oven.

Sift together almond flour, cocoa powder, and confectioners' sugar, and set aside.

In a spotlessly clean stand mixer bowl, whip whites on medium speed until they are foamy and you can start to see the tines of the whip leaving a trail in the whites, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon of sugar, and continue to whip for about 30 to 45 seconds. Add another tablespoon of sugar, and whip again for another 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat with the third and fourth tablespoons of sugar.

When all of the sugar is mixed in, whip the whites for about another minute or two until they become glossy and shiny. Remove from mixer.

Fold in about half of the almond flour/confectioners' sugar mix; when most of it is folded in, add the rest of the dry mix. Fold until mixture is smooth and a little stiff -- it should drop smoothly off of the spatula.

Using a piping bag and a small round tip, pipe out small rounds of macaron batter about 1 inch in diameter. Try to pipe straight down and quickly pull away when you are done to minimize peaks. Pipe until you’ve used up all the batter.

Photo courtesy of Beantown Baker

Rap the cookie sheet several times to flatten out the mounds and to pop any bubbles that might be in the batter.

Photo courtesy of Beantown Baker

Let cookies rest for about 15 to 30 minutes, until they are no longer tacky to the touch.

Place in oven, and immediately turn oven down to 300 degrees. After 8 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet. Depending upon your oven, cookies take from 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool.

Remove cookies from Silpat, and fill with espresso buttercream (recipe below).

Cocoa macarons with espresso buttercream

Cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Espresso Buttercream (adapted from Joanne Chang and Fine Cooking)


3 egg whites (90 grams)
¾ cup (150 grams) sugar
12 tablespoons (168 grams, 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 6-8 pieces
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


In a small metal or other heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg whites to make a thick slurry.

Place the bowl over (not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat, whisking occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture is hot to the touch. It will thin out a bit as the sugar melts.

Remove from the heat and scrape the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Whip on medium-high speed for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture becomes a light, white meringue and is cool to the touch.

Turn down the speed to low, and add the chunks of butter one at a time. The mixture will look curdled at first, but don’t worry. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 to 4 minutes until the buttercream is smooth. Add the espresso and salt.

Buttercream may be used immediately or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Remove from fridge about 3 to 4 hours before using, and using the paddle attachment of the mixer, paddle the buttercream until it becomes smooth enough to use.

Come back tomorrow for the hazelnut macaron recipe!

Have you ever tried making macarons before?