Pistachio Ice Cream Macarons were born when I made some super big macaron shells out of some extra batter, just for fun, and a friend said, “You know those would make awesome ice cream sandwiches.” I had never had an ice cream sandwich that was made out of a French Macaron before, and now I’m wondering why– because they are AWESOME. You can toast the pistachios before adding them, if you like, but they will lose a tiny bit of that vibrant green color. So– do we want a woman who is beautiful or a woman who can cook? You decide. 😉
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Pistachio Ice Cream Macarons
100 g. egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
50 g. white sugar
200 g. powdered sugar
110 g. almond flour
Pistachio Ice Cream
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 box (3.4 oz.) instant pistachio pudding
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Chopped Pistachios, toasted or not, optional
*Note: this ice cream is intended to be easy to make (and easy for kids to help with), rather than “gourmet.” You can adjust the sweetness level to suit your taste (start with 1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk, taste, and see what you think. The frozen version will taste just like the unfrozen base, so you can tweak it to your tastes before freezing. I found the ice cream a little sweet on its own, but with the macaron shell and pistachio outer crust, it was perfect). You can also feel free to substitute a store-bought pistachio ice cream if you don’t have an ice cream maker.
To make your macaron shells, start by whipping your room temperature egg whites, cream of tartar, and white sugar with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer until the whites reach stiff peak stage. Meanwhile, pulse your almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor until the mixture is well combined. Sift your almond flour/powdered sugar mixture through a sieve and throw away the pieces that are too large to pass through the sieve. When the whites have whipped into stiff peaks, fold the almond/sugar mixture into the whites gradually and carefully until they reach proper “macaronage.” Place 2-3 drops of gel food coloring into the batter and swirl gently before carefully pouring into a piping bag. Pipe meringue circles onto a silpat using a template, if desired, and slam the cookie sheets several times on the counter to dislodge air bubbles. Allow circles to dry for 20 minutes before baking at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven (move oven racks, if necessary). Do not open the oven until the 20 minutes are up, and use an oven thermometer for best results. When your macarons are done they should feel “firm on their feet.” If the macaron shells are soft or crack when gently touched, bake for 2 more minutes and test again until they are firm on their feet. After baking, remove entire silpat to cooling rack and allow shells to cool, completely, before removing them from the silpat.
To make ice cream, whisk together all ingredients except chopped pistachios in a bowl and freeze in your ice cream maker. Allow the ice cream to harden slightly in the freezer (a little harder than soft serve consistency) and sandwich between macaron shells. Roll finished sandwiches in chopped pistachio pieces and freeze until firm.
Now, in pictures!
“If anyone wants to know why three kids in one family made it to the big leagues they just had to know how we helped each other and how much we practiced back then. We did it every minute we could.” — Joe DiMaggio
Macarons are a tricky, bewitching little beast. They are kind of like the quintessential beautiful woman– absolutely mesmerizing to look at, but very hard to understand, at times. You can make macarons successfully 1,000 times, and then KAPOOF. Fail. You can do it the same way every time, even in the same batch, and have one tray turn out and one tray be ruined. You can ruin them by folding one turn too many, or one turn too few. You can change them completely by varying your oven even 10 degrees in one direction or the other.
Time after time after time you will try, throw them out in despair, and swear you are NEVEREVEREVEREVEREVER going to do this again. And then you do it again.
And before you realize it, you succeed. Because the true ingredient to success in these little buggers is persistence. Never giving up. Practicing again and again. I can tell you without qualm that I make much better macarons now than I did 5 years ago. I can also tell you that I make better macarons today because of the thousands of macarons I have ruined, destroyed, and ruined again as I practiced. So don’t give up. “MMM”– make more macarons. Slowly you will start to understand them– to be able to look at them, even before they are finished baking, and know if something is wrong and what it is. You will be a living, breathing macaron machine– able to read these little creatures and understand their language– tweaking as necessary to get the shells to turn out right, even when weather, temperature, and kitchen conditions change.
So don’t give up. You’ve got this. I believe in you. And as Joe DiMaggio said, practice makes all the difference.
If you are new to macaron making, check out my beginner post here.
For the rest of you, who are no doubt highly accomplished macaron mavens by now, we are whipping our egg whites, white sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl of our kitchenaid mixer. We have already sifted our powdered sugar/almond flour mixture into a glorious mound of ski-worthy snow.
Our egg whites have been whipped into beautiful curls that would make Crest jealous . . .
This step is the tricky one– the “macaronage.” Again, check out the beginner post if you are new to this. You want your batter to be almost the consistency of honey– a smooth, but thick flow. If your batter is overmixed then you will have shells that are flat as pancakes. If you undermix, then your macarons will have nipples.
Can we get the censors in here!!!!
Since the sandwiches are a little larger than the average macaron shell, I left some space in between them. Look! They are social distancing without my even telling them to. Good little shells. Slam the cookie sheets a few times on the counter to get out your quarantine frustration. Good shells. Good student. Good job.
While our macaron shells are baking, let’s do what everyone is waiting for and dreaming of.
No. Not taking home Ryan Reynolds.
Yes. I know you’re dreaming about it, but that’s not the correct answer.
Let’s make ice cream.
I deliberately made this ice cream a simple version because my kids are home, sick of quarantine, and needing something to do. All that you have to do for this ice cream is (1) stir, (2) push a button. See? I knew you’d find this deliciously easy.
Seriously, though. It’s easy peasy. I have (and adore) this ice cream machine from Cuisinart, but you can feel free to substitute a pistachio ice cream from the store (Blue Bell has a great pistachio almond ice cream) if you prefer. You can also just freeze the base, but it will be more icy and dense (more like a homemade pudding popcicle) than a light, airy ice cream that has had air churned in.
Just saying. You’ve got options. And a gal (or guy) needs options.
I forgot to mention– I added a few drops of green food coloring to make my ice cream nice and “pistachio-ey,” but you don’t have to do that.
Isn’t that ice cream gorgeous? Seriously. The ice cream maker is probably my favorite “non-essential” kitchen gadget that I have ever bought. Well– that and the waffle cone maker that I got to go with it. If you get a new dress then you need a new bag. It just makes sense. Get them both. You deserve it.
At this point your macaron shells are done, because you are an incredible multi-tasker who deserves an ICE CREAM SANDWICH FOR BREAKFAST. You’re welcome. Let the shells cool while I talk about ice cream some more, which happens to be one of my very favorite subjects.
I forgot to mention (darnit Ryan Reynolds, you distracted me!) that if you want to add pistachios into your ice cream, itself, wait until the ice cream is *almost* completely done churning, and then add them in. If you try to add the nuts in before the ice cream has churned and frozen a little bit, then they will grind against the sides and mess up the ice cream. Stir the nuts in at the end, if you want them in the ice cream itself. Personally I find it easier to roll the finished sandwiches in the chopped nuts, which also keeps the sandwiches from being so messy because you have a barrier on the edges to keep the ice cream from leaking out and touching everything when you stand them sideways in a freezer container.
Now let’s talk nuts.
Why are you looking at me when I say nuts? *hairy eyeball*
You can toast your pistachios for a few minutes if you like before chopping them. The flavor will be more intense, browned, and, well, “nutty,” but the little guys will lose some of that gorgeous green color. But then again, both your shells and ice cream are grinchy green, so maybe the color of the nuts doesn’t matter as much. I did not toast my pistachios because I knew I wanted them greener. But go your own way on that one.
I let my finished ice cream rest in the freezer for about 20 minutes before I made my sandwiches. When the ice cream is fresh out of the ice cream maker it is kind of the consistency of soft serve. You want your ice cream to be a wee bit more firm than soft serve, but not so hard that you crunch your shells trying to smoosh them together. Think soft playdoh. Soft enough to mold, but hard enough to hold a shape. That’s what you want.
Get a second spoon because you’re going to want to taste the ice cream to make sure it’s all right.
And then taste again.
One more time. You know. For scientific research purposes.
The ice cream isn’t going to be perfectly even, and here’s where the nuts come in. Roll your edges in chopped pistachios (either toasted or non-toasted), and then kind of smoosh the edges closer around the sandwich. The nuts will allow you to push in the ice cream without getting it all over yourself. They will also give a sturdy edge to stand on when you store these little guys in the freezer. It’s almost like putting gravel over a muddy road– they just kind of stabilize the gooey inside there.
You’re so smart. I love working with you.
Freeze the sandwiches for a few hours, or until the ice cream has hardened.
I love calling them “sandwiches.” Then you can technically say, “Yes I had a sandwich for lunch,” and no one will question it. “I’m hungry. Let’s grab a sandwich.” Or maybe, “I’m not super hungry. I had a small sandwich a few minutes ago.” It’s perfect.
The texture in these things is insane. You have the crunch of the nuts, the creamy gooey middle, and then the macaron shell, which is crisp and delicious. It’s like a texture/flavor bomb.
See what I did there? *nerdy laugh*
You can store these “sandwiches” (hehe) for several weeks in the freezer. Keep in mind that your macaron shells will get a little softer the longer they live in the freezer, but they will still taste good– they just won’t be quite as crisp as they will be if you eat the sandwiches within a few days.
This means that you should eat MORE ICE CREAM TODAY. You’re making a sacrifice for your macarons. You’re such a martyr. A smart, sandwich eating martyr.
Plus nuts are protein. And protein is good for you. And isn’t “eating your greens” a thing?
Exactly. We understand each other.
I think it’s lunchtime.
Maybe we should “have a sandwich.” And of course, we need to eat our greens too. hehe.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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