Green Tea Macarons with Red Bean Buttercream

Ah yes…yet another French macaron recipe this week!  Today it’s Green Tea French Macarons with a rich Red Bean Buttercream.  Traditional Asian flavors like grassy matcha green tea and smooth azuki red bean paste join with classic French technique here to make for one very unique and delicious macaron!

The inspiration for these macarons comes from my love of Chinese and Japanese rice cakes called mochi, which very commonly pair green tea with sweet red beans.  This is a flavor combination that has stood the test of time in the Asian dessert realm, and with this recipe I’m hoping to take these ingredients to the next level of sophistication.

I’ve seen other recipes use pure red bean paste as a filling for similarly flavored macarons, but if you’ve ever tasted red bean paste before you probably know that it is rather dense, heavy, and a bit cloying.  Since we are making this filling to pair with delicate, airy French macaron shells that are already sweet, I thought that lightening the paste into a buttercream might make for a more harmonious marriage of flavors and textures.

A hot cup of Taiwanese oolong or Japanese sencha will make this tea break complete!

I’m taking these pictures from my parent’s house today, so I’m lucky enough to use a dish from my mom’s cherished Chinese China set.  Purchased circa 1980, the set holds special meaning for me, as valuable and timeless as a piece of Wedgwood or Royal Doulton.

The better quality matcha powder you use here, the more brilliantly green your macarons will be.  If you like a more pronounced green tea taste, add up to a tablespoon more when making the macaron shells.  Be very careful not to overcook the shells as this will cause their color to become dull and brownish.

Red bean paste is found in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean markets on shelves (not refrigerated) in a standard tin can or even in sealed bags.  Make sure to look for the red beans that are already processed into a smooth paste, not the red beans still left whole (think of creamed corn vs. whole kernel corn).  Both of these varieties of red beans are available, but the paste is what we want here.  If all else fails and it’s unclear from the writing, just look at the picture on the label.  For Japanese brands, go for the azuki beans called koshian.

If you are anticipating warm weather or want a stiffer filling, add up to ¼ cup of cornstarch to the buttercream.  I only mention this because just last week in Los Angeles it hit 92 degrees in mid-November.  As a baker you never want to invest time, effort, and money into making macarons only to have the weather ruin your beautiful creations.  If you think that you need to, mix in the cornstarch to the filling one tablespoon at a time until you reach a desired piping consistency.

I am using the Italian Meringue Method for my macarons here, but feel free to use the French Meringue Method if that works out better for you.

Green Tea Macarons with Red Bean Buttercream

Makes about 35 sandwiched 1.5″ macarons.  Recipe is easily halved using a hand-held mixer instead of a stand mixer.

Ingredients:

{Green Tea Macaron Shells}

{Red Bean Buttercream}

1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

6 Tbsp smooth red bean paste

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup cornstarch (optional)

Directions:

1.)  Make macaron shells.  Feel free to add another tablespoon of green tea matcha powder if you like a stronger green tea flavor.

2.)  Make Red Bean Buttercream Filling.  In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar together to a fluffy consistency.  Mix in red bean paste and vanilla extract.  If using cornstarch, gradually add one tablespoon at a time until a desired consistency is achieved.

3.)  Pair macaron shells together based on size and shape, then fill one cookie of each pair with a dollop of buttercream using a 1/2 inch pastry tip and pastry bag.  Sandwich top and bottom cookies together to create a finished macaron and enjoy!

And for the passionate and inspired French macaron makers out there, please check out my other posts on macaron baking tips, macaron towers, and macaron pops!

7 thoughts on “Green Tea Macarons with Red Bean Buttercream

  1. Your macarons are absolutely perfect…Just beautiful. 🙂

    I love the combination of flavors, and I have to share this with my daughter’s friend. We have been challenging him to come up with different flavors, and this one is right up his alley!! Usually when I share a recipe with him, I get to be a taste tester within a couple of days!! There is a method to my madness!! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Halloween Macarons | landeelu.com

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