I absolutely love chai spiced tea, its probably my favorite kind of tea ever! And I love the combination of chai spices and vanilla that come together in these macarons to deliver a sweet, spiced treat.
I experimented this time with infusing the aquafaba to give a richer flavor and it worked really well! I'm excited thinking of the prospect of other infused macarons! Lavender, basil, teas - the possibilities are endless!
Watch my step-by-step vegan macaron video here!
*NOTE: I used slightly less ground almonds this time to see if I could achieve a smoother macaron shell, this did work really well - however if you have difficulty getting your meringue as thick as marshmallow fluff I would still use 1 and 1/4C ground almonds, or else the batter won't be thick enough for the macarons to hold their shape.
Vanilla Chai Macarons with Vanilla Bean Cream
Recipe by Charis Mitchell
For the macarons
3/4C aquafaba (180ml)
1 chai tea bag
1/2C sugar (100g)
1/4tsp brown food coloring (optional)
1C ground almonds* (100g)
1/2C powdered sugar (65g)
1 chai tea bag, contents finely ground
For the vanilla bean cream
2Tbsp vegan butter spread
3C powdered sugar (375g)
4-6Tbsp almond or soy milk
Seeds scraped from 1/2 a vanilla pod
First make the macaron shells
Pour the aquafaba into a small saucepan, add the chai tea bag and allow to simmer over a medium heat until it has reduced to 1/3C (80ml) and the mixture is brown from the tea infusion. This usually takes around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the tea bag and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Pour the reduced chickpea water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment and whisk on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Add half the sugar and whisk until well combined, then add the remaining sugar and the brown coloring (if using) and whisk at high speed until the meringue is glossy and thick - it should be the consistency of thick marshmallow fluff. Set aside while you prepare your dry ingredients.
Pulse the ground almonds a few times in a food processor until very finely ground. Add the powdered sugar and the chai tea and process for a few seconds, until well combined.
Sieve the almond-sugar mixture and discard any large pieces. Pour half the dry mixture into the meringue and use a spatula to mix the ingredients together, pressing the dry ingredients down into the meringue until everything is incorporated well. Add the remaining dry mixture and fold into the batter.
Now it's time for a crucial step - the macaronnage. Firmly press the batter against the side of the bowl and then scoop it up and turn over. Repeat this process a further 19 times. After macaronnage the batter should be thick and glossy but should fall slowly off the spatula like a ribbon and then settle/spread slightly in the bowl. Spoon the batter into a large piping bag and seal at the top.
Line two large baking trays with grease proof paper and carefully pipe 15 circles onto each, in one smooth motion holding the piping bag directly above the center of each macaron. Drop the baking sheets twice onto a hard surface (this helps to get rid of air bubbles and develops the 'pied')
Leave the macarons to dry at room temperature for 2-3 hours. Once ready to bake, place the first baking tray into a COLD oven, and then immediately set the oven to just under 100 degrees Celcius. Bake the macarons for 20 minutes (some ovens you may have to bake for longer but don't bake for more than 30 minutes) you can check that the macarons are sufficiently baked by gently lifting up a corner of the grease proof paper and lightly peeling it from a macaron shell. If it comes off easily and the macaron doesn't stick then you can turn your oven off!
Turn off your oven and leave the macarons inside with the door shut for 15 minutes, then open the door and leave them to cool inside the oven for a further 15 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on the baking tray at room temperature.
Once the oven is COMPLETELY COLD you can repeat the baking process with your second tray of macaron shells. Once the shells are cooled, gently peel them from the baking paper and place them on a tray or rack, ready to fill.
Make the cream
Cream together the butter spread, vanilla seeds and half the powdered sugar until smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and as much milk as needed until the cream is thick but a nice soft consistency. Spoon the cream into a piping bag and seal at the top.
Pipe a generous blob of cream onto each base macaron shell and then sandwich together with the top shells.
Place the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours or overnight before eating (this allows the flavors to develop and gives the desired chew)
Macarons keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for months.