black sesame macarons with nut butter filling recipe
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • FOR THE MACARON SHELLS: 120 grams black sesame seeds
  • 230 grams powdered sugar, corn-starch free if possible
  • 4 large egg whites, aged at least 2 days (about 120 g)
  • a pinch of cream of tartar (optional -- this can help stabilize the egg whites but is not necessary)
  • 72 grams granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • FOR THE NUT BUTTER FILLING (I used peanut butter and sunflower seed butter):
  • ½ cup smooth unsweetened peanut butter or unsweetened sunflower seed butter
  • scant ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Prepare your parchment paper macaron templates and line baking sheet. (You may draw circles on the parchment paper, or use a paper with circles drawn on it underneath the diaphanous parchment, removing the template before baking.)
  2. Pulse a few spoonfuls each of the powdered sugar and black sesame seeds in a spice grinder to form a fine powder. In a medium mixing bowl, combine mixture and sift 2 to 3 times. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire-whip attachment, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar (if using) on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar, cream of tartar (if using), and the salt. Once all sugar is incorporated, scrape down sides of bowl, and increase speed to high, whisking until stiff, firm, glossy peaks form. To check this, take your whisk attachment off and flip it over. Are the whites holding up? Or do they bend a little? Bending means the egg whites are not stiff enough. Scrape the bottom of the bowl also, as those egg whites may need more beating.
  4. Sift the ground sesame seed mixture ⅓ at a time over the egg-white mixture, and fold using a large silicon spatula until mixture is smooth and shiny. The first addition is usually the hardest. Fold the mixture carefully: don't smash it. Lift!
  5. Once the seed/sugar mixture is incorporated, check to see the batter is nicely firm and drips slowly from the spatula (Remember my notes? Like lava, slow, controlled, you get the idea.)
  6. Transfer batter to two pastry bags fitting with a ½-inch plain, round tip (#12), and pipe rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets (your templates may be ¾-inch rounds, 1-1/3-inch rounds, even an 8-inch pan for a crazy macaron cake!). Don't put the macarons too close together because they will stick together when baking. Need some lessons on piping? You Tube has tons of them. The trick is to be gentle and consistent, without twirling the piping tip around like you are decorating a cake - NO! Don't drink caffeine beforehand; you don't want to be jittery. Think of it like the archers in the Olympics. Aim, focus, gentle, and release! (Videos really are better than my description). If you have some minor peaks, you can gently rub them down with a lightly damp fingertip.
  7. When piping is completed for one sheet, rap it hard on the counter to release trapped air, then turn the pan 90 degrees and do it again. This is also important to help form the pied, or the foot, of the macaron.
  8. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F, racks positioned in the middle. Let pans stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before baking. Macarons are ready to bake when they no longer stick to a finger when lightly touched.
  9. Remember to stack your baking sheet on an empty baking sheet and remove the templates from underneath the parchment (if using). Bake one sheet at time (may do two sheets if they fit in the oven), rotating pan halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm. This is the trick: check at 7 minutes and rotate pan. If there is browning (Ahhhh! Nooooo!), then turn down the oven to 275 degrees F. Check the macarons at 12 minutes: touching them gently with a fingertip should give no wiggle and they're done. If a wiggle, put them back in the oven for 2 minutes and check again.
  10. Let macarons cool on baking sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, and transfer to wire rack to cool completely before filling.
  11. MAKE THE FILLING: Cream the peanut butter (or sunflower seed butter), powdered sugar, butter, and salt together in a stand mixer. Add more powdered sugar, if you like more sweetness. I felt a scant ¾ cup of powdered sugar was very sweet, but I tend to like things less sweet.
  12. ASSEMBLY: Spoon or pipe filling onto one shell, and close the macaron with a matched-size shell.
  13. After filling, let the cookies age for two days in the fridge. The ageing process in the fridge actually helps deepen the flavors and soften the cookie. These freeze well after ageing, if wrapped. Before serving, allow to come to room temperature while still wrapped to avoid condensation on the cookies.
Recipe by story of a kitchen at