Most of my friends and family know I’m a baker. Whenever anyone has a random ingredient they don’t want any more, it tends to end up in my pantry. I absolutely love this because it’s like I’m living in my own baker version of Chopped. I love the challenge of figuring out how to use an unusual ingredient. One of my family members gave me a large jar of peanut butter protein powder after trying and disliking keto, so I’ve been playing with ways to use it. My go-to is a peanut butter/chocolate/banana smoothie with a frozen banana, a tablespoon of cocoa powder, two tablespoons of the peanut butter powder, and a splash of whatever milk I have on hand. I decided to branch out from this, though, and try using the peanut butter powder to make peanut butter and jelly macarons.
Making macarons sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. The most important elements are to whip your egg whites to right around the firm peaks phase (see the photo below). I usually stop just before a fully stiff peak because I’ve found that reduces the likelihood my macarons will have little tails on top from piping them out. You also need to let them sit on the counter for a while before baking them. This helps them develop the shiny skin. If you watch The Great British Baking Show, you always hear Paul Hollywood being picky about macarons that don’t have a proper shine.
Macarons are one of my favorite desserts to make for friends who are gluten-free because they are naturally gluten-free. It makes my friends really happy to have something delicious that’s not a gluten-free facsimile of something that normally has flour in it. Especially as a home baker, I find it’s easier to serve recipes that are designed to exclude flour rather than try to produce a good gluten-free version with subs. And once you’ve made them a few times, macarons are actually pretty easy.
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Peanut Butter and Jelly Macarons
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup almond flour or almond meal
- 1/4 cup peanut butter protein powder
- 3 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- Jelly or jam (I used strawberry preserves)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats (I use silicon mats)
- Combine the powdered sugar, almond flour, and peanut butter powder in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend to work out any lumps in the almond flour and to grind to a fine powder. (You can skip this step if you don't have a food processor. I didn't have one for a long time and my macarons still tasted good, they just didn't look as pretty)
- Place the egg whites in a large bowl and beat until they start to form foamy bubbles (about 30 seconds). Add the cream of tartar and beat another 30 seconds to mix.
- Add the sugar to the egg whites, one tablespoon at a time, beating for about 30 seconds after each addition to help the sugar dissolve.
- Continue beating the egg whites until just about stiff peaks stage.
- Sift the powdered sugar mixture over the egg whites (Lazy cook tip-I often skip this step and the macarons are fine to me, they just don't come out as pretty). Then gently fold the sugar mixture into the egg whites with a spatula. Be really careful here not to knock out the air you whipped into the egg whites. Whenever I'm folding dry ingredients into wet ones I hear Paul Hollywood's voice mimicking Mary Berry on GBBO's Masterclass: "Around the outside, then cut through the middle!"
- Fill a piping bag with a wide tip with the macaron batter, then pipe quarter-sized rounds onto the prepared baking sheets. If your macarons have little tails from the piping, wet your fingertip with water and gently press them back into the cookie.
- Drop each pan on the counter 2-3 times from a few inches above the surface of the counter. This helps knock back any large air bubbles and creates the "foot"-the puffy bit you see on the edge of the inside of each cookie. Leave the macarons on the counter for half an hour to allow the cookies to develop the skin which will produce a shiny finish once baked.
- While the cookies are resting, preheat the oven to 350°F/325°F convection.
- Once the cookies have rested for thirty minutes, put them in the oven and bake for 6 minutes. Then rotate the pans and cook for another 6-7 minutes until just barely starting to brown.
- Remove the macarons from the oven and allow to cool for about five minutes on the pan, then transfer to a wire cooling rack or parchment paper laid out on the counter to finish cooling.
- Once the macarons are fully cool, sandwich two cookies together with jelly or jam.