Forget about all those macarons with fancy ingredients like rosewater and lavender — this grade school favorite is a study in classic flavors. Inspired by the Concord grapes Britt-Marie Culey buys at the Shaker Square Farmers Market, the Coquette Patisserie co-owner reinvents the iconic sandwich duo as a light-as-air treat ($2.25) that we’d be happy to find in our lunchbox any day. “Texturally, it’s like biting into a classic white bread peanut butter and jelly,” she says. “It’s chewy, then you have a creaminess that emulates the sandwich.” Culey shares her notes on the French dessert with us. 11607 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-331-2841, coquettepatisserie.com
1. Peanut Butter Italian Buttercream: To create the inside filling, Culey starts with whipped egg whites and sugar that’s been cooked on the stove until it takes on a syrupy texture. She then tempers the sugar into the egg whites. “You end up with this really stiff meringue, which is beautiful and lovely to work with,” she says. Culey then mixes in softened butter before blending in house-made peanut butter.
2. Concord Grape Italian Buttercream: To break down the grapes, Culey cooks them with a splash of water to prevent burning. “You’re cooking off all of that water content so that the grape pulp is really concentrated.” Once the grapes pop open, which can take up to two hours, Culey strains the seeds and skins. She purees the grapes and adds it to a portion of the buttercream.
3. Macaron Shells: Similar to the buttercream, the shells are created by combining whipped egg whites and a cooked, syrupy sugar. “You make a nice fluffy white meringue then you fold in almond flour, powdered sugar and a little bit of purple food coloring,” she says. They are shaped into little rounds, baked and cooled before adding the filling.
4. Honey-Roasted Peanuts: After assembling the macarons with the peanut butter Italian buttercream in the center and the Concord grape Italian buttercream piped around the outside of the shells, Culey sprinkles chopped honey-roasted peanuts onto the finished product. “The nuttiness from the macaron shells blends into the peanut butter flavor,” says Culey. “I love that added salty and sweetness. Who doesn’t?”