Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vegan cayenne macarons with chocolate ganache

vegan cayenne macarons with chocolate ganache

It’s high time I posted another spiced-up chocolate recipe on here. The devilish combination of chile and chocolate has intrigued me since I took my first sip of so-called “Aztec hot chocolate”, as I wrote in my blog post about a spiced chocolate coconut layer cake. It’s an unexpected combination, at least if you’re a spice-fearing gringo like me and the fam up her in Nor’east USA (because New England’s regional cuisine ain’t exactly spicy). But it’s magical. Even the tiniest pinch of ground chile can add a whole new realm of flavor to whatever chocolate dish you’re preparing, from hot cocoa to chocolate cake.

So it was natural that, when I was contemplating what macaron flavor to make for a local cookie bake-off, I chose cayenne pepper and chocolate. I was intrigued by the idea of a chile-spiced macaron when I first saw a recipe on Sprinkle Bakes. Could adding a teaspoon of ground cayenne to an almond-based cookie work?


It appears so.

And holy shit, am I glad. Baking these up late at night last Sunday, I would probably cry if I had another macaron batch fail on me, after (unsuccessfully) experimenting with that new chickpea juice sorry, aquafaba bullshit.

Yeah. Guess who’s not hopping on that trend train after all?

I’ll admit—it wasn’t all bad. I may have wasted hours fiddling with that beany-smelling water, trying to reduce it and whip it into something resembling a meringue, but at least I got several cups of hummus out of the whole thing.

In the meantime, I’ll keep making my macarons with Ener-g egg replacer. 

Mostly because IT ACTUALLY WORKS.

And you know what? Using a storebought mix of spooky chemicals and proteins combined in a powdery cocktail meant to resemble eggs might be cheating; but it’s reliable and easy, and moreover, the stuff keeps well in the pantry until you want to make another meringue-based confection.

Basically: to each their own. And I have my cayenne macarons.

Anyway. I’m done blabbing. Here’s the recipe.


Vegan cayenne macarons with chocolate ganache

Adapted from Vegan Desserts by Hannah Kaminsky


Cayenne macarons

24 grams • Ener-g egg replacer • 3 tablespoons

120 grams • water • ½ cup

50 grams • granulated sugar • ¼ cup

210 grams • powdered sugar • 1 ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons

128 grams • almond flour • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons

2 grams • ground cayenne • 1 teaspoon


224 grams • dark chocolate, finely chopped • 8 ounces

180 grams • coconut milk, full-fat • ¾ cup

28 grams • coconut oil • 2 tablespoons

44 grams • light corn syrup • 2 tablespoons

Pinch ground cayenne


In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat Ener-g mixture until a fairly tight foam has been formed, about 3 minutes. Slowly start sprinkling in granulated sugar, a spoonful at a time. Beat for another 4 to 5 minutes or until a fluffy, glossy meringue has been achieved.

Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar, almond flour, and ground cayenne in a food processor. Pulse a few times until all lumps have been broken up and mixture is fully incorporated. Sift the mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl.

One scoop at a time, fold Ener-g meringue mixture into almond flour mixture. Keep folding until the batter forms very thick, very slowly dissolving ribbons.

Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip. Pipe 1 to 2-inch circles of batter on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 1 inch apart each. Use a finger dipped in water to tap down any peaks on the batter.

Let these shells sit at room temperature for about 1 ½ hours. They will develop a “skin” which will help the macarons not burst into a big mess of sadness in the oven.

Finally—preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake macarons for about 9 to 11 minutes, or until the tops are dry and they have begun to form the so-called “feet” characteristic of macarons. Let cool completely on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack. In the meantime, make the ganache.

Start by placing chocolate in a medium, heatproof bowl. Whisk together coconut milk, coconut oil, and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and whisk until butter is melted and the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour mixture into chocolate. Let stand for a minute, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in cayenne. Let cool completely at room temperature before using.

Fill macarons with chocolate ganache to finish. If desired, brush the tops of each macaron sandwich with more cayenne pepper. Munch. Store leftover macarons in the freezer.


Going for the artsy, planetary look here.

So how does the cayenne work? Pretty well. You do need quite a bit of the stuff in the cookie base so the flavor shines through, but it’s not as overwhelming as the sheer amount might suggest. Adding a little spice to the ganache is optional but highly recommended. And no matter how you spice it, the textural contrast of the rich ganache and the ephemeral (is that the right word? ephemeral?) cookie is perfect.

While you’re here, check out these other vegan cookies.

Chewy Anzac cookies. A homemade version of the Australian classic.

Mint chocolate chip macarons. More vegan macaronage. 


  1. Spicy chocolate is one of my favorite ways to enjoy chocolate. This is right up my alley. Plus, I had no idea you could even make a vegan macaron. That's awesome!

    1. It really is amazing, isn't it? There's so much you can do with modern food technology these day! :)

  2. Yes! All about spicy chocolate! You always do such fun flavor stuff <3

    1. Thanks so much! I just love playing with different flavors in my desserts :)

  3. Mmmm delicious! I have yet to make my own macaroons, gotta get my sh*t together and just do it :D These look wonderful with that mean ganache as a filling :D xx

    1. You should totally try them! They are not as hard as they are made out to be--even if they don't come out perfectly :)