‘London Fog’ Macarons: Earl Grey Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream
Jan 12, 2022
When you really want to impress people, make them macarons. That’s it, that’s the advice. If you want to blow their minds, then infuse those perfect little melt-in-your-mouth almond meringue cookies with some Earl Grey tea and fill each sandwich with a bold, colorful buttercream. These London Fog macarons are a truly tasty treat!
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What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for these London Fog macarons at your grocery store:
- Pantry: Almond flour, Powdered sugar, Sugar, Earl Grey tea, Vanilla bean paste, Gel food coloring
- Fridge: Egg whites, Heavy cream
- Equipment: Stand mixer, Mesh strainer, Parchment paper or Silicone baking mat, Flexible spatula, Whisk, Saucepan, Thermometer, Piping bag, Flat cookie sheets, Kitchen scale
The Secrets to Perfect Macarons
Making these delectable cookies takes a lot of attention to detail, plenty of patience, and a good amount of manual labor. And sometimes, all that work results in macarons that didn’t quite work out, thanks to a small upset in the balance of the universe. But when they do work, oh man, these sweet treats are the queen of desserts.
A good base macaron recipe is totally necessary, and I got mine from Dorie Greenspan, so you know it’s good. I go into a ton of detail on what to look out for and some awesome tips and tricks in my recipe for Buttercream and Plum Jam French Macarons, but here are the main things you need to remember:
- Weigh and sift your almond flour and powdered sugar. Listen, I’m a lazy baker, but when I am making macarons, this is a step that is just not to be skipped. One small lump or a slight mis-measurement, and we’re talking flat or frumpy macs. No one wants that.
- Keep stirring until that batter flows like lava. I mean it, a nice smooth ribbon of batter that falls off your spatula in a steady stream, that’s what we’re looking for. You don’t want it breaking apart or falling off in chunks. That means you haven’t stirred it enough yet. Are you tired? If not, you probably need to keep stirring.
- You have to wait before you bake them. Those few precious minutes are super important. Letting the piped macarons sit on the pan is a test in patience. But each moment, that light, lovely crust is forming on top. That’s what gives you the perfectly smooth domes, and the scraggly feet on your macarons. Worth the wait.
- The chilling isn’t optional (sort of). Be sure to let your macarons set up in fridge for plenty of time before serving them. But, I won’t tell anyone if you sneak a few before they are fully ready. One broke? Oops, sounds like a snack to me.
Got all that? Then you are ready to make some macarons!
Let’s Make London Fog Macarons
So what makes these babies special? It’s the Earl Grey tea that’s both infused and mixed into the macaron batter. That gives these cookies a little something extra. Combine it with a simple vanilla buttercream, and you’ve got yourself a coffee shop fave, in the form of a cookie. Dreams do come true, my friends.
We’ll be adding the tea in two different parts of the recipe. First, you’ll essentially be brewing two of the tea bags with some very-near-boiling water. This water will later be used to make a hot sugary syrup that’s added into the meringue part of the macarons.
Since there isn’t a ton of liquid in a macaron recipe overall, a lot of the flavor here comes from how long you allow the tea to steep in the water. I suggest doing this as the very first step of the process, so there’s plenty of time to pull out all that zingy bergamot goodness.
The second place we’re adding tea is right into the dry ingredients. Carefully open up the tea bag to remove the contents, just the dried tea leaves inside, and discard the bag itself. You can whisk the tea right into your sifted almond flour and sugar to distribute it throughout.
This not only adds even more of that bitter-citrus flavor and aroma into your cookies, but also will provide some really lovely dark speckles throughout, giving these macarons a standout appearance if you’re serving them alongside other flavors.
Say ‘bonjour’ to your new favorite tea-time treat, with these French macarons inspired by a classic coffee shop favorite, the London Fog, featuring Earl Grey cookies and vanilla buttercream!
What to Serve With London Fog Macarons
A single macaron is the perfect bite-sized treat all on its own, but why not elevate the experience by pairing it with some complementary flavors to really let them shine.
The obvious choice is, of course, to serve them with a London fog, the rich and smooth Earl Grey tea latte. Try this variation, sweetened with a bourbon caramel syrup. In keeping with the theme, contrast these cool-colored cookies by serving them alongside a pop of sunshine brightness with some Earl Grey infused lemon bars, made with a classic shortbread crust.
You could also build a tea party around these cute little treats. Try serving them on a tiered display beside raspberry, mascarpone, and cucumber canapés, mid-summer fruit tarts with cream cheese, and rhubarb scone strawberry shortcakes. Tie it all together with some glasses of a mango peach iced tea spritzer or cozy mugs of chai white hot chocolate.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
Any time you make macarons, you’ll have some egg yolks leftover from making the meringue. And personally, I believe that egg yolks calls for a fresh batch of homemade ice cream! Try a classic strawberry, decadent and rich coffee, or the unique blueberry goat cheese varieties. For the other extras, try these ideas:
- More almond flour? Try another flavor of macarons, like these filled with buttercream and plum jam.
- Extra powdered sugar is a great excuse to make some frosting for cupcakes, like these lemon ones with lavender chamomile buttercream.
- I like using vanilla bean paste anywhere instead of extract, but it really shines in the filling for cream cheese oatmeal sandwich cookies.
- Heavy cream can be used in any of the ice cream recipes, or zhuzh it up into some classic homemade whipped cream.
'London Fog' Macarons: Earl Grey Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream
Earl Grey Macarons
- 200 grams Almond Flour
- 200 grams Powdered Sugar
- 150 mL Egg Whites (about 5 eggs), left at room temperature overnight, divided
- 1 Cup Sugar
- ¼ Cup Water almost boiling
- 3 Earl Grey Tea Bags divided
- Gel Food Coloring if desired
- 1 Cup Unsalted butter room temperature
- 5 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
- 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- Gel Food Coloring if desired
Earl Grey Macarons
- Add two of the tea bags to the water and set aside to infuse for about 5 minutes. Then, squeeze the excess liquid from the tea bags and discard.
- Line two flat cookie sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. If you'd like, use a pencil to draw 1 ½-inch circles about 2 inches apart on the parchment, and then flip it over on the sheet to use as a template. Add a large round tip to a large pastry bag and set it aside.
- Add the almond flour to a mesh strainer or sieve and gently push it through into a large bowl, to remove any lumps. Repeat with the confectioners sugar and then whisk these together along with the contents of the remaining tea bag until combined.
- Add half the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium, until they lose their translucence and hold medium-firm peaks. Lower the mixer to low, but allow it to continue running in the background.
- Add the remaining egg whites (and a drop or two of food coloring, if desired) to the almond flour mixture. Use a sturdy flexible spatula to incorporate everything together, until you have a uniform paste. This can take some effort, so don't be afraid to mix and fold and use the bowl for leverage.
- In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and tea-infused water over medium-high, stirring to dissolve the sugar, until boiling. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer measures 243°F. Then turn off the heat.
- With your stand mixer still running on low, carefully and slowly pour the hot sugar into the egg whites. There will be some splatters, but don't try to scrape the bowl to incorporate them. Increase the speed to high, and let it mix together until the meringue has cooled down, about 10 minutes,
- Add the finished and cooled meringue into the bowl with the almond flour. Use your spatula to combine the two, mixing, mashing, and folding vigorously until it all combined. Eventually, the mixture will begin to loosen and start to flow off the spatula like a stream of lava when it's lifted from the bowl. If you'd like, this is when you can add more food coloring.
- Transfer half the batter into the prepared piping bag. Hold the bag straight up and down about an inch above one of the lined baking sheets. Slowly pipe 1 ½-inch circles about 2 inches apart. These might have a point in the center, but that's fine for now. Hold the baking sheet about 8 inches above the counter and let it drop straight down to remove any air bubbles.Repeat this entire step with the other half of the batter and the other baking sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Let both sheets sit out on the counter for 20-40 minutes, uncovered, until the batter forms a crust on top of each cookie. If you gently touch one and no batter ends up on your finger, they are good to go.
- Bake one sheet at a time for 6 minutes, then rotate it 180° in the oven and bake for an additional 6-9 minutes, until the macarons can be carefully peeled off the parchment or mat. Slide the paper or mat off the pan onto the counter to cool.Repeat the baking with the second sheet.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes on medium speed.
- Add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, fully incorporating each batch before adding the next. If it's tough to mix at any point add a splash of cream.
- Once all the sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla bean paste. Continue to add milk or cream until you reach your desired consistency.
- Add in the food coloring, allowing the mixer to incorporate it into the frosting on low speed, until you have reached your desired color.
Assemble the Macarons
- Once the macarons have fully cooled, carefully peel them off the parchment or mats and pair up to make sandwiches.
- For each sandwich, flip one of the cookies upside down to expose the bottom. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the outer edge, and then fill the center in completely. Top with the other cookie, and twist about a quarter turn to hold together.Repeat with the other macarons.
- Refrigerate the filled macarons overnight for best results, or for at least 6 hours.
- My base macaron shell recipe is Dorie Greenspan's from Food52. The first time I made these, it was a success, so it's definitely a winner of a recipe.
- Make ahead tips:
- Store filled or unfilled macarons in the fridge for up to 4 days, or frozen for two months. Thaw frozen macarons in the fridge overnight, and refrigerated macarons at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before serving.
- Store buttercream in the fridge for 3-4 days, and let it thaw to room temperature before piping.
- Weighing your almond flour and confectioners sugar is super important in macarons. These cookies are delicate, and small changes can greatly alter the texture and structure.