Christina Tosi has given us a gift, my friends, a gift that has been with us since we were old enough to ingest solid foods. A gift we didn't even know we had, a gift that has, quite frankly, been taken criminally for granted, thoughtlessly consumed as Saturday morning hijinks danced wildly across our sleepy faces.
I am, of course, referring to her marvelous reclamation of cereal milk.
After experiencing the transformative powers of Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC for myself, I decided I'd attempt to harness the heavenly forces of Chef Tosi's genius and channel them into a new and worthy form. Humbly, now, I offer to you Saturday Morning Macarons with Cereal Milk Buttercream.
I only ask that, given this power, you use it for good and only good. Otherwise, I'll send Batman, Spider-Man, the Crypt Keeper, the Power Rangers, and all the baddies from Goosebumps after ya.
Lucky Charms Macarons
3 oz. almond meal
7 oz. powdered sugar
1/4 cup Lucky Charms
2 egg whites, aged at least 24 hours
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 280 degrees. Stack two cookie sheets together and line the top one with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper (doubling up on cookie sheets allows for even heat distribution).
In a food processor, combine the almond meal, powdered sugar, and Lucky Charms. Pulse until fine and powdery. Sift the dry ingredients to remove any large bits of almond -- we want smooth, shiny macs, not awkward pre-teen bumpy-faced cookies.
In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy. Slowly add granulated sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. A common method of determining if the meringue is set is to turn the bowl upside-down: if properly beaten, meringue will not slip or drip.
Gently fold in half the dry ingredients into the meringue until just combined. Fold in the other half, being careful not to overwork the batter. Transfer batter to pastry bag and pipe onto prepared cookie sheets. Slam cookie sheets on a counter a couple times to obliterate any and all offending air bubbles. Leave to dry for at least 30 minutes, until a thin "skin" develops.
Bake in preheated oven for 14 minutes, turning at half time. Allow to cool completely before removing from parchment/silicone.
HELPFUL HINT: On a Morrissey-esque note, some ovens are hotter than others. Thus, cooking times and temperatures may vary. Sometimes I bake them for 14 minutes total; other times I've baked them for as little as 10.
Cereal Milk Buttercream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 egg whites
1 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup cereal milk
Combine sugar and water in saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to cook until candy thermometer registers 240 degrees (approaching soft-ball stage).
While the sugar syrup is cooking, whip egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar syrup has reached target temperature, pour into the egg whites as they whip, aiming toward the side of the mixing bowl. And please be careful, or else you'll end up with a sub-salon grade sugar peel...probably a very painful one.
Continue to whip the egg whites on high until the mixing bowl has reached room temperature. Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, making sure each tablespoon is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the cereal milk and continue to whip until you've reached a full-on silky buttercreamy consistency.
NOTE: The first couple of times I tried this, I was aghast at the soupy, clumpy mess I found in the mixing bowl, and cut the process off prematurely, chalking it up to failure. DON'T BE AFRAID if the mix looks less than ideal -- simply keep whipping at high speed. It'll happen. Trust me.