Holiday time means lots of baking shows, family time, and decorations. All of this inspires me to want to bake, how about you? I’ve always been intrigued by macarons, but have yet to make them myself, until this recipe. I’ve wanted to try making macarons from scratch, including the almond meal. This was until I was ready to bake and realized we were out of almonds.. so I settled for pepitas. These nut-free macarons with sea salt ganache did not disappoint.
I wanted to have some special desserts for Thanksgiving, so I made some sticky date pudding and these delicious macarons. Nut-free is nice because you can give them to anyone without worrying about a nut allergy. They’re so good, it’s like a mini-chocolate cake mixed with a chocolate cookie. We ate half of what we were bringing to Thanksgiving dinner the night before. So much for self control.
What you’ll love about these nut free macarons?
These nut free macarons with sea salt ganache are SO good. Seriously. I almost had to kick my husband out of the house because he wouldn’t stop eating them. We both ended up with sugar stomach aches the first time I made these, so thankfully we had salads afterward for some balance.
They can be made with other types of nuts or seeds. Don’t have pepitas? Use walnuts or sunflower seeds. Just make sure you grind them finely without forming a paste.
They’re a crowd pleaser. You’ll impress anyone with these little babies. You don’t have to go to a fancy French bakery to get cute macarons. Homemade are just as good. Make them for a gift, Holiday party, or just because.
How to make these nut-free macarons?
- Bring the egg whites and lemon juice to room temperature.
- Process the pepitas until fine. Sieve them in with cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Any pieces of pepitas that don’t make it through a sieve I still add to the mixture as long as they’re not large pieces. Many are just slightly too big to fit through a sieve, but keep in mind any large chunks are going to impact the texture of the cookies.
- Whip the egg whites and lemon juice with a mixer with the whisk attachment until fluffy.
- Slowly add the granulated sugar to the egg whites and continue to whip until stiff. You should see peaks form when you remove the whisk.
- Fold in the pepita, cocoa, and powdered sugar mixture. Gently fold until it comes off in a smooth line.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets.
- Place the batter in a piping bag or zip-loc with the corner cut off. Pipe the batter into 1.5″ circles on the sheets.
- Let this sit for 45 minutes to allow a film to form over the top of the cookies.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place baking sheets in the oven, then immediately reduce heat to 300°F. Bake for 16-18 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and allow to cool completely prior to removing from baking sheets and piping ganache.
How to make the sea salt chocolate ganache?
- Heat heavy cream in a pot on stove until it is just slightly under a boil.
- Remove from heat. Stir in sea salt and chocolate chips. Allow them to melt while stirring.
- Let the mixture cool then place in the refrigerator to cool and set. This takes about 30-60 minutes.
- Transfer to a piping bag. Pipe generously on half of the cookies.
- Top with another cookie to form the macarons.
This dessert is great for a dinner party. If you’re looking for another fancy one to wow a crowd, check out this Tirmisu recipe. I adapted this recipe from Baking A Moment.
Nut Free Chocolate Macarons
- 100 g pepitas (ground – approximately 2/3 cups whole pepitas)
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- 3 egg whites
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup refined sugar
Sea Salt Chocolate Ganache
- ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Bring egg whites and lemon juice to room temperature.
- Grind pepitas until fine using a food processor. Pulse and be careful not to over process as they will form a paste. Mine did have some pieces slightly larger than a sifter allows to pass. I still add them as long as they’re not larger than 1/8 of a seed (realize you will be chewing them in a soft cookie).
- Sift together the pepitas, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar.
- In a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and lemon juice until they are light and fluffy. Slowly add the granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff and peaks form.
- Fold in the cocoa, pepita, and powdered sugar mixture. Fold until it falls from the spatula in one long piece.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets.
- Place batter in a piping bag (or zip-loc with corner cut off).
- Pipe 1 1/2″ circles on the parchment paper.
- Leave out at room temperature for 45 minutes to allow a film to form across the tops.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the macarons in the oven and immediately turn the temperature to 300°F. Bake for 16-18 minutes, careful not to brown the tops.
- Allow them to cool completely prior to piping ganache on top.
Salted Chocolate Ganache
- Heat heavy cream in a small pot on the stove. It should be heated to just below boiling temperatures and then removed from heat.
- Stir in the sea salt and chocolate chips. Allow them to melt.
- Allow the ganache to cool and then place in the refrigerator to chill.
- When it’s set (about 30 minutes-1 hour), place in a piping bag and pipe a generous amount on the inside of cookies. Sandwich them.
Let me know what you thought of this recipe or if you tried a different type of nut or seed. If you prefer something with a bit less sweetness, add a bit more salt to the ganache.