To learn more about this recipe, read the related story, "Snack Attack," in our National edition.
Recipe adapted from Christina Ha, Macaron Parlour, New York City
Yield: About 3 dozen macarons
Cook Time: 25 minutes (plus 1 day and 3 hours for the ganache and macarons to set)
2 ounces Cheetos® Puffs (about 30 puffs)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup roughly chopped white chocolate
1½ cups confectioners' sugar
1¾ cups almond flour
4 large egg whites
¾ cup granulated sugar
1. Make the Cheetos® ganache: In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the Cheetos® Puffs and the heavy cream. Bring the liquid to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 1 hour. Strain the Cheetos®-cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl, pressing on the mixture with the back of a rubber spatula to extract as much liquid as possible.
2. Add 1 inch of water to a medium saucepan set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. To a medium heat-safe bowl, add the white chocolate. Set the bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan, add the Cheetos®-infused cream and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the ganache is thick, at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. Make the macaron cookies: Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat the oven to 320°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and the almond flour.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and the sugar and beat the egg whites on low speed until they are frothy, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the meringue thickens and becomes opaque, about 2 minutes more. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until the meringue is thick and fluffy and medium-stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Use a rubber spatula to fold the beaten egg whites into the almond-flour mixture one-third at a time, folding the mixture together until no white streaks remain. Transfer the macaron batter to a piping bag fit with a ½-inch round tip. Onto the 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, pipe the meringue into 1¾-inch circles set about ¾ inch apart. Firmly tap the baking sheets on the counter twice to remove air bubbles from the macarons. Let the piped meringues dry slightly at room temperature until a thin skin forms on the surface, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the trays to the oven and bake, rotating the sheet pans from top rack to bottom rack and vice versa midway through cooking, until the macarons are set and hard and can be easily removed from the parchment paper, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the macarons from the oven and cool completely before removing them from the parchment paper.
6. Flip half of the meringues over so the flat side faces up and pipe about 1 teaspoon of the filling onto each. Top each of these halves with the other half of the macarons and return to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Cover the macarons with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.
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