Things are about to get weird. In a good way.
My friend and food writer Ann Mah has an enthusiasm for weeknight dinners. In this spirit she has a long running Tuesday feature where she invites people talk about what they find themselves consuming for the evening meal during the Monday through Thursday run. With the exception of me, you’ve heard of many of the people whose private lives Ann’s series gives us a brief glimpse: Patricia Wells and David Lebovitz are two. It wasn’t until late spring of this year when Ann shared a week of her own dinners.
Sunday: homemade chili with pickled onions…you had me at pickled onion. Monday: chicken tetrazzini…oooh cheesy. Tuesday: peanut butter and sriracha toast with sautéed broccoli rabe. Wait what?
Peanut butter and sriracha? A revelation I tell you.
We all know sriracha right? Its rise in popularity over the last couple of years has made this Thai chili sauce often called by the feathered moniker on the bottle nearly a cliche. I mean really, when Applebee’s has a dish inspired by sriracha you know its flown the coupe. Or maybe it’s just become over-hipstered. L.A. even has a Sriracha Festival. But you, it’s L.A.
But a cliche is a cliche for a reason. And hipster or no, it’s easy to admit that sriracha is a tasty, if not punishing, sauce.
And peanut butter and sriracha together? It makes perfect sense. Think pad thai or cold noodles heartily dressed with creamy, spicy peanut sauce and sprinkled with chopped green onions.
Naturally, my brain purloined Ann’s idea and went in the sweet direction. Spice-spiked peanut butter cookies sounded like a good idea. Turns out lots of other people had the idea before me. Then, as I prepared to spend some time with French macarons the notion presented itself: sriracha and peanut butter sandwich cookies.
I added sriracha to both the shells and the filling. The biggest surprise was how much I needed to add to allow the slight kick to come through; peanut butter is a tough flavor to complement. My recommendation is to just use the amounts in the recipe below as a starting point and see how far you can take it.
I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate it here but intuitively it seems like lime would be right at home in this recipe. Maybe some zest in the shells or a little hidden dab of lime curd in the middle.
Sriracha and Peanut Butter Macarons
for the shells
- 60 g almond meal
- 100 g confectioner’s sugar
- 20 g granulated sugar
- 50 g egg whites
- 5 drops sriracha sauce
- 4 drops red gel food coloring
- Preheat oven to 315 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. I like to draw the circles with Sharpie on a couple of pieces of parchment as a stencil. In order to use them multiple times I lay another piece of parchment over the top.
- Weigh and measure out all of your ingredients. When I’m making multiple batches I actually weigh out the almond flour, sugar and any other dry ingredients into separate zip-lock baggies and label them.
- In a food processor fitted with a blade, pulse together almond meal, lemon zest and confectioner’s sugar. Give it a few pulses then sift into a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or an electric hand mixer), add the egg whites. Beat on medium low until frothy.
- Increase the speed and slowly add the granulated sugar and pinch of salt.
- Add-in your gel coloring if desired.
- Beat eggs until they form soft peaks.
- Working in three batches, add first portion of almond meal mixture to the egg-whites. Gently fold until just combined. Repeat with the additional two portions of meal folding to combine while using as few folds as possible.
- Gently fold-in sriracha sauce.
- To test if the batter is ready to pipe, scoop about 1/4 tsp onto a flat surface. The batter should act like lava and spread enough to lose its peak but not its shape. I usually do this test several times starting at the point where everything is just combined. If you under-mix the batter you can always give it a few more folds. However, you are out of luck if you over mix. So, err on the side of multiple tests.
- When the batter is ready, pour it into your piping bag. To be honest, I don’t bother with a tip, I just snip the bag about an inch or so from the tip.
- Pipe your shells onto the parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Allow to sit for 10-60 minutes or until the shells appear dry. I have found this process is heavily dependent on the weather. The more moisture in the air, the longer they need to sit.
- Working with one sheet at a time, bake for about 20 minutes. To test, gently grab one corner of the parchment and attempt to peel it from the shell. A clean peel means the shells are done. If they are sticky, back in the oven for another 5 minutes and test again.
- Let the shells cool but once cool, carefully remove from the parchment. I have found that you don’t want to let the cooled shells sit on the parchment.
for the filling (recipe from Canelle et Vanille)
- 125 grams creamy peanut butter
- 70 grams powdered sugar
- 25 grams softened butter
- 25 grams heavy cream
- 5 grams vanilla extract
- 3 grams fine sea salt
- start with 5 grams (1/2 tsp) sriracha and add to-taste
- Cream all ingredients together.
- Fill shells.