Friday, May 6, 2011

You Might Call Me Hooked... (Black Sesame Macaron Pops with Mochi Filling)

Black Sesame Macaron Ingredients
I think anyone who knows me well would tell you that I have what some would call an "addictive personality." No, thankfully I don't mean any illegal substances or alcohol! But I can become intensely interested (let's not use the O-word here...;p) with things very quickly and often develop an unlimited capacity to read or watch about that thing. For example, my boyfriend P will often walk in on me completely engrossed in a TV show and ask what it is. My reply? "Oh I'm not sure I just came across it 5 minutes ago," which of course leaves him totally perplexed. Or in middle school when I discovered that the huge company Proctor & Gamble made so many of our household products, I became so curious in them that I read a 300+ page book about the history of the company.

But anyway, the real point here is that no one should be surprised that after finally baking my first successful macarons, I caught the Mac Bug bigtime ^_^. Both before and after that batch, I've poured over countless tutorials from fellow bloggers, YouTube videos, and basically any piece of helpful information on the process that I could get my hungry eyes and greedy hands on hehe. But as I learned in my previous attempts, there's no education like rolling up your sleeves and getting in the kitchen. Especially after I remembered the black sesame seeds still stashed in my freezer, it didn't take long for another mac creation to materialize.

Black Sesame Macarons with Chocolate Mochi Fillings
Since I already gushed over the addictive flavor and health benefits of black sesame in my black sesame matcha cupcake post, I'll spare you this time and just send you over there for the details. It delights me that the sesame in these macarons is impossible to miss with respect to appearance, flavor, and fragrance -- as it should be! Still, I couldn't help adding a bit of sesame powder to even the chocolate filling for a double dose of deliciousness (even if it upset the Chinese traditionalist in me just a tad ;p). Finally I had one more Asian twist up my sleeve: a chewy mochi center!

This unusual mix of French and Asian flavors, of crisp, moist, and chewy textures was definitely a risk for me. Especially for what was only my second date with lovely Mr. Macaron, but it definitely paid off! These have been a real hit with my friends, both Chinese and not. Some found them so addictive that my pleas to wait 24 hours before eating them were beyond futile. But that's really not something to complain about =D!

Black Sesame Macarons Bitten
Lastly, many of you left comments to my Snickers Macarons post saying you were still afraid to try these persnickety French treats (I may be paraphrasing haha). I just want to encourage you all to just take the leap! I was just like you for years, thinking that if I just read another post or watched another video I'd finally be ready. But honestly you just have to jump in and do it, and it's not nearly as scary as you think. Yes, there will be imperfect batches (or you may be one of those lucky people who get it on the first try!) but they will still be delicious and impress your friend I promise. In fact I actually underbaked this batch a smidge and got shorter "feet" than I'd have liked, but now I see it as a valuable lesson and look forward to improving the next batch! I hope more of you will join me in my macaron explorations and can't wait to hear about your successes!

Black Sesame Macaron Pops with Mochi Filling and Ganache
[Printable Recipe]
Fillings adapted from Bonbini and Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings
Makes about 25 to 35 macarons

XIAOLU'S NOTES: Please do not try to convert this recipe to volume measurements if you don't have a scale (I use and love this one). This recipe is very sensitive and will not work if the measurements are not exact. Please also note that every oven is different and you'll figure out what works best for yours over time. Since mine has major hot spots, I bake on 2 stacked pans for insulation (see this post for great information on ovens and macarons). If you're uncertain of your ability to pipe uniformly-sized macarons, like me, simply trace 1 1/4-inch circles on your parchment paper, flip the paper over, and pipe on the other side, using the outlines as your guide OR print (choose "fit to page") and slide this template under your parchment as a guide but don't forget to remove before baking! Macarons are best after having been refrigerated for 24 to 48 hours, according to French pastry master, Pierre Herme, "An osmosis takes place between the garnish and the biscuit. When freshly baked this is hard and crisp, but it absorbs some humidity from the filling and its inside becomes more tender while the crust on the surface stays intact" (quote via Not So Humble Pie). So even if you accidentally overbake the shells by a few minutes, maturing the macarons in the fridge for at least 48 hours should undo most of the damage =). See my first macaron post for helpful videos of the whole macaron-making process!

85 g almonds [not roasted or salted]
40 g black sesame seeds
145 g powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
40 g granulated sugar
3 g egg white powder [optional, to stabilize batter in humid weather]
95 to 100 g egg whites [about 3 large egg whites]
1/8 tsp cream of tartar or 1/4 tsp lemon juice [optional, to stabilize meringue]

1/2 cup Black Sesame Ganache (Recipe below)
25 to 35 Pieces of Mochi Filling (Recipe below)
25 to 35 4-inch lollipop sticks

Microwave fresh egg whites 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave on medium heat.

Combine the almonds, sesame seeds, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor, and pulse on and off until the nuts are finely ground (about 1 to 2 minutes). Sift the powder to remove any large chunks that remain. Put those chunks back into the food processor and pulse again for another 30 to 60 seconds. Sift again. You will probably have some slightly chunkier almond bits. Hopefully they're no more than a tablespoon or so, in which case you can throw them out.

Weigh out and mix your granulated sugar and egg white powder in a small bowl until uniform; set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium-low speed with cream of tartar until foamy, then turn the speed up to medium to medium-high and gradually add the sugar mixture until you obtain a glossy meringue (it'll look like shaving cream, hold stiff peaks, and stay in place if you turn the bowl upside-down; but don't overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry).

Add all of the nut mixture to the meringue and fold together. Use both a folding motion that scrapes the bottom of the bowl (to incorporate the dry ingredients) and a gentle pressing motion, to deflate the meringue against the side of the bowl. Slow down after all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, and continue folding the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that looks somewhat glossy and flows from the spatula in a thick ribbon. Test the batter by spooning a small amount of the batter up, then dropping it back down on itself. If it melts back into the rest of the batter within 30 seconds, it's ready for piping (this page has a nice photo of this test). If not, fold 2 more strokes and test again.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/3 to 1/2-inch wide plain tip (I like Ateco #804 or 806) with half of the batter. (When your bag is too full, the pressure causes the batter to rush out in a way that’s difficult to control, making for sloppy macarons.) Pipe tiny blobs of batter onto the 4 corners and center of 2 baking sheets, then line baking sheets with parchment paper OR line with silicone mats. Pipe small rounds (slightly larger than 1 inch wide) straight down and about 1 inch apart onto the baking sheets. Pick up each sheet with both hands and slam it firmly straight downward on the counter 2 to 3 times. This will to force out any large air bubbles. Immediately pop any bubbles that rise up but don't break with a toothpick. Do NOT do this once a few minutes have passed because you'll mess up the shell that's forming.

Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F. Let the macarons sit out for 25 to 90 minutes to harden their shells a bit (to prevent tops from cracking during baking). Test if they're ready by touching the top and side of one shell lightly. It should feel dry and not stick to your finger at all. Bake one pan at a time for 5 minutes in the middle shelf of your oven. Now lower the temperature to 300 degrees F and continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the macarons. Turn oven back up to 320 degrees F and let it come to temperature again before baking the next batch. Let cool completely before trying to move the shells.

Once cool, flip the shells over. If you have trouble removing them from parchment paper, pour a couple of drops of water under the paper while the sheet is still a bit warm, and the macarons will lift up more easily due to the moisture. Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy.

Fill the shells (spooning or piping) with 1 teaspoon of ganache, top with a mochi round, add another small dollop of ganache (just enough to cover the mochi because the macaron shell will cause the mochi to dry and harden if they touch directly), and a similarly-sized top shell. For the best flavor and texture, store in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours before eating (see notes above for detailed explanation) but they are best if eaten within 5 days. Bring to room temperature before eating.

Black Sesame Ganache
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tsp honey or light corn syrup
1 Tbsp ground black sesame powder
Pinch of salt

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring the cream to a boil. Meanwhile, place chopped chocolate into a small heatproof bowl. Remove cream from heat, pour over chocolate and let stand 5 minutes. Add honey or corn syrup, sesame powder, and salt, then stir everything together until smooth. Set aside until it cools down and thickens a bit (chilling in the fridge or freezer is fine).

Mochi Filling
2/3 cup glutinous rice flour [like Mochiko brand]
Slightly rounded 1/3 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp water, divided
Cornstarch, for dusting

Put water and 1/4 cup powdered sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and mix well until sugar has dissolved. Add glutinous rice flour to the bowl and mix well until uniform. Put the bowl in the microwave and heat the dough on high heat for 2 minutes. Stir. If the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water until combined. If not, return bowl to the microwave and heat in 20-second intervals until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, then mix with the remaining water.

Dust a flat pan and your hands with cornstarch. Carefully transfer the hot mochi from the bowl to the pan. Let cool slightly until you can handle the mochi with your hands. Keep your hands well dusted in cornstarch. Cut small pieces of mochi and roll them in your hands so that you end up with about 25 to 35 fairly flat 3/4-inch rounds.

94 comments:

  1. Precisoso! como todo lo que haces y que originales...

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  2. These look fantastic! I'm terrified of making my own macarons, but hopefully I'll give them a try soon! :)

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  3. gorgeous, you can't have a dessert these days without it turning to a pop!

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  4. What cute and perfect macaron pops! I really enjoy the flavor of black sesame seeds.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. Thankyou for bringing me a little sample of these amazing macarons. They were SO good! THe black sesame, mochi and chocolate are a killer combinations, and you made it SO perfectly!

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  6. Thanks you guys, you're so fast =D

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  7. Oh my goodness, Xiaolu! This is amazing! I love the colour and the fillings :) And of course the sticks make 'em so inviting! :D

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  8. I always wanted to try a black sesame macaron, they not only taste yummy, but look beautiful, yours being one of the best I've ever seen. I need to get 'macaroning' myself soon!

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  9. Awesome. I've never made macarons. Looks like it really requires a lot of attention to detail

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  10. Gorgeous pops! I've been using a lot of black sesame lately, they are pretty addictive.

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  11. These pops look gorgeous, Xialou.I m not sure whether I ll try these but love your tips and the experience sharing.

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  12. I'm guessing that the Proctor & Gamble book was a thrilling page-turner. Any shocking secrets revealed?

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  13. LOL @Emma. Page-turner might be overstating it ;p but it was actually about their sexual harassment scandals and also the big hoopla when people claimed their symbol with stars had secret satanic meaning because it supposedly made 666 when u connected the stars.

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  14. I wanne try I wanne try!
    I already like black sesame ice cream so I think this one is nice aswell :)

    xx

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  15. Xiaolu, this is just brilliant! Love your bold move to sandwich it with mochi!

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  16. So can you ship it over here on the other side of the world? :) I love macarons and mochi!!!

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  17. a MOCHI CENTER. Girl, you speak to my soul. These look amazing!

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  18. They look amazing Xiaolu! I would be hooked as well.
    I really like the taste of black sesame seeds.
    Magda

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  19. Yum! Those look SO delicious! So chic too.
    And I didn't realize that black sesame goes in the fridge, I've been storing in my spice cabinet. Oops.

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  20. That looks so amazing! I'm drooling!

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  21. How cute!! Love the idea and the flavors sound so yummy! Love the pink edge on the bitten one :) Yes the mac addiction I know so well! Whenever I try a new frosting or even a mousse I keep thinking mmm macaron filling!

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  22. Awesome! I think it's good that you get so involved in things. I wish I could always do that. And these macs look great!

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  23. This is a genius idea! Mochi filling...! I am sure this would be my absolute favourite macaroon :)

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  24. forget the cake pops now, you have give the feet a totally new look! Xiaolu, really I do not know how you do it. Its probably the addiction that works towards your good:) Really well done and I love the fusion of flavors and ingredients you have done here.

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  25. Xiaolu - fantastic job! I saw your first batch on your other post just now - I thought they couldnt get any better until this one! Stunning pictures too!

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  26. This is so creative and I love the flavours, I especially love black sesame. You're really talented, this is brilliant! Right, I really must get on with it and make my first proper batch of macarons :D I think I might start with making some mochi... :)

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  27. I still haven't tried a macaron! Seriously what is wrong with me - I need to rectify this situation.

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  28. Hi Xiaolu, The macarons with black sesame is a totally novel idea. I havent tried it before and wud love to give it a shot. Loved the new combo of ingredients and the recipe is so nicely made and presented. Saving this recipe of urs. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

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  29. these are so precious! i love how u are so creative with the flavour combos! and love how your shells are such a nice speckled grey/black! the last time i made sesame macarons my shells were a disgusting shade of speckled brown??? still tasted good but looks are *ahems lol.

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  30. Omg. I'm shocked. This is truly truly innovative! You're officially totally out of my league. But i totaly love this daring pairing!!

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  31. It seems you have mastered the MAC and the POP!!

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  32. They look so gorgeous and perfect. Well done :)

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  33. Ha! You and I share that "interested" quality then. I choose to believe it's a good trait, at least we are motivated to learn and understand things even if it doesn't always makes sense to others.

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  34. These are my favourite flavours, they look gorgeous!

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  35. All I can say is WOW! These look so beautiful and WOW!!! So talented!

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  36. Congratulations on succeeding in making Macarons! Both of the snickers and these black sesame look perfect and delicious. I am one of those that hasn't taken the leap yet. You are inspiring me though :)

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  37. This looks so amazing!! love the black sesame seeds! I need to get me some!

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  38. YOu have totally inspired me to take the leap but I just don't get to doing it!! :-( This looks fabulous and perfect - and kudos to you to try different flavors!

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  39. These are absolutely gorgeous! I love how amazing they look... Thanks for sharing :)

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  40. Thanks for your support, everyone! I'm glad you like the flavors. Please do give black sesame a try if you can. It's amazing!

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  41. Oh my, this looks so lovely! I must try this :)

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  42. Just added the like box to my blog - thanks for the tip!

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  43. Oooh, so much wanting! Black sesame is quite possibly my favourite dessert flavour (along with chestnut, and peanut butter, and lemon... separately, of course!), and I've recently become addicted to mochi (my parents left four boxes for me when I started house-sitting for them this week. I've already eaten two.)

    I wish I had the courage to try this!

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  44. I love that you're hooked! & I love that you're making such delightful, out-of-the-ordinary flavours! They look just fabulous :)
    Heidi xo

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  45. The mix of ingredients an d flavours sound exotic . Esp teh mochi part. I can imagine the textures. Good Job Xiaolu... Bravo!

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  46. Love the composition on your first photo!! The pops look great too.

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  47. Great post & photos. Thanks for sharing!

    www.birdietobe.blogspot.com

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  48. He publicado este post en Mis Favoritas de la semana, si quieres verlo está en:
    http://blocderecetas.blogspot.com/2011/05/mis-favoritas-semana-18-2011.html
    Espero que te guste!

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  49. What a lovely range of flvaours. I love the smokiness of black sesame and I would imagine it would be gorgeous in a macaron! :)

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  50. Looks absolutely stunning! I am pretty sure this tastes fantastic!

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  51. Sips and SpoonfulsMay 8, 2011 at 7:10 AM

    I don't kno if I should call you hooked, determined or plain crazy....and how do you come up with such exotic flavours?! Looks lovely Xiaolu. Love the simplicity of the pictures!

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  52. Love love these flavours! You NEED to make these for sale!!

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  53. You put my favourite things all in on the same pop and in my favourite forms of sweeties - macaron, pops and mochi! Totally awesome and creative :D x

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  54. Your macarons are absolutely perfect, Xiaolu! The pops are so cute!

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  55. Thanks, my lovely friends =D

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  56. Perfection! You are very talented Xialu.

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  57. Out of all the flavours for macarons, I love black sesame seeds the most. Your creation looks gorgeous! I really salute your determination in acquiring new knowledge. Keep it up! ;)

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  58. They look so amazingly cute! The flavours sound great too - an excellent idea :)

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  59. Such a creative use of macarons....beautiful job. I love the black sesame.

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  60. What gorgeous macarons! I loved the story of you reading up on Procter and Gamble!

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  61. I just saw someone make cookies with black sesames on food network challenge. Which means youre a genius!

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  62. Once you have started, simply can't stop making these gorgeous macarons! Love the flavours!

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  63. oh wow! these look GREAT!

    Also, can I ask - where did you find your blog template? I LOVE it and have been trying to find something similar with no luck - thanks! (simplylife1@gmail.com)

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  64. Still gonna leave these up to the pros like yourself:-)

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  65. You're so very clever, these look amazing, I love black sesame anything!!

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  66. LOVE your macaron with black sesame and mochi. I made black sesame ice cream last year so I know what you mean by addictive.

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  67. Black sesame is such an under-utilized ingredient, I'm thrilled to see you featuring it here! And seriously, mochi filling? Where do you come up with this stuff! I could never have dream that would even be possible.

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  68. Gorgeous macarons pops, Xiaolu! I'm absolutely loving the black sesame seeds idea :)

    Beautiful shots,

    Aldy.

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  69. You are amazing. Those are some of the most beautiful macarons ever. I didn't think you could surpass your snickers macs!

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  70. we make black sesame seed laddu at home and I soo soo so love the flavor of black sesame as compared to white. This looks so delicious ..

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  71. These are absolutely stunning!! The flavor combination is unbelieveable!! You should definitely sell these, they will sell out in a flash. So happy you said hi and so glad you are here in town!! btw filled out your survey:).

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  72. what a dramatic and enticing appearance! i'm a fan of black sesame seeds, and i'm sure these macarons would be right up there among the best i ever had!

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  73. Oh Xiaolu, you evil temptress! After your last macaron post you tempted me so much I got out my "Secrets of Macarons" book and started flicking through recipes, but now these black sesame ones are really calling my name. I LOVE black sesame!! I really will have to make some macarons now. I don't think I will make black sesame for my first batch, but I will definitely try these.

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  74. Hahah I don't anyone's ever called me that before -- I like it! Please do give black sesame a go sometime. It's really outstanding =)

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  75. did you say mochi? i'm already hooked.

    what a wonderful, innovative little creation. great thinking!

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  76. Xialou, your macaron pops are gorgeous and so creative! Love them against that blackboard too. Perfect for summer entertaining :)

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  77. dude, this is the coolest macaron recipe i've seen to date! mochi filling?!?! i'm all over it :)

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  78. I LOVE black sesame - especially in my homemade ice cream. I can't wait to try (probably end up messing it up) this recipe

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  79. Hi Xiaolu, I just voted for more photography tips and more healthy recipes. I didn't realize you are in D.C. I thought you were in Chicago. I'm originally from D.C. born in Georgetown Hospital and raised near the National Cathedral. Been in Mexico 5 years now. Sorry to hear the BF's buddies at work didn't like the Black Sesame macarons. They do sound a bit exotic, but there are many of us who LOVE exotic.

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  80. Amazing pictures!!! I love the black sesame and mochi combination. These mac pops look like you could buy them at a high end bakery or fancy restaurant :)

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  81. the look of pretty macarons keeps me fascinated ;) did I already mention how pretty these are. still awaiting the day I'm going to make my own macarons.

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  82. Oh man, I LOVE these. I'm a huge fan of mochi anything, and I can only imagine how good they taste as a macaron filling! Yum.

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  83. These look fabulous, Xiaolu! Okay, you have finally alleviated my fear of macarons (making, not eating) and today I'm going to attempt a small batch of these black sesame ones, with a slightly different filling. Watch out for the post about that soon! Fingers crossed....

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  84. Oh I'm so happy to hear that! Good luck and feel free to email/Tweet me if you have issues. I'm still trying to perfect these babies myself :).

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  85. Just been looking through your macaron posts :) I absolutely adore your food styling! Great work.

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  86. OMG. I love this so much it hurts. They're so freaking adorable that it's crazy!!

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  87. Wow!! Not only did you make some seriously stunning macarons, but you also made mochi! You're my hero. Wish I could try these. :)

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  88. The macaron pops look so cute!!

    I've been baking a lot of macarons but haven't tried black sesame. I'll definitely try this recipe. I'd love to incorporate more asian flavors into my blog. Thank you for sharing :D

    www.themacaronqueen.blogspot.com

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  89. Thanks, Xiaolu! I've been wanting to make black sesame macarons and will have to get black sesame. I have only the powdered kind.

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I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu