With Saint Valentine’s Day coming up I thought it would be fun to create a special macaron. These treats have pink shells, strawberry buttercream and are dipped in dark chocolate.
You can use pink or red food colouring to colour your shells. You can also add freeze-dried strawberries with the ground almonds and icing sugar in the food processor. This will give you strawberry-flavoured shells. You can also substitute milk chocolate or bittersweet chocolate for the dark chocolate.
Macarons Cookies (French meringue method)
(makes enough cookies for 40 macarons)
(adapted from Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home by Kathryn Gordon & Anne E. McBride)
- 150 g almond flour or ground almonds
- 150 g icing sugar
- 120 g egg whites (aged and at room temperature)
- 1 tsp powdered egg whites or meringue powder, optional (this will help in humid weather)
- 70 g white granulated or castor sugar
- pink or red food gel colouring (4-5 drops)
- candy heart sprinkles or other sprinkles
Special equipment required:
- food processor
- food scale
- rubber spatula
- metal sieve (for sifting)
- piping bags with tip (I use #12 Wilton tip with a 12-inch piping bag)
- dark aluminum cookie sheets lined with parchment paper
- macarons pattern to put between parchment paper and cookie sheet (print two copies per sheet and tape together)
- hand-held blender
(*I prepared my buttercream first)
- Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature available.
- Weigh all ingredients first. Combine almond flour and icing sugar together and pulse for a few minutes in your food processor. This will make sure your ingredients are fine (and you will have shiny and not lumpy macarons). After pulsing in the food processor, pass the ingredients through a metal sieve.
- Mix granulated sugar with powdered egg whites and set aside. Start whipping your egg whites until they are foamy (like bubble bath). Add granulated and powdered egg whites to the mixture and whip until soft peaks are forming. Add food colouring until you get a slightly darker colour that you desire (since you will add the almond flour and icing sugar mix to this). Continue beating meringue until stiff peaks form (I tip my bowl upside down, if the meringue stays you’re good, if it starts to slide out, keep whipping).
- Once your meringue has reached stiff peaks, incorporate your dry mix in three batches. Use a J-stirring technique with your rubber spatula. To do this, put your spatula in the middle of the bowl and gently lift and move in a clockwise direction with the bowl (making a “J” with your bowl). Continue adding the dry ingredients to the meringue until you have a lava-like consistency that ribbons when you lift the batter up and let it drop back into the bowl. Be careful not to overmix your batter, you want it to be slightly grainy. (Skip to Troubleshooting #2 on this link for an example)
- Fill your piping bag. I use a twist-tie to seal off the bottom and put my bag in a big mason jar. Once your piping bag is full, start piping them out onto your parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Don’t forget to put your pattern under the parchment paper! To pipe keep your dominant hand at the top of the bag applying pressure and use your non-dominant hand to guide the bag. Pipe in a blob until it fills the circle pattern. Don’t swirl! Continue until you have all your macarons piped out. (You may have extra batter). Don’t forget to take out your template paper. (I’ve forgotten it before and your macarons are a fail)
- Decorate macarons with sprinkles!
- Give your cookie sheet a good bang on the counter – this will make all the air bubbles escape! Bang a few times for good measure if you’re unsure if you got them all.
- Put the cookie sheets in the pre-heated oven at a low temperature to dry the macarons. If you have time, you can leave them out for 30-45 minutes on the countertop and skip the low-temperature oven. You want a soft crust to form on the macarons cookies. Check the cookies after 5 minutes and if you can touch the cookies without getting sticky, take them out. Be careful not to leave them in too long because they will get too dry.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Once temperature is reached, put macarons back into the oven for 10-15 minutes. If the air is humid, I will sometimes cook them with a wooden spoon in the door to let humidity escape the oven.
- Macarons need constant baby-sitting – don’t attempt anything else while they are cooking. Check on them frequently and when they start to look glossy and forming frilly feet, start checking to see if they will wiggle on the parchment paper. Once you can get a good wiggle (without it sticking completely to the paper) take them out of the oven and remove the parchment paper and move it to a cooler surface. You don’t want to leave your macarons on a hot cookie sheet. Let the cookies cool and take them off with a metal spatula. Match them up by size to be ready to be filled!
(adapted from Tasty Kitchen)
- 3 strawberries, hulled and chopped
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 + 1/2 cup icing sugar
- Pulse strawberries with vanilla extract with a hand-held blender until pulped and slightly chunky. Add in butter and process until smooth and combined.
- Add in powdered sugar by 1/2-cupfuls and pulse until fluffy and all elements are evenly distributed.
To assemble, pipe strawberry buttercream onto shells and gently squeeze cookies together.
Place macarons in fridge so they can become solid. This will make them easier to dip. Otherwise, they may slide around.
When you are ready to dip the macarons in chocolate, prepare the Dipping Chocolate.
Dipping Chocolate (for approximately 12 macarons)
- 100 g dark chocolate
- Prepare a double-boiler to melt chocolate. If you do not have a double-boiler, boil water in a small saucepan.
- Chop or break chocolate and place in double boiler. If you are using the saucepan method, place chocolate in a heat-proof boil and set atop the saucepan which is boiling water.
- Whisk chocolate once it starts to melt. Once chocolate is at a liquid consistency take off double-boiler.
Assembly – continued
(inspired by Dana’s Bakery)
I poured my melted chocolate into a smaller bowl so I could easily dip my macarons.
Dip macarons until half is covered in chocolate and place on wax paper. When finished, keep macarons on waxed paper in a covered dish in the fridge.
Remove from fridge 10-20 minutes before serving. Try not to eat them all before you give them to your Valentine 😉