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Red Velvet Macarons

These red velvet macarons actually taste like a red velvet cupcake (well I think so anyway). They have a lovely cream cheese icing in the middle that works really well with the texture of the macaron.

Before making these, check out my post on my essential utensils for getting a good macaron here.

Red Velvet Macarons

This recipe will make about 60 macaron shells, 30 full macarons

Ingredients

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 30g* unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Cadbury’s Bournville Cocoa)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 38g water (that’s right – you have to weigh it)
  • red food colouring (I used Wilton no-taste Red – Wilton’s colours are gels and mrs concentrated)
  • 55g egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 55g egg whites, extra
  1. Sift together your almond meal, icing sugar and cocoa powder. Ideally you want to do this at least three times, more if you have the time (which is why I recommend using a crank sifter). The finer you can get the dry ingredients, the smoother the consistency of the macaron will be. Make sure you sift into a LARGE bowl.

    Mae sure you sift your dry ingredients at least three times.

  2. Put 55g of the egg whites into the bowl of your mixer. Put the water and caster sugar into a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once dissolved, add your food colouring, increase the heat and bring to the boil. **Keep in mind that different food colourings vary in strength of colour – you may need to use more or less of certain types. How much you will use also depends how red you want your macarons to be. The colourings that I use are concentrated gel colourings, so I didn’t need to use as much.**
  3. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP(you’ll need a candy thermometer to get it exact)!! Once the sugar syrup reaches about 105°C, add the cream of tartar to the egg whites in the mixing bowl and start mixing on a medium speed (I put it at about 6 on my Kitchenaid) – the egg whites need to be frothy. When the sugar syrup is at 118°C and the egg whites are frothy (if you start mixing the egg whites at 105°C, this should happen at the same time), increase the speed of the mixer (I had it at 8 on the Kitchenaid) and start adding the sugar syrup to the egg whites – do this slowly in a steady stream down the side of the bowl. Once all the syrup is in, continue mixing until the mixing bowl feels warm to touch. It should be roughly 5-6 minutes. In the meantime, pour the extra 55g of egg whites into your sifted dry ingredients.

    I forgot to take a photo of my meringue for these macarons, but here is some that I had made for lemon macarons. Your meringue should be similar to this – it should be holding it’s shape.

  4. Once your meringue is ready, add to the bowl of dry ingredients and extra egg whites, and start folding together. I didn’t know this the first time I made them, but the mixture should have quite a runny consistency. If it’s too thick, piping the mixture will cause you lots of grief (I’ll try to put up a video at some stage). My advice is this: when you think you’ve mixed it enough, fold it about 4-5 more times. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter and when you drop some from your spatula back into the bowl, it shouldn’t just sit on top – it should fall in on itself. You may not get the right consistency the first time, but if you practice enough, you will figure out how much you should mix.
  5. Once you have the batter at the right consistency, you’re ready to start piping! Cover two large baking trays (I use cookie sheets) with some baking paper, with your macaron template underneath (if you are using one). Prepare your piping bag. Using a small spatula, half fill the bag with the macaron mixture. If you have achieved the correct consistency, the mixture should start falling out through the nozzle on it’s own, without you applying any pressure. If this is the case, make sure you hold the bag over the bowl otherwise it’ll get messy! Twist tightly closed and make sure you squeeze any air pockets out of the bag before you start piping. Then, holding the bag straight up about 1cm from the baking sheet, start piping your rounds, about 3.5cm is a good size. To finish each round, you want to do a quick “6 to 12” (as in a clock) – this is a little flick of the wrist to break the mixture away from the nozzle. Here is a video for you to see an example of how to do this (you can also see the mixture falling back in on itself as it is piped – the little peaks flatten out so the top becomes smooth). 
  6. Once you’ve finished piping, you need to let the macarons sit for about 30 minutes before baking. During this time, the macaron will form a smooth skin, which lifts during cooking and this is what the causes the phenomenon known as the  “foot” at the base of the macaron shell (get your dancing shoes on to do a jig in the kitchen if you get the foot – it won’t be a macaron without one). After the macarons have been sitting for about 10 minutes, you need to turn your oven on. It should be at 135°C for a conventional oven, 115°C for a fan forced (if you aren’t overly familiar with your oven, I would recommend getting an oven thermometer to make sure that your oven is actually at the temperature it says it is). 
  7. The macarons will be ready to go in the oven when you can touch them and feel the skin – they should not be at all sticky to touch. It might take longer than 30mins if it is a particularly humid day. But once they are at this stage, pop them in the oven for around 16mins (make sure you have removed your piping template) or until a hard shell has formed, swapping the trays over about half way through cooking (the foot should start forming after about 5mins, so get ready to do your jig of joy). Once you take them out of the oven, allow to sit for about 2mins, then try lifiting one away from the baking paper with an icing spatula. If it comes away easily and is dry on the bottom, then they are ready. If it doesn’t come away easily and isn’t dry, put back into the oven for another 2-3mins, then repeat the process. Allow them to cool completely on the baking trays when they are ready.
  8. Then pipe your cream cheese icing on (recipe below) – it’s a good idea to first match up the macarons into pairs that are the same size (try as you might, they will always vary a little in size). Pipe to about 8mm in from the edge of the shell – once you put the top shell on, it will flatten down and go to the edge.

Once you are finished, put them in an airtight container (if you need to layer them, make sure you separate with baking paper) and put them in the fridge, overnight is best as this will allow the flavour of the filling to infuse into the shell. But they’re not exactly disgusting when eaten right away!

Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

  • 200g cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 60g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 185g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Beat together cream cheese and butter on a medium speed, until combined and smooth, then add the vanilla, salt and half the icing sugar. Beat until just combined, then add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. **Resist eating too much before you use it**

*NOTE: If you don’t want your macarons to have such a strong chocolate flavour, just add less cocoa powder. Remember though that you will have to increase the amount of almond meal and icing sugar. For example, if you only want to use 20g cocoa powder, you will need to use 140g each of almond meal and icing sugar. All your dry ingredients should weigh 300g in total (and you should always have the same amount of icing sugar to almond meal).

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8 Comments

  1. Pingback: My Essential Utensils For Getting A Good Macaron | bitsnbooks

  2. Pingback: Coconut MacaroOns | bitsnbooks

    • Hmmm, not sure about trying to replace the cheese platter – I don’t think that anything could ever do that. Cheese is amazing.
      I think it’s just the novelty that you can have virtually whatever flavours you want and it will work. Pierre Herme has a recipe book out of his most famous flavours and he has one in there that is a tomato sauce flavoured one. Weird, but apparently amazing!

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  3. ahh these are gorgeous!!! looks like I’ll have to invest in a candy thermometer so i can try your recipe in the near future. These. are. perfect! did you find that using cream of tartar helped the egg whites? Some recipes i come across use it and others just use egg whites and sugar.. and some use egg whites, sugar, and salt.

    by the way, thank you for your thoughtful comment on my raspberry macaron disaster post! I think it’s time that i give the italian meringue a try and your post will come in very handy 🙂

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    • My understanding of the use of cream of tartar, is to help stiffen the egg whites when you are mixing them. Lots of macaron recipes say that you should leave the egg whites out on the bench for about 48hrs (or in the fridge for 24) before using them so that they lose their elasticity and hold their shape better. I always forget to do this and I’m a bit hesitant about it anyway, but adding the cream of tartar apparently does the same sort of thing. I believe that the use of salt has the same effect. I use cream of tartar though, just because that’s what I’ve used from the start and it’s worked every time. I won’t pretend to know the exact science behind it – but it works, so that’s all that matters!
      If you don’t want to make a chocolate macaron shell, you can still use this recipe – just take out the cocoa powder and have 150g each of icing sugar and almond meal. I’ll find the ratios for the ganache when I get home and post on your blog, just in case you want to try 🙂

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  4. 3pastriesaday says

    These are so gorgeous! I have tried my hand at making macarons (many times), but have been STRUGGLING. Will definitely have to try your recipe!

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    • They are very trial and error and you need to be very precise. I think once you know what you’re doing, they’re not as hard as most people are led to believe. For me the key to getting them right is to make sure that you are very precise with everything. I’ve only made macarons about six times and every single time I followed the recipe exactly and made note of what I didn’t do right so I could do it properly the next time. I think that the reason most people have trouble making them though, is because most recipes don’t tell you what consistency your batter should be at, or when you should start frothing your egg whites before putting in the sugar syrup. It’s all the little things that you don’t get told that are the difference between them turning out or not.
      I’m making some choc-hazelnut ones on the weekend, so I’ll try and post the recipe for that – they are my favourite that I have made so far – you should give them a go as well!

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