This one is for all those cheesecake lovers who enjoy the bright burst of strawberries on top! I have spent years mastering the art of the macaron, and I can say it is now one of my absolute favorite treats to make. Macaron making is not for those who strive for perfection every single time, it is a process fraught with wins, failures and ultimately lots of tasty mistakes!
If you are new to making macarons, I highly recommend you head over to my Macarons for Beginners post and learn all about the equipment, tricks and tips before you get started!
If you already know how to make Macarons, let’s dive right in.
Coloring Your Macaron Shells
For these I chose not to add gel food coloring to the shells, I was going for a pale pink moment and not an intense color. If you are new to macarons, I suggest you do not add color to your batter. Just the smallest touch of that additional liquid can wreak havoc. You can still produce beautiful macarons without the color. If you must, I recommend AmeriColor Gel Food Color. I know, super specific, but I can tell you the food coloring you get from the grocery store is primarily water and you need many drops to make a difference. With the gel color a little goes a long way.
If you are a macaron pro and you know how to add color, go ahead and do so. I like to add my color when I add the powders to my meringue in the mixing bowl for 6 SECONDS. This will help incorporate it. Fight the urge to add more color if it is not as deep/rich as you would like. This experimentation comes with practice, but since it is so tricky I often opt to leave it out as these cookies are tricky enough – and who wants to keep throwing out bad macarons!
Macronage in the Stand Mixer
Yes you can! If you are new to macarons, head over to the beginners guide. For those of you who do your macronage off the mixer, this is a tip. You absolutely 100% can begin your macronage, and save your arm, in the stand mixer. I will admit that the first time I did this I was terrified. I had prepped, weighed and made the perfect meringue and I was about to do the thing most macaron makers say will hurt your macronage. I can tell you that now many, many times later you can still get perfect macarons by starting your macronage in the stand mixer.
Here is the key.
- Make sure your powders are sifted and lightly mixed.
- Pour them directly into the stand mixer.
- Take a deep breath, turn your mixer to Speed 6 and count out loud to 6.
- Immediately turn the mixer off but leave the bowl on the mixer to help give you leverage.
- Begin to fold.
Using this technique you will notice you do not need to fold as much since the air has been slightly deflated. Before doing this I would push the batter into the sides of the bowl to help deflate it, and I am telling you my arm would be tired before I got the right consistency.
This has helped speed things up significantly.
Another key is to make sure your meringue is stiff. Actually stiff and ready, not bends in the tip. Make sure when you test you remove the whisk from the mixer and dip it deep into the bowl scraping against the bottom to get fresh meringue, not what is on your whisk.
Once stiff in a peak that does not bend, that looks like clouds underneath, you are ready to macronage.
Did you try this tip? If so, tell us how it went in the comments below!
Have you ever used Dehydrated Strawberry Powder? If not, you are in for a delightful new ingredient you will be sure to keep in stock. This powder can turn anything into the sweet taste of a fresh strawberry. So much so, that these are my top requested macaron, (followed by my Peanutbutter Cup ones, I will bring those to you later!).
The trick to adding in the powder is to slightly decrease the amount of powdered sugar and replace it with this powder. These will have a very natural light pink color to them. If you are a macaron pro, or want a rich pink I suggest you add in some gel coloring to intensify the colors.
I also add the strawberry powder to the cheesecake buttercream for a rich swirl of sweetness.
My technique in adding the strawberry powder is the same I use when adding Cocoa powder to transform the traditional almond flour base into another flavor.
Buttercream is my go to in macarons. Really, it is my go to anytime I need frosting, and it is so versatile. Here we are swapping some of the butter for cream cheese and adding in some of the strawberry powder. The cream cheese is so rich and delicious and really enhances the flavor of the macaron shells. You can see here that the icing is a tint of pink, that is from the strawberry powder. If you would like you can intensify the color with some gel drops, however, I choose to keep mine natural.
Macaron Shells – To decorate, or not decorate?
You will see that I sometimes leave my shells as the little beauties au-natural they are. In this case I added some white candy melts. I find melting chocolate to be a real pain. I use the Wilton Candy Melter, this is one of the best under $30 kitchen purchases I have ever made. Simply plug it in, turn it on and it melts candy melts or chocolate to the perfect consistency every single time. I can’t tell you how many bags and bars of white chocolate I have ruined in a double-boiler or microwave. Not the case anymore. I also prefer to decorate with the Ghiradelhi Candy Melts, they come in white chocolate and dark chocolate – they don’t taste like the waxy candy melts from the craft store – these taste like real chocolate.
The trick to decorating macarons is to decorate before you assemble and line them all up on a pan. I am often just drizzling the chocolate over top, however, if you like to pipe precise lines you can do that as well. For my Holiday Macarons I take the extra time to perfect each one.
The white chocolate and sanding sugar really does add a little pop to these. Just the slightest crunch of sugar makes them extra special, and they are cute too! I was really going for adding in some pops of red and pink with the sanding sugar. Had I dyed my shells I may have just drizzled the white on top.
If you try these macarons let us know! Drop a comment or tag us on Instagram!
- 1 Stand Mixer with whisk attachment
- 1 Kitchen Scale
- 1 Fine Sifter
- 2 Silpat Mats
- 1 Piping Bag
- 1 Round Piping Tip
- 1 double boiler or a small sauce pan with heat proof bowl.
- 1 whisk
- 1 Sturdy Spatula
- 100 grams fine sugar
- 100 grams room temperature egg whites 3-4 large eggs
- 105 grams almond flour
- 90 grams powdered sugar
- 15 grams strawberry powder
Strawberry Cheesecake Filling
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup freeze dried strawberry powder
Decorating Ingredients (optional)
- colored sanding sugar
- white colcolate candy melts
- Measure and prepare all ingredients for the macaron shells. If this is your first attempt at macarons, check out our guide for beginners.
- Prepare your silicone baking mats by lightly rubbing with paper towl dampened with white vinegar.
- Prepare your piping bag by fitting it with the round piping tip.
- Begin by sifting 100 grams of almond flour through a fine mesh sifter into a clean bowl.105 grams almond flour
- Sift the 90 grams of powdered sugar into a clean bowl and then add it to the almond flour. Do not sift directly into the almond flour.90 grams powdered sugar
- Sift the 15 grams of Strawberry Powder and then add to the Almond Flour and Powdered sugar.15 grams strawberry powder
- Using a clean spatula lightly mix the almond flour, powdered sugar and freeze dried strawberries.
- Set the bowl aside.
- Place the double boiler, or small sauce pan with aprx. an inch of water over low-medium heat. Place the bowl on top while you prepare the eggs and sugar.
- Measure 100 grams of fine white sugar. Set aside.100 grams fine sugar
- Cracking one egg at a time, measure out 100 grams of egg whites. This is typically 3- 4 extra large eggs.100 grams room temperature egg whites
- Check to see if the water is lightly boiling. Once ready add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl over the water.
- Whisk vigorously for about 1 minute. The egg whites should become frothy and the sugar should melt. Test by rubbing your fingers to see if you feel any sugar. Continue to whisk for up to another 30 seconds – keep it constantly moving or the eggs will cook.
- Quickly remove the eggs and sugar mixer from the heat and onto the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Begin to whip your meringue with the mixer on speed 2 for 2 minutes.
- Turn the mixer up to speed 4 for 3 minutes.
- Turn the mixer up to speed 6 and begin to more closely watch the meringue form. This varies and can take anywhere from 4-15 minutes depending on the humidity in your home.
- As you begin to see tracks in the bowl from the mixer, your meringue is getting close.
- Shut off the mixer and remove the whisk attachment. Scrape the whisk into the meringue all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Turn your whisk upside down, and if the meringue has a stiff peak, with no bend in the point it is ready. The underside should look like clouds. If it is not ready continue to whip for 30-second intervals testing its rediness.
- Preheat oven to 320° F.
- The macronage is the process of mixing the dry ingredients with the egg & sugar mixture.
- Leave the egg & sugar mixture in the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Add the almond flour, powdered sugar and freeze-dried strawberries to the egg mixture.
- Lower the head of your mixer and very quickly turn your speed to 6. COUNT TO 6 SECONDS. Immediately turn it off.
- Using a sturdy spatula continue to fold the batter.
- After every fold, lift the spatula to check if the batter is running off smoothly. This can take anywhere from 20-50 folds. The important thing is the consistency of the batter.
- The batter will be ready when it runs off the spatula and you can draw a figure 8 multiple times. The batter should melt back into itself slowly. It is better to undermix than overmix. The batter can break during the figure 8.
- Pour the batter into the prepared piping bag.
- With the batter secured in the piping bag hold it straight up and down with the pan.
- Apply even pressure and pipe the batter into the center of your circle template and count to 3. Do not try to make a circle.
- After your tray is done bang it on the counter 25 times to release the air. Then turn the pan and bang an additional 25 times. Use a toothpick to pop any remaining air bubbles.
- Move the tray to the side and begin to work on your other tray.
- Macarons need time to dry. Times will vary. Test your macaron readiness by lightly touching a shell. Your finger should come away clean and the shell should slightly indent and bounce back. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 depending on the humidity in your house.
- Once dry, place on the center rack in the preheated oven.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes quickly turn your tray and set a timer for 5 additional minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on the pan.
Strawberry Cheesecake Filing
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and strawberry powder and mix until incorporated.
- If desired add your food coloring. I left mine natural.
- Begin to add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until each cup is mixed.
- Beat for 1 minute and then add to a piping bag.
Deocrating Macaron Shells
- If desired decorate your macaron shells before assembling. Shells should be completely cooled.
- Melt white cholocate candy in a microwave at 50% power for one minute and stir.
- Continue to microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted.
- With macarons on a flat surface drizzle the white chocolate over the tops and sprinkle with colored sugar. I prefer sanding sugar if available.
- Match tops and bottoms of macarons, place each pair together with one bottom down and one bottom up together.
- Using a star tip for your piping bag pipe a circle of frosting onto the bottom up macaroon and place the matching shell on top.
- Store macarons in an airtight container in the refigerator overnight. The flavors develop overnight so they are best the next day.