♫ Oh say can you see ♫
I made this recipe using frozen egg whites (which I then defrosted, of course)! Another thing to add to my already overstuffed freezer! And now if you make lemon curd or choux pastry or something and have leftover egg whites you can just dump them in the freezer for A Future Macaron.
I’m just approaching the end of my first year here in the US and baking ALL the thematic events.
I prefer French macarons (where the meringue is made by whipping the egg whites with sugar before it is incorporated with almond flour) over Italian macarons (where the meringue is whipped with hot sugar syrup and folded with a blend of almond flour and egg white). Italian macarons are favoured by professionals due to its stability and hence batch-to-batch consistency. But I just think French macarons are easier to make at home since I don’t have to touch hot sugar syrup (which still scares me), and I don’t have a stand mixer. You just have to get over the learning curve with French macarons.
The cream cheese frosting is my favourite I’ve tried so far! It’s not too sweet, due to the equal ratio of butter to cream cheese. But this time I added milk powder, which adds stability so I can cut down on the sugar, and also adds a DELECTABLE milky cookie-like flavour to the frosting.
Don’t the macarons kind of look like the Pepsi logo?
I couldn’t decide if I liked red on top or blue on top better so I made a gif with both (although staring at the flashing colours too long makes me nauseous).
The macaron recipe’s originally from here (although that website is now down so who knows). Just a good French macaron recipe which I’ve used before. I used the cream cheese frosting which I always use, but this time I added some milk powder so I can cut down on the sugar while keeping the frosting somewhat stiff, an idea I got from The Scran Line!
Ingredients (makes about 23 1.5 inch macarons)
- 58g almond flour
- 115g powdered sugar
- 72g egg whites
- 36g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1g salt
- Food colouring (red and blue if you’re following the USA patriotism/4th July/Independence Day theme, and a bit of black to darken the red)
Cream cheese filling (will make more than you need, but I always think it’s better to overestimate filling)
- 113g (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature/softened
- 113g (1/2 block) cream cheese, room temperature/softened (the block kind not the tub kind, preferably Philadelphia brand)
- 100g powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 25g milk powder (doesn’t matter if skimmed or full fat)
- Process almond flour and powdered sugar until fine (this step might be optional if your almond flour is fine enough) and sift.
- Combine egg whites and beat until small bubbles form. Gradually incorporate sugar, vanilla, and salt, while beating. Whip until stiff peaks.
- Dump in dry ingredients at once and gently fold until the dry ingredients are just incorporated with the egg white.
- Divide the macaron batter (macaronage) into two bowls. Fold in red food colouring with a bit of black food colouring in one bowl, and blue food colouring in the other bowl. Fold until the macaronage flows like lava, and if you drip a bit back into the batter the drip disappears into the batter after a few seconds.
- Pipe the batter onto baking paper placed on a baking tray to form rounds. You might want to print a template out underneath if, like me, you can’t estimate sizes.
- Drop the baking tray from a couple of inches in the air onto the counter to burst air bubbles in the macaron rounds.
- Let dry for 30mins, or until the macaron rounds are dry to the touch.
- Bake at 150°C for 16-18 mins, or until you can cleanly peel the baking paper away from the macarons. (Bake the ugliest batch first to test out the timings)
- Cool on pan before removing.
Cream cheese filling
- Beat the butter until creamy. Add the cream cheese and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy.
- Sift in the powdered sugar and milk powder and incorporate into the cream cheese frosting. Then beat the frosting on high speed until frosting is fluffy and pales in colour.
- When the macaron shells have completely cooled, match each red shell with a blue shell of similar size. Then fill the macarons.
- Processing your almond flour helps keep your macaron shells smooth. I find that even the almond flour that’s sold as “fine almond flour” isn’t quite fine enough for macarons, but that could be dependent on brand. Large chunks of almonds could also cause your shells to crack. But yeah I didn’t have a sieve with a fine enough mesh in my current kitchen so the shells ended up a bit bumpy anyway.
- The source I got the macaron recipe from claims that she didn’t have to let the macarons dry before baking, but I have never succeeded in getting a good batch of macarons without letting them dry first. They just end up cracking with no feet. So I’d really recommend letting them dry before baking. If you live in a humid country (like me when I was in Singapore) you could try being in an air conditioned room with a dehumidifier to speed up the drying.
- I like to mix red food colouring with a bit of black food colouring for the shells to come out more red than pink.
- Try to dry the macaron shells on the trays that they will be baked on. If, after they are dry, you transfer the shells onto the baking sheet and are not careful, the “skin” on the top of the shell may crack, which may cause a crack in the macaron shell after they are baked.
- I always thought that macarons tasted better after a night in the fridge once it’s filled. The shells absorb a bit of the moisture and flavour from the buttercream which makes the whole thing taste better and have a chewier texture. But they taste fine on the day as well.
- If room temperature for you is pretty hot and your frosting gets runny, just stick it in the fridge for like 30 mins for it to stiffen up to a pipeable consistency. This is as opposed to adding powdered sugar to stiffen it up (what I used to do) which just makes the frosting too sweet. Macarons are served chilled anyway, so as long as the frosting is a good consistency chilled there’s no need to overly stiffen the frosting with icing sugar.
- This might be TMI but blue food colouring turns your poop green, who knew. Probably because it combines with the yellow bile in the stool. The red didn’t seem to have an effect, unfortunately.