Macarons: Have ready
three baking sheets lined with
To make all the Macarons the same size, I like to make a template. Take a
piece of parchment paper and draw 24 - 1 1/2 inch (3.75 cm) circles, spacing the
circles about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. (See video for demonstration). Place the template under your parchment
paper so you can use it as a guide.
Next, place the ground almonds, confectioners sugar,
and freeze dried strawberries in your food processor and process until finely ground
(about 1 minute). Sift the mixture to remove any lumps.
In the bowl of
your electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (can use a hand mixer),
beat the egg whites and cream of tartar, on medium low speed, just until soft peaks
Gradually add the superfine white sugar, and beat, on high speed, until the
meringue holds a stiff peak
(when you slowly raise the whisk the meringue is straight up, no drooping).
Beat in the red food coloring. Then, in three
additions, fold the ground almond/sugar mixture into the meringue. When folding,
cut through the meringue and then fold up and over, making sure to scrape the
bottom and sides of the bowl. (See video for demonstration.) Once the almond mixture is completely folded into the meringue (the batter will
fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon) it is time to pipe the
pastry bag, fitted with 1/2 inch (1 cm) (Wilton 1A) plain tip, with the batter. Pipe
rounds onto the parchment paper, using the template as
a guide. Gently remove the template. Then tap the baking sheet on the counter to break any air
bubbles (can also break air bubbles with the end of a toothpick). Let the Macarons sit at room temperature for about 30
to 60 minutes (depending on
the temperature and humidity of your kitchen) or until the tops of
the Macarons are no longer tacky.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 325 degree F (160 degree C).
cookies (one sheet at a time) for about 13 - 15 minutes,
rotating the pan front to back, about halfway through baking.
The Macarons are done when you can just barely separate the cookies from
the parchment paper. (If you find that the bottoms of the cookies brown too
much, double sheet your baking pans.) Remove from oven and let the Macarons cool
completely on the baking sheet that is placed on a wire rack.
Cheesecake Filling: In the bowl of your food processor, place the freeze
dried strawberries and confectioners sugar. Process until finely ground. Then,
in the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or
with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar mixture
and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and
bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the very soft cream cheese in three
additions (scraping the bowl after each addition), beating until incorporated
and the frosting is nice and smooth. Place in a piping bag fitted with a 1/4
inch (.5 cm) plain tip (I used a Wilton #12).
To assemble the Macarons, take two cookies and sandwich them together with
your filling (place filling on flat side of cookie). While you can serve the
Macarons the day they are made, these cookies are best when allowed to 'mature'
for at least a day in the refrigerator. Can be stored for about 5 days in the
refrigerator or they can be frozen for about one month. Serve cold or at room
Makes about 30 Macarons.
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