Sunday, February 9, 2014

Boysenberry Macarons

Pretty Boysenberry Macarons that are perfect for Valentine's Day.

There was an ice storm last night in Portland and this morning residents were asked to stay indoors - a perfect excuse for me to just hole up in the kitchen and get creative.

So that's how I came up with these cute Boysenberry Macarons. I think they are perfect for Valentine's Day.

For the filling I made a Swiss Meringue buttercream and added 1/2 cup of low-sugar boysenberry preserves. Whenever I make a macaron filling I try to keep it on the not too sweet side since the shells are plenty sweet.

The boysenberry preserves I used for the filling.
To get the pretty color of the macaron shells I used a combination of electric pink and purple gel colors. I also added a bit of the electric purple to the filling.

Here's the recipe:

Boysenberry Macarons
180g ground almonds, sifted
270g powdered sugar, sifted
150g egg whites, aged 2 to 4 days in the fridge and then brought to room temperature
100g granulated sugar
electric purple and electric pink food coloring

Line four heavy baking sheets with good quality parchment paper and set aside. Also, set aside two pastry bags for the piping of the macarons.

Sift together your ground almonds with the powdered sugar and set aside.

Whisk the egg whites (at room temperature) to glossy firm peaks adding the granulated sugar gradually in four parts.  Towards the end of mixing, add the food coloring.

Incorporate the dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites using a large rubber scraper.  Mix well. 
Fold the mixture with the rubber scraper by pulling down the sides and flipping the mixture over. Do this until you have a smooth mixture that falls like a “ribbon” off the scraper.

Transfer the mixture into the two piping bags. Use rubber bands to close the piping bags. Clip the tip of the bags, one at a time, and pipe small quarter sized rounds, leaving 1-inch of space between each because they spread as they set.

It's important to let the piped macarons rest for 30 minutes before baking.
Leave to set for about 30 minutes or until the top has formed a crust and is not sticky to the touch.

While they are setting, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. A convection oven is preferable. 

Bake one sheet at a time in the center of the oven for about 12 minutes or until the cookie is firm, matte and doesn't wobble when touched.
Leave on the baking tray until cool then lift them all off the parchment carefully. You may need to use a thin knife to help lift them off.

Sort into pairs and fill with Boysenberry Buttercream. 

Filling the macarons. I always first sort the macarons into pairs and then use a pastry bag to pipe on a dollop of filling.
Boysenberry Buttercream
3 egg whites
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup low-sugar boysenberry preserves
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of fine sea salt
electric purple food coloring

Place the whites in a clean mixing bowl. Whisk in sugar and cream of tartar.

Place bowl over a double boiler on medium heat, stir frequently until the mixture is very hot (120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit).

Move to mixer and whip whites on high for 2 to 3 minutes; turn down to medium low until cool (use the bowl as your guide).

In a separate bowl with a wooden spoon, stir butter to soften.

With mixer on medium/high speed, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, adding the next tablespoon just as the previous one is blended in. Once all the butter incorporated, add in vanilla and salt and whip on high speed until fluffy. Be patient with this step, it sometimes takes quite a while for the buttercream to come together. If it looks curdled, don't stress, just keep whipping.

Add the boysenberry preserves and a drop of purple coloring and whip again until smooth and thoroughly combined.

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