Sunday, June 29, 2014

Red, White And Blue Macarons

Celebrate the 4th of July with these cute and patriotic Red, White and Blue Macarons.

I made the different colored macaron shells from a single recipe and the filling is a lightly sweet Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

The standard way to tint macaron batter is to add the coloring to the meringue before adding the almond meal and powdered sugar. I didn't want to have to make two separate batches of batter, so I instead mixed up one batch completely and then divided it and added the red and blue coloring.

I was a bit nervous about messing around with my tried and true recipe since macarons can be finicky little buggers but thankfully, adding the coloring at a later time worked just fine.

Macarons can be made up to a week in advance so they are a practical choice for entertaining. Just be sure to bring them to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Here's the recipe:

Red, White And Blue 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
Blue food coloring
Red 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. 

Incorporate the dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites using a large rubber scraper.  Mix well. 

Divide the batter in half and tint one half with red coloring and the other half with blue coloring.

Fold each mixture with a 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 mixtures into separate 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.

Piped red and blue macarons.
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 Vanilla Swiss meringue Buttercream.

Sorted macaron shells that are ready for filling.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
2 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
a pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt

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 the vanilla and salt.  Whip on high speed until fluffy.

Transfer the filling to a pastry bag for filling the macarons.

For a little added interest, I used a Wilton #22 tip, also known as an open star tip for piping the filling.

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