White Eva platter and Kaya teacups and saucers. Available at www.etsy.com/shop/MaiaMingDesigns
I’ve been admiring macarons on Pinterest that have different colored shells, I’ve never seen any in a bakery with this feature, but the photos are very pretty. So for Easter I decided to make multi-colored macarons… Usually I match the shell color to the flavor, so I wasn’t sure what flavor to make these. I made basic macaron shells with no flavoring and simply colored them pink, blue and yellow. Then I tried an almond filling in some, and a strawberry filling in others. My mother always says that her favorite macarons are those with butter cream, but I think mine are those with fruit and whipped cream. In any case, my macarons turned out pastel-pretty and yummy. Happy Easter!
1 cup almond flour (100 grams)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (100 grams)
2 egg whites, aged, at room temperature (75 grams)
1/4 cup sugar (65 grams)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional, I use it when I have it)
3-4 drops blue, pink and yellow food coloring gel (gel colorant is better than liquid)
ALMOND BUTTER CREAM FILLING
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon milk
STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM FILLING
1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract (I usually do without, but I added some to boost the flavor)
1. Sift the almond flour and confectioners sugary together through a fine-mesh sieve. Blend any almonds that are too coarse to filter and re-sift.
2. To age the egg whites I usually separate the yolks a couple of days in advance and let the whites sit in a jar on my counter. I save the yolks for other recipes. Whisk egg whites at a low speed for 1 minute and then add the regular sugar and cream of tartar, beat 1 more minute at low speed. The cream of tartar is not an essential ingredient, I only started using it recently, but it helps form the meringue.
3. Beat the egg whites at high speed for 2 more minutes so they form into stiff, glossy peaks. I set a timer for this because it’s hard to estimate the minutes. If the batter is over-whipped, the macarons get air bubbles and hollow out underneath the shells.
4. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients. Using a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue, then press the flat side of the spatula firmly through middle of mixture and rotate the bowl slightly. This process is called “macaronage” and reduces air bubbles in the batter. Add the second half of the dry ingredients and continue the macaronage.
5. This is when I divided my batter into 3 portions and added some blue, pink and yellow food coloring to each portion. The yellow needed more gel than the other colors, and I am wary about adding too much colorant and making the batter too wet, they yellow batter was a little runnier, but mostly worked out okay. Normally I add the gel after beating the whites for two minutes, but I didn’t want to have to divide the ingredients in thirds and beat three batches separately.
6. Continue the macaronage on each batch until batter is glossy and flows like lava. The important thing is not to over mix the batter.
7. Rest a pastry bag inside a vertical cylinder to transfer the batter into the bag, then close the
top. Cut a small hole in the bottom tip of the pastry bag. The batter should be fairly stiff, but you don’t want it to come out too quickly, I cut my hole to less than 1 cm in diameter. In order not to blend the colors, you’ll have to use three bags, one for each color.
8. Either onto a parchment sheet or a macaron mat, pipe batter into 1 inch round cookies. I do this in a swirl and make each cookie almost to the edge of the circular rim of my macaron mat. A mat helps to make the cookies perfectly round and the same size and the raised rims contain the batter from spreading out on the sheets. Some people use a template with circles underneath the parchment paper, but I love my macaron mats.
9. Drop the baking sheets firmly onto the counter 3-4 times to release air bubbles. Let the macaron sheets sit for 30-40 minutes to dry so that they create a slight crust on the surface.
10. Preheat oven to 160ºC (320º F)
11. Place the macarons in the oven on the middle rack and bake macarons for 8 minutes, then take the tray out and face the front to the back for another 8 minutes (16 minutes total baking time). I do this so both ends of the tray get evenly baked. Only bake 1 sheet of macarons at a time. If the macarons are very large, bake a few minutes extra, different ovens will probably vary as well.
12. Almond butter cream filling:
Blend the butter with the other ingredients until smooth.
13. Strawberries and cream filling:
Blend the freeze dried strawberries into a fine powder. In a separate bowl, whip the cream. Once the cream is whipped, add the other ingredients and whip a little longer until everything is well blended.
14. Once the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the sheets and use a butter knife or spatula to spread the fillings on half of the cookie shell bottoms, then sandwich each macaron with another shell on top. It’s pretty to mix and match different top and bottom colored shells, but you can also make single colored blue, pink and yellow macarons. Store the macarons in a closed storage tin in the refrigerator or freezer.
Happy Easter! Now sit down and enjoy your macarons with a cup of tea!
Almond butter cream filling.
Strawberries and cream filling.
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