Red Velvet Macaroons

Valentines macaroonsThe Valentine’s mood has arrived a little early in our house this year. I found myself wanting to try something new and festive in the  kitchen, and voila! I stumbled across a great article at Delectable Deliciousness about these Red Velvet Macaroons. If you’ve been intimidated by macaroons, I hope this gives you encouragement to try them at home. They are not so illusive as you might think!

With a crunchy exterior and softy chewy interior, macaroons are notoriously difficult to bake. At first read the recipe seemed intimidating, but a second review gave me confidence. The original author piped her macaroons into  adorable heart shapes, but I played it safe and stuck to a simple drop-cookie shape.  I think I will try the hearts my next go around.

A Tribute to Macaroons
Making macaroonsIf you are new to macaroons, they can me made in any color and flavor combination the imagination can dream of. They are beautiful, each one having it’s own unique personality, but all sharing the same qualities of that amazing crunchy, fluffy, chewy texture. They are worth trying!

Back to the Valentines recipe
Valentines macaroonsThis recipe called for  an almond-flour dough combined with an Italian meringue mixture (hot sugar syrup and fluffy egg whites) to form the cookies. The filling is a cinnamon buttercream frosting that is delicious in its own right. As the author noted, the little amount of  cocoa added for a red velvet flavor in the cookies didn’t really come through. The end result tasted more of almonds and cinnamon – a very tasty combination! We served these chewy and creamy treats to our guests the day of baking and let them sit out overnight. The cookies got even more fluffy and tender the next day.

Here is the recipe from Delectable Delicousness. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Valentine Macarons
adapted from Kitchen Musings

for the TPT (tant pour tant)
300 grams almond flour
300 grams confectioner’s sugar
110 grams aged egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
red food coloring (I used a gel coloring)

Sift together the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar. Mix in the egg whites to create the “mass” (mixture will be very thick). Add in your desired amount of red food coloring and mix well. Note: I didn’t measure the amount I used, I just kept adding until I had a bright red color, keeping in mind that the color will be diffused a bit when the Italian meringue is added.

for the Italian meringue
300 grams granulated sugar
75 grams water
110 grams aged egg whites

Bring water and sugar to a boil until it reaches 239F on a candy thermometer. Start whipping your egg whites in a stand mixer to soft peaks once your sugar/water mixture reaches 239F. Continue boiling your sugar/water mixture while simultaneously whipping your egg whites.

Once the sugar/water mixture reaches 245F, remove from the stove and let bubbles settle. Turn your mixer to low-medium speed and slowly pour in your sugar syrup mixture while continuing to beat the whites. Beat until you get soft peaks that gently food over when you turn the whisk upside down.

Preheat your oven to 350F

Fold in 1/4 of your meringue mixture into the TPT “mass” to lighten the mixture. Gently fold in the remaining meringue until the mixture “flows like magma”. Transfer to two pastry bags with a plain tip. Pipe cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheets and bake at 350F for 12-20 minutes.

Cinnamon Buttercream
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

3/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/8 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. (recipe states “about 20 minutes” but my mixture thickened in under 10)

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of stand mixer and beat on high, using the paddle attachment, until cool. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the butter, piece by piece, beating until thoroughly incorporated. Add the vanilla and cinnamon. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy. If frosting is too soft, chill in the refrigerator and then beat again until proper consistency.

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