Sunday, February 9, 2014

Red Velvet Macarons

You want to know what is difficult? Walking up Capitol Hill in high heeled boots when there is snow on the ground. Last night, after celebrating my dad's birthday, that is what I attempted. I tried to use the heels of my boots like ice picks... which didn't work. Luckily I had Jeff to cling to. Let's be real, he was the human equivalent of a snow cat, towing me up the hill. That's love people.

FYI don't google images of "snow cat" because in addition to pictures of the piece of winter machinery, you will find hundred of pictures of kittens frolicking in the snow. Painfully cute. 

Speaking of the L word, Valentine's Day fast approaches. While jewelry and boxes of chocolates aren't my drugs of choice, I have become quite fond of the holiday. I like to think of it as a time to do all the things I love and be with all the people I love.

I love making macarons, if you hadn't guessed as much already. They are frustrating and sometimes don't turn out, but when they do it is a very rewarding experience. So I guess making macarons is like being in a relationship?

The usual suspects: egg whites, sugar (powdered and granulated) and almond meal. This time around we are adding a hint of cocoa and some red food coloring. We are going red velvet.

This last picture reminds me of blotting red lipstick.

These cookies have a subtle chocolate flavor and beautiful coloring, but their best feature is their filling. Cream cheese icing for days.


Red Velvet Macarons
*this recipe requires a digital scale... g=grams

for the shells:
105g almond meal (flour)
130g confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon red food coloring (liquid not gel)
90g egg whites (3 eggs worth)
65g granulated sugar

for the filling:
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c confectioners sugar
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- - -
*line 2 standard baking sheets with parchment paper
1. Sift together almond meal, confectioners sugar and cocoa, set aside
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites and food coloring until foamy; stream in granulated sugar and whip until stiff peaks form
3. Fold dry ingredients into the egg whites in two additions, mixing well with a spatula (for exact macaron mixing instructions, click here)
4. Fill a piping bag with macaron batter and pipe small, 1" circles onto prepared baking sheets
5. Rap baking sheet on the counter twice to release any air bubbles that might cause cracking during the baking process
6. Let your macarons rest for 20-30 minutes on the counter (or until their surface is no longer tacky to the touch)
7. Pre-heat oven to 275F
8. Bake rested macarons for 16-18 minutes
9. Cool before peeling from tray and filling with cream cheese icing (recipe follows)

Cream Cheese Filling:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth
2. Sift in confectioners sugar in three additions, scraping down the bowl in between each addition
3. Add salt and vanilla; mix until incorporated
4. Pipe onto the flat side of 1/2 of your cooled, peeled macarons and sandwich with another cookie of similar size

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