If you’ve never made macarons from scratch, this is the perfect recipe for you! These simple valentine macarons are filled with a strawberry cheesecake concoction that is nothing short of decadent. Plus, they’re easier to make than you think!
Not to be confused with coconut “macarons”, macarons are a French confectionary treats that boast a sweet and creamy filling sandwiched between two crisp-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside meringue cookies.
Although macarons may look fancy-schmancy, with a little practice you’ll see just how simple it is to whip up these decadent bites.
How to Make Valentine’s Day Macarons:
- Over a double boiler, whisk together egg whites and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Transfer the egg whites to a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beat until peaks form.
- Fold powdered sugar and almond flour into the egg whites (see below for folding tips). Work the meringue back and forth against the bowl until you can draw a figure 8 smoothly into the meringue without it crumbling or breaking into bits.
- Add the meringue to a piping bag with a round tip and pipe out inch-and-a-half sized circles onto a prepared baking sheet. Give the pan a few taps on your counter to release air bubbles in the meringue, then set aside to rest for 20-25 minutes before baking. After the meringues are finished baking, allow them to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth, then add it to a prepared piping bag.
- Pair the cooled meringue cookies, flipping one half of each pair over. Pipe a ring of the cheesecake mixture onto the upside-down halves, then spoon a little strawberry jam into the center of each ring.
- Place the tops of the macarons onto the filled meringues, pressing down until the filling just reaches the edge of each macaron. Place the finished macarons in the fridge to cool overnight. When you’re ready to serve your macaron masterpieces, bring them to room temperature, then enjoy!
Can I use almond meal instead of almond flour?
Generally speaking, almond meal is a much more coarse product than almond flour, so it’s not ideal for meringues. The light, fluffy texture of almond flour is the perfect ingredient for keeping your macaron shells perfectly delicate.
Is it okay to substitute liquid food coloring for the gel food coloring?
No! It’s very important that you use gel food coloring when coloring the meringue for your macarons. Liquid food coloring can completely ruin meringue by thinning it out, whereas gel food coloring is viscous enough to tint the meringue while allowing it to keep its thickened consistency.
After you’ve made these yummy Valentine macarons, try switching up the colors and fillings for your other favorite holidays. You’ll be a macaron-making expert in no time at all!Print
For the Macarons:
- 90 Grams Egg whites
- 90 Grams Granulated sugar
- 95 Grams Powdered sugar
- 95 Grams Almond flour
- Gel Food Coloring, optional
For the Filling:
- 40 Grams Whipped cream cheese
- 40 Grams Powdered sugar
- 1 Gram Pure vanilla extract
- Strawberry jam
Make the Shells:
- Line two large sheet pans with Silpat mats (or parchment paper). Fit a piping bag with a small round tip (Wilton #10).
- Set a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl isn’t touching the water).
- Add the egg whites and granulated sugar to the bowl. Whisk constantly until the sugar has fully dissolved, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Beat the egg whites on medium-high speed (Kitchenaid #8) until they form stiff peaks.
- Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour into the beaten egg whites. Fold the mixture gently to incorporate the dry ingredients into the egg whites. (See notes for proper folding technique.) When about half of the dry ingredients have been incorporated, add the food coloring, if using, and continue folding.
- Deflate the meringue by smushing it against the sides of the bowl and folding it back together. Repeat the smushing process 3-4 times and then test the meringue to see if it’s at the “figure 8 stage”. If you can draw an 8 with the batter while it flows smoothly, it’s ready. If the meringue falls off in clumps or breaks during the “8”, smush it 1-2 more times and fold it back together. Then repeat the figure 8 test.
- When the batter flows smoothly, transfer the mixture to the piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe 1.5” circles about 2” apart on the Silpat lined baking sheet. Make sure to hold the piping bag perpendicular to the baking sheet so you don’t end up with lopsided macarons.
- Immediately after piping the tray, hold it 6” off the counter and drop it straight down to release any air bubbles. Repeat the dropping process 5-6 times, or until it looks like any large air bubbles have popped.
- Set the tray aside to rest for 20-25 minutes, or until the macarons have developed a skin. The macarons are ready to bake when they can be gently touched without sticking to your finger.
- While the macarons rest, preheat an oven to 325° F. Bake the macarons one tray at a time for 14-16 minutes, flipping the tray halfway through baking. The macarons are finished when they peel easily off the Silpat.
- Allow the macarons to cool on the tray. Once they are fully cooled, they can be filled and aged.
To Make the Filling & Age the Macarons:
- In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag.
- Place the macarons in similar sized pairs. Pipe a ring of cream cheese icing around the center of one shell. Fill the inside with strawberry jam and then place the second shell on top, pressing down lightly until the filling touches the edges. Repeat with the remaining macarons.
- (Optional) Place the macarons in an airtight container in the fridge to rest overnight. Bring the macarons to room temperature before serving. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
The egg whites do not have to be at room temperature.
Make sure to use almond flour (not almond meal)
Proper folding technique is to form a “J” shape. Cut the meringue down the middle and scrape all the way to the bottom, and then pull the mixture from the bottom over the top. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat the J shape. Be gentle with the meringue. You don’t want to deflate the egg whites at this point.
Make sure to only use gel food coloring in macarons– not liquid! ¼ tsp was the amount used for this recipe.