Red Velvet Macarons
Have you ever had the pleasure of biting into a delicate Red Velvet Macaron? If no, it’s time to change that.
Now, I know all the talk (and bragging rights) come when you’ve eaten a REAL macaron from France. Que my *slight* bragging: when I was 18 I had the pleasure of eating a real French macaron! I should clarify that I purchased it in the France airport 😂… I never actually walked around the sites of France. However, that’s not my point. My point is, the macaron was delicious! Was it anything over-the-moon spectacular? Yes and no. In my mind it tasted amazing because I was on French soil, but truthfully (and after tasting many macarons since) the French macaron can and IS replicated in homes all across the country. So whether you have or haven’t had the pleasure of eating a macaron, it’s time to dive in and make them ourselves!
So that’s exactly what we’re doing. We are going to make legit French Red Velvet Macarons.
I’m excited! I hope you are too!
Now, speaking of red velvet, I have a red velvet cake recipe you should make as well! Something about the vibrant red in these desserts just gives me all the Valentine’s Day feels.
Before we jump into how we go about making these beauties, I want to give a fair warning, making macarons is difficult; not because it requires techniques that are hard to accomplish. No, quite the contrary. It comes down to small finicky things such as whipping the egg whites enough, folding the batter to the correct consistency, and adapting to your climate. (Ha, maybe those are difficult techniques to accomplish??) But don’t you worry, we will master these macarons together! It’s time to utilize your baking intuition and instincts.
Note: I have a heading titled, “tips for making macarons” towards the bottom of this post. I didn’t put it at the top because I want you to read the process first so that you understand what you’re doing before I dish out all the tips and tricks.
Tools and ingredients needed
You will need a kitchen scale to make macarons. You need an exact measurement of almond flour, sugar, powdered sugar, and egg whites. If you don’t have a kitchen scale you can find an affordable one here on Amazon.
Parchment paper or a macaron silicon baking mat. When I made this recipe I did it on both parchment and the baking mat. The results: I liked both! The macarons sort of popped off the parchment paper once they were cool. While the baking mat required it bit more gentle care in peeling the macarons off the mat. Two reasons I loved the baking mats were because it has the macaron outlines (making it easy to get identical sizes) and the bottoms of the macarons were beautifully flat. So overall, I preferred the silicone baking mat.
You’ll also need a 2 piping bags (1 for the macaron batter and another for the cream cheese buttercream frosting) and a round piping tip.
Red Velvet Macaron Ingredients
- Granulated sugar – some macaron recipes call for superfine sugar. I tested with granulated sugar and superfine and didn’t notice a difference. So we will just use granulated sugar.
- Almond flour – has to be almond flour. Macarons get their distinct taste and texture due to the use of almond flour.
- Powdered sugar
- Dutch processed cocoa powder
- Egg whites – some recipes say you should “age the egg whites.” I (personally) didn’t age the egg whites for this recipe. (Honestly, I just wanted to keep this as simple, straightforward, and EASY as could be). If you’d like to go the extra mile, you can age your egg whites by separating the egg yolks from the egg whites. Store the egg whites in a container in the fridge for 24 hours. This process allows the egg whites to dehydrate slightly and it relaxes the egg white proteins.
- Cream of tarter – stabilizes the egg whites
- Vanilla extract – don’t over-do it on the vanilla. Too much added liquid can throw off the macaron batter’s consistency.
- GEL red food coloring – must be gel. Like noted above, too much liquid will throw off the consistency.
How to make Red Velvet Macarons
- Line the baking sheets. You’ll need 2 baking sheets for this recipe. Like I mentioned in the section above, I used parchment for one baking sheet and a macaron silicone baking mat for the other. I liked how the baking mat ones turned. They were more uniform in size, had flatter bottoms, and cooked evenly. The only trick with using a silicone mat is that you need to gently peel the macaron off (due to the mat being more grippy than parchment paper).
- Sift the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder. Repeat 1 more time (for a total of 2 times).
- Beat the egg whites. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating for another 1-2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar a tablespoon at a time. Beat until soft peaks form.
- Add gel coloring and vanilla. Once the egg whites reach soft peaks, add the vanilla and GEL food coloring. I added about 3-4 drops of gel food coloring. Note: I did up the saturation of the macaron coloring when I was editing these photos.
- Mix until stiff peaks form.
- Mix in the almond flour mixture (in segments). Pour 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture. Using a rubber spatula FOLD the flour mixture into the fluffy egg whites. (The photo below was taken after I had mixed in 1/3 of the dry ingredients. You can tell the batter is still really thick and quite grainy. I know it’s hard to fully illustrate what I’m talking about via photographs. But once you get in the kitchen and make these you’ll know what I mean). Once you no longer see any dry ingredients, add the remaining flour mixture and fold it into the batter until a ribbon “figure 8” holds into the batter without breaking, (it will flow like slow molten lava) and then disappears (folds back into itself) within 15-20 seconds. The batter will be smooth, sticky, and glossy. Tip: It takes a decent amount of mixing to get to this “figure 8” stage. But once you reach it… meaning you can lift the spatula (with batter on it) and drag the batter in a figure 8 WITHOUT IT BREAKING and it folds back into itself in 15-20 seconds, then you’re good. Stop there.
- Pipe the macaron batter. Place batter in piping bag with a round tip. Holding the piping bag vertically, pipe the macarons into 1.5″-2″ inch circles. As you pipe, hold the piping tip close to the paper/mat )about 1 inch from the paper. Pro Tip: print a macaron template from the internet and place it underneath your parchment paper to ensure uniform macarons. If you do this, just remember to remove the template before baking!
- Release the air bubbles. Tap the baking sheet FIRMLY on the counter a couple of times to release the bubbles from the batter. I say tap, but I really mean slam. Yes, slam the baking sheets on the counter (with love and care) to release the bubbles.
- Let macarons rest. The part is important, you need to let the piped macarons rest for 30-45 minutes to form a skin over the tops of the macaron. The macarons should no longer be tacky when you touch them.
- Bake at 300°F for 16-18 minutes. Remove and cool for 20 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet.
- Make the cream cheese frosting by beating the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. If the frosting is too thick add a tablespoon of milk until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Assemble. Pipe the frosting on the bottom (flat) portion of the macaron. Find another macaron and sandwich the two cookies together, gently pressing down to help the frosting spread to the edges.
I’m making macarons and the tops didn’t set. What did I do wrong?
Well, I don’t have all the answers, but one thing to consider would be your climate. I live in a humid climate, so to get the skin to develop on the tops I had to place a small fan near the macaron covered baking sheets in order to help dry out the tops.
My macarons didn’t develop feet, what happened?
Well, it could be a number of things. It’s important the tops dry out and form the “skin” on each top. Without this vital step, the macarons will not develop their characteristic “feet.”
Is your oven at the correct temperature? (I always use an oven thermometer). If the temperature is too low the macarons won’t bake properly.
Poorly beaten or broken meringue. To fix, make sure you’re using the cream of tarter (acts as a meringue stabilizer while beating). Make sure your egg whites are free of any egg yolks. And last but not least, make sure you beat until the egg whites reach stiff peaks and stop once you reach that stage.
The macarons were hollow
Could be a number of things, including improper oven temperature, over-beating the meringue, or too little or not enough macaronage (the folding of the macaron batter). I’ve found this article to be helpful when troubleshooting hollow macarons.
How to store macarons
These should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Macarons develop flavor with time (they’re even better on day 2)!
Macarons will store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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Red Velvet Macarons
- 90 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams almond flour
- 100 grams powdered sugar
- 1 T + 2 tsp (10 grams) Dutch process cocoa
- 100 grams egg whites - at room temperature (about 3 egg whites)
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 drops GEL red food coloring - don't use liquid
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 oz cream cheese - softened
- 2 tablespoons butter - softened
- 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk - if needed
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or a macaron silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- Sift the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Repeat 1 more time.
- In a stand up mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. About 1 minute. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating for another 1-2 minutes, then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Continue doing this until all of the sugar has been added. Beat until soft peaks form.
- Add the vanilla and food coloring, mix on low speed until food coloring is incorporated.
- Mix until stiff peaks form.
- Pour 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture. Using a rubber spatula FOLD/stir the flour mixture into the batter. Once you no longer see any dry ingredients, add the remaining flour mixture and fold it into the batter until a ribbon “figure 8” holds into the batter without breaking (as in, you can draw a figure 8 without the batter breaking), and then disappears (folds back into itself) within 15-20 seconds. The batter will be smooth, sticky, and glossy.
- Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a round tip.
- Using a circular piping tip, holding the piping bag vertically pipe the macarons into 1.5-2 inch circles. As you pipe, hold the piping tip close to the paper (about 1 inch from the paper.
- Tap the baking sheet FIRMLY on the counter a couple of times to release the bubbles from the batter.
- Let the piped shells rest for 30 -45 minutes to form hardened tops (See note #1). Macarons should no longer be tacky when you touch them.
- Bake at 300 for 16-18 minutes. (I pulled mine out around 17 minutes).
- Remove and cool for 15-20 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet.
- Pipe some cream cheese frosting on the flat side of a macaron then take a second macaron cookie to create a sandwich. Gently press the cookies together so that the frosting spreads to the edges.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- To make the cream cheese frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. (Can use hand mixer or stand mixer). Add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. If frosting is too thick add a tablespoon of milk until it reaches your desired consistency.
- I live in a humid place, so I had to place a fan near my macarons so that they'd form a coating overtop of them.