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Friday, 5 March 2021

Strawberry Shaped Macarons

I have spent a while creating and designing a delicious strawberry macaron which I know you will all LOVE!

A strawberry macaron which hasn't only got the flavour of strawberries, but looks like them too!

A strawberry shaped macaron shell with a filling of strawberry flavoured buttercream and a core of strawberry jam. They feature a smooth and shiny top, ruffled feet and a yummy moist & chewy middle.

These might be my favourite macarons EVER! They're 'pretty in pink' with the most perfect feet!

What are macaron feet? Macaron feet are the tell-tale sign of a well-baked macaron. These tiny (and very adorable) ruffles around the bottom edge of the shell should be small, unbroken and even the whole way around the macaron.

These macarons are light pink shells with green 'leaf detailing', the most delicious strawberry swirl with a core of strawberry jam. I topped them with some white sprinkles. They'd be perfect for Mothers day coming up! 

The jam adds a delicious fruitiness to these macarons and makes the strawberry flavour POP! You could even make a strawberry compote to fill them. It's easy to make and is only 3 ingredients, you gotta make it and try it out! Get my recipe here, just change the raspberries for strawberries.

Notes*
What colouring should I use?
For macarons, ONLY use a gel. I have tried liquid food colouring and it completely ruined the batter. The best food gels which are vegan and highly pigmented are Pro Gel from Rainbow Dust Colours. Check them out here

What is Aquafaba:
Aquafaba is the water from a can/tin of chickpeas. The chickpea water or brine as it's called, acts as an amazing egg substitute for cakes, cupcakes and this delicious meringue buttercream. You can also get aquafaba in a carton for easy use. Check it out here.

Preparation: 30 minutes
Makes: Around 20 macaron cookies
Baking time: 40 minutes
Level: Medium

A message from me: I've had a couple of messages over on Instagram of those wanting American measurements [cups]. As macarons are technical and extremely temperamental, you want to measure the ingredients precisely. Cups aren't precise. They're fine for things like cakes and cookies, but not macarons. Hope that helps :)

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Ingredients for the macaron shells

  • 75g of aquafaba (chickpea brine)   see notes*
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 110g of ground almonds/almond flour
  • 112g of icing sugar
  • 70g of caster sugar
  • Pink food gel    see notes*
  • Green food gel   see notes*
Ingredients for the filling
  • 60g of dairy-free butter
  • 100g of icing sugar
  • 10ml of aquafaba (chickpea brine) see notes*
  • 1/4 teaspoon of strawberry flavouring
  • Pink food gel
  • Green food gel
Ingredients for the core
  • 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam
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Method (macaron shells)
1. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper, add a large round tip nozzle into a piping bag, and add a small leaf tip nozzle into a separate piping bag. Best to get these ready before starting as you'll want to work quite quickly with the macaron batter.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add in the aquafaba and cream of tartar. Using an electric whisk or stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, whizz up on medium/high until white and fluffy.
This will take around 5 minutes.

3. Once fluffy, gradually add in the caster sugar a little at a time while the mixture is still mixing on high.
The mixture will turn thick and glossy after around 5-8 minutes. Adding the sugar gradually will prevent the air you created to deflate. You want this mixture to form stiff peaks. 

4. When the aquafaba and sugar mixture holds stiff peaks, sift in the ground almonds/almond flour and icing sugar. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the aquafaba mixture until the dry is just incorporated into the meringue. As you're adding in a colour, you don't want to mix the mixture fully as you'll need to mix in the colour which would then change the consistency.
Watch this video to learn how to fold in the mixture.

5. Transfer 1/4 of the macaron batter into a separate bowl and add in a drop of green food gel, fold to combine.
Add a drop of pink food gel to the larger bowl of batter, gently fold until combined.
Again, you're looking for the batter to slowly ribbon off the spatula, but not continuously. It should be runny, then stopping in clumps.

7. Add the pink macaron batter into the piping bag with the round tip nozzle and add the green batter into the bag with the leaf tip nozzle.
Pipe 1 & 1/2 inch heart shapes on the lined baking trays, spaced out. Tap the trays against your work surface to release any air bubbles. Using the green, pipe 3 leaves at the top of the heart (as seen in the photos). This creates the leaf effect for the strawberries.
If you're adding on sprinkles, make sure to sprinkle them on the macarons before the shells dry. Sprinkle white nonpareils on the pink part of the macarons. 

8. Allow the macarons to rest at room temperature for around 1 & 1/2 hours or until the shells are completely dry. To test the macarons are dry, lightly touch the tops and sides of the macaron shell with your fingertip. If batter comes off on your finger, they need more time to dry. Depending on your weather and humidity in your kitchen, they might take longer. It all depends so keep an eye on them.

9. When they are dry, bake one tray at a time. 
Preheat oven to 120 degrees c fan. Place one tray into the middle of the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Rotate the tray every 15 minutes to ensure an even bake. 
The baking time might vary depending on your oven so just keep an eye on them and keep checking them.
If the feet look like they're spreading outwards (which shouldn't happen at such a low temperature but it might do with your oven), wedge a wooden spoon in the door of the oven to help reduce the temperature. Doing this will prevent the feet from spreading.

10. Once they have feet and have baked fully, turn off the oven and allow them to rest in the oven for around 30 minutes with the oven door ajar. This will help dry them out.
To know they're ready, they should just peel away from the greaseproof paper and have a smooth flat base. Only try and lift them up after they have had time to cool. if you try and lift them whilst they're still hot, they'll stick to the paper and break.
Repeat for the other tray.

Method (filling)
1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the dairy-free butter and whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too.

2. Add in the aquafaba and whip on high for a few minutes until incorporated into the whipped butter.

3. Sift in the icing sugar, add in the strawberry flavouring and a drop of pink food gel, whip on high speed for around 5 minutes to incorporate it.
Your meringue buttercream should be thick, very creamy and silky smooth.

4. Add the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip nozzle. Pipe a swirl of the buttercream on half of the macaron shells. You want there to be an equal number of macarons with buttercream and the ones without. 

5. Add around 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam into a piping bag and snip off the tip.

6. Into the middle of the piped buttercream, pipe some strawberry jam into the middle then top with a macaron shell.

Let macarons sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.

To store:
Store the macarons in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 7 days, or in the freezer for a month.
Make sure the container they are in a sealed as you don't want any moisture to get into the macarons, as this can ruin them.

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