Heart Shaped Macarons (Italian Meringue Method)
Did you know there is more than one method for making macarons!? Up until very recently, I had no idea! Apparently there are several methods. The one that I have posted about before, the French method, is the traditional method. But there is also an Italian meringue method and a small batch method (more on this later).
Even though I have had more success with the Laduree macaron recipe, they can still be hit or miss. Which is why I have been eager to try the Italian method for my Valentine's Day-themed heart shaped macarons!
The ingredients for the Italian method are largely the same as the French: almond flour, confectioner's sugar, egg whites, and granulated sugar. This method requires making a sugar syrup with the granulated sugar and a bit of water.
First, I sifted together the almond meal and the confectioners sugar.
Then, instead of whisking all of the egg whites into a meringue, I mixed half of the egg whites into the almond/sugar mixture to create an almond paste.
Which also seemed like a good time to add in some food coloring.
The next big difference to this recipe is meringue. With the French method, you just whip up the meringue with a bit of granulated sugar. The problem is that this meringue is very fragile and if you over or under mix the batter, you can completely ruin the cookie.
For the Italian method, you an Italian meringue by drizzling a hot sugar syrup into egg whites that were already been whisked into soft peeks.
Once my meringue was back to room temperature, I mixed it into the almond paste. I was very skeptical that my macarons would turn out okay considering how much I had to mix the batter. It will feel like you killing the meringue, but since it's an Italian meringue, it was much sturdier and held up to the mixing.
I knew the batter was completely mixed when I had no more lumps of the almond paste and the batter just fell off the back of my spatula in a steady ribbon.
And since these macarons are for Valentine's Day, of course I had to make them into hearts! I outlined a heart shape onto the back of the parchment paper, then used that as a guide to pipe my macarons. I basically pipped a 'V' shape, putting more pressure on the piping at the top of the 'V', and less at the point. I also used a toothpick to help fill in the shape and make the point even pointier.
I also wanted to add a little something extra to these macarons, so I spattered them with some edible gold paint. It's one of my favorite decorating techniques because all I do is dip the brush in the paint and shake it over the cookies. No skill required!
When it comes to filling, macarons can be filled with really anything. I love filling them with Nutella or chocolate ganache. But since this if Valentine's Day, I decided to go with a raspberry cheesecake filling! Which is essentially my cream cheese frosting and a dollop of raspberry preserves.
I will say, I am a big fan of this method. It worked out wonderfully and every macaron came out perfectly! That may seem like I have low expectations, and that's because I do.
If you have ever tried making macarons at home, you know that sometimes they work, sometimes, they don't. And sometimes the first macarons piped out turn out fine, while the ones at the end do not. So yes, I value consistency when it comes to my macaron recipes!
My only gripe is that it takes significantly more time and is a bit more cumbersome than the already cumbersome French method. If you plan on making lots of macarons, this is the method for you!
And at the very least, you will have some very delicious macaons to reward you for all your extra effort!
Macarons with the Italian METHOD
Prep Time: 40 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 60 minutes
Yield: 25-30 macarons
- 140g fine almond flour (blanched), sifted
- 140g confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 3 egg whites, room temperature, divided into two
- 100g granulated white sugar
- 40g weight water
- 1/2 portion of cream cheese frosting
- 1/4 cup raspberry preserves
- In the work bowl of a food processor, mix together the sifted almond meal and confectioners sugar. Then sift again into a large bowl. Pour in half of the egg whites and mix into a paste. If dying the macarons, add in the food coloring and mix thoroughly.
- In another clean bowl, wiped down with a bit of vinegar, whisk together the remaining egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Meanwhile, add water and granulated sugar to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Let sugar cook until a candy thermometer reads 240 degrees (F).
- Begin to whisk the egg whites again on low speed and slowly pour sugar syrup into egg whites while continuing to mix. Once all sugar has been added, increase speed to high and continue whisking until bottom of the bowl is no longer warm. About 5 minutes.
- Spoon half the meringue mixture into the almond paste and mix until almost incorporated, then add the remaining meringue and gently mix until the batter becomes smooth and there are no longer any lumps and it falls off the spoon in a thick ribbon.
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe individual rounds, about 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" in diameter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Pipe a single mound of batter, not around in a circle. The batter will flatten as it sits to for a perfect circle. If piping hearts, outline a heart shape on the back of the parchment. Follow the heart patter while piping a "V" shape. Use a toothpick to help form the shape.
- Once all macarons are piped, tap the sheet pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let sit on the counter for at least 20 minutes, or until the tops of the macarons are slightly tacky, but do not stick to your finger.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake one pan at a time for 16-18 minutes, rotating the pan once in the middle of the baking cycle. The macarons are done when they are completely sturdy and do not move around when pressed.
- Once removed from the oven, spray the pan underneath the parchment with a bit of water to create steam which helps release the macaons. Transfer to a drying rack.
- When macarons are cooled, pipe the cream cheese frosting around the edge of the macaron, then then spoon a dollop of preserves in the middle. Top with another macaron.