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Valentine's Macarons

These Valentine's Macarons are filled with a spicy chocolate buttercream and decorated with royal icing to look like conversation heart candies. They may look difficult but you won't believe just how easy they are to make!
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Resting time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: macarons, valentines macarons
Servings: 18 macarons
Calories: 130kcal
Author: The Tipsy Macaron

Equipment

  • Kitchen scale
  • Strainer
  • Whisk
  • Stand mixer
  • Spatulas
  • 16 inch pastry bag (or more if dividing batter)
  • 8 inch pastry bag
  • Round piping tip (I used the Ateco 10)
  • Two silicone mats
  • Two half sheet pans
  • Oven thermometer
  • Small bowl (to mix royal icing)

Ingredients

Macaron shells

  • 90 grams powdered sugar
  • 80 grams almond flour
  • 70 grams egg whites (room temperature)
  • 70 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 grams egg white powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 drops pink gel food coloring (Or other colors if dividing batter)

Spicy chocolate buttercream

  • ¼ cup salted butter (½ stick)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp heavy whipping cream
  • ½ tsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Royal icing

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp meringue powder
  • ½ tsp water (room temperature)
  • 2 drops red gel food coloring

Instructions

Prepare dry ingredients

  • Sift powdered sugar and almond flour using a whisk to break down any clumps. Set aside.
  • Line sheet pans with the silicone mats.
  • Insert the piping tip into the 16 inch pastry bag.

Make the meringue

  • Whisk the egg whites on medium speed (speed 4) until you see small bubbles (this can take as little as 15 seconds sometimes).
  • Slowly add 3 tbsp of granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, waiting about 10 seconds between each tbsp.
  • Whisk until you start to see tracks in the meringue.
  • Increase speed to 6 and continue slowly adding the remainder of the granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until you’ve added all the sugar.
  • Once you have soft peaks, stop the mixer, scrape the sides and add the vanilla extract.
  • Whisk for about 5 more minutes, or until you have stiff peaks.

Combine ingredients

  • Add in the powdered sugar and almond flour mixture in three parts, 1/3 at a time, folding each part until fully combined.
  • Once the meringue and dry ingredients are fully combined, stop folding.
  • At this point you can add 4 drops of pink gel food coloring OR if you want several different colors, divide the batter into 3 parts, and add the different colors to each bowl and fold each until color is mixed in.
  • Now you need to deflate some of the air in the batter by taking the spatula and smearing the batter on the sides of the bowl two or three times, and then folding once or twice.
  • Repeat the process of smearing some of the batter on the side of the bowl and folding until the batter looks smooth and glossy and runs down the spatula slowly in ribbons.
  • You can test the consistency by lifting the spatula and letting the batter run down. If it falls in ribbons and sinks back into itself within 30 seconds, the batter is ready.
  • Transfer the batter (if one color) to the 16 inch pastry bag or each separate color batter to 3 different pastry bags.

Pipe the macarons

  • Take the pastry bag and, holding the bag at a 90° angle, pipe the shells in 3/4 inch circles.
  • Tap the tray against the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles. I usually tap about 7-8 times.
  • Let the macarons rest until they form a skin and are no longer sticky.
  • While the macarons are resting, preheat the oven to 315°F.
  • Bake the macarons for 14-16 minutes.
  • Macarons are ready when they no longer shift if you touch the tops.
  • Let the macaron shells cool for at least 30 minutes to an hour before decorating.

Make the royal icing

  • In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and a few drops of water and stir with a spoon.
  • Continue stirring adding a few more drops of water if necessary.
  • Check the consistency by lifting the spoon. If the batter forms a stiff peak and doesn't sink back into itself, it's ready. Add 2 drops of red gel food coloring.

Decorate the macarons

  • Take a macaron shell and gently place the stencil on top, being very careful not to press down as the shell can crack.
  • Dip your brush in the royal icing and paint the icing over the stencil.
  • Lift the stencil very carefully so as to not smear the icing.
  • Let the royal icing dry for at least an hour.

Prepare the spicy chocolate buttercream

  • In a medium bowl, using the stand mixer, whisk the butter until smooth.
  • Add half of the powdered sugar and whisk until fully combined.
  • Add the remaining powdered sugar and whisk until combined.
  • Add the heavy cream, the cocoa powder, and the cayenne pepper and mix until creamy and smooth.

Assemble the macarons

  • Fill an 8 inch pastry bag with the buttercream and cut a ½ inch opening at the tip of the bag.
  • Pipe the buttercream in the center of the bottom shells.
  • Top the filled macaron shells with the decorated shells and refrigerate for at least 24 hours so that the macarons can mature.
  • When ready to eat, remove the macarons from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature at least 20 to 30 minutes before eating.

Notes

All ovens are different so temperature and baking times should only be used as a guide
Mixing bowl should be clean and grease free
Weigh all ingredients in grams for accuracy
Use room temperature egg whites (to bring eggs to room temperature quickly, put them in a bowl filled with hot water for about 5 minutes)
Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together because almond flour is moist and doesn't sift well alone
Mix the egg white powder and the granulated sugar before adding to the egg whites to fully dissolve the egg white powder
Whisk the meringue until you have stiff peaks
Let macarons dry before baking so they don't crack
*Calories reflected are for macaron shells only

Nutrition

Serving: 1 macaron | Calories: 130kcal