Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Strawberry Cream Cheese French Macarons

Starting from a few years back, French macarons have been pretty and trendy sweets to bake and eat. Trendy... to the extent of having its own language... Funny, isn't it?

Welcome to the present world of French macarons baking!!! If you are new to macarons baking, you may wish to learn and speak some macarons lingo with me ...

Macaronnage = term for mixing almond meal and meringue to make macarons
Macaronner = term for mixing the batter until it is firm and drips slowly when it is scooped out.
Pied = As macarons bake, small pleat-like frills form at their bottom. This peat is called a pied or foot. 

These macarons lingo are extracted from the book, I love Macarons by Hisako Ogita

Are you ready to speak these macarons language with me? 


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Prior blogging and this post, I have baked French macarons several times. Sometimes it works but sometimes it doesn't... and only once, it works like magic!

Magic French macarons? huh? These always-reproducible French macarons are made of Italian meringue and I came to know this reliable method from one of the short courses that I have attended at William Angliss. I remember that one of my blogging friend, Laura from Laura Loves Cakes said the same at her post. This method using Italian meringue is simply fantastic as drying of the 
macarons batter is NOT required. All you need is just 5 minutes of resting and then bake. 

Despite saying that, I have tried baking macarons several times using Italian meringue recipe prior this bake and they all failed with no pied or foot. The Italian meringue recipes that I have tried and failed include the one from the book, I love Macarons by Hisako Ogita and even the one that I have learned at William Angliss

Why? I kept asking myself...

I'm not giving up... and glad that I didn't. I have came across a highly reproducible macaron recipe by Swee San, The Sweet Spot. Her recipe is later used by many blogging friends that I know including Honey Bee Sweets and Nasi Lemak Lover. With my further calculation and research, I realise that Swee San's recipe is exactly the same as the one that I learned at William Angliss. And so, what went wrong?

With all my countless of macaron baking, these are what I have learned:

(1) A weighing scale is necessary for macaron baking! I have learned not to assume that all egg whites are 30g each. I need to weigh them to make sure that the proportion is right for every macaron baking.

(2) Knowing my oven is critical. I have learned that fan forced baking is bad for macaron baking and baked mine subsequently in the middle rack at 150°C with no fan just top heat.

(3) Yes that you need a candy thermometer to make Italian meringue.

Getting the hang of macaron baking? Happy that I am. These macarons are the lightest version of macarons that I have ever made. They are made with our homemade strawberry jam and reduce-fat cream cheese. Indeed, they are extremely light and heavenly...

Strawberry Cream Cheese French Macarons
Strawberry Cheesecake French Macarons
Macacron baking requires multitasking. First, I beat egg white at medium-low speed.
While beating, I cook the sugar syrup - Almost ready!!!
Pour syrup in while whisking...
While whisking, I prepare the almond mixture.
The macaronnage and macaronner stage
Hurray! I see pied!!!
The fat-reduced filling and homemade jam are great! Making my macarons less sweet and less guilty to eat.
Strawberry macarons are my son's fav!
Strawberry Cream Cheese French Macarons
Very light and delicious!
Mummy, I like these macarons!

Here's the recipe adapted from The Sweet Spot including what I have also learned at 
William Angliss

Makes 18 macaron or 36 shells

100g almond meal (ground almond)
 
100g icing sugar
75g egg whites, divided into 2 portions 
100g caster sugar
25ml water

a few drops of colouring or flavoring or decorations
- I used pink colouring gel for this bake. 
 
Light cream cheese strawberry fillings:
160g of the low fat spreadable cream cheese with 14% fat
1 tbsp of homemade strawberry jam for each macarons filling 
(see here for recipe)

Preheat the oven to 150°C (NO fan forced)
.

Combine almond meal and icing sugar and sift them three times or more and set aside.Using an electric mixer, beat one portion of egg whites at medium low speed at first for about 10 mins. While beating, combine water and caster sugar in a small saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and cook the sugar water syrup to 118°C but not over 125°C.

Increase the mixer speed and continue to beat the egg whites while pouring syrup into the egg whites slowly in a steady and fine stream. Continue beating until the meringue is glossy and near-stiff peaks. Allow the meringue to cool to about 40
°C.

Place almond meal-icing sugar mixture in a mixing bowl and mix in the remaining portion of egg white to form a thick paste. A
dd a drop or two of any colouring that you desired in the almond mixture if you wish to have your macarons coloured.  

Fold in half of the cooled meringue first into the almond paste, scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl until the mixture is well-combined. Then, fold in the rest of the meringue into the almond mixture until the mixture is well-combined again. This folding-in step is usually referred as "Macaronnage".

Continue to mix in order to "deflate" some fluffiness of the meringue in the mixture and this step is usually referred as "Macaronner". In the book, I love Macarons by Hisako Ogita, it suggests scooping the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down for nothing more or less than 15 times but I like to gauge this stage by the look of the batter. I reckon it is ok when it looks firm and dripping slowly from a spoon.

Attach a 1 cm tip (I used Wilton tip 1A) to the pastry bag. Place the pastry bag, tip down, inside a cup or container and pour the macaron batter into it.

Pipe out the batter onto baking tray lined with silicon mat in circles and any shapes that you like. Gently tap the baking sheet firmly against flat surfaces to allow the batter to settle.

Rest the batter at room temperature, uncovered, for 5 mins. 
Bake for 15 mins or until dried and slightly crisp. Note: My oven doesn't have bottom heat function and had to bake for another 5 mins at 130°C with NO fan forced to get the bottom of the macarons crisp.

Allow macarons to cool on baking mat as they peel off easily only when they are completely cooled.

Sandwich two macaron shells with strawberry jam and cream cheese fillings. Enjoy!

IMPORTANT: Please note that this cream cheese jam filling is NOT the firm buttercream kind. DO NOT STORE the macarons overnight as fillings can be runny on the next day. For best result, consume these on the day that they are filled and sandwiched.

For more macaron baking tips and troubleshootings, please refer to this blog post by Not So Humble Pie. Ms Humble, the author of this macaron post has thoroughly listed everything you need to know or troubleshoot your macaron baking. Good luck and hope that you can taste the success and magic of macaron baking!

Happy Baking
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Last but not least, I have to give my son the credit of chopping most strawberries needed to make our strawberry jam. Glad that he has progressed well from chop-pause-chop to chop-chop-chop - LOL!

Thumbs up to my hardworking Mr Chop-chop!

44 comments:

  1. Your macarons have such beautiful feet! And I love the pink!

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  2. Wow! Zoe. Your macarons are so pretty and they have "feet"!
    Thanks for the valuable tips. I love macarons. Ok. I won't give up. Will try again :D

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  3. tht looks so perfect and yummyy........

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  4. These are so beautiful! I have never tried making macarons, but when I do, this is the recipe I will try first. :)

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  5. Your French macarons look perfect! And really great tips, though I am still not confident enough I would manage to get them right :D

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  6. Hi Zoe!
    I'm ready to do the macaron speak with you just as long as I get to do the eating and you and the kids get to do the baking, lol...They are spectacular! I have never made macarons before and from the looks of it, I won't be trying any time soon. Yours looks so deliciously light I would feel like floating while eating them:)

    Thank you so much for sharing the step by step and those gorgeous pictures. Oh how I wish I could have just one:)

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  7. Ur macaron look awesome, i like pink colour~^^
    Havent try to do this before

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  8. I have never made macaron before because it seems to be complex and intimidating. Your macarons look perfect. I really adore the shape and the combination of strawberry and cream cheese is delicious.

    Jessica A

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  9. these look really good... so perfect...

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  10. Love the pink shade for the macaroons...so cutie.....so tempting and inviting it is .....

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  11. I was actually going to make macarons again today! Yours look absolutely perfect! Nice work! :)

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  12. Zoe, your macarons look delicious and perfect.
    Love the pink colour

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  13. Zoe your macarons look PERFECT! I love the sweet pink. Wishing you and family a very happy new year.

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  14. This method is new to me. I love how clear and simple it is, or is it that simple? Love the colour and the cream cheese. Would love to try it, thanks for making it so clear to us.

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  15. Your macarons look perfect Zoe! I love strawberry macarons too and the color looks so pretty :)

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  16. What do these macarons are beautiful and delicious. Thanks for the expert explanations and step by step photos.
    greetings,
    Ymme

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  17. Zoe, I'm here again :-)
    I’d like to introduce you to my SWAP.
    If you love to join in, please take a look to my blog.
    Hope to hear from you soon
    xox
    Manu

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  18. Hi Zoe , boy do your macarons looks delicious , and they have feet , just to cute for words , just pass me a handful , :-D thanks for sharing :)

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  19. Z, I could easily overdose on these! They're so beautifully perfect.
    You are one talented lady! xo

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  20. Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!! Now I know why some macarons I need to wait and tap my fingers on the table for 30 mins before baking and why sometimes I fail with them.... Whenever my macarons crack, I am always too confident of my own baking skills... I blame it on the baking mat.... Bad mat bad mat.... And now I realize u bake on the mat too so I feel ashamed... Heh heh... Ok just kidding but this is a wonderful insight as always.... Now I can't wait to start these again.... 蛋白蛋白我来了!

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  21. OH they look delicious!! that colour is gorgeous and the filling looks so pretty zoe!!!

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  22. These macaroons look s beautiful & delicious. I cant take my eyes of those beautiful clicks. I love the baby pink color on them

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  23. Perfect little 'feet' on your macarons! I'm just going to say what everyone else has said, they look perfect!

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  24. Hi Zoe,
    Your macarons looks perfect! and I like the filling!
    Making these can be a real challenge!
    But they are definitely worth the effort!

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  25. Wow! Such of beautiful macaroons and the colour too!
    Happy New Year to you and your family too!

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  26. Sweet and pinky macarons. Zoe, happy lunar new year to your and your family!:)

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  27. Beautiful macarons! I love the gorgeous pink colours :)!

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  28. Zoe, your macarons look absolutely perfect! I have failed so many times in making these that I don't think I want to make anymore, lol!

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  29. I bet this is the Italian method, am I right? :)

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  30. Looks fabulous and well clicked :)

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  31. Hi Zoe! These look fantastic, love the pretty romantic color, just the thing for Valentine :) Here's wishing you and your family a Happy New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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  32. yummy macarons! :) awesome clicks too

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  33. OMG, these macarons look perfect! Love the color and the flavors, thank you so much for the great step-by-step pictures.
    Hope you are having a fantastic week Zoe :D

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  34. Wooowww..Good one and nice clicks too..

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  35. Hi Zoe! Your macarons are certainly pretty in pink! Here's wishing you Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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  36. wow these are beautiful I have had 2 very unsuccessful attempts with these, now after seeing these am tempted to give it a try :) have anice day!!

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  37. yumm looks so perfect and delicious!! now am tempted to give it a try ,

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  38. These macarons are beyond perfection, they look so beautiful! Pinned :D

    Cheers
    CCU

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  39. These macarons look wonderful Zoe:))

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  40. Wow! Love your macarons! The color is soo sweet ;)

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  41. Those macarons look like bought from store. So beautifully made.

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  42. Zoe, I just realized I haven't visited your lovely macarons, sorry! :P
    How I love the pink color macarons you made, and the filling? Strawberry and cream cheese mixture, who can say no?
    I love the pic of your half eaten macaron, so mouthwatering :)
    I still cant make nice macarons, perhaps I shall make another attempt :)

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  43. Oh love this to try with my kids and the color <3

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