I realized a few days ago that it’s been awhile since I made macarons. It’s not that I don’t like them, but since they’re somewhat time-consuming, they get pushed to the back burner. That, and while mine are okay, they don’t always turn out. It’s one reason I make so many cupcakes. I’ve made them so often that once I measure out my ingredients, making cupcakes is routine, habit. Whisk the dry ingredients. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs. Alternate the liquid and dry ingredients. Bake, then decorate. Macarons are a little more high-maintenance. Still, it didn’t stop me from making these Macarons with Cream Cheese Frosting, and making them pretty for Valentine’s Day.
I tried a new-to-me recipe, from Sprinkles For Breakfast. This recipe doesn’t weigh the ingredients, which is somewhat unusual. But it worked. I do think I under-mixed the batter a smidge, but when it comes to macarons, I figure under-mixing is better than over-mixing!
Still, they’re tasty. Jay and the bambino are always happy to have homemade snacks lurking about no matter what!
Having made this batch, I’m in the mood to make more. I’m out of almond flour, though. And I can’t quite justify dropping $11 or $12 on a bag of it. Not until I get a few more paychecks under my belt, and figure out our new budget!
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high speed until they form soft peaks. Drop the speed to medium and add the granulated sugar and vanilla. Raise the speed back to high and whip until stiff peaks form. Add enough gel food coloring to reach the coloring you want, and whip for 15-20 seconds, so that the color is distributed through the meringue.
Fold in dry ingredients and "break" the meringue. To test if the batter is ready, lift a small amount of batter from the bowl and drop it back into the batter. If it slowly "melts" back into itself, it is ready. If not, fold a few more strokes, and test again.
Put the batter into a pipping bag fitted with a round tip (Wilton 2A or Ateco #803). Pipe 1-inch circles onto the prepared baking sheets. Rap the baking sheets several times against the counter to release any air bubbles. Top the macarons with sprinkles, if using. Allow them to rest for at least 30 minutes. The macarons should not feel tacky to the touch.
Bake for 12 minutes, gently lifting one to see if it easily comes off the parchment. If it does, they're done. If not, bake for 2-3 more minutes, then test again.
Allow the macarons to cool completely before removing from the parchment paper.
To make the frosting, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla. On low speed, begin adding the powdered sugar. Add in 1 Tbsp. of the half & half. Add the other Tbsp. if necessary to reach the desired consistency. Whip the frosting on high for 1-2 minutes.
Spread some of the frosting on the flat sides of half the macaron shells. Place the remaining shells on top.
Place the macarons in an air-tight container, and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before enjoying.