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Author Notes: Inspired by my sister and her love of red velvet baked goods I'd make every special holiday. Decided to opt for a spiced cream cheese in the spirit of Christmas. Needless to say my sister was MORE than pleased. I do highly advise to make the macarons 24 hours in advance before devouring. It allows the shells to rest and really meld perfectly with the flavor of the filling :) Such a perfect Christmas or Valentine treat!! —Stacy
Makes 24 macarons
Red Velvet Shells:
- 105 grams ground almond meal
- 130 grams powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 90 grams egg whites, aged (~3 large egg whites)
- 65 grams granulated sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons red food coloring
Spiced Cream Cheese Filling
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1.5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Soften cream cheese and butter on counter top while prepping rest of the recipe. FILLING can be made ahead of time. Put a plastic wrap right on the top of the cream cheese and put in fridge so no crust forms. Remove from fridge and place in piping bag or regular ziploc (snipped at the corner), pipe a dallop in the center of 1 shell and gently adhere together.
- Blitz the first three ingredients in a food processor to break down any lumps. Sift together into a bowl. Set aside. Discard any larger bits (about a teaspoon or two).
- Place aged egg whites in a clean bowl. Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, whisk at medium speed until foamy. Add all the sugar (TIP: YES YOU CAN ADD ALL THE SUGAR AT ONCE) and continue to beat until glossy stick peaks form. You know they're done when peaks are stiff on the beater and you can hold the bowl upside down*
- Pour half the almond-meal mixture into the egg whites. Fold into the egg whites gently; at about 20 turns add the rest of the almond-meal mixture and continue folding for an additional 20 turns. Add your food coloring about 30 strokes in. Finish folding; total of about 40-45 folds. **DO NOT OVER FOLD** The batter should look like molten lava and gently start to slide away.
- Silpats work extremely well for macarons but parchment paper will also work. Add a dot of better all 4 corners of the parchment paper so it does not move when piping the batter. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). Pipe ~1" sized (3 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets 1" apart. They will slightly spread.
- Tap the trays onto a flat surface about 10 times to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Let the macarons sit on the counter for 30 minutes. While they sit, preheat the oven to 300F. Tops will be dry to the touch; that's when you know you're ready to bake.
- Bake total of 12 minutes, rotating 1/2 way through. They will form their "feet" at the 1/2 way mark. I turned down the oven to about 280F for the second half as my oven is on the hotter side.
- Take it out of the oven to cool. DO NOT REMOVE MACARONS STRAIGHT OUT OF THE OVEN. Wait until cool to the touch to gently remove off the tray and onto a rack to finish cooling.
- FILLING: Cream the cream cheese and butter together in bowl of a stand mixer or hand mixer. Add vanilla extract, mixing until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Add more powdered sugar if you see the consistency is too thin. Should be nice and thick, not dripping.
- Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for 24 hours before eating since they are really the best the next day. Let it come to room temp before devouring! :)