Heart-Shaped Raspberry Macarons – photo tutorial

Here is a photo tutorial of my Heart-Shaped Raspberry Macarons I am making my husband for Valentine’s Day, because he loves raspberries and dark chocolate.  These cookies have a nice crispy shell, while soft and chewy inside.  Since these cookies are for Valentine’s Day, there is a chocolate ganache filling with a raspberry jam surprise in the middle.   If I can make these, so can you.  Enjoy!

Let’s BAKE!

For macarons, it’s important to weigh your ingredients.

COOKIES
150 grams powdered sugar
124 grams almond flour
2 teaspoons freeze-dried raspberry powder (see note below)
100 grams egg whites, room temperature (about 3 large)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
65 grams castor sugar (ultra fine sugar)
3-4 drops food coloring gel, if desired

FILLING
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (do not use chips)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1/4 cup raspberry jam

In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, almond flour, and raspberry powder until blended.  Sift almond flour mixture through a sieve into another medium bowl.  If there is only a pinch of large chunks remaining, toss them out.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium speed until frothy; add cream of tartar,  Whip until eggs start leaving a trail; add castor sugar 1/3 at a time.  Whip until stiff peaks form (when you pull out the whisk the peak should be stiff and not droopy, and you can hold the bowl upside down and nothing comes out.).  Add food coloring during the last minute of whipping.

Gently fold flour mixture into the egg whites, 1/3 at a time, until fully incorporated (do not over mix, it should be like thick like lava, and you can make a figure eight).  Prepare parchment paper by making a template of 1-1/2″ hearts on the back side about 2-inches apart (about 20 to a baking sheet 5 across by 4 down).  Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip and fill the bag with the batter. Using the template as a guide, pipe hearts onto the parchment papers.  The peaks in the center should fall, if they don’t wet your finger and pat the peak down.  Tap the bottom of each sheet on the work surface, 4-5 times, to release trapped air bubbles.

Let the cookies stand at room temperature for 15-60 minutes, to allow the cookies to dry to the touch.  While the cookies are standing at room temperature, preheat oven to 320 degrees F.  Once the cookies are dry to the touch, bake, one cookie sheet at a time, at 320 degrees F. for 13-15 minutes, until the top is not wiggly (error on the side of overcooked).  Cool slightly, remove from parchment (they should release, if not, use an offset spatula)  Let cool completely.

FILLING: 

While cookies are baking, put finely chopped chocolate into a bowl.  On the stove, warm up cream until edges simmer; add to chocolate pieces and let sit for 1 minute.  Blend chocolate and butter until creamy and smooth.  Let sit in the refrigerator for a few minutes to cool, but not firm (or just leave on the counter for about 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes).  The chocolate is ready to pipe when plops in the bowl.

One the cookies are cooled, match up same size cookies with one top side up and the other filling side up.  Pipe the chocolate ganache in a heart-shape on each filling side up cookie.  Add a dollop of raspberry jam in the middle of the chocolate.  Press 2 cookies together until filling comes to the edge.

Place in an airtight container, place in the refrigerator for about 24 hours (so the shells absorb the flavor of the filling). Take the cookies out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving, to bring back to room temp.

Enjoy!

NOTE:  You can get freeze-dried raspberries at some specialty markets or in the dried fruit section of a large supermarket.  To get about 2 teaspoons of powder, put 1-2 Tablespoons of the raspberries in a food processor and process them until they are a fine powder.  Then measure out your 2 teaspoons.  Raspberry powder will give you a better raspberry flavor than raspberry extract.

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