Strawberry Macarons (new & improved recipe)
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These strawberry macarons are infused with strawberry flavor in every layer (no artificial flavoring)! Let’s get to the nitty-gritty details of flavoring macarons with freeze-dried strawberries!
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love this strawberry macaron recipe:
- Key Ingredient Notes:
- What are freeze-dried strawberries?
- How to make strawberry macarons:
- 3. Macaronage
- 4. Pipe heart-shaped macarons
- 5. Bake the macarons
- 6. Make strawberry buttercream
- 7. Fill and mature the macarons
- Macaron Tips:
- How to store macarons
- Strawberry Macarons Recipe
Why you’ll love this strawberry macaron recipe:
These heart-shaped macarons are not only adorable, but they’re also insanely flavorful!!!
We’re not just infusing strawberry flavor through the filling, we’re actually incorporating crushed freeze-dried strawberries into the macaron batter.
And not only that… We’ll drop a little bit of strawberry jam in the middle for a pop of flavor/surprise!
2/8/2023 Update: Due to readers’ feedback regarding a “thick-batter” issue with my original recipe, I reworked my recipe to resolve this issue!
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Freeze-dried strawberries – Use high-quality freeze-dried strawberries. And open a new package right before making macarons because freeze-dried fruits absorb humidity from the air and lose their crispness quickly.
- Almond flour – It’s best to use super fine almond flour to ensure smooth tops. Weigh the ingredients before sifting.
- Powdered sugar – I don’t recommend making your own powdered sugar, because commercial powdered sugar has cornstarch in it. And it helps with the texture of the cookies.
- Egg whites – I’ve had success with carton egg whites (Bob Evans brand, #notsponsored). You’ll need 1/3 cup of egg whites.
- Cream of tartar is optional and can be omitted. However, it helps to stabilize egg whites and create a sturdier meringue. It’s just extra insurance!
- Sugar – It’s important to use fine granulated sugar for meringue, as it dissolves quicker. You can also use caster sugar, aka baker’s sugar.
What are freeze-dried strawberries?
Freeze-dried strawberries are made by flash-freezing them. Then they’re slowly heated in a vacuum chamber to dry the fruits by evaporating ice before it turns into water.
The end result is beautiful dried berries in their original shape and color, that’s feather-light.
Unlike air-dried/dehydrated fruits, freeze-fried fruits don’t really shrink in size, and they become ultra-light and crisp.
They are great in homemade snack mixes, and oatmeals, and are becoming increasingly popular in baking nowadays! And for a good reason!!! They lend so much flavor without added moisture.
Freeze-dried strawberries are satisfyingly crisp and unbelievably intense in flavor!
How to make strawberry macarons:
1. Make French meringue
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy and add cream of tartar and salt. Then slowly add sugar one tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is still running.
- When the meringue reaches the soft peaks stage, add a couple of drops of pink gel food coloring.
- Continue beating the egg whites on the same medium-low speed until hard peaks form, about 20 minutes.
Be sure your whisk and bowl are squeaky clean and free of any oil residue. (Stainless steel and glass bowls are ideal!)
2. Prepare the dry ingredients
I prefer to crush the strawberries with a rolling pin instead using a food processor. That way you won’t overwork the powder and turn it into a gummy texture.
- Place the freeze-dried strawberries between two sheets of parchment paper and crush them with a rolling pin until a fine powder.
- Sift together almond flour, powdered sugar, and strawberry powder twice.
If you have up to 2 tablespoons of chunky dry ingredients left in the sifter, you don’t have to replace it. Simply discard those chunky bits.
It’s important to crush the strawberries right before making the recipe so that they don’t absorb too much humidity and turn gummy.
- Sift the almond flour mixture into the meringue.
- Using a silicone spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue until fully incorporated. Then continue to fold the batter until it’s runny enough to fall into a ribbon.
To test, scoop some batter with a spatula and let the batter drop into the bowl. It should fall into a ribbon-like pattern. Slightly tilt the bowl to allow the batter to slide slowly.
Carefully observe the batter. If the edges of “the ribbon” dissolve into the batter on its own in about 10 seconds, the batter is ready. If not, fold a couple more times and test again. Be careful not to over-fold the batter.
- Transfer the batter into a pastry bag, fitted with a Wilton 10-round tip. A smaller tip gave me more precision for a better shape.
4. Pipe heart-shaped macarons
- Place the heart template under a silicone, or teflon baking mat.
- Hold the pastry bag at a straight 90° angle. Then pipe the batter as if you’re drawing two hooks facing each other, tracing the template. Then fill the center with more batter.
- Using a toothpick, slightly pull the end to create more pointy bottom of the heart.
- Tap the baking sheets firmly on the counter (or using your hand) a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. This step ensures smooth tops.
- Air dry the macarons on the counter for at least 15 minutes, and up to a couple of hours, depending on humidity. When you lightly touch the macarons and the batter does not stick to your finger, then it’s ready to go into the oven.
5. Bake the macarons
- Bake the macarons for about 18 minutes at 300°F, one tray at a time.
To test for doneness, touch a macaron lightly and try to move it. If it slides and wobbles, bake a minute or so longer. The cooked macarons should be firm to touch and the base shouldn’t move.
- Let the macarons cool completely before removing them from the baking mat.
6. Make strawberry buttercream
While the macarons are drying and baking, prepare the strawberry buttercream.
- In a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar, heavy cream, 1 tablespoon of strawberry jam, vanilla extract, and salt, and beat until well combined.
- Transfer the buttercream to a pastry bag.
7. Fill and mature the macarons
- Pair the macarons by shape and arrange them with one shell bottom-side up.
- Pipe a border around the edges of the macarons with strawberry buttercream.
- Then fill the center well with strawberry jam.
- Finally, place the filled macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or up to 3 days, to mature.
- If you’re new to baking macarons, I highly recommend starting with plain basic french macarons. Also, check out my comprehensive Macaron 101 for additional tips and a troubleshooting guide. I won’t go into details again here.
- It’s important to crush the strawberries right before making the recipe so that they don’t absorb too much humidity and turn gummy. This will help to prevent wrinkly shells and/or thick batter issues.
How to store macarons
Strawberry macarons freeze really well.
- Fill the macarons, as directed.
- Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To thaw, transfer to the fridge overnight.
For macaron shells:
- 10 g freeze-dried strawberries Note 1
- 90 g almond flour Note 2
- 75 g powdered sugar Note 3
- 70 g egg whites Note 4
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar Note 5
- ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 75 g granulated sugar Note 6
- Red gel food coloring
- 3 tablespoons (40g) unsalted butter softened
- 3/4 cup (100g) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons strawberry jam divided
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
To make macaron shells:
- To make French meringue: In a large mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt, and continue to beat.
- Slowly add sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat the meringue until hard peaks form. Add a couple of drops of red food coloring. Beat on medium speed for one more minute. (Watch this meringue video for more information.)
- To prepare the dry ingredients. Place the freeze-dried strawberries between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, crush the strawberries into a fine powder. (TIP: Do this step right before you begin making macarons because the strawberry powder draws in moisture and affects the texture of the batter.)
- In a medium bowl, sift together almond flour, powdered sugar and powdered strawberries twice. Set aside.
- To macaronage: Sift the almond flour mixture over the whipped egg whites. Gently fold the mixture running the spatula clockwise from the bottom, up around the sides, and cut the batter in half. The batter will look very thick at first, but it will get thinner as you fold. Be careful not to over-mix it though. Every so often test the batter to see if it reached the right consistency.
- To test the batter consistency, drop a small amount of the batter and count to ten. If the edges of the ribbon are dissolved within about ten seconds, then the batter is ready. I repeat, do NOT mix again. If you still see edges, fold the batter couple more times and test again. This step is so crucial, so please make sure to test often to ensure not to over mix the batter.
- Transfer the batter to a pastry bag with a round tip. (I use Wilton 10 round piping tip.)
- To pipe heart-shaped macarons: Place the template with hearts under the parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pipe the batter as if you’re drawing two hooks facing each other, tracing the template. You’ll get about 58 single shells on 2 baking sheets.
- Tap the baking sheets firmly on the counter a few times to eliminate any air bubbles. If you don’t release the air bubbles, they will expand during baking and crack the beautiful macaron shells. If needed, use a toothpick for popping stubborn air bubbles and smoothing out the shells.
- Let the macarons rest and dry for at least 15-30 minutes. On a humid day, it might take an hour or so. To see if it’s ready to be baked, lightly touch it. If the batter doesn’t stick to your finger, then it’s ready.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Bake the macarons for 18-20 minutes. To check the doneness, remove one macaron. If the bottom does not stick, they are done.
- Transfer to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, and then carefully remove from the baking sheets.
To make strawberry buttercream filling:
- While the macarons are drying, prepare the strawberry buttercream. In a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar, heavy cream, 1 tablespoon of strawberry jam, vanilla extract, and salt, and beat until well combined. Transfer the buttercream to a pastry bag.
To assemble the macarons:
- Pair the shells by size and arrange them on a wire rack, or a baking sheet. Turn half of the shells upside and pipe the buttercream filling around the edges, leaving a small hole in the middle.
- Using a small spoon, drop a small amount of strawberry jam in the middle, or place strawberry jam in a piping bag and pipe the jam in the center of the buttercream border.
- Place the other shells on top.
To mature the macarons:
- Place the filled macarons in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving. It's ok to indulge right away if you're impatient like me, but if you let the macarons mature, the moisture and flavor of the filling will infuse the shells even more for even better texture.
- Store the filled macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the filled macarons in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Tips & Notes
This recipe was originally published on February 9th, 2016.