Monday, June 23, 2014

Heart-Inside Macarons (Strawberry Cheesecake and Vanilla Malt)

Heart-Inside Macarons (Strawberry Cheesecake and Vanilla Malt)
I wasn't even going to blog about these little macarons. I was mayyybe going to photograph them along with the cake that they are going to presented with later this week. I didn't think they were going to deserve their own special post. But I posted a little preview of these on instagram and facebook and so many people were asking questions about them, so I thought I better share the recipe with you guys!
Heart-Inside Macarons (Strawberry Cheesecake and Vanilla Malt)
Just a plain macaron with a tiny twist, a teeny tiny heart piped into the middle of each shell. Yes, the heart is also piped with macaron mixture, which I separated from the main macaron batter and didn't colour. I pipe the hearts using pretty much the same piping technique that I use for the full-size heart-shaped macarons that I do all the time but with a smaller piping tip; it's basically just a fat V-shape. You can also use a wooden skewer to carefully clean up the edges of your piping if it messes up slightly.
Heart-Inside Macarons (Strawberry Cheesecake and Vanilla Malt)
As you can see, I made a second batch of macarons with the colours switched around. The recipe below only has instructions for making one batch of macarons, you can choose which colour combination you want to use. The pink ones are made with a Strawberry 'Cheesecake' filling; a strawberry-flavoured cream cheese icing. You can even add some biscuit crumbs to the filling to make it even more cheesecake like if you want. The white ones are filled with a Vanilla Malt flavoured ganache, which is so delicious that I couldn't stop licking the spatula clean after I was done. I've included the recipe for both flavours below, so along with your colour combo you can also choose the flavour you prefer.
Heart-Inside Macarons (Strawberry Cheesecake and Vanilla Malt)
Someone asked me recently how long it took to get the hang of macaron making. It's a hard question to answer, in my mind I still haven't completely gotten the hang of it. I know that sounds silly considering how many macarons I've posted on the blog over the years, but I feel like I'm always tweaking and trying to improve my technique. And I still make mistakes and stuff it up all the time. At the moment I'm having a little trouble with getting my oven temperature right in my new house, so my macarons are turning out a little harder than I would prefer. I'm tempted to switch over to the Italian meringue method just to give me a little bit more room for error, but I'm so used to making them using the French method so I'm in two minds about it. Which method do you prefer?
Heart-Inside Macarons (Strawberry Cheesecake and Vanilla Malt)
Strawberry Cheesecake or Vanilla Malt Heart-Inside Macarons
(makes about 12-15 macarons)
Note: These macarons are a little trickier, if you are a beginner with macarons read up and practice plain macarons first. BraveTart has lots of useful advice and info on the subject
For the heart macarons:
100g (3.5oz) egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
110g (about 4oz) almond meal, at room temperature and well sifted
200g (7oz) icing (confectioner's) sugar
50g (1.74oz) caster (granulated) sugar
Pink food colouring, gel or powdered
Optional: Pure maple sugar to decorate (thanks to The Essential Ingredient for sending me a sample to try!)
  1. Line two baking trays with good quality baking paper. 
  2. Place icing sugar in food processor and pulse for a minute to remove any lumps. Stir in almond meal and pulse for about 30 seconds to combine. (If you don’t have a processor just sift together with a fine sieve.) Sift into a large mixing bowl and set aside. 
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in a medium mixing bowl until it reaches soft peaks. With the mixer on high speed, gradually add sugar and beat until it reaches stiff peaks.
  4. Add meringue to your dry mixture and mix together with a spatula, quickly at first to break down the bubbles in the egg white (you really want to beat all the large bubbles out of the mixture, which is easily done by smearing the mixture on the bottom and side of the bowl with your spatula), then mix carefully as the dry mixture becomes just incorporated. At this point you need to separate your mixture into two bowls so you can add the pink food colouring to one bowl. For the mixture that will be piped as small hearts, I separated about 1/3-1/2 cup mixture from the rest of it. Add pink food colouring to one bowl, depending on which colour combination you want to use. Stir both mixtures until it starts to become shiny again. Take care not to overmix, the mixture should flow like lava and a streak of mixture spread over the surface of the rest of the mixture should disappear after about 30 seconds. 
  5. Place the smaller amount of mixture in a piping bag with a narrow (about 2mm wide) round tip for piping the small hearts. Place remaining mixture in a piping bag with a 1cm round piping tip. With the larger bag, pipe circles about 3cm wide on your prepared trays, leaving about 3cm space around each one. Tap baking sheets carefully and firmly on the benchtop a couple times to remove any large bubbles. Then use the smaller piping bag to very carefully pipe small hearts in the centre of each piped macaron shell by piping a tiny V-shape (here is an example video of me piping a larger version, but the technique should still be pretty much the same)
  6. Leave to dry for about 60 mins minimum, until when you press the surface of one gently it does not break/stick to your finger. This will help prevent any cracking and help the feet to form on the macs. (I find the easiest way to do this is to point a fan at the shells, but make sure you stick or weigh down the baking paper first)
  7. Preheat your oven to 130-150°C (265-300°F), depending on your oven (fan-forced ovens may need to be set as low as 100°C, it really depends) . You can place the sheet of piped shells on top of an upside-down roasting tray or another baking tray, for better heat distribution. 
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your shells. Carefully test if the base of the shell is ready by gently lifting one and if it’s still soft and sticking to the baking paper, then it needs to bake for a few minutes longer. 
  9. Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few minutes, then gently remove from the sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.
Heart-Inside Macarons (Strawberry Cheesecake and Vanilla Malt)
For the Strawberry Cheesecake filling:
100g (3.5oz) butter, softened
100g (3.5oz) cream cheese, softened
150g (about 1 cup) icing (confectioner's) sugar
2 tbsp strawberry jam
Optional: 1/2 tsp strawberry extrac, a couple of crushed digestive biscuits or Graham crackers
  1. Place butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Add icing sugar, strawberry jam and strawberry extract to the bowl and beat until combined.
  3. If you find the mixture too runny, you can keep adding more icing sugar until it stiffens up more, you can also chill the mixture in the fridge to help it set slightly before piping.
  4. Place in a piping bag, pipe and sandwich between macarons shells (sprinkle a bit of crushed biscuit crumbs on top of the filling before sandwiching if you want to add the cheesecake crust element).
  5. Place macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight to allow macaron flavour to mature. Serve at room temperature.
(Alternative flavour) If you prefer Vanilla Malt filling:
100g (3.5oz) good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
100ml (about 1/3 cup plus 1/2 tsp) pure (heavy) cream
50g (about 1/2 cup) Horlicks or malted milk powder
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Place chopped white chocolate in a mixing bowl and set aside. 
  2. Heat cream with malted milk powder and vanilla in a small saucepan on medium heat until the powder dissolves and it just comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the white chocolate. 
  3. Leave for 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt, then use a whisk to combine all the ingredients until smooth. 
  4. Chill in fridge until mixture thickens but is still pipable, whisking it every 10 minutes or so. Spoon or pipe between macaron shells. 
  5. Refrigerate overnight in an airtight container to allow them to mature. Remove from the fridge about half an hour before serving so they come closer to room temperature.
Heart-Inside Macarons (Strawberry Cheesecake and Vanilla Malt)
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  1. They look so amazing ! I've tried so so many times to make these, and yeah not successful

  2. Holy moley!! These are so cute...and your nails?! SWOON!

  3. What brand of powder food colouring do you recommend? :) - Lisa

    1. I used Corella brand from the Essential Ingredient here in Sydney, not sure where you are but that's the only brand I've used so far

  4. So glad you decided to share the recipe! They are absolutely gorgeous!!! Those tiny hearts do make a lot of difference I reckon. Can't wait to see what cake you adorn them on.

  5. These look and sound incredible. Cheesecake in a macaron!? Yum!

  6. These are seriously impressive Steph! Macarons are so hard to master and yet yours always look so perfect. I adore the heart in the middle!

  7. yummy these are looking great and love the cheese cake ingerdients very sweet

  8. that vanilla malt flavour sounds awesome - can't believe I never thought to make it! the intensity of that pink colour on the macarons is amazing

  9. Your macaroons look fantastic. Those little hearts are soo cute ♥
    I really like your blog!

    Greetings from Germany

  10. Oh my God, they look so delicious. :)

  11. oh my...they look so lovely and beautiful!!

  12. These are so pretty! Hot pink is my favorite color. And the cheesecake filling sounds great too :)
    I love your nails by the way!

  13. These are beautiful!

    The Italian method scares the jeebies out of me! Sugar syrup just sounds like it could go so horribly wrong! Although, that being said does it lessen the shine on the shells? Sometimes I really struggle to get a macaron matte rather than sheen!

    B x

  14. These are so cute! Never thought to put a cheesecake filling in a macaron; will have to try it out.

  15. I have been making them for years too using the french method, don't think I could ever swap to Italian! I still struggle to get the colour I want when I'm doing pastel colours though, super huge boo!!! Don't get me started on white!!! Hahaha
    I've moved house too recently, I've always baked with fan force but now I'm wondering if I should turn the fan off because my "grey" macs went browny green using 1/2 a tsp of corella black. Blurgh lol
    It's always something with macs! Any ideas on your end?
    Loving your macaron posts though, absolutely gorgeous!
    Dani xx


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