My husband loves French Macaron cookies. I mean, he totally ❤ them. So I made a batch for Valentine’s Day Heart Shaped Macarons for him and my friends to enjoy.
Thomas Keller has a surprisingly (for him, at least) uncomplicated macaron recipe in his new book, Bouchon Bakery.
The book is really fun to page through but most of the recipes are pretty crazy. Who has vanilla bean paste just laying around?
[I have vanilla extract, ground vanilla bean and whole vanilla bean. Isn't that enough for you, Mr. Keller?!]
I originally saw the idea for Valentine’s Day Heart Shaped Macarons from Jen’s Just Desserts. They just looked so much more fun to make than a boring round macaron. And it’s really not that much harder than piping a round shape.
The recipe is from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. You can find it online here. I don’t want to violate any copyright laws but I do want to provide you with a few tips:
TIPS – READ THESE, THEY ARE MY VALUE-ADD
Buy Pre-Ground Almond Meal. I tried grinding my own from blanched almonds and my Cuisinart couldn’t get it all finely ground, so there was a lot of wasted meal.
Add the Food Coloring Sooner. Don’t wait until after you’ve mixed in the egg whites to add your food coloring. Add a portion or all of it to the almond/egg mixture BEFORE folding in your whites. This will mean less stirring to distribute the color.
Let your Cookies Skin-Over. Sounds creepy. After you’ve piped your cookies, let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes before popping them in the oven. This will help avoid cracking. My first tray was full of broken hearts:
Can’t have any broken hearts on Valentine’s Day, now can we?
Make a Template. Just do it, no matter how lazy you are. For my first batch, I free handed it. My hearts were like snow-flakes, all individual and special. You do NOT want this in a sandwich cookie. A template will help mightily.
Don’t Make the Filling too Sweet. I don’t recommend an American buttercream for the filling – way too sweet. Instead, use a French Buttercream. That’ll be a great use of all the yolks you saved from this recipe.
Make them your Own. Have fun! These cookies are all about expressing your individuality. For mine, I used raspberry buttercream and a cocoa buttercream as fillings. But you could color them any fun color and incorporate other great flavors.
For these cookies I also experimented with the Wilton Gold color spray to give them an iridescent sheen.
I hope these tips help! Have you made macaron before? If so, tell me about your experiences in the comments!