Strawberry Macarons (from fattyChat)

So scratch what I said about my last batch being pretty successful. I think my eyes were just glossed over because of all the hard work I put into a poopy batch. Call them macaron-goggles if you will. Because on second look (the next day), I almost chucked all of them into the garbage. Not because they weren’t edible (because they were and still are), just not sell-able. It looks like my friends will be helping me eat this weekend :)

Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and we all will be sick of everything red or pink after Sunday, I decided to bake two batches of just strawberry to compensate for the bad batches. Since I still couldn’t get the coloring right, I up-ed the strawberry powder another 1/2 T to 1.5 T and trimmed the baking time. I usually bake them for 12-15 minutes at 300F. This time I only baked them for about 10 min at 290F, which I think really helped, although it did leave my cookies a little more under-baked the usual. But that doesn’t really bother me. I prefer my cookies to be a little under-baked, much more so than over-baked.

The color turned out much better, though not great. I wish they were a deeper red, like Helen’s Red Berry Macarons, but the problem is I hate to use artificial colors. Well, no that’s not it: I’ve never used artificial colors and I don’t intend on ever doing so. Makes making macrons pretty freakin’ difficult. Thus, I think this is the best I will ever achieve, color-wise.
 
Another tip that I realized is helpful: Get a rubber SPOON spatula. The straight spatulas don’t offer much help when you are folding the meringue into the almond powder, which means you have to stir more, which means you will most likely over-stir, which means you won’t get any feet on your cookies!

To be honest, I’m having a lot of difficulty pairing the macarons with good fillings :( Half of it is laziness but the other half is pure lack of creativity. Today I just opted to fill them with vanilla buttercream because it was easy. My main problem is I don’t want to have to worry about keeping the filling cold. I’d like to have something that can withstand room temperature. So far I have only come across buttercream and ganaches as options. Buttercreams tend to be too sweet for me (maybe I just don’t have a sweet tooth? Nah, that doesn’t seem probable), and ganaches are too overpowering in flavor that it takes away from the almond taste! Ah, problems, problems, problems.
An interesting though though… For my tester cookie I decided to mimic something I found on Jen’s website, Use Real Butter. I put a fresh raspberry in the filling, so when you bite into it you find a surprise!

I decided not to do it with the other cookies because they are strawberry shells, and I thought strawberry and raspberry would be soo much. BUT when I bite into the fruit, it brought out a great tartness that contrasted with the sugar of the buttercream. It was quite yums! But better save this idea for raspberry shells.
 
At least I’m having fun for the time being. I know that once I HAVE to make these macarons (for the store) instead of just seeing if I feel up to it or not, it will no longer have a great appeal. Well, I hope this isn’t the case but it certainly was with my Cheesecake-filled Pumpkin Cupcakes that I made for Thanksgiving. I guess I’ll worry about that when the time comes. Next challenge: Black Sesame Macarons! They look/sound amazing.
 
I hate flash, but proof that they are pink! :)
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