I am not into Valentine’s day and we do not celebrate it. I do a little something with the kids, cause it is always fun doing activities with them, but that’s about it. I used to celebrate before we had kids because I am a big romantic at heart and do love being celebrated and love showering my loved ones with love(If I may say that! lol). As you grow older you feel why do we need to celebrate love on ONE particular day in a year?! Why can’t we celebrate it when we feel it numerous times in a year, and shower our loved ones with hugs and kisses, or show love by small gestures?!
So I made these any time any day macarons, with a Hibiscus Buttercream and Jam in the center. They can be made for your or WITH your kids, for your loved ones, or even for a Galentine’s Day celebration with your best gal pals! I love how ombre pink the colors are, and it makes me very happy to see the pictures! I used 2 kinds of jams because both of them go so well with hibiscus buttercream – 1) Blood orange and Rosemary Marmalade(perhaps my absolute favorite jam ever) 2) Strawberry Jam. Both the combos of hibiscus-blood orange and hibiscus-strawberry work so well together! I love pink, and pink desserts, so I made macarons in different shades of pink ranging from light pink to a darker pink – which is actually so pretty! I drizzled them with royal icing and pepped them up with pretty sprinkles! These beauties would work as any day macarons, but so perfect to celebrate Valentine’s day or Galentine’s day as well, with your girl friends!
I get the dried hibiscus flowers from Amazon. I brew them in a little bit of hot water to bring out the color and tart flavor, and use this hibiscus tea to flavor the buttercream. The buttercream gets such a pretty pink color which works perfectly for these macarons.
OMBRE COLORS FOR THE MACARON BATTER(TIPS and TRICKS):
How did I get the ombre colors of the macarons using one batter?! So after making the meringue for the macarons, when you are at the macaronnage stage, where you mix in the almond flour/confectioner’s sugar mixture into the meringue mixture to form the batter, you mix the flour into the meringue only upto a stage where it is just combined and you do not see any flour mixture particles. At this stage, divide the batter equally into 4 bowls. I used the following shades of pink and red from Americolor to create the different shades : Fuschia, Deep Pink, Tulip Red, Maroon. I started off with using only Deep pink using a tooth pick so you can control the amount of color you put in each bowl. The second bowl had a combination of Fuschia and Deep Pink. The third bowl had a combination of Fuschia, Deep Pink and Tulip Red and the fourth bowl had a combination of all 4 colors.
Once you add the color to a bowl, you start the macaronnage stage, where you mix the batter with a spatula in a circular motion, pressing the spatula against the bowl to remove any air bubbles, but yet making the batter smooth with the constant motion of the spatula around the bowl. You want to finally achieve the figure 8 with the batter when you use the spatula in the batter and pour it from the top and make a figure 8 into the batter. It should mix and blend into the batter within 15-20 seconds. That is when you know your batter is ready. You will do the same for the remaining 3 bowls.
Once your batters are ready, you must have the 12 inch pipping bags with a 1/4 inch round tip attached in each bag ready to go. Gently put the pipping bag in a long glass so that it is easy to pour the batter into the bag. Keep it there, and prepare the remaining 3 bags of batter. You must have the baking trays with either the macaron template Silpat Or the parchment paper ready so that you can start pipping the macarons right away. I DO prefer the Macaron Silpat which I got from Amazon, because my macarons turn out perfect each and every time and they release from the sheet very easily and cleanly as well. I use a bench scraper to scrap the batter all the way down, and secure the top and start pipping the macarons onto the baking tray.
Once the trays are ready, it is essential to let them rest for 45 minutes, and get the oven ready in the meanwhile. The tops of the macarons have to be dry for them to bake perfectly. On a rainy day, I let them rest for atleast 75 minutes and then bake them because the humidity is high during the rains and it is actually not good to make macarons. Macarons require dry climate, and dry heat so that they can form a beautiful crust on the top. You can bake the shells 1-2 days in advance, and pipe them later too.
I used the hibiscus cream to pipe on the outside, and put a bit of jam in the center. These macarons turned out beautiful in taste, texture and looks and I was quite happy with them! There are more tips at the end of the recipe and if you ever have questions regarding macarons, please feel free to DM me on Instagram or email me, or contact me on my blog! I would be more than happy to help you out since I have learnt all the tricks and tips from all the trials that I went through when I made macarons. It is a bit tedious but once you get the hang of it, they are a lot of fun! and make such fun gifts for your friends and family!
I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s day if you celebrate it! Show your loved ones with love everyday, shower them with love and kisses and hugs. Life is too short and you never know what may happen. Show your loved ones with kind gestures, it could simply be helping out around the house without the other person telling you, or buying something for them that they enjoy such as a donut for example, or even simply giving a card with a sweet something written on it any day of the year. It is these small gestures which make life worth living and bring a smile to your loves ones faces.
1) Make sure that you whip the meringue thoroughly. The best way to check after 5 minutes of whipping is to remove the whisk, stir the meringue vigorously and turn it upside down. The merigue should stay stiff like a peak.
2) Make sure that you fold the almond mixture and it is well incorporated with the meringue and the end mixture is smooth and falls off the spatula with ease.
3) When using the pastry bag to pipe the macarons, hold it absolutely vertical, and center to the holes on the template and slightly above it, and not touching the paper to pipe it. You need to squeeze just a tad bit to release the batter onto the parchment paper.
4) Do not overwhip the batter else it will be too runny, and your macaron shells will be flat. Do not underwhip as well, else your macarons will not form a proper shell.
5) Make sure that you tap the tray atleast 10-15 times to release any air bubbles in the macaron shell.
6) You HAVE to let the macarons rest for atleast 45 minutes to form a nice shell.
7) It is very important to rotate the tray halfway through baking to make sure that the macarons are baked evenly.
8) DO NOT remove the shells off the parchment paper as soon as the tray comes out of the oven, else you will break the shell. Wait for 15 minutes atleast for it to cool down.
9) You can keep the shells covered and do the frosting the next day as well. The shells will keep for a couple of days.
7 ounces confectioner’s sugar
4 ounces almond flour
4 large(4 ounces) egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
3.5 ounces granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Hibiscus Buttercream filling:
8 ounces unsalted butter, room temp
pinch of kosher salt
3 tbsp cooled brewed hibiscus tea(recipe below)
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
(Recipe from Wilton Cakes)
1 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp meringue powder
2 tbsp warm water
Colors depending upon what you want to decorate the macaron shells as. If you want color gradient or ombre shells, pick 3-4 colors in the same color palette. Americolors work really well. I used Fuschia, Deep Pink,Tulip Red, Maroon colors for the 4 shell colors.
Blood Orange Marmalade OR Strawberry OR Berry Jam
* For the macaron shells:*
Preheat oven to 310 degrees. Line baking sheets with the paper templates, and top with the parchment paper, or you could use silpat.
In a bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse 1/2 of the confectioner's sugar with the almond flour until a fine powder is formed. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and mix in the remaining confectioner’s sugar. Using a drum sieve, sift mixture three times into a large bowl. Set aside. This process is important, do not cut short this step!
To make the meringue: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar. Once all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is thick, scrap down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla extract, and increase the speed to high, whipping until stiff, firm, glossy peaks form for atleast 5-7 minutes.
You can remove and turn the whisk and the meringue should hold.
To complete the macaronnage step: Sift the almond flour mixture, one-third at a time, over the egg white mixture, and fold using a large spatula until just combined.
Now for the ombre shell effect, divide the batter into 4 clean bowls. Start with the lightest shade of pink in one bowl that is the Deep Pink. Use different toothpicks for each color, to add the color that way you can control the amount of color that you add in the batter. To the next batter, add a bit of Deep Pink and Fuschia to get a deeper pink color. To the third batter add in Deep Pink, Fuschia, Tulip Red, to get a darker shade of pink. To the fourth batter, add all 4 colors to get a different darker shade than the 3rd batter.
Now mix each batter, until the mixture is smooth and shiny. The batter should be firm, have a glossy shine and drip smoothly from the spatula. Take in the batter with your spatula and press it against the bowl in the same motion to remove the air from the batter. This step is very important. If you overwhip the batter will be too runny so do not overwhip. It should flow like lava, slowly but form ribbons. The ribbons should settle into the batter, at a slow count of 20. That is the consistency you are looking for.
Transfer the batter to 4 pastry bag filled with a 1/4 inch plain round tip, and pipe 1 inch rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets using a template for macarons or use a MACARON SILPAT to help get the round shapes. Gentle tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air OR you could bang the tray against the kitchen counter. Do this step atleast 10 times. If there is a bubble, use a toothpick to fill it up.
Let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes atleast. Check for a slight crust to form on the macaron. The macarons should not stick to your finger when lightly touched.
Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 15 minutes.
Allow macarons to cool on the baking sheets for 30 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
For the hibiscus buttercream filling:
For the hibiscus tea, microwave about 1/4 cup water in a small microwaveable bowl, along with 3 tbsp dried hibiscus leaves. Let it steep for about 5 minutes covered once out of the microwave. Strain the hibiscus tea into another small bowl.
In a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, add the butter and salt and whip until light and creamy about a minute.
Add the sugar, vanilla extract and hibiscus tea to the whipped butter and mix until the ingredients are well combined and the mixture is smooth about 2 minutes, starting at low speed(so that the sugar does not fly everywhere!) and gradually increasing the speed to high. Use a pastry bag with a 1/4 inch round tip to fill the buttercream filling and pipe around the outside of the shell on the rim. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of jam of your preference in the center. Use the same sized macaron shell to cover the icing.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the confectioner's sugar, meringue powder and water, first on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing the icing until it is light in color and holds a stiff peak, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not overmix the icing.
Use the stiff consistency as-is for outlines. To make the icing a bit smooth and thinner consistency, add ¼ tsp water to thin it out. Mix well to check on the consistency. If needed add ¼ tsp more and so on and so forth to get the right consistency to flood the still outline of any shape.
Divide the mixture into the different bowls, for different colors. Put the icing in a 12 inch pastry bag with a very tiny pipping tip like 102/103 Wilton tips. Scrap the icing down with a bench scraper. Secure the top tight. Use the pipping bag to decorate the macarons with royal icing.
The bags can be kept in the refrigerator for 10 days. Keep the tips well secured, by wrapping in a wet cloth, so as not to dry out the icing.
I decorated the shell with a zig zag pattern of the royal icing and sprinkled with sprinkles of choice.