After making our raspberry meringue cookies, and being pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to make, I decided to tackle a similar meringue-based cookie that even the most experienced home bakers tend to balk at.
When looking around at different recipes, I was a bit grossed out at how often artifical colours and flavours were added to homemade macaron recipes, and I wanted to come up with a naturally coloured and flavoured macaron recipe that would still hit all of the requirements for a “true macron”:
- glossy, smooth shell
- the “little foot” at the base of the cookie
- airy, chewy texture inside with a soft crunch exterior
These natural raspberry macarons definitely hit all of those marks, plus I think the more developed flavour from using real fruit elevates these among some of their artificially-enhanced cookie peers.
I’ve also successfully used raspberry compote in this recipe but I’ve taken out that suggestion because the success really depends on the consistency of the compote and the reported experiences in the comments using that method seemed mixed.
You’re going to want to make these on a cool or at least not humid day. Here in Canada, that doesn’t happen too often in the summer, so we cranked up the air conditioning a couple of hours before starting this recipe. Humidity or undue heat during the preparation stage will result in disaster for the cookies.
Even if the meringue cookies don’t turn out perfectly in terms of shape, they will still be delicious and you can always add any truly appalling cookies to an Eton Mess dessert – in fact, I kind of think that’s where the idea for the Eton Mess came from; hiding the failed attempts of a batch of meringue cookies!
Pay careful attention to the small details in this recipe – things like tapping the baking sheet before putting it in the oven, or cooling the cookies off of the baking sheet are especially important when making homemade macarons.
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 cups white sugar
- 1 2/3 cups powdered icing sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 teaspoons raspberry powder
- Red food dye, optional
- 1-2 Tablespoons raspberry puree or raspberry compote or jam
- Filling Ingredients:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 C powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-1 1/2 TBSP raspberry puree/compote
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats
- Put powdered sugar, almond flour, and optional salt in a food processor and pulse several times until all of the ingredients are fine and well combined. Sift into a large bowl and set aside.
- Place the whisk attachment on your mixer, and beat the eggs on medium speed until stiff and glossy, about 4 minutes.
- With the mixer running, slowly add the granulated sugar, and raspberry powder one tablespoon at a time until the sugar is combined, the peaks are stiff, and the whites are shiny, about 1 minute. Do not over whip. Transfer the meringue to a large bowl.
- Using a silicone spatula, gently fold the dry mixture with the egg whites in 1 cup increments until the dry ingredients are just combined.
- Now comes my daughter's favourite part: tap the cookie sheets flat against the counter - you can even slam them down a bit. You want to get any possible air bubbles out of the cookie batter before baking.
- Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until firm to touch in center, about 14 minutes. You may want to rotate your cookie sheets midway through baking to ensure even cooking (imperative with macarons).
- Immediately slide the parchment paper off of the baking sheet to cool. Leaving the cookies on the hot baking sheet will continue to cook them past taking them out of the oven.
- Raspberry Filling:
- Using a mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and raspberry jam. Beat until combined. Place in a piping bag with a small round tip, like a #5.
- Assemble your cookies by matching cookies with similar sizes (diameters). Pipe a small amount of raspberry buttercream into the center of one cookie, and sandwich with it's other half.
- Continue with all cookies. If you store your finished macarons in the fridge, their flavour will continue to develop.