These cute pink-hued strawberry cheesecake macarons have a cream cheese frosting, strawberry jam filling, and a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs on top
How to make strawberry cheesecake macarons
Sift: In a medium bowl, stir together almond flour and powdered sugar. Using a fine mesh sieve, sift onto a sheet of parchment paper or into another bowl. Scrape the bottom of the sieve with a spatula and discard any remaining large bits of almond flour. Set aside.
Whip meringue: In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites on low-medium speed until it becomes frothy like cappuccino foam. Slowly sprinkle in 1-2 tablespoons of granulated sugar at a time and beat on medium speed between each addition. When all the sugar has been combined, keep beating at medium-high speed until the meringue reaches soft peaks. Add the gel food colouring at this point. Continue beating until the meringue reaches stiff peaks.
Fold: Add half of the sifted almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold with a spatula until roughly incorporated. Fold in the rest of the almond flour until roughly combined.
Macaronage: Smear the batter against the sides of the bowl to deflate air out of the batter. Scoop it all back up with your spatula and fold a few times. Repeat this motion about 3-4 times and regularly check if the batter is at the correct consistency by scooping up some batter with your spatula and letting it fall back down into the bowl. If the batter smoothly ribbons off the spatula without breaking, it's ready.
Pipe macarons: Transfer the batter to a piping back fitted with a small round piping tip. Hold the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet, slightly above the surface, and squeeze the batter out, staying in the same spot, and let the batter move outwards into a circle by itself. Do a small, circular flick with the piping tip to stop piping.
Let rest: Lift and drop the baking sheets onto the counter a few times to bring air bubbles to the surface. Use a toothpick to pop any visible air bubbles. Let the macarons rest on the counter for about 1 hour until they are slightly dry to the touch.
Bake: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 290°F. Bake macarons one tray at a time for about 15 minutes or until the tops are just barely wobbly when pushed and bottoms peel off the parchment cleanly. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.
Make strawberry jam filling: In a small saucepan, heat frozen strawberries and sugar on medium heat until it boils, stirring occasionally and mash the softened strawberries to release their juices. Let it boil for about 10 minutes or until it becomes thick and jammy.
Push the jam through a fine mesh sieve into a small container to cool completely before transferring to a piping bag. Discard any remaining strawberry pulp.
Make cream cheese filling: In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and mix on low until combined. Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating on medium-high speed until it becomes smooth and creamy. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a small round or star tip.
Assemble macarons: Match macarons up into similarly sized and shaped pairs. Pipe a ring of cream cheese frosting around the outer edge of each macaron. Pipe a dollop of strawberry jam into the middle of the ring. Gently press another macaron on top to sandwich.
Drizzle melted white chocolate across the tops of the macarons and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs before the chocolate hardens.
Tips for making successful macarons
- Aged egg whites: This is an easy extra step for a better meringue, you just need to plan ahead. A day before you plan on making macarons, separate out your white eggs into a mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and use a fork to stab some holes on the surface of the plastic. Chill the egg whites in the fridge for about 24 hours. Let the egg whites come back to room temperature before whipping.
- Gel food colouring: Never use liquid food colouring in your macarons. Even this tiny bit of extra moisture can completely ruin your meringue. Always add gel food colouring when your meringue is at the soft peak stage so that you can mix the colour in thoroughly without overwhipping the meringue.
- Macaronage technique: Watch some videos on this to get a good sense of the motion and consistency of the batter. You want to deflate enough air out of the batter so that your macarons don’t end up hollow (meringue is too stiff) but not so much that the macaron “feet” don’t rise. Don’t be afraid to vigorously fold and smear the batter around the bowl - it’s not that delicate. Just keep checking on the consistency by lifting the batter up with your spatula and letting it ribbon off back into the bowl. The ribbon of batter should be smooth, should not break, and you should be able to draw figure 8s with it.
- Piping tip: Always use a small round piping tip to pipe your macarons. Simply snipping off the tip of the piping bag works if you’re in a pinch but I find that the folds on the piping bag will warp the shape of your circles.
- Baking temperature: I always bake my macarons between 285F to 300F. I find that higher temperatures gives better feet but lower temperature gives better colour. If you have a problem with your macaron shells browning, bake at a lower temperature. I baked my first batch of these macarons at 300F and found that the tops browned too much and the pink colour became orange-brown toned so I baked my second tray at 290F and they came out the perfect baby pink colour, with negligible difference in structure and shape.
- Resting: Macarons taste the best the day after they have been assembled with the filling and left to chill in the fridge overnight to let the shells soften up with the moisture of the filling. They become soft and chewy on the inside while still crisp on the outside. It’s tempting to eat macarons while they are freshly made but trust! They are way better after resting for a day.