This time I wanted to experiment with some other flavors/colors on the shells. I know that red velvet is all the rage, but I’ve really had a hard time getting on board with it. Partly because, gross, it’s a lot of red food coloring and that’s so not my style, but mainly because I think it’s pretty rare that anyone gets it right!
Red velvet is a southern tradition, and I live in the north, so maybe that’s the reason. But when I was in high school my bff’s mom was from North Carolina and she was an amazing southern cook. The first time I went to their house she was busy in her kitchen with a huge red velvet layer cake. I had never seen anything like it before. After dinner they cut me a slice and I have never forgotten it.
For the uninitiated yankee: The cake is not just a plain cake with a bottle of red food coloring thrown in for good looks. It’s meant to be a buttermilk cake. With some cocoa added in for a subtle richness. A proper red velvet should be tangy and just the tiniest bit chocolately. And no partially-hydrogenated-shortening-mixed-with-powdered-sugar-poor-excuse-for-a-boring-white buttercream. It wants that sweet, light, creamy sour that you only get from cream cheese icing. Sometimes the sides are jazzed up with some crushed pecans.
With St. Valentine’s Day nearly upon us, I’m getting off my food-coloring high horse. It’s just too perfect a macaron opportunity not to. The flavors are perfectly suited, and the end result makes such a gorgeous visual, I just gotta get on that red velvet bandwagon, folks.
Click here for my basic macaron formula. For this batch I’ve halved the almond flour quantity and replaced what’s missing with finely processed pecans. I’ve also added two teaspoons of cocoa to the nut flour/powdered sugar mix (to one egg white). Oh, and of course, a whole mess of red dye. It’s important to get a really deep, red color to your macaron batter because the baking process kinda dulls them a bit, so don’t skimp.
Here’s my recipe for Cream Cheese Icing. Feel free to double, triple, quadruple, whatever, the ingredients. I made a teeny-tiny batch because macarons don’t need a ton of filling, and geez! How many macarons do you expect me to eat here, people?!
Cream Cheese Icing for Red Velvet Macarons
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Click here for the Intro to this Series (2012 Food Trends for the Home Cook)
Click here for Part One of the Sub-Series (French Macarons for the First-Timer)
Click here for Part Two of the Sub-Series (Chai-Spiced Buttercream Filled Macarons)Click here for Part Four of the Sub-Series (Green Tea Macarons with Orange White Chocolate Buttercream)