Strawberry Cheesecake Macarons!

First, yesterday was my birthday! I think I’m going to buy a kitchenaid stand mixer. I have been baking so much and I think this is a good investment….in my future….lol. But it was also a girl’s birthday in the office and she requested strawberry flavored macarons. I wanted to spice it up a bit so I decided to make strawberry cheesecake ones! Then I thought…it would be way too easy to add white icing dots to the macarons and a gum paste leaf and make them look like strawberries! I didn’t want to change the shape of the macaron though because I wanted to keep that classic….I dunno we pick and choose what to change I guess lol.

I think these came out looking sooooooo cute! I even brushed the top with pearl dust or whatever that stuff is called. I just like to have fun with everything I do and make everything cute and pretty. Why not? Macarons aren’t eaten for their nutritional value. They are indulgences! They are pretty and yummy and sugary and sweet and cute and perfect.

I have been working on my piping but I read that you can make templates and to draw circles of 2 inches. I did that….and my macarons came out HUGE! I didn’t like it at all. That was this strawberry cheesecake batch. The next batch I baked (yes there are many I haven’t posted yet lol) I piped them just by hand and with no guide and I think I’m getting better because they came out round except for maybe one or two and they were all about the same size. It makes me so happy to see my improvement. I’ll post my first batch I made sometime! They were HORRIBLE lol, like flat pancakes with cracked shells on top. They tasted great though.

one last word….the strawberry jam is by far the “wettest” filling I have used as of yet. The macarons matured super fast. You could TOTALLY bake these and eat these the same day. Bake them early and try to give them as much time as possible between filling them and eating them but if you are in a pinch and need to bake and eat some macarons in the same day, I recommend any jam filling.

Ingredients:
The Macarons
300 g Almond Flour
220 g Egg Whites (Aged)
300 g Powdered Sugar
300 g Super-Fine Sugar
75 g Water
8 g Red Food Coloring

Strawberry Filling
2 jars Strawberry Jam

Cheesecake Filling
452 g / 16 ounce Cream Cheese
105 g / .5 cup Granulated Sugar
3 Eggs
125 g / .5 cup Sour Cream
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

The Leaves
1 can Wilton Instant Gumpaste
¼ cup Water
Green Food Coloring

Cheesecake Filling

1) Preheat oven to 300°F (144°C) Line a 9-inch (22.86 cm) round baking pan with aluminum foil, letting edges of foil extend over sides of pan. Lightly grease the foil.

2) In large bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar, beating until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in sour cream and vanilla extract.

3) Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 45 minutes then turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in oven with door closed for another hour. Let the cheesecake cool completely in its pan on a wire rack then cover and chill for 4 hours. Using edges of foil as handles, remove cheesecake from pan and peel away foil.

4) Let come to room temperature and then use a mixer to mix it until the cheesecake becomes creamy again like before it was baked. Now it is perfect to use as filling! Refrigerate to make it re-thicken.

*notes* this is a tweaked Paula Deen recipe for cheesecake filling

Strawberry Filling

1) spoon the jam out from two medium jars of jam and put into the food processor and blitz so that there are no hunks of strawberry in the jam and it is a smooth mixture.

2) refrigerate and if the jam is too runny add some cornstarch or reduce the jam over medium heat until it thickens. Then remove it and refrigerate to see if it has achieved the desired consistency.

*notes* I cheated and bought jam. In the future I want to make my own. Try to buy jam that ONLY has natural ingredients because those won’t be as runny and wet and are better quality. I bought a local farm brand that only has strawberries, sugar, pectin and water listed as ingredients. There was NO corn syrup in it.

The Leaves

1) Mix the sugar gum paste with water and knead into a dough on a surface dusted with powdered sugar

2) Add enough green food coloring to achieve the desired hue

3) Twist one end of the wire into a loop and press it into a ball of sugar gum paste. Then press into the mold which has been dusted in corn starch

4) Let the leafs dry and then stick them into the macarons!

The Macarons

1) Mix the almond flour and powdered sugar together and sift into a large mixing bowl. Divide the egg whites into two 110 gram portions and mix one of these portions into the dry ingredients and mix together with the food coloring until you have a homogenous batter.

2) Pour the water and super-fine sugar together in a sauce pan and stir together. Then add the other 110 gram portion of egg whites to an empty mixing bowl. Cook the sugar-water syrup to 118°C. Once the syrup reaches around 110-115°C start whipping the egg whites on high until they form stiff peaks at which point the syrup should have reached 118°C. Carefully pour in a thin stream of the syrup to the egg whites while continuously beating them on high.

3) Continue to beat the meringue on high until the side of the bowl is no longer hot and the meringue is only mildly warm. Then add it to the mixture.

4) Use a large spatula to fold the meringue and almond/sugar mixture together until the mixture is completely smooth and homogenous. The mixture should shine, flow like “magma” and be able to form a ribbon that stays visible for 30 seconds.

5) Add the mixture to a piping bag and pipe the macarons onto Silipat on an air bake baking sheet in around 1 to 1.5 inch circles. Set the macarons aside to crust for at least 30 minutes but I leave mine for an hour. If the room is humid then leave them to crust even longer. You should be able to touch the macaron and have it not be sticky and already forming a hard shell that doesn’t leave a finger print or indention. Also lightly tap the backing sheets to release and air bubbles or use a toothpick to pop them. Do this early though because if you wait too long the macarons will have already formed enough of a shell that when you pop the bubble, the batter wont smooth out to fill in the bubble.

6) While the macarons are drying preheat the oven to 140°C (284°F). Once the macarons are sufficiently dry bake them for around 14 minutes. Around 5-7 minutes into the baking process open the oven door to let the trapped steam escape. The baking time depends on several things. If the macarons are too moist they will need extra time to bake. The bigger they are piped the longer they need to bake, smaller macarons bake faster. After around 14 minutes take the macarons out and let them sit on the baking tray for a few minutes and then slide the paper off the baking tray.

7) Let the macarons cool COMPLETELY before attempting to remove them. Otherwise they will break and then all that work was for nothing! If they seem gooey put them back in the oven and let them bake some more. You would rather have the macarons be overcooked than undercooked.

8) Once the macarons are completely cooled attempt to remove them from the Silipat.
 
9) Once the macaron shells are dried and cool and your cheesecake and strawberry jams are ready, you are ready to assemble the macarons! Place the cheesecake and strawberry jam into  separate piping bags and pipe the fillings onto one shell and then twist the another shell on top! I pre divide all of my macaron shells in half that way I can distribute the ganache more evenly because I can more easily visualize exactly how much cream I have and how many shells I have to fill. Then refrigerate them for 24-48 hours and enjoy!

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