It’s been a while since I posted a recipe on this blog, and I’m sorry about that. But today, I’m coming back in with a bang: macarons that ooze blood when you bite into them, inspired by Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard!
(Or any vampire novel, ever. Take your pick).
And, admittedly, they don’t actually ooze blood. They’re really vanilla bean macarons with a blood-red raspberry filling, and are quite delicious, unlike if they were made with actual blood.
Several things you should know before you get started:
- I don’t care how good you think you are at measuring by volume, if you are making macarons, you measure by weight, preferably by grams. Even the egg whites, because even if you use two eggs that weight exactly the same, there will still be different amounts of whites.
- Macaron is pronounced “ma-kron”
- I used this recipe from JavaCupcakes for this. It came up in a Google search and worked spectacularly well. I omitted all cinnamon from the recipe, added the caviar of one vanilla bean, and upped the vanilla extract to 1 1/2 teaspoons in the buttercream.
- Don’t be like me and actually check to make sure you have all the ingredients for everything before you go to make these, so you don’t have to run to the store to get more powdered sugar in the middle of this.
So, the first thing you’re going to do is make the raspberry sauce.
You can do this in any amount you like, as long as it’s a 2:1 ratio of raspberries to water. Sugar you just add to taste. I used one cup raspberries, 1/2 cup water, and two tablespoons of sugar. You can do this with fresh or frozen raspberries, but frozen raspberries will take a bit longer to cook down.
Throw it all in a pot over medium high heat. Stir it all together. Stir it about once every five minutes to make sure nothing’s sticking to the bottom.
Get the rest of your ingredients together. Ignore my horrible blurry picture.
When scraping the vanilla bean, I find it easier to cut it in half first, and I use the back of a pairing knife. And it’s literally impossible to get all of the seeds, so just do the best you can. You don’t want any of the stringy pod getting mixed in, because that’s not very pleasant to eat.
Throw the scraped pod into the pot with the raspberry sauce.
Put the powdered sugar and almond flour in a food processor and pulse until there are no lumps of either ingredient. Set aside.
Take your egg whites. Eggs separate best cold straight from the fridge, but they whip the best at room temperature or hotter. In school, we use a Bain-Marie to get eggs up to temperature, which is basically a pot full of water around 140 degrees or so that we put bowls of stuff in to heat up.
I do not have that. So what I did was I filled a glass bowl with boiling water and put the egg whites in a bowl in that. Took about two minutes to reach 80 degrees, which is what you want. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, just stick your finger into the egg whites. They should feel slightly cooler than your body temperature, but not much.
Whip egg whites on high until foamy. Once foamy, add granulated sugar still on high speed about a tablespoon at a time. Whip until stiff peeks form. Add vanilla beans, cream of tartar, and salt. Whip on high speed for five seconds. It’s fine if there are still little clumps of vanilla beans here and there, because they’ll get mixed in.
Sift the dry mixture onto the meringue. Using a rubber spatula, fold until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage.
The ribbon stage is when you hold the spatula over the bowl. The mixture should fall off it in a stream, and fold back and forth on itself when it hits the rest of the mixture. It should take about ten seconds for it to be reincorperated back into the rest of the mixture. Once all the dry ingredients are incorporated into the meringue, you should check for the ribbons stage often, because over folding it will deflate the air that you need.
There are several ways you can pip the meringues; using a piping bag fitted with a round tip, a Ziploc with a round tip, or a piping back or Ziploc with a small hole cut into the corner.
Using a tip (I used a #12) will produce the most uniform results.
Pipe the macaron batter onto a silplat or parchment paper. You can eyeball the sizes or you can you a template; I have these super cool silicone mats made especially for macarons, so they have a template already on them.
Hit the pans (gently!) against the counter three or four times to help settle them and to get any air bubbles out. Let sit on the counter until the tops of the macarons can be touched without anything sticking to your finger, about half an hour. If it’s raining or especially humid, leave them out for an hour. THIS IS NOT A STEP THAT CAN BE SKIPPED.
By the time your macarons are piped, your raspberry compote should be ready. In fact, mine cooked a little bit too long and got too thick, so I had to add a couple of tablespoons of water to it.
Blend the compote until smooth. If you want to add food coloring to make it more blood-colored, do it now. I used ten drops of red and one drop of blue with mine. Gel food coloring is better, but I only had the liquid stuff.
Once the macarons tops are set, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. I always do this after the macarons are ready to go into the oven, just to make extra sure that they are ready.
Cook for around 20 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. You’ll know they’re ready because you’ll be able to easily lift them off the sheet tray.
Now, a good macaron has four qualities:
- A smooth, shiny top
- A crisp outer shell with a chewy inside
- A tall, ruffled “foot”
- No air pockets inside.
Mine had air pockets, but that was totally mine fault; someone else used the oven before me and I was too impatient to wait for it to cool down, so they baked at too high of a temperature, meaning they rose too fast and got a bit too brown. But three out of four is pretty decent, especially since until recently, I was lucky to get one out of four.
While the raspberry “blood” and the macaron shells are cooling, make your buttercream. Cream together softened butter and sifted powdered sugar until combined. Add vanilla extract, and the liquid one tablespoon at a time until it’s the right consistancy. I used three tablespoons of half ‘n’ half.
Once combined, turn mixer to high speed and whip for five minutes.
Take two macaron shells of around the same size. Pipe a circle of frosting onto one of the shells. Add a spoonful of raspberry “blood”. Gently press the shell without any frosting onto the frosted/filled on.
And ta da! You have your delicious, bloody vanilla raspberry macarons.
Now, if you want to make some filled with silver blood, too, take the extra buttercream (you will have extra) and thin it down until it’s about the consistancy of melted chocolate. Add black food coloring, one drop at a time, until it’s your desired shade of gray. If you want to, stir in a few pinches of silver edible glitter. Fill the center of the macarons with this instead of the raspberry blood.
So, bloggings, have you ever made macarons before? How did they turn out? Do you have any ideas for future recipes?