Admittedly, I go a little strawberry crazy this time of year. Sales at the market certainly don’t help my addiction, but that’s a topic for another day.
I’ve been wanting to experiment for a while with different kinds of macarons, specifically changing up the flavor of the cookie. Fillings are easy; it’s the shell that is difficult to master. After a few successes last winter, I was ready to take the next step.
I already had some strawberries and rhubarb on hand from previous recipes and grocery runs, and while I had decided early on not to make a pie, I knew I wanted something a little more elevated for a wedding present for a co-worker. The combo seemed irresistible — and inevitable.
For a complete experiment on my part, I could not be happier with how these macarons turned out. They weren’t in perfect form, but the flavor was so explosive, I didn’t care so much about technique. I’d call it a humblebrag, but my co-workers went crazy over these
little cookies, and I am really proud of that.
As always, much of my work is not limited to measurements. While you will need to be very specific with the cookie because it is so temperamental, you should really base the buttercream off your tastes. Keep in mind that you don’t want to make it too sweet, as the cookie will fill that role.
Strawberry macarons with rhubarb buttercream
3 egg whites (room temperature)
¼ cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/4 cups almond flour
pinch of salt
¼ tsp cream of tartar (you might need to add a little more)
red food coloring
1/4 cup rhubarb mixture (I reserved some from this pie recipe, but you could probably start with a pureed rhubarb/sugar mixture after it’s been cooked and cooled.)
1-2 cups confectioner’s sugar (to taste)
1 cup butter
Several hours or a day prior: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Cut 12 strawberries into thin slices. Arrange in single layers on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake for about an hour, or until dried out.
Once all the strawberries are dried, grind them into powder with a food processor or coffee grinder. You’re aiming for about 1/4 cup of strawberry powder. Save the rest for another day.
When you are ready to make the macarons, preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Squeeze about six strawberries into a juice. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, then add salt, cream of tartar and white sugar. Beat for 8-10 minutes until stiff peaks form. Add a little bit of red food coloring to help bring out the color. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, sift almond flour and powdered sugar together. Stir in the powdered strawberries.
Add the flour/sugar mixture and about half of the strawberry juice to the meringue. Fold in gently, stirring about 60-75 times. If the mixture seems a little too thick, add in more of the strawberry juice. When it flows smoothly off your spatula, you are ready to transfer it to a pastry bag.
Pipe 1-inch rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. After filling each sheet, stop to tap the pan against the counter a few times to release the air bubbles.
Let the macarons sit for 20-30 minutes before baking. It’s important that they dry out so they don’t spread in the oven.
Bake for about 20 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the bottoms no longer stick to the parchment paper.
While those bake, make the rhubarb buttercream. Start by creaming the butter. Then add in the rhubarb mixture and mix until smooth. Gradually add in the powdered sugar to taste and stiffness you prefer.
After the cookies cool, pipe a small amount of the buttercream on one and sandwich with another.