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Red Velvet Macarons


So, why didn't anybody tell me that baking with a pet is infinitely harder than baking without one? I mean, I seriously can't do anything these days without my cat as my shadow. She has even learned the sound a bag of shredded cheese makes when it's being opened and rushes to my side for some of that good stuff.
I find myself having to schedule my baking around her cat naps because I would feel way too bad about locking her in a room; those precious meows get me all the time.

Thankfully, she fell asleep just before I whipped these up. But unfortunately, after I baked all of my shells, Junie jumped on my table unexpectedly with no rhyme or reason and landed straight onto a tray of paired up shells. Yup. The joys of being a pet owner.
I've decided having a pet is quite similar to having a toddler. Did I mention I had to purchase stove knob covers for fear of her turning on the stove...again? Yup, that happened.
I'm hoping once she grows out of her kitten phase, she will mellow out. We shall see. But in other news, I've been working on my Italian method and I really like it! I don't think I will ever go back to regular French method.
These macarons are everything a red velvet macaron should be. I won't tell you how much red food coloring I had to use, but I will say that one bite of these and your red velvet craving will be satisfied. Make sure to mature them for a minimum of 24 hours, it really makes all the difference!

Red Velvet Macarons

Yield: 60 macarons
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Ingredients:

212 grams almond flour
200 grams powdered sugar
12 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
82 grams egg whites, for almond paste
90 grams egg whites, for meringue
236 grams granulated sugar
158 grams water
red food coloring/gel paste, as needed

For the cream cheese filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar

Directions:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.

Add almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine and break apart any big lumps. Sift mixture into a clean bowl. Discard any large pieces that do not pass through the sieve. Add 82 grams egg whites to the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture. Mix together with a spatula until you form a uniform paste. Set aside. (I like to add some red gel paste to this mixture as well for a deeper color).

To the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, add 90 grams egg whites and about a tablespoon of red gel paste. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. At the same time, add water and granulated sugar to a small saucepan. Heat on medium-heat, monitoring the temperature with a candy thermometer while you do so. Once the temperature is 248 degrees F, you'll want to switch the speed of the mixer to low, and slowly stream the hot syrup unto the mixer. Then, increase the speed to medium and beat until the meringue reaches stiff, glossy peaks.

Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the almond paste, mixing until well-incorporated. Add in the rest of the meringue, and fold until the batter is able to run off the spatula in ribbons.

Pipe 1.5 inch rounds onto the parchment paper(or silicone mat). It is helpful to use a guide here, so all your macarons are the same size. Rest the macarons for 10 minutes, or until a skin forms.

Preheat oven to 320 degrees F. Bake macarons for 13-15 minutes. Allow macarons to cool on baking sheets before removing.

To prepare cream cheese filling, using an electric hand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat until well-incorporated. If filling seems a little thick, add in a tablespoon or two of heavy cream.

To assemble the macarons, match macaron shells into pairs of similar sizes as best as you can. Pipe cream cheese filling onto the flat side of half the shells. Top with opposite shell. Refrigerate in an airtight container for 24 hours to let the flavors develop. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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