After a horrible year of 2020, and a not so great start to 2021, it’s almost summer at last. At least with summer we can enjoy the sunshine, bare feet, and of course, ice cold glasses of lemonade on the porch. These macarons really do taste like strawberry lemonade, and after the first bite you will be transported back to carefree summer days under the sun. I think we could all use a bit of that.
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Strawberry Lemonade French Macarons
100 g. egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
50 g. white sugar
200 g. powdered sugar
110 g. almond flour
Strawberry Lemonade Buttercream:
(slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
3 egg whites
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 sticks room temperature salted butter (no substitutes)
4-6 tbsp. Amoretti Lemon Artisan Fruit Puree (may substitute 1 tsp. of lemon extract or to taste)
1-2 tbsp. Amoretti Wild Strawberry Puree
Whip room temperature egg whites, cream of tartar, and white sugar with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer until the whites reach stiff peak stage. Meanwhile, pulse your almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor until the mixture is well combined. Sift your almond flour/powdered sugar mixture through a sieve and throw away the pieces that are too large to pass through the sieve. When the whites have whipped into stiff peaks, fold the almond/sugar mixture into the whites gradually and carefully until they reach proper “macaronage.” Place 2-3 drops of gel food coloring into the batter and swirl gently before carefully pouring into a piping bag. Pipe meringue circles onto a silpat using a template, if desired, and slam the cookie sheets several times on the counter to dislodge air bubbles. Allow circles to dry for 20 minutes before baking at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven (move oven racks, if necessary). Do not open the oven until the 20 minutes are up, and use an oven thermometer for best results. When your macarons are done they should feel “firm on their feet.” If the macaron shells are soft or crack when gently touched, bake for 2 more minutes and test again until they are firm on their feet. After baking, remove entire silpat to cooling rack and allow shells to cool, completely, before removing them from the silpat.
To make strawberry lemonade buttercream, place your egg whites and sugar together on the top of a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler you can use the metal bowl of your stand mixer over a saucepan with about an inch of boiling water. Make sure that the water is low enough that it doesn’t touch the bowl on top with your egg whites in it. Whisk the egg white mixture over the boiling water until the egg whites reach 160 degrees (use a baking thermometer to make sure you get the temperature right). When your mixture reaches 160 degrees remove it from the heat and whisk it with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer until it cools slightly (I use ice packs on the side of the mixing bowl to cool the mixture more quickly). When it reaches room temperature, switch from the whisk to the beater attachment. On medium speed whip the frosting, slowly adding the room temperature butter in pieces. When you get all of the butter added, whip for several minutes on high speed until your frosting looks like whipped butter (which, technically, it is). Add in your flavorings and mix just until combined. The frosting is now ready to use, or you may refrigerate, covered, for several days (bring to room temperature to pipe before using).
Now, in pictures 🙂
We make macarons a lot around “these here parts.” If you are new to macaron making please check out my much more detailed post here, for macaron beginners. Otherwise, I will assume that you are all macaron mavens who were born saying “Oooh La La!” instead of “Goo Goo Gah Gah” and know what you’re doing.
You’re so smart. I love working with you.
Good macarons start with a gorgeous, sifted mound of almond flour and powdered sugar. It is light as a baby’s breath (if that baby were Parisian and saying the aforementioned Oooh La La instead of gurgling for its binky). Look at it– isn’t it breathtaking?
The other backbone of a good macaron is proper meringue. There are many, MANY ways to do this (we have covered multiple methods here). Some macaron purists swear by egg whites given from God’s own chickens, aged a minimum of 2 weeks (who pray in between clucks, apparently). These chickens also vote and go to church on Sundays (which is why Chick Fil A is closed on Sundays, I’d be willing to bet). But I find that regular, cartoned egg whites work just fine for me, and that’s what I use 99% of the time unless I have extra egg whites lying around from another recipe. You may call me a rebel. You may call these rebel macarons. You may call them anything you like– but they are delicious.
Make your macaron shells and let them dry. While they are drying, baking, and generally just looking down their pastel Parisian noses on the rebellious, American equipment in your kitchen with French hauteur, go ahead and start your buttercream. The buttercream is Swiss, so it won’t have a bad attitude.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream starts with the same stuff that the macarons do– egg whites and sugar. You need to heat this mixture slowly over a double boiler (or a cheating double boiler, which is the kitchenaid mixer bowl over about an inch of simmering water). The mixer bowl works great because you can just move it to the mixer when you’re done cooking and immediately start whipping the egg whites into meringue, without switching bowls. This means less dishes for you, and thereby, COOKIES FASTER. You’re so smart. I love working with you.
Gently whisk your egg white mixture every so often so that it doesn’t “cook itself” to the sides of the bowl. Use a digital cooking thermometer to make sure you get your egg whites up to 160 degrees. Think deep thoughts and whisk with purposeful thoughtfulness. Pretend you are on a documentary where they say, “Here she is, in her kitchen. She is so thin. She needs more cookies.”
Yes. Just like that.
When your egg whites reach 160 degrees you can take them off the heat. Since you are such a smarty pants you used your mixer bowl as your double boiler, so you don’t need to dump burning hot liquid into another pan to mix it. You can use the very pan you just took off the stove and whip those hot egg whites into a nice, shiny meringue using ice packs to cool it down more quickly. You’re so smart. I love working with you.
You are also so thin. You need more cookies. So, so thin. Supermodel thin, really.
Now let’s talk flavorings. You can use any lemon or strawberry flavoring that you like. You can use lemon extract and strawberry jam. But if you want that really “Wow this tastes JUST like strawberry lemonade!” flavor, then you need to use Amoretti. Their products are pricey for sure, but when you taste them you will understand why. A little of their product also goes a long way (they are SUPER concentrated), so you can go with the small bottle and have it last a long time. Trust me. Your macarons deserve a day at the spa. Try it once and you’ll never look back.
The buttercream is ready to go as soon as you mix in your flavors (to taste). I did about 2 parts lemon to 1 part strawberry, and it was FABULOUS. It really did taste like strawberry lemonade, not chemical extracts, which, of course, is why you shell out (macarons have shells– see what I did there?) for Amoretti.
Use a nice cupcake piping tip to make little swirls of goodness on your shells. Lightly twist them together to join. Don’t smoosh them or you will get (you guessed it!) smooshed looking macarons. Don’t worry about the buttercream being soft at this point. When you refrigerate these beauties the buttercream will harden and they will be indestructible! They are American! They are French! They are Swiss! They will be ready to conquer the WORLD!!! *earth conquering music swells in the background*
Refrigerate these little ladies, covered lightly with plastic wrap, for a few hours until they are perfectly set. You can’t expect them to go out before their hair is set!!! What kind of fancy French ladies would they be?
But go ahead and taste the mistakes now. Oops. I cracked another one. Yum. Hehe.
It’s feeling more like summer already.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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