Blueberry Cheesecake Macaroons!

I love to bake. There are many reasons why I love to bake: baked goods are delicious, there is usually some good batter to lick off spoons and bowls, why wouldn’t you want your house to smell like freshly baked anything?, and baking is pretty easy. But there are some times when baking is not too easy, and french macaroons are definitely tricky. Anything with meringue is tricky because it is of the utmost importance that your meringue is perfect, for whatever you’re making to work!

My girlfriend, Kelley’s, mom gave me a beautiful macaroon cook book for my birthday this year and I didn’t have the chance to try out any of the recipes all year while I was at school (due to laziness and lack of proper kitchen materials), but the cook book came back home with me and I teamed up with my friend Evan (who also loves to bake) to try to create some beautiful macaroons. Evan had attempted macaroons before and failed a bit. He said that they tasted fine but that the macaroon cookies weren’t quite right. He made dark chocolate raspberry macaroons, which sound phenomenal, but we set out to make a batch of blueberry cheesecake macaroons using my book!

Blueberry cheesecake macaroons!

Blueberry cheesecake macaroons caught our eyes not only because of their vibrant blue color, but also because they are the perfect macaroons for summer. Blueberries are coming into season now and it would have been lovely to have picked our own, but we still got a good price for some big, ripe blueberries at the supermarket! Cheesecake is one of those foods that I absolutely love, but that I never seemed to like as a kid, and I never knew why. I don’t think I ever actually tried it growing up, because the name “cheesecake” sounded unappealing. This also happened with sour cream, which I have come to embrace as well.

Our macaroons were an overall success! The consistencies of the macaroon cookies and the filling were spot-on and together, it was one delicious cookie. The filling was creamy and not too sweet, and the macaroons added just enough extra sugar to sweeten up the cheesecake filling, and a little crunch.The only problems we encountered were creating a consistent macaroon size while piping, and some of our macaroon cookies cracked at the top when we took them out of the oven. A solution to the piping problem is to use a round cookie cutter as a “stencil” for your piping, or to draw circles onto the parchment paper. We did neither of these things, and ended up with some small macaroons and some bigger ones, but they paired up nicely in the end. When cracking occurs in the macaroons, it means that your oven is too hot. Our cookies cracked but didn’t burn, which meant that we had them in for the correct amount of time, but the oven temperature was still a bit too hot. Each oven is different, so the solution to this problem is to just try it out again and again and compensate for your own oven’s inconsistencies as you observe them.

Blueberry cheesecake macaroon

Photo on 2012-06-03 at 20.12 #4

The cook book is just called Macaroons: 30 recipes for perfect bite-size treats, published by LOVE FOOD. The recipe we used is for the Blueberry Cheesecake Macaroons:

(makes 16… but we made smaller ones so we got about 25 macaroons)

Macaroon cookies:

  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 extra large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar (it’s supah-finee)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • blue food coloring paste or liquid

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
  • generous 1/2 cup blueberries

Directions:

  • Place the ground almonds and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor and process for 15 seconds. Sift the mixture into a bowl. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
  • Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whip until holding soft peaks. Gradually beat in the superfine sugar to make a firm, glossy meringue (if all goes well, the tricky part is partially over!). Beat in the vanilla extract and enough food coloring to give a bright blue color (I would recommend food coloring paste for really vibrant colors. We used liquid food coloring and got a nice robin’s egg blue but it took a lot of drops and we ran the risk of putting some food coloring taste into our macaroons).
  • Using a spatula, fold the almond mixture into the meringue one-third at a time. When all the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, continue to cut and fold the mixture until it forms a shiny batter with a thick, ribbonlike consistency.
  • Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch/1-cm plain tip (or you could use a plastic Ziplock bag like we did and cut a little hole in one corner). Pipe 32 small circles onto the prepared baking sheets (it helps if you have a small round cookie cutter to guide your piping). Tap the baking sheets firmly onto a work surface to remove air bubbles. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F/ 160 degrees C.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Carefully peel the macaroons off the parchment paper and let cool completely.
  • To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and confectioners’ sugar together until smooth. Lightly crush the blueberries and fold into the cream cheese mixture. Use to sandwich pairs of macaroons together.
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