Golden Sugar Macarons with Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling


 
Golden Sugar Macarons with Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling. These French macarons are made with golden sugar, sprinkled with the sugar to give them a sparkly top, and filled with a smooth cardamom cream cheese filling. These are an easy gluten free treat, and this is a great go-to macaron recipe, filled with tips and tricks to help you master french macarons! #frenchmacarons #goldensugar #cardamomcreamcheese
Golden Sugar Macarons with Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling. These French macarons are made with golden sugar, sprinkled with the sugar to give them a sparkly top, and filled with a smooth cardamom cream cheese filling. These are an easy gluten free treat, and this is a great go-to macaron recipe, filled with tips and tricks to help you master french macarons! #frenchmacarons #goldensugar #cardamomcreamcheese
Golden Sugar Macarons with Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling. These French macarons are made with golden sugar, sprinkled with the sugar to give them a sparkly top, and filled with a smooth cardamom cream cheese filling. These are an easy gluten free treat, and this is a great go-to macaron recipe, filled with tips and tricks to help you master french macarons! #frenchmacarons #goldensugar #cardamomcreamcheese
Golden Sugar Macarons with Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling. These French macarons are made with golden sugar, sprinkled with the sugar to give them a sparkly top, and filled with a smooth cardamom cream cheese filling. These are an easy gluten free treat, and this is a great go-to macaron recipe, filled with tips and tricks to help you master french macarons! #frenchmacarons #goldensugar #cardamomcreamcheese
Golden Sugar Macarons with Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling. These French macarons are made with golden sugar, sprinkled with the sugar to give them a sparkly top, and filled with a smooth cardamom cream cheese filling. These are an easy gluten free treat, and this is a great go-to macaron recipe, filled with tips and tricks to help you master french macarons! #frenchmacarons #goldensugar #cardamomcreamcheese
Golden Sugar Macarons with Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling. These French macarons are made with golden sugar, sprinkled with the sugar to give them a sparkly top, and filled with a smooth cardamom cream cheese filling. These are an easy gluten free treat, and this is a great go-to macaron recipe, filled with tips and tricks to help you master french macarons! #frenchmacarons #goldensugar #cardamomcreamcheese
Golden Sugar Macarons with Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling. These French macarons are made with golden sugar, sprinkled with the sugar to give them a sparkly top, and filled with a smooth cardamom cream cheese filling. These are an easy gluten free treat, and this is a great go-to macaron recipe, filled with tips and tricks to help you master french macarons! #frenchmacarons #goldensugar #cardamomcreamcheese
Golden Sugar Macarons with Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling. These French macarons are made with golden sugar, sprinkled with the sugar to give them a sparkly top, and filled with a smooth cardamom cream cheese filling. These are an easy gluten free treat, and this is a great go-to macaron recipe, filled with tips and tricks to help you master french macarons! #frenchmacarons #goldensugar #cardamomcreamcheese

Hi hi! I am back sharing another recipe with my friends at Domino® Sugar today with these Golden Sugar Macarons with a Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling! These guys have a sweet, warming cream cheese filling, and the shells are sprinkled with extra Golden Sugar to give them a little extra sparkle and crunch on the outside of the shells. If you’ve been following along at home, (and by at home I mean on Instagram), I recently got a new oven, which has been a game changer for multiple reasons, the main one being that I can now see into the oven (!!), but another massive perk from my shiny new friend is that I can bake two trays of macarons at once! Very, very exciting.

I’ve been playing around with Domino® Golden Sugar in my kitchen for the last few weeks, and I’ve been loving how it performs. If you haven’t tried new Domino® Golden Sugar yet, it is a less processed alternative to white sugar that still works cup for cup in baking! It has the most beautiful golden colour, and a slight molasses hint in the flavouring. I’ve thrown it at a lot of things recently, including a couple of recipes which can be a little finicky, and they have come out amazingly! I started with these Salted Caramel Cream Puffs, but this week I put it to the ultimate test, with one of the more finicky recipes I know - French Macarons.

Macarons are known to be tricky wee things - make one change and the whole batch can turn wonky on you, so I figured that this would be a great test for the Golden Sugar, and it performed perfectly! The Golden Sugar gave the macaron shells a super pretty golden hue, and I sprinkled a little extra sugar on the top - the slightly coarser texture of cane sugar is perfect for giving the shells a sparkly finish. I just also love anything sugar coated.

I kept things pretty simple filling wise and went with one of my faves - a cream cheese buttercream. I added a teeny hint of cardamom just to give it a little warmth, and some vanilla bean, because that goes into everything I make. You can absolutely leave out the cardamom, but I loved how it tasted against the slightly tangy cream cheese and sweet crunchy shells.

A few wee tips:

  • All of my best macaron tips (there’s loads of them - I add to the doc every time I discover a new one) are in this post

  • You may be able to bake two sheets of macs at once - depending on your oven. My old one wouldn’t let me, but I just got a new oven and I did two trays at once no worries - just make sure you rotate them half way through. If you bake two, make sure you you use a spare sheet pan under each.

  • You can fill these with anything that you like! The Domino® Golden Sugar shells are essentially just ‘plain’ vanilla bean shells, so they would be perfect for pairing with almost any filling.

 

 

Golden Sugar Macarons with Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling

- Makes about 24 -

Golden Sugar Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
160g Domino® Golden Sugar
Extra Domino® Golden Sugar for sprinkling on the shells

Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling
85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
170g cream cheese, cold
340g powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cardamom

 

- PROCESS -

GOLDEN SUGAR MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the vanilla bean paste. Gradually add the Domino® Golden Sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little flick of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth. Sprinkle the tops of the macarons with the Domino® Golden Sugar.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Depending on your oven you may be able to bake two sheets of macarons at once, but start with one first and see how you go.

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. If you are baking two sheets at once, switch over the top and bottom sheets half way through. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

CARDAMOM CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese on high until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add powdered sugar, and mix on low to combine. Turn the mixer to high and beat for another 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add vanilla bean paste, salt, and cardamom, and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides and mix again briefly to ensure the mixture is even.

ASSEMBLY

Transfer Cardamom cream cheese frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large french star tip (such as an ateco #866). Pair each macaron shell with another of a similar size. Pipe a circle of buttercream on one half, and then sandwich with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Golden Sugar Macarons with Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling. These French macarons are made with golden sugar, sprinkled with the sugar to give them a sparkly top, and filled with a smooth cardamom cream cheese filling. These are an easy gluten free treat, and this is a great go-to macaron recipe, filled with tips and tricks to help you master french macarons! #frenchmacarons #goldensugar #cardamomcreamcheese

Thank you so much to Domino Sugar for Sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.

Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies


 
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam

Hi! I am writing this to you from a cute little coffee shop up in Rhinebeck - a few friends and I have escaped for a little mid-week work holiday. For some reason getting work done while you’re tucked away in a little air bnb (we got one with a pool, it is dope) is so much more satisfying than working at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love both, but it’s real cute up here.

I made these just before we left for Canada as a way to use up a couple of things in my fridge - a brick of cream cheese, and half a jar of jam. I had some pie dough in the freezer, so I whipped up these little hand pies, and ohhhh man. I used the cream cheese to act as a bit of a dam to hold in the filling, and the combination of vanilla bean flavoured cream cheese, and sweet mixed berry jam filling is just so good. I didn’t add any additional sugar to the cream cheese, and the super flaky pie dough isn’t sweet, so the jam centre is so, so good against the slightly tangy cream cheese. These are crazy easy to make - they have serious pop tart vibes, and can very easily be scaled up to make a bunch. You could also do them as little circle hand pies rather than the rectangles, and another great thing about them is that you can freeze them ahead of time, store them in an airtight container in your freezer, and bake them off as you need.

Use whatever flavour of jam you like in these - I used mixed berry, but they would also be so, so good with a stone fruit jam or anything berry. You could also use a store bought puff pastry - this is a choose your own adventure here, you can make as many or as few components as you like.

A few wee tips:

  • A pie dough trick I learnt from my friend Erin that is now firmly in my repertoire : After you mix the dough and shape it into discs, rest it in the fridge for about an hour, and then roll it out on a floured surface into a rectangle, fold it in thirds like a letter, then roll again and repeat the folding. Then you shape it into a disc by folding the edges under, rewrap tightly in plastic, and rest for at least two hours before using. What this step does is make the dough homogenous and therefore easy to work with, but also adds layers through the rolling and folding - the same way puff pastry is laminated. It is definitely an optional step but from my experience it makes the world of difference when it comes to rolling out the dough and getting a nice even crimp or lattice work.

  • These come out of the oven HOT. Like, take skin off the inside of your mouth hot. Make sure you let them cool down before you eat it. You’ve been warned.

  • I used homemade jam to make these because I had it on hand, but store bought is great too!

  • I added a couple of flowers I cut out from some excess pie dough. To make these I like to roll out the scrap dough and freeze briefly on a baking sheet, then cut out the shapes with pastry stamps - I have these and love them!

 

 

Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies

- Makes about 9 hand pies -

Pie Dough
375g (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
225g (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
240g (1 cup) cold water
1 cup ice
60g (1/4 cup) Apple cider vinegar
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

Filling
225g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup mixed berry jam or jam of your choice (I used this recipe)

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Turbinado (raw) sugar to finish

 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only large pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two rectangles, and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.  (See notes for rolling out dough during resting period)

 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and vanilla bean paste. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a large rectangle. If you are worried about it getting too warm and soft, you can cut it in half and do this in two parts. Using a ruler and a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the pastry into 3" x 4" rectangles (7cm x 10cm). You should get approximately 18 rectangles. Place the cut rectangles carefully onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and refrigerate for 10 mins to help firm up the pastry slightly. 

Remove the pastry rectangles from the fridge and match up into pairs. Lightly brush the edges of one piece of pastry with egg wash, then pipe a rectangle of the cream cheese mixture, and fill the centre with two teaspoons of jam. Top with a second piece of pastry, pressing down lightly around the edges to seal, ensuring that there are no air bubbles. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, then use the tines of a fork to press down around the edges to help seal. Repeat with the remaining rectangles of pastry until all the hand pies are assembled. Add decorations using pie stamps by stamping out rolled out scrap pastry.

Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for 30-40 minutes, or until the dough becomes very firm. If you are planning on freezing them for a longer period of time, freeze solid then transfer to an airtight plastic bag. 

While the pies are in the freezer, preheat the oven to 425°f / 220°c. Remove the pies from the freezer. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of each pie, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with additional raw sugar. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the pies are deeply golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers wrapped in foil at room temperature. Reheat in the oven to help keep the pastry crispy. 

Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam

Strawberry Shortcake Macarons (Strawberry Macarons with Cream Cheese German Buttercream and Streusel)


 
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron

Summer is definitely here, and with that comes strawberry season! For this month’s Mac recipe, Jase and I channeled an American summer classic (I think, non-American making sweeping generalisations here but from what I’ve seen I think that’s right), and made strawberry shortcake inspired macarons! As per usual, we kept the shell plain - we have learnt the hard way a few times (looking at you, blueberry shells) that unless you’re adding something like a tiny bit of cocoa to the shell, you’re best off sticking with a plain flavoured shell, and incorporating all your flavour on the inside. Macarons are already finicky enough as it is without having to worry about tweaking the recipe of the shell each time.

We then added the Strawberry shortcake element on the inside, with a super easy strawberry filling, a pie crumb, and a cream cheese German buttercream, which is a total fave of mine. The strawberry provided amazing flavour, and coupled with the creamy and slightly tangy buttercream and crunchy brown butter pie crumb, it made for, in my opinion, the perfect bite.

We did get a wee bit fancy with the styling and mixed it up a bit, making a few different colours, but these would be great done just in one colour too. I have added how we split up the mixture to colour it in the notes. We also did something a bit different this time and added all the leftovers into a churned ice cream base to make the most delicious strawberry shortcake macaron ice cream - stay tuned for the recipe!

A few wee tips:

  • All my mac tips are in this post!

  • We actually made two batches of macs for these - the first batch we did half solid pink, and the second half we painted the inside of the piping bag with a little gel food colouring so that it came out swirly. The second batch we coloured half a soft pink and left half white, and added sprinkles - I got these ones from etsy and I love them.

  • We also coloured some of the buttercream - you can really do anything you want here!

  • Make sure that you give the strawberry filling time to chill. It will be quite thick - we wanted it to be a little thicker so that it stayed inside the macs nicely.

 

 

Strawberry Shortcake Macarons (Strawberry Macarons with Cream Cheese German Buttercream and Streusel)

- Makes about 24 Macarons -

Macaron Shell Recipe from I love Macarons, with adaptations from Fox and Crane 
Pie crumb recipe from 
Milk Bar

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Gel Food Colouring, optional (We used ‘soft pink’ by americolor)

Pie Crumb
220g all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
115g unsalted butter, browned
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp water

Strawberry Filling
400g trimmed and quartered strawberries
120g water
125g sugar
Juice of half a lemon
3 Tbsp corn starch

Cream Cheese German Buttercream
110g sugar
12g corn starch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
190g whole milk
340g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g cream cheese, at room temperature

 

- PROCESS -

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300°f / 150°c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add pink gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. Sprinkle with sprinkles, if using.

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

PIE CRUMB

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Line a baking tray with silpat or parchment paper. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt until well mixed. Add the butter and water and mix on low until clustered. 

Spread the mixture on the tray, and bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Break up into smaller clumps during the baking process. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will firm up a lot during cooling). Store in an airtight container until ready to use

STRAWBERRY FILLING

Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, mashing with a potato masher as the mixture begins to warm.

Switch to a rubber spatula and cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it has thickened. Transfer to a container and allow to cool completely.

CREAM CHEESE GERMAN BUTTERCREAM

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and corn starch, then add the egg, egg yolk and salt, and whisk together well. In a medium non-stick saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean paste to just shy of a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan. 

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow dish or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold. If you are in a hurry, you can speed up this process by placing the custard mixture into a bowl, and placing the bowl into an ice bath, stirring frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip the custard mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. Add in the cream cheese, and whip until smooth, then whip for a further 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on low for 3-4 minutes to help remove any big air bubbles.

ASSEMBLY

Place the buttercream into piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice - we used a large round tip for the macarons with the pie crumb and a large french star tip for the macs with the sprinkles.

Pair up the macarons into pairs of equal sizes.

Pipe a ring of buttercream on one half of the macaron, and place a blob of the strawberry filling into the centre. Top with the second shell, pressing down lightly. Add the pie crumb to the sides if desired.

Chill the macarons briefly to allow the buttercream to set. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron