If there's one thing I love as much as baking it's packaging. In fact, it may border on an obsession. But I figure if you've spent all this time making your delicious treats don't they deserve a beautiful presentation? There used to be a shop in San Francisco that sold a pair of macarons in the most adorable white gift box. I was instantly smitten and wanted to replicate it at home.
Don't you think these boxes make the perfect party favor? You can tailor the cutout to whatever occasion you're celebrating: weddings, showers (bridal or baby), birthdays, holidays, etc. Your guests will definitely feel special when they take one of these favors home.
SUPPLIES: 2-inch square white boxes and grosgrain ribbon from Papermart. I used paper punches for the cutouts.
90g egg whites (about 3) preferably aged 3-5 days in the fridge
30g granulated sugar
3g egg white powder
200g powdered sugar
110g almond flour
a few drops of red gel-based food coloring
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Add the food coloring. Do not over beat your meringue or it will be too dry.
In a separate bowl sift the confectioner's sugar and almond flour. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like lava or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets.
Preheat the oven to 300F.
Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy.
Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. To fill: pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of butterceam in the center of one shell and top with another one.
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut in to 8 pieces
1/2 cup strawberry rhubarb jam (or any other jam you like)
1/2 tsp pink food color gel
Combine eggs, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
With mixer on medium-high speed, add the butter one piece at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla and continue beating on medium-high speed until buttercream is creamy and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and add jam and food color gel and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day.