Valentine’s Day is around the corner, so today we’re going to make my bleeding heart macaron. I first concocted this macaron a few years back, and it’s been such a hit with our guests at the Langham, Chicago that I bring it back each year for our special Valentine’s tea menu. I’ve always been a fan of chocolate and cherry, which is how this macaron started as an idea. The heart-shaped piping and candy shell make it a little extra special, and now you can make them at home!
The feature photo for this post as well as the photo above were taken by Anthony Zamora. These are much better than what I could muster shooting, and are some of my favorite images of my food taken so I had to share them.
Below will be a bare bones method for the macaron shells, so if you’ve never made them before and want a more detailed recipe, including tips and science behind macaron, head over to my original recipe for them here.
bleeding heart macaron
250g almond flour
250g powdered sugar
93g egg whites A
93g egg whites B
8g red gel color
4 drops purple gel color
Combine the powdered sugar and almond flour and pulse in a food processor until the two are well incorporated.
Add your first scaling of egg whites (A) to a stand mixer mixing bowl fitted with a whip attachment. Place the second scaling of egg whites (B) in a mixing bowl.
Combine the almond flour mixture, egg whites (B), and gel color in the mixing bowl, mixing thoroughly until a paste is formed. Cover the bowl loosely with a kitchen towel to keep the paste from drying out before you use it.
Combine the sugar and water in a sauce pot over high heat. I added a water based food color to the syrup as my purple color. In general, add gel color to your paste and water based color to your meringue syrup. As the syrup first starts to heat up give it a good whisk to fully dissolve the sugar, and then leave it alone once it starts to boil (which helps prevent sugar crystals from forming).
Bring the syrup to a boil, and cook it to 250F/121C.
While the sugar syrup is heating up, begin to mix your first scaling of egg whites in the stand mixer on medium speed.*
*An Italian meringue relies on timing your egg whites to whip up into a loose meringue at the same time that the sugar syrup hits its finishing boiling temp. With larger recipes, it is common to start whisking your whites when the syrup reaches 230F/110C, but a small recipe size requires you to start both processes at the same time.
Once the syrup reaches 250F/121C, turn the egg whites in the stand mixer on high. There should be no clear albumen left in the whipping egg whites at this point.
Carefully pour the syrup over the whipping egg whites in a steady stream. I usually count to three to add the first addition of syrup and allow the egg whites to whip for 5 seconds or so. This let’s them temper a little and prevents the egg whites from cooking into a stringy mess.
After the first addition of syrup, add the remaining syrup in one steady stream. Let the mixture whip on high for 20 seconds to further temper and cool and then turn the speed down to medium. Leaving the mixer on high speed for too long will cause the meringue to over-inflate and fall.
Once the meringue has thickened but is still warm and at a soft peak stage, add it to your almond flour mixture in two additions. If the meringue feels too lose, continue to whip it until it has stiffened before you add it to your almond flour mixture. If the meringue is a little too stiff you’ll simply have to mix the final batter a little more than normal.
When all of the meringue is incorporated, mix the batter until it softens to the right consistency. Experience will help you find the proper consistency, but for a standard macaron batter, look for a stream of batter to settle almost completely settle and smooth out on its own within around 10-20 seconds after coming off the spatula. For the heart macaron, I leave the batter slightly stiffer since it will be piped through a small piping tip and break down further during that time.
Place the piping template (if you’re using it) between your sheet pan and a piece of parchment paper or non-stick baking mat. To make the heart shape, use a 9-11mm round piping tip. Pipe a tear drop shape to make one side of the heart and then repeat the shape right next to it.
After you’ve piped a full sheet of shells, give the sheet pan a tap from underneath to knock out any hidden air bubbles and flatten and smooth the macaron. I use my hand to tap rather than the table because I can be specific about where on the sheet pan I want to have the most effect.
Let the piped macaron sit, uncovered, until they develop a skin, about 5-15min.
Bake the macaron at 315F/157C for 12-14min. If you’re using a home oven without fan forced air, increase the temperature to 320F/160C.
162g cherry puree
237g chocolate, 64% Guittard L’Etoile du Nord
36g glucose optional
137g butter unsalted
Combine the cherry puree and glucose in a sauce pot, and bring them to a simmer over medium heat.
Pour the mixture over the chocolate and let sit for 3min.
Whisk or hand blend the mixture until it is glossy and smooth.
Add the cold butter and let sit for 3-5min.
Whisk or hand blend the mixture once more. Cover the ganache to touch with plastic wrap and let the it set until it is firm enough to pipe.
500g red cherry juice clarified
26g yellow pectin
6g gelatin 160 bloom
To make clarified cherry juice, heat frozen cherries very slowly in a bain marie over low heat. As juice is extracted from the cherries, pass it through a fine mesh strainer and reserve.
Hydrate the gelatin in cold water and reserve to use later.
Combine the pectin and sugar and stir them until thoroughly mixed.
Add the cherry juice to a sauce pot, and add the sugar and pectin mix while quickly whisking.
Heat the cherry juice over medium heat while whisking and bring to a boil.
Cook the mixture, while whisking, for 5-6min.
Skim the top of the liquid if necessary to remove impurities. This step is optional, but will give you a nice, clear final product.
Add the hydrated gelatin to the mixture and whisk until it is fully dissolved and incorporated.
candy shell and assembly
Pair the baked macaron shells by shape and arrange them with one shell face down and one shell face up.
Add the chocolate ganache to a disposable piping bag with a 8mm round piping tip. Add the cherry gel to a disposable piping bag with no tip.
Pipe a rope of ganache around the border of each face up macaron shell.
Pipe the cherry gel in the interior of each piped chocolate border, then sandwich the shells together with gentle pressure. Piping the ganache just inside of the edge of each shell allows it to spread outward but not over the lip of the shell when you press the halves together.
Chill the macaron to allow the ganache to firm up and adhere to both shells, keeping it together. At this stage, they are ready to temper in the cooler for 2-3 days and then serve. If you’d like to dip them, read on!
Only dip your macaron in the candy shell when you are ready to serve them. Storing the candy coated macs in the cooler or in a humid environment for even a short while will cause the sugar to get tacky and chewy.
4g red food coloring water soluble
5 drops *tartaric acid optional
*Tartaric acid is used in sugar cooking to help prevent crystallization. Although it’s not absolutely necessary in the recipe, if you plan to dip many macaron you’ll want to use some acid. Citric acid can also be used. Tartaric acid often comes in a crystal form, and I always dissolve it in hot water with a 1:1 ratio. Tartaric acid loses its potency over time, so making it fresh may mean a drop less in your recipe, while acid that is a few months old may need one extra drop.
For the candy shell, combine the sugar and water in a sauce pot over medium heat. As the syrup first starts to heat up give it a good whisk to fully dissolve the sugar, and then leave it alone once it starts to boil.
Once the syrup boils, add the glucose and continue cooking on high heat.
Add the food coloring once the syrup is boiling.
Bring the syrup to a boil, and cook it to 311F/155C. If you choose to use acid in your recipe, add it at 302F/150C.
Let the syrup cool for 1-2min, just to let the boil subside.
Carefully (This technique can cause burns, so make sure to be very careful while dipping macaron. This isn’t the sort of thing to let your toddlers do on their own. I’m dipping these bare handed, but having latex gloves on isn’t a bad idea.) dip the macaron in the syrup, coating one shell.
Allow the excess syrup to drip from the shell, and place it candy coating face up to cool. If you want to add gold leaf, you’ll have to do it quickly after dipping before the candy shell solidifies.
Congrats! You are now the proud owner of beautiful heart macaron. Now it’s time to show someone you love them with a few of these beauties.
Cheers – Chef Scott