The Tiramisu Macaron shells have a light espresso flavor, then they are filled with a sweet mascarpone filling, and are dusted cocoa powder on top.
Before you start, get all of your ingredients ready. Prepare a large piping bag, fitted with a large round tip. Set aside.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
I use a baking mat with the macaron template already in it. You can make your own or print it from the internet, and just place it under silicone mat, or parchment paper. I recommend using a silicone mat.
Measure out all of your ingredients.
Sift powdered sugar and almond flour together.
Set it aside.
Place egg whites and granulated sugar in a heat proof bowl or in a double boiler. Over a pan of simmering water, whisk the whites and sugar until frothy and sugar completely melted. It will take a couple minutes. You can test by touching the mixture between your fingers, and if you feel any sugar granules just keep whisking mixture over the water bath.
Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the simmering water.
Also, don’t overheat the sugar syrup, this may cause issues down the line, such as wrinkly macarons.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer.
With the whisk attachment, start whisking mixture on low for about 30 seconds, then gradually start increasing speed to medium. Whisk on medium for one to two minutes, until mixture is white and starting to become fluffy. Raise speed to high for a few minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Best way to check this is to keep your eye on the whites. Once they get glossy and you start seeing streaks formed by the whisk, it might be time to stop.
Whisk until stiff peaks have formed. When you pull your whip up, the peak should be shooting straight up, it shouldn’t be falling to the side.
Pour sifted powdered sugar and almond flour into stiff whites.
Start folding gently forming a letter J with a spatula.
Add the food coloring at this point, if using.
How to know when to stop folding the batter: It’s time to stop folding when the batter is glossy and has a thick and flowing consistency. There are several ways to test this.
First, I pick up some batter with my spatula and try to draw a figure 8 with the batter that is dripping off the spatula. If you can form several 8 figures without the batter breaking up, that’s one indication that it might be ready.
There’s another test you can do. I call it the Teaspoon test.
Grab a teaspoon of batter and spoon onto the parchment paper or silicon mat. Wait a minute to see how it behaves.
If the batter stays stiff, forming a point and doesn’t spread out a bit, I start folding a little bit more, about 3 folds.
Once the batter spreads out a bit and starts to look glossy and smooth on top, on the parchment paper, transfer it to the piping bag.
You don’t want your batter to be too runny either. So be careful not to overmix. It’s always best to undermix and test several times until the proper consistency has been achieved.
The best way I can describe this stage being perfect is when you hold the spatula with batter on top of the bowl and the batter falls off the spatula slowly but effortlessly. The batter will keep flowing off the spatula non-stop, but not too quickly.
At the very end, I added the espresso powder and gave it a quick mix (just one fold). That's because I wanted the shells to have a speckled look with the espresso powder. If you want to, you can add the espresso powder together with the almond flour and powdered sugar, but then the espresso powder will dissolve and the shells will be brown, which is also pretty, but I went for the speckled look.
Transfer the batter to the piping bag.
Place the piping bag containing both batters directly 90 degrees over the center of each macaron template. Apply equal pressure and carefully pipe for about 3 seconds, and then quickly pull the bag up twisting slightly.
Once you’ve piped as many circles as you could, bang the trays against the counter a few times each.
Use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles in the surface of the shells.
Before the macarons drying, dust some cocoa powder on top of the shells with the help of a sifter.
Let the macaron trays sit for a while so the shells will dry out. I usually leave about 20-40 minutes, depending on how humid the day is. You’ll know they’re ready when you gently touch the surface of a macaron and it seems dry and doesn't stick to your finger.
Pre-heat the oven to 325ºF.
Bake one tray at a time.
Bake for 5 minutes, rotate tray.
I bake each tray for about 18 minutes.
When baked, the macarons will have a deeper color and formed feet. If you try to move a macaron, it shouldn’t feel jiggly. If the macaron is still jiggly, keep baking.
Remove from the oven and bake the other tray.
Let the macarons cool down before proceeding with the filling.
While the macarons cool down, you can make the filling.
Make sure the heavy cream is really cold! Start by whipping the heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer, at medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes, until stiff peaks. But don't overwhip the cream, otherwise it will separate and curdle.
Add the cold mascarpone cheese, the powdered sugar, and the Kahlua to the bowl.
Whip again for another 1 to 2 minutes, until creamy. If the frosting seems thin, add more powdered sugar.
This is not the type of frosting that can be left to sit, or be made ahead. Pipe it immediately after you've made it. It will hold up fine after piped for a few days.
Put filling in prepared piping bag. Pipe a dollop in each macaron and close the sandwich.
These macarons can be nicely stored for up to 4 or 5 days in the fridge. I don't recommend freezing these macarons because of the Mascarpone filling. You can however freeze the unfilled shells for up to 3 months.
Scale: Please use a scale when measuring the ingredients for accuracy.
Cornstarch: sometimes I add about 5 grams of cornstarch along with the dry ingredients (powdered sugar and almond flour). I didn’t this time, but you might read this ingredient in some of my other recipes. That being said, the cornstarch is optional. You don’t have to use it. I like to add it often times because it does help with obtaining fuller shells. Make sure not to add too much, or might make the shells too soft, and fragile. If your shells are becoming too soft, consider not using cornstarch anymore.
Espresso powder: You can add the espresso powder along with the almond flour or powdered sugar, in that case the macarons will become brown, because the espresso powder will dissolve during the macaronage. I added mine right at the end, and folded only once after adding it, because I was going for the speckled look.
Cocoa powder: Make sure to dust the cocoa powder over the shells before they dry. Also feel free to leave it out, it does give a delicious taste to the shells, and the characteristic tiramisu feel.
Baking time/temperature: Baking time and temperature will vary according to your own oven. I recommend experimenting with your oven to find out the best time, temperature, position of the baking tray.
Oven thermometer: Make sure to have an oven thermometer to bake macarons. It’s one of the most important things about making macarons. Home ovens aren’t accurate at all at telling the temperature, and even a slight 5 degree difference can make or break your whole batch.
Tray rotation: Lots of bakers don’t have to rotate the trays 180 degrees in the oven every 5 minutes, but I do have to with my oven, or I will get lopsided macarons. Please adjust this according to your oven.
Browning shells: If the shells are browning too fast, you can place a piece of foil on top of the shells at the 7 minute mark or so.
Heavy cream and mascarpone cheese: I can't stress this enough, make sure they are cold! If you use room temperature ingredients, the Mascarpone frosting will become soupy.
Kahlua: You can sub for coffee extract, or vanilla extract.