These vanilla macarons are filled with a whipped cream, strawberry jam, and a thin slice of strawberry to make a strawberry shortcake macaron!
For the macaron shells (recipe from Tessa Huff):
1-1/4 cups plus 1-1/2 tablespoons (158 gm) almond flour
1-1/4 cups (158 gm) powdered sugar
105 gm egg whites (from 3 or 4 eggs)
½ cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons (117 gm) granulated sugar
For the filling:
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 gm) heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup strawberry jam
1 cup fresh strawberries
To prepare the macarons:
Line two of three baking sheets with parchment paper templates or silicone baking mats set over the templates and fit a large piping bag with a plain round tip.
In a food processor, combine the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar and process the mixture for 1-2 minutes, stopping once to scrape down the bowl, until the almond flour is finely ground. Sift the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Discard any large chunks left in the sieve or grind again until fine.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a whisk attachment (make sure both are clean and grease-free!), whisk the egg whites on low speed until they begin to foam, form small tight bubbles, and turn opaque. Over the course of a couple of minutes, very gradually increase the speed to medium while slowly adding the granulated sugar. Mix on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
Using a flexible rubber spatula, scrape the meringue off the whisk attachment into the bowl with the almond mixture. Begin folding the meringue and almond mixture together, five to ten folds. Scrape in the meringue from the mixer bowl and continue to fold the mixture until incorporated, rotating the bowl as your go. Every so often, gently deflate the meringue by smearing the batter around the side of the bowl. Stop folding once the correct consistency is achieved: the batter should flow very slowly like lava.
Fill the prepared piping bag with the macaron batter. Holding the bag straight down, pipe the macarons. Once one baking sheet is full, tap the bottom of the sheet a few times in each corner with the palm of your hang. Set aside and repeat with the remaining prepared baking sheet(s). Set the piped macaron shells aside to rest for 20 to 40 minutes, until a skin forms over the shells and the tops feel dry to the touch.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the center position.
Bake the macaron shells once sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes, until the tops feel secured to the feet but wiggle very slightly when nudged.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Let the macaron shells cool on the baking sheets for at least 5 minutes. Repeat to bake and cool the remaining shells.
To prepare the filling and finish the macarons:
When ready to fill the macaron shells, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly stream in the heavy cream, scraping the bowl every so often, and then continue mixing until the mixture thickens to a stiff consistency. Place the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (I use a Wilton 12).
Match each macaron shell with another shell of the same size. Pipe a small round of the cream mixture on one half of each match leaving a small 1/8” border around the shell so the cream doesn’t squish all the way out of the sides. Use a small spoon to place a bit of jam in the center of each piped circle and top with a thin 1/8” slice of strawberry. You can pipe a tiny dot or two of cream on top of the strawberry to help the macaron shell stick to the top. Place the finished macarons in the fridge to firm up prior to eating. I usually let them sit for at least 30 minutes but up to a few hours. Remove from the fridge about 20 minutes prior to enjoying!