These red velvet macarons were one of my most popular and requested flavors when they were on the menu at TLVBC. Wedding guests LOVED them. These macarons are the best flavors of a red velvet cake packed into a delicate, delicious and impressive sandwich cookie. Crispy exterior with a chewy texture, these macaron shells are flavored with a hint of cocoa and filled with a tangy cream cheese frosting that is familiar in red velvet cake from the buttermilk and the cream cheese frosting. With my easy to follow directions and with a little patience and practice, you will be whipping up these macarons time and time again.
What are macarons?
Macarons are the (in my personal opinion) THE quintessential French cookie; a sandwich cookie with two almond flour based cookies with a filling. Macarons are known for their distinct shape of a rounded top with “feet”. This is the ruffled edge at the bottom of the cookie. Macaron shells should be smooth on top and full and not hollow inside. This indicates that they have been baked properly. Fillings options are limitless for macarons. Buttercream, ganache, jam, cookie butters, you name it. Macaron fillings can virtually any flavor you would like. And bonus, my red velvet macarons are naturally gluten free.
Red Velvet Macaron Ingredients
- Almond Flour – Finely ground blanched almond flour is the only flour used in macarons. Alternatively, in case of allergies, other nuts can be used in place of almonds, such as pistachio or macadamias. Be sure that your almond flour is finely ground. Avoid almond meal as it is coarse and can have bits of almond skin. This makes for bumpy and dull macaron shell.
- Confectioner’s Sugar – Confectioner’s sugar is used to add sweetness to the macarons, and is used for it’s fine texture. It also thickens the batter along with the almond flour. Be sure to use a commercial brand of confectioner’s sugar as they typically have cornstarch which can help in preventing hollowness in the mac shells.
- Cocoa Powder – A small amount of cocoa powder is added to the mac shells for a slight cocoa flavor, like red velvet cake.
- Egg Whites – Egg whites are the star of the macaron show. Fresh egg whites are best for this recipe. I don’t recommend carton whites as they don’t whip up quite the same and due to the preservatives that vary by brand, they are unpredictable. Take care to make sure that absolutely no egg yolks (fat) end up with the whites. The fat will prevent the eggs from whipping to stiff peaks.
- Granulated Sugar – If you are able to get superfine or caster sugar, opt for those. Since caster sugar is not as commonly used in America, you can also use granulated sugar. Sifting the sugar will remove any large pieces. Sugar keeps the meringue stable so that egg whites don’t collapse.
- Salt – Adding a pinch of salt to the macarons helps distinguish flavors and also helps by seemingly “reducing” the sweetness.
- Cream of Tartar – Cream of tartar helps to stabilize and strengthen the egg whites, and also aids in preventing egg whites from collapsing.
- Gel Food Color – For that perfect red velvet color, adding red gel food color is the best option for a deep and/or bright red color. Avoid liquid color as it can change the consistency of the batter.
- Stand or Hand Mixer – You’re going to need an electric mixer to achieve those stiff peaks. Doing it by hand would take a very long time and require a lot ( A LOT) of whisking.
- Baking Sheet and Parchment Paper – Nothing fancy or special needed here. A standard half sheet baking pan works well. I prefer to use parchment baking paper over silicone mats, as I like how the macs look and bake better on parchment. But you can use either.
- Piping bag and tips – To make your macs uniform in size and shape, you will want to use a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip. I use a Wilton 1A or 2A tip.
- Fine Mesh Sieve – Don’t skip out on sifting the dry ingredients. Removing larges pieces of almond and sugar makes for the smoothest and shiniest macaron texture.
- Kitchen Scale – I know, I know, I say this all the time, but baking is an exact science. Sure you have some wiggle room in some recipes, but macarons aren’t one of them. Investing in a kitchen scale will level up your baking and set you up for success. I use this scale.
How to make red velvet macarons
Before you begin making the macarons, prepare the ingredients. Leave the egg whites out to sit at room temperature in the bowl of a stand mixer for 30 minutes. Place the granulated sugar, salt and cream of tartar in a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. Sift and discard any large pieces.
In a separate bowl, sift together the almond flour, confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder. Discard the large pieces.
Beat with the whisk attachment until the eggs are foamy, then whisk in the sugar/salt/cream of tartar. Whip until stiff peaks form. This means that the egg whites will stick straight up when you pull the whisk out of the whites. They will be thick and glossy.
Whisk in the gel color. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the almond flour mixture. The egg whites will deflate a bit and that is ok. The batter is ready when it “ribbons”, which means it falls off the batter in a stream. You should be able to make a “8” with the batter falling off the spatula. This means the batter is ready. You’re looking for about 50-75 folds. Check for the ribboning after every 15-20 seconds. You don’t want to over mix.
Pour the mixture into a prepared piping bag and pipe 1 1/2″ rounds on the parchment. You can also find macaron piping guide templates online if you need them. Just print them off and place the guides under the parchment and pipe over the parchment.
Firmly tap the pans 2-3 times on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Let the macs sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to set. They’re ready to baked when the tops are slightly tacky and you can touch them without batter sticking to your fingers. Sitting out helps to create the macaron feet so that the macarons bake upwards and don’t spread outwards.
Bake for 20 minutes. The macs will be set, risen and have little ruffly feet around the bottom. Let the macs dry before removing them from the parchment. Fully baked, they will be easy to remove from the parchment.
While the macs cool, make the filling. Beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt and vanilla on medium speed until lightened in color and texture, about 8 minutes. Pipe a small amount of filling on half the baked and cooled mac shells. Place a shell on top of the filling, pushing down gently to push the filling to the edges.
Tips for Macaron success
- Humidity is the worst. It’s harder to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, and the not easy to achieve an even bake and feet because the skin doesn’t form while they’re resting. I typically don’t bake any meringue based desserts if humidity is over 50-55%. If you absolutely must bake macs, try putting a dehumidifier in your kitchen and that will help a bit.
- Macarons require precision to ensure that they bake properly. This recipe is tried and true and should be followed exactly as written for successful macarons.
- Practice makes perfect. It’s completely normal to have some macaron fails from time to time. Just don’t give up and keep practicing. They’re totally worth it.
- Fat prevents egg whites from whipping up properly. Fat residue can remain in plastic bowls even after washing them. Use glass or stainless steel bowls. For extra security, wipe down your bowl and whisk attachment with lemon juice or vinegar to ensure no fat remains.
- You can also check to ensure the egg whites are stiff enough by turning the bowl upside down. They should be so stiff they don’t fall out.
If you make these red velvet macarons, let me know! Drop a comment or tag me on Instagram. I love seeing your bakes and creations.
For more cookie recipes, check out these posts:
Red Velvet Macarons
- 90 grams large egg whites (about 3 egg whites)
- 60 grams superfine, caster or granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon red gel food color
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 150 grams confectioner's sugar
- 120 grams finely ground almond flour
Cream Cheese Filling
- 2 tablespoons (29g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1/4 cup (56g) cream cheese
- 1 cup (114g) confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in medium size bowl, sift together the superfine sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Discard any large pieces of sugar left. Set bowl aside.
- In a separate large bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar and almond flour. Discard any large pieces of almond remaining. Set the bowl aside.
- Line half baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy, about 8 minutes or so.
- Add the granulated sugar, cream of tartar and salt mixture.
- Whip the egg white mixture until stiff peaks form. The meringue will stand up straight when the whisk is removed. The egg white mixture will be thick and glossy.
- Whisk in the red gel color.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and folding in the almond flour mixture. The egg whites will deflate a bit and that is ok. The batter is ready when it "ribbons", which means it falls off the batter in a stream. You should be able to make a "8" with the batter falling off the spatula. This means the batter is ready. You're looking for about 50-75 folds. Check for the ribboning after every 15-20 seconds.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a round tip (Wilton 1A or 2A) and pipe 1 1/2" rounds on the parchment paper. See my notes in "How to Make Red Velvet Macarons" for information on size templates.
- Firmly tap the pans on the counter 2-3 times to remove air bubbles. Let the macarons sit until just slightly tacky, but no batter comes off on your fingers, about 30-60 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 300F. Bake the macarons for 20 minutes. Cool on the sheet pan for 20 minutes.
Cream Cheese Filling
- While the macarons are cooling, make the cream cheese filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, vanilla and salt.
- Mix on low until the sugar is incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and whip until lightened in texture and color, about 8 minutes.
- Spoon the cream cheese filling into a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip ( I used a Wilton 2A).
- Once cool, flip half of the macaron shells over. Pipe a mound of cream cheese in the center of the shells.
- Place the remaining macaron shells on top of the cookies with filling and squeeze gently, until the filling just reaches the edges.