I don’t want anyone to be under the impression that I’m a naturally gifted macaron maker who can pull a perfect macaron recipe from thin air. Maybe I will be if/when I go to pastry school, but for now I’ll shamelessly base my recipes on those already written and perfected by bakers I trust. This macaron recipe is adapted from the macaron recipe from Preppy Kitchen, one of my favorite sources of baked goods recipes.
These cookies have a crisp exterior and a soft, chewy interior. They’re perfectly tangy and sweet, with a lemon cream cheese frosting that gives the impression of lemon cheesecake filling. The cookies themselves are almost too sweet, but the cream cheese and lemon juice in the filling are tart enough to offset the sweetness beautifully. I honestly can’t get enough of these macarons, especially since they’re small enough to be bite-sized. Luckily, though, this recipe produces a lot of macarons.
Macarons are known as one of the most difficult cookies to make, a reputation that’s certainly justified. If you’re unwilling to spend a few hours on these cookies, making sure every step along the way goes perfectly, then you probably shouldn’t make them. If, however, you find the idea of an involved baking project fun and exciting, then this is the perfect thing to make.
Making macarons involves many steps: sifting the dry ingredients, whipping the meringue, gently folding the two together (called macronage), piping the batter, letting the cookies dry until they form a coating, baking them, and then assembling them with filling. If any step goes wrong, the texture of the final cookies will be compromised. However, if you want a step-by-step guide to macarons, this is not the place for it – check out this source instead.
Lemon Cheesecake Macarons
- 140 g super fine almond flour
- 130 g powdered sugar
- 3 large egg whites at room temperature
- 90 g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
- 1 8 oz package cream cheese softened
- 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter softened
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 6-8 tbsp powdered sugar
- Measure out the almond flour and powdered sugar using a digital food scale, then sift them together into a bowl. It's okay if a few larger almond pieces remain behind, but try to sift as much as possible.
- In a separate, very clean and dry bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer. When they get foamy, add the cream of tartar. Continue to whip on high speed and add the granulated sugar little by little until it's all incorporated and the meringue is shiny.
- Stir in the vanilla and whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks. Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients and fold gently until incorporated.
- Add the rest of the dry ingredients and continue to fold until the mixture flows off the spatula. You know it's done when you can trace a figure-8 without the stream of batter breaking. Once you reach this stage, stop folding.
- Transfer the mixture into a piping bag or plastic bag with one tip cut off. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper, using small dollops of butter or macaron batter to stick them down. Carefully pipe 1" circles on the parchment, trying to hold the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet. Space the macarons at least ½" apart.
- Tap each baking sheet firmly on the counter 5 times to break up the air bubbles.
- Let the macarons sit out at room temperature for 40-60 minutes, until a sheen covers the macarons that you can run your finger across without the batter rippling.
- Preheat the oven to 300º F. Bake for 7 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets 180º and bake for an additional 6-7 minutes until the macarons have risen and are firm and dry to the touch.
- Let cool to room temperature or colder before filling and assembling.
- Use a whisk or electric hand mixer to combine all the filling ingredients. Taste after adding 6 tbsp of powdered sugar, and add a few more if it's not sweet enough for you. Keep in mind that the macarons are already very sweet.
- Assemble the macarons: transfer the filling to a piping or plastic bag and pipe a small dollop in the middle of one cookie, leaving a border around the edges. Top with another cookie, pressing down gently until the filling reaches the edges. Repeat with the remaining cookies and filling.
- Refrigerate or eat right away. These macarons are best chilled.