Carrot Cake Macarons With Cream Cheese Frosting Filling

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Carrot Cake Macarons

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by friends and family or just chilling. We loved being able to share the day with a few different groups of people, plopping from one dinner to another and a glass of Champagne to a glass of wine, surrounded by the warmth of a good fire and a few good hugs. Bill and I don't exchange presents as we'd rather book tickets to a play or the symphony, things we wouldn't just "get up and do" during the year.

From the feedback I received over the last few days, it looks like everyone found their happiness in all the treats Santa brought. I like to vary things up from one year to the next but there are a few items that will always be on the list. Chocolate truffles, sugar cookies and macarons. This year, I went a tad bit mad scientist and made Carrot Cake Macarons.

Vegetable Rainbow

Carrot Cake is one of those desserts that would make a Frenchie raise an eyebrow (or two) on the first try but one I quickly came to love. We don't usually mix vegetables and sweets as people do here with carrot cake or zucchini bread and I think we are missing out on something! At the same time it's nice to introduce my family to different culinary icons when I return home such as carrot cake, Boston cream pie, whoopie pies, red velvet cake, etc...

Yes! I love carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and the idea of coming up with a macaron having these flavors had been in the back of my head for quite some time. I know there are as many variations for carrot cake as there are bakers to make them, some add pineapple, some add raisins, some add this or that but I needed to just keep the concept of a carrot flavored confection. Kind of like stripping it to the essential to make it clean and simple.

Carrot Cake Macarons

My husband's reaction was as honest and simple as could be "how on earth do you fit a carrot into a macaron?" Ah...Well...Since I was short on time to make several batches if my idea didn't work out, I decided to flavor the shells with carrots and make a simple cream cheese frosting to fill the macarons with. I cut ling strips of carrots that I dehydrated in a low temperature oven. Once they were dried and cooled, I pulverized them in a coffee grinder and added them to the almonds.

It worked like a charm. Perfect hint of carrot and bit of tang from the cream cheese filling! So much so that Bill was a tiny bit pouting I was giving the bulk away as Christmas presents. Guess I know what I'll make again on New Year's Day!

Carrot Cake Macarons


Carrot Cake Macarons With Cream Cheese Filling:

Makes 20-30 filled confections, depending on the size

Note: I know this sounds weird, but pick the most "carrot scented carrots" you can find. Meaning, forget the ones sold in plastic bags, they have very little flavor compared to smaller carrots labeled as "new" with the stems on, farmers market carrots or simply organic carrots. It will help concentrate the flavor in the shells as much as possible.

For another dehydrated creation, check these Powdered Strawberry Macarons.

I updated and cleaned up the macaron tutorial a little and found it a better format so no more need to email me for a copy. You can read and download it here. Special thanks to my friend and talented photographer, Jackie, for letting me use a couple of pictures.


For the shells:
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
2-3 small carrots, sliced thin lengthwise, dehydrated and finely ground(see below)
90 gr egg whites (use egg whites that have been preferably left 3-4 days in the fridge)
25 gr granulated sugar

For the carrots: cut long thin matchsticks or slices from 2-3 small carrots and lay them flat on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a 250F oven until they shrivel and dry out. It usually takes about 30 minutes but check at 20 minutes in case your oven runs high. Let them cool and grind them as fine as possible. I find that a coffee grinder works great for that job.

Prepare the macarons:
Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the ground dehydrated carrots and mix until blended. Sift if desired (helps keep the shells smooth in appearance).
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.
Add the nuts and powdered sugar to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 280F.
Bake the macarons for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.
Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store the shells in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks (longer and the sugar starts to seep out which makes them sticky). Fill the macarons and let them mature in the fridge at least 48 hours prior to eating them.

Cream Cheese Frosting Filling:
1 stick (115 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar, sifted

In bowl of electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter, on low speed, until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth. Pipe or spoon about a tablespoon into the center of each macaron shell and top with another shell.

79 comments:

Maria said...

I think these are my new favorite and I haven't even tasted them yet:) Fabulous!

The Iconic Blog.com said...

Delicious! What a great pairing.x

Erica Lea {Cooking for Seven} said...

Oh my! So very lovely.That's interesting that the French don't usually mix vegetables and sweets.

Dehydrating & grinding the carrots is simply brilliant.

Amy said...

These are absolutely beautiful--and so creative! Yum!

spacedlaw said...

This looks amazing and not terribly difficult. Would you consider putting powdered carrot into the cheese filling too?

Ms. WhitePlates said...

Your husband was right! This is pure genius, I've been wanting to experiment with macarons once again (maybe it's the cold weather) but I haven't gotten around to it. Thanks for the inspiration!

sweetakery said...

Awesome!! i think they are my new favorite too! sound so delicious!! yumm

Engineer Baker said...

Absolutely ingenious! I was wondering how you would get carrots into the shells. And have I mentioned that carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts?

Awkward Socialite said...

Ahh I've been on a macaron frenzy! This is the perfect way to get my fix! thanks!!

happy holidays

xx

Victoria (The District Chocoholic) said...

This is so creative! I would never have thought of making a carrot cake macaron, and certainly would have never figured out how to actually do it. And the photos! Especially the one of the carrots. Helene, you are impressive, as always.

Diane {Created by Diane} said...

STUNNING!
I love carrot cake and these look wonderful and certainly must taste delicious :)

Simin said...

wow.. lovely idea! i would love to try out this recipe sometime too!

Amber said...

Wow! Beautiful and delicious.
Happy New Year!

Gen said...

Magnifiques ces carrot macarons! J'aime beaucoup le carrot cake alors ces petites merveilles doivent être un régal avec le thé!

Wilde in the Kitchen said...

This is amazingly creative and genious! I wonder what else we can dehydrate and add to the macarons???

Stephanie said...

Wonderful! I'm saving this one as I'm always on the lookout for unique macaron flavors.

jessica said...

so glad i found your site... everything looks so delicious and i love the beautiful photography! can't wait to try some of your recipes! :)

Sandra Avital said...

You're a genius!!

Helene said...

spacedlaw: why not? There is no rule against it :)

Wilde In the Kitchen: tons! You can try with strawberries as I have done here last year.

Y said...

Yum! Love these because I'm a huge fan of carrot cake.

Marcellina said...

Oh my goodness! Who would have thought! I think this would be my favourite! YUM!

Sar said...

You are so incredible. Just when I finally master the meringues for macarons and you present me with this gorgeous challenge. I CANNOT WAIT TO TRY! Thanks!

Alaskan Dermish in the Kitch said...

Yummy! I made some beet and rutabaga ones last month for an Alaskan local ingredient event. It made me smile to think of how many people ate root veggies and didn't have a clue they were doing it :)

Su-yin said...

Oh wow, this is brilliant. One of my favourite macaron flavours to date!

Ankita said...

They look super delicious!

Allie said...

Yum! I just read that macarons are going to be the new trend of 2011 even though it seems like they are already pretty popular! Yours look beautiful AND tasty!

Amanda said...

These look very good. I love the picture of the carrots at the first of the post too. Very crisp.

Life with my sweeties said...

Sounds fantastic!!

miniNigella said...

waow, it looks so original !!

Debugcooking said...

Im so trying these helen..have tried yr powdered strawberry and they were a hit...

Sim said...

You come up with the most amazing flavours, One day I look forward to making your Macarons, such wonderful talent and a joy to view :)

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Oh, my! This flavor is simply brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing this, Helene!

Happy 2011!

WishTrish said...

You had me at carrot cake.

bunkycooks said...

What a great idea for a macaron. I like that you can have all the flavors of a slice of cake in just one small bite! Happy New Year to you and your family.

Erik said...

Well, you are certainly the creative one. Mr. Herme should be conceding to you any day now. I sat down not long ago and did some macaron brainstorming - I also had an idea for a carrot cake macaron, but didn't know how to accomplish them. Now you've solved the problem for me. Thanks for the inspiration and the great tutorial.

Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle said...

You simply have a magical touch; I've decided to live macaronistically through your experiences as I just did not enjoy the results enough to go through the process again. Betting this deliciousness would change my mind!

manoela said...

davvero belli...

Joy said...

This is a great take on carrot cake.

The InTolerant Chef said...

What a great idea to get the carrot flavour in!

wholesomecook said...

Wow, thanks Helen! You've inspired me to try and make macarons myself and this flavour combination is one of my favourites! :-)

Leah said...

I'm trying to imagine how they taste...and I'm guessing they must be really good. A happy holiday season to you!

~Leah
(http://simplesplendidthings.wordpress.com/)

leeksoup said...

These look absolutely delicious and adorable. I'm not a fan of cream cheese or cream cheese frosting. Hmmm, what about a merengue filling?
Adam and I don't exchange gifts either. We like to do something, or purchase something, we'd both enjoy. This year we're opening a travel account.

Desiree Nielsen RD said...

These are gorgeous....it has been one of my goals to become an "expert" macaron maker but these really take the cake! So inspiring....

Irina@PastryPal said...

What a phenomenal idea. This can open a whole new world of macaroons. What else can we dehydrate into powder? Hmmm. The wheels are spinning :)

Savory Simple said...

Wow, what a creative macaron concept. I love it!

Helene said...

Irina: check earlier in the comment, I put a link to powdered strawberry macarons I did last year. Tons of things can be dehydrated and used.

leeksoup: any flillings you want, there are no rules!

Connie said...

Yum, I'm a sucker for anything with cream cheese frosting! I'm going to give this recipe a try. It's going to be as amazing as it looks and sounds!

Anna {Sugarized} said...

These look good! And thanks so much for the "printables"...I haven't tried making macarons because I've always been intimidated, but would love to try it soon. =)

Ilke said...

You are the Macaroon Queen in my eye, whatever you do, it would not surprise me a bit :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

What a wonderful idea, Helen! They look so beautiful and delicious. Love the idea of drying out the carrots and turning them into powder.
You would be amazed by the kind of carrot cake we make here in Brazil - no spices, no nuts and no raisins, but iced with chocolate glaze. It is delicious, I'm sure you would love it!
xx

ilcastellodellepadelleincrociate said...

I've started thinkin' you're a goddess.That's why a link u in my brand new blog!

Georgia Pellegrini said...

I love carrot cake, and what could be better then having lots of little bite sized carrot cake macarons to throw in your pocket and much on whenever possible!

iris said...

wow!! that's very exiting

Medifast Coupons said...

Carrots may never be the same again, what a delightful idea!

Because It Rocks said...

Well...how on earth do you fit a carrot into a macaron?Just kiddin',desserts that include carrots tend to be favorite.Can you send some over here,please?:D
-xoxo-

shaz said...

What fun! And so creative, yum. Happy New Year to you Helene, may 2011 be filled with much sweetness.

Aparna said...

This is a lovely flavour idea, Helen. Its the season for lovely red winter carrots here and I shall definitely try these out.

kimchicsisters said...

These look so good!
http://kimchicsisters.blogspot.com

Fragolina said...

Hello Helene, I read the tutorial of macarons, I tried the basic recipe I found there. But the macarons were feetless (round), a bit runny, and expanded when I left them to rest. what can I do to make them better? About the chocolate filling, I just added boiling cream to dark chocolate,should it be 60-70 % cocoa,or maybe the chocolate wasn't good enough, Poulain 47% ( this is what we have here in the supermarkets) Thank you.

Helene said...

Fragolina:
- was it a humid or dry day?
- Is your oven calibrated properly? - - Did you bake them in the middle, top or lower part of the oven?
- Did you use parchment paper or silpat?
- was your meringue dry or perfectly smooth before adding the almonds?
- Was it too soft?
- Did you overbeat the batter?
- Were your eggs aged long enough?

Regarding the chocolate, it's entirely a question of taste whether you like the cocoa flavor more pronounced or not.

Fragolina said...

Thank you for your replies.
-It was a warm day.
-oven NOT calibrated. In the middle
-parchment paper ( no silpat here)
-the meringue was shiny
-the macaron was crunchy and chewy from inside.
-I'm not sure about overbeating(I stopped beating the meringue when I could draw lines, & I folded the batter enough so the almond is incorporated and not visible anymore)
-the eggs were aged. Is it a must to be aged 3-4 days not more???
-I left the egg whites for 24-27 hours outside the fridge(as stated in the tutorial)!!!!

I'm gonna try them again soon. Thank you.

Helene said...

Frafolina: page 4 of the tutorial metion using 1-2 days old egg whites and up to 5 days. Warm or cold days don't usually make a difference but some people are having better result with dry days versus humid. You might want to check on your oven temperature and check where the hot spots are. A difference in temperature from the dial read to the actual temperature inside can prevent success.
The meringue can be shiny whether you have reached stiff peaks or not, an over stiff meringue will still be shiny so that is not a really good indication that it was beaten to the proper consistency. It could have been under whipped which did not give your shells enough air pockets to grow and raise feet or it could have been over whipped in which case the air pockets were too tight and did not have enough room to expand and raise feet. The overall batter in itself could have been a tad overfolded, it does not take much too go too far in some cases.
That the macaron was crunchy outside and chewy inside is because it is supposed to be like that and was of no consequence on the reaosn there were not feet.
Takes many tries and lots pf practice to get consistent results.

judes said...

Helene Help! =)

I've tried making the basic macaron recipe, aged my eggs, and followed the instructions as best as I could. However, my macrons have feet, but the crispy shells tend to separate from the chewy insides leaving the middle hollowed out and the crispy shells super fragile and prone to cracking. That's the most frustrating problem, but another one is that my macrons end up staying in the oven for a really long time and still manage to stick to the parchment paper, gooey on the bottom and separating from the shells when I try to check to see if they are done (they are in the oven at 300 degrees for anywhere between 22-26 minutes and still come out stuck!).

I'm determined to perfect these!

Helene said...

Jude: 2 thing come to mind:
- your meringue could be a little too stiff before mixing it in
- is your oven calibrated properly?
- where in the oven are you baking the sheets? middle?

If none of these apply, stack another baking sheet under the first one to concentrate the heat under your macs and not all around.

Hope that helps!

La Roquette said...

Thankyou so much for the Macaroon 'mag' on issuu, I tried to make them yesterday and they were a total flop... But Now that i have read your instructions, i'll hopefully succeed next time

Your blog is amazingly inspiring and I absolutely love your photography


La Roquette
Visit me at la-roquette.blogspot.com

Annie @ButteryBooks said...

Having never experienced the delicate deliciousness of a true macaron until fairly recently, I must say your photos have my mouth watering! I am amazed at your creativity! My next step it to attempt some of your recipes!

Denise said...

Helene,

Can you believe I've never had a macaron? In fact, before I started my food blog in 2009, I'd never heard of one....oh, the horror!

Of course...I've seen them all over the blogosphere now...and you know, I declare 2011 as the year that I will try a MACARON! I can't wait!!

These look delicous, by the way. And I love your blog!!

April Carter said...

This is so clever - two of my favourites combined!

Lilcee said...

I've been meaning to ask you if we can used the egg whites that are in cartons instead of using fresh eggs and cracking them. I have so much egg yolk leftover I don't know what to w/ it. TIA.

Helene said...

Lilcee: I have never used them so i can't tell you if it'd work or not, sorry.
For the egg yolks: creme brulee, creme anglaise, ice cream base, eggnog, etc...

kirschkernzeit said...

You are an artist! In the kitchen and behind the camera: WOW!
Bora from Switzerland

Cat said...

I made these last wednesday with my boyfriend and they were delicious! The only change we made is we added some cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to the cream cheese icing. I was so surprised how much they tasted like carrot cake!!

Mel Budiman said...

Hi, could anyone of you help me?

I just made macarons for the first time.
Some of them have the 'feet', some not.
but almost all of them are cracking and empty in the inside.
And some of them still soggy, the mixture hasn't been dry yet.

could someone explain to me why this happened?

Thanks!

email: mel.budiman@yahoo.com

Helene said...

Mel: could be 2 things: your oven seems to be off temperature wise - might be a good thing to check that the temperature you set it for is the actual temperature that it is running inside.
Other thing could be that you overfolded a little too much your meringue into your almond mixture so there were uneven in the way they baked.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

They're absolutely gorgeous! My only question is why they have to mature for 48 hours. Obviously because I couldn't wait so long!!

Ella

Helene said...

Ella: so all the flavors could meld as well as making the texture that of a true macaron, cripsy on the outside, soft on the inside.

Danie Chua said...

Can I use a food processor instead of a coffee grinder?

Danie Chua said...

Can I use a food processor instead of a coffee grinder?

Helene said...

Danie Chua: you may but the carrots won't be as finely ground.

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