Each year I try to come up with something new and creative to bake for my husbands birthday. He loves carrot cake, but over the years I was running low on new ways to make carrot cake, I'd even tried cookie form! But then I stumbled upon a blog post for carrot cake macarons, which went along perfectly with my recent macaron obsession. I tried this recipe, wondering if a little dehydrated carrot can really create a carrot cake flavor, and the results were pretty surprising. Each bite is so light and airy, but somehow really captures the essence of carrot cake. These are delicious and amazing, a must for any carrot cake fanatic.
This recipe also opens the door to so many more flavor options for macarons! I can't wait to try a strawberry macaron stuffed with chocolate ganache. Looks like my macaron obsession will be carried on a few more months.
adapted and inspired by tartelette
2 medium carrots (~250 g raw - before dehydrating them.)
100 grams powdered sugar
50 grams almond meal/ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
65 grams granulated sugar
orange gel food coloring
56 grams unsalted butter, softened
113 grams cream cheese
125 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar
Dehydrate the carrots:
preheat the oven to 125c/250f
- Peel the carrots, then slice them thin using a sharp knife or a mandolin.
- Spread the carrots on a slip of parchment paper in a single layer and bake for 1-1.5 hours. Check on them every 30 minutes or so and stir and flip them. They are ready when they shrivel up and feel hard between your fingers. After an hour I pick out the small ones that are finished and continue baking the rest.
- Place the dehydrated carrots in your food processor and let it run for a few minutes.
Make the macarons:
Preheat the oven to 150c/300f (get an oven thermometer if you don't have one!)
- Add the powdered sugar, almond meal and cinnamon to the carrots in the food processor and grind it for a few more minutes.
- Weigh out your white sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to get frothy and hold their shape. Gradually add in the white sugar and continue to beat until it forms very stiff peaks (about 2-3 minutes). Add and mix in as much orange gel food coloring as you want. Some say they are ready when you can hold the bowl upside down without them moving...
- Sift your dry ingredients to leave behind the larger carrot chunks that did not get chopped. (I had quite a few left).
- Fold in the sifted dry ingredients in two batches using a flexible rubber spatula. (This is the unintuitive stage where you throw out your previous knowledge of making meringues that involved being ever so gentle to keep the air in.) Fold in the dry ingredients until they are fully incorporated, and don't worry, they are supposed to deflate! Now here is the tricky step - to get a perfect smooth shape without a peak in the center, you must mix the batter to just the right point! After your dry ingredients are incorporated, lift the spatula and drag some batter over itself forming a raised ribbon. Now after 15 seconds you should see this ribbon has mostly melted back into the batter if it is mixed enough. Some describe this as a lava consistency. If your ribbon holds its shape too much, give your batter a few firm folds/mixes and try again. (If you do undermix at this stage, you can still get a nice macaron, just not as pretty looking!).
- Line a cookie tray with silpat (or parchment paper) and pipe out little one inch macarons about one inch apart on your tray. Lift up the cookie tray and give it a very firm rap on the counter a few times, rotate the tray 90 degrees, and do it again - this helps knock the air bubbles out. If you folded your macarons to the right consistency, they will pipe out looking like hershey kisses, but a minute later the tops will be totally smooth. (See photos from previous post)
- Bake for 14-18 minutes, then let cool completely on the cookie tray. You can test for done-ness by sacrificing one and carefully sliding it off the tray with a metal spatula and looking at the bottom. It should have a smooth bottom a hollow cap means it has been baked too much, leaving some behind means it wasn't baked enough.
- Carefully remove macarons to a wire rack, pairing each one with a similar sized buddy as you go.
Make the cream cheese filling and assemble:
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
- Mix in the sifted powdered sugar.
- Fill a zip lock bag with the filling. Cut off a little corner of the bag then and pipe onto half of the macarons, making sandwiches as you go (gently press down so the filling squeezes just to the edges, but not past that).
- Store these in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 24 hours (up to a week) before eating. This is the hardest step - but feel free to try one now, and another one the next day to convince yourself it is worth it. The filling and macaron will work together, softening up the cookie and blending nicely together.