Happy Fourth of July! After seeing the Captain America: Civil War movie, I knew I had to make something Captain America themed. And what better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than with some American themed desserts!
These macaron emulate Captain America’s shield and also a simple Captain America face using dyed batters. I filled them with a variety of flavors. I made a simple vanilla pastry cream, an orange pastry cream, and a chocolate pastry cream. Pastry creams are thick like a ganache or buttercream, but aren’t as rich or sweet, which goes great with the sweet macaron shells.
Macaron may seem a little daunting for first-timers, but no matter how they turn out, they are sure to be delicious! This is an Italian meringue recipe, so it is more stable, meaning prettier macaron and higher chance for success.
My favorite thing about macaron is the versatility. You can pipe them into tons of shapes and patterns. The flavors are also endless since they are mostly based on the fillings. Another thing that’s great is that the designs don’t take tons of time to set like royal icing cookies. It’s faster and a little less messy, in my opinion, although a little bit trickier.
Whatever your take on these little desserts, you should definitely try them if you haven’t before, and making them yourself will save you a ton of money (since they go for ~$2 each these days!)
Oven Temperature: 285-315˚F
Baking Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 30 macaron
2 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 Tablespoons white sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
melted chocolate or ganache to taste
150 grams almond flour
150 grams icing sugar
110 grams egg whites ***divided in half***
35 grams water
150 grams granulated sugar
1 egg white
~1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
First prepare the fillings. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, and 2 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar. Then whisk in the two egg yolks.
In a saucepan, whisk the milk and 2 Tablespoons of sugar over medium heat. Bring to just simmering. Turn off the heat.
Slowly ladle in the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Then return the mixture to the saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking constantly so it doesn’t burn. Cook until the mixture is thick and boiling.
Then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Portion this into three heat-proof containers.
In one container, zest one orange and mix with the pastry cream. In another, stir in the melted chocolate or ganache.
Cover all three containers with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until completely chilled.
Prepare a baking pan (preferably thick bottomed) with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Also prepare two mixing bowls. I like to wipe down the mixing bowls with a little bit of vinegar to get rid of any residue that could interfere with the meringue.
Sift together almond flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Mix in half (55 grams) of the egg whites with a spatula. The mix should be pasty and thick.
In a separate (heat resistant) bowl for a stand mixer, pour in the remaining half (55 grams) of egg white. Beat the egg whites on low speed for 30 seconds or until frothy. Make sure not to over-beat or the protein will separate out and the meringue might not form properly!
In a sauce pot, mix the water and granulated sugar together. Use a candy thermometer to heat until the sugar is at 240˚F. Once the mixture is at the right temperature, immediately take it off the heat and begin pouring it slowly into the bowl with the egg white. Turn the mixer to a medium speed and continue beating as you pour in the hot sugar in a thin stream. Once all the sugar is incorporated, beat on high speed until the bowl is not hot to the touch. This is an Italian meringue.
Next, put all of the meringue into the almond paste mixture and carefully fold it until the meringue is almost mixed through. There will still be streaks of meringue and streaks of almond paste. This is ok. Then divide the batter into two more bowls. If making just the Captain America shields, portion out 1/2 for the red batter, 1/3 for the white batter, and 1/6 for the blue batter. Basically, you want the most for red and the least for blue. If making the faces as well, divide the batter into 3, but make the white portion the smallest.
Then transfer the batters into piping bags with a round tip at the end. You may want a small and large round tip for the blue batter for the shields and the faces.
Now preheat your oven from somewhere between 285-315˚F. Each oven is different. If you’re not sure what will work, try 300˚F as a happy medium and figure out where to go from there.
To make the shields, pipe a small circle of red batter (~3/4 inch in diameter). Then pipe with the white batter on top of it. Place the tip of the piping bag in the center of the circle and squeeze to form another circle on the red one, creating a ring of red around the white. Repeat with the red next and then the blue last. This will create concentric circles of the shield. It might take a couple tries to get the width right for each of the rings! The star in the middle will be made with royal icing after baking.
To make the faces, pipe a 1.25 inch circle of blue batter. Then use the white batter with a small circle tip to make a half circle on the bottom of the blue circle. For the eyes, there are a couple options. You can use the white batter and make dots to emulate the eye holes in Captain America’s mask or you can just leave it as is. For the eyes themselves, you can use a black candy like a sugar pearl and place them on the batter before baking. Or, you can draw them in with a food-safe black marker after baking. Another option is to color some batter black and pipe the eyes in. If none of those sound appealing, you can color some of the royal icing for the decorations black and pipe in the eyes. For the mouth, I used a food marker to draw it in after baking. You can also pipe it with royal icing.
After piping out the designs, bake for about 15 minutes, or until the shells are firm and do not collapse when lightly tapped. The feet around the macaron should be dry and stable.
When baked, let the macaron cool completely before removing from the parchment or mat. ***tip – I use a thin spatula to remove the macaron so they don’t break
In a bowl, add in the powdered sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time to the egg white, whisking constantly. You want a consistency that is thick but is still pipable. It should make ribbons into the icing when you lift your whisk up, but melt back into the rest of the icing within 10-15 seconds.
Then place into a plastic bag and cut a small hole into the corner. Pipe stars onto the shields. You can also separate a small amount into another bowl and dye it black to pipe details for Captain America’s face.
Now for assembly! Remove the fillings from the refrigerator and stir to remove and lumps. Place them into plastic bags and cut off the corner for more control when filling the macaron.
Fill one macaron shell, leaving room on the edge so it doesn’t spill over, and then sandwich another on top.