strawberries & cream macarons

Once you begin making macarons, the sandwich cookies quickly become addictive. After a successful first round (see my tips here), I decided to try a flavored version. Freeze dried strawberries (available at Trader Joe’s or online) give the shells an intense strawberry essence without changing the final texture.

Strawberries & Cream Macarons | Tutti Dolci

To balance the sweet strawberry cookies, I used tangy cream cheese frosting as the filling. I gave a few of the macs a quick roll in pearlized sprinkles to complete the dreamy look (though I’m certain the French would frown on my adornment!). Embellished or not, each bite offers the ultimate taste of strawberries and cream.

Strawberries & Cream Macarons | Tutti Dolci

Strawberries & Cream Macarons | Tutti Dolci

Strawberries & Cream Macarons
Adapted from Brave Tart
3/4 ounce freeze dried strawberries
115g almond flour
230g powdered sugar
144g egg whites, at room temperature
72g sugar
2g (1/2 tsp) salt
1 or 2 drops burgundy gel food coloring (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
pinch of salt
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 280°F and fit a large disposable pastry bag with a round tip. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a third sheet of parchment paper, trace out 24 1.5-inch circles (use a round cookie cutter or stencil as a guide), spaced 1 inch apart. Set aside as a master guide.

Process freeze dried strawberries and almond flour in a food processor until finely ground. Use a fine mesh sieve or sifter to sift strawberry-almond flour mixture and powdered sugar together twice; use a firm spatula to push any large particles through. Set aside.

Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large mixer bowl fitted with wire whip attachment. Whip for 3 minutes on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid), until egg whites begin to foam. Increase speed to medium-high (7 on a KitchenAid) and whip for 3 minutes, until meringue forms soft peaks. Increase speed to 8 and whip for another 3 minutes. Turn off mixer and add gel food coloring; whip another 1 to 2 minutes on high speed to evenly distribute color until meringue is stiff and dry. The meringue should clump in the center of the wire whip attachment; knock against mixer bowl to release.

Add dry ingredients to meringue all at once. Use a rubber spatula to fold dry mixture into meringue, smearing the mixture against the side of the bowl to knock the air out (you want to deflate the whites, so don’t worry about folding them gently). After 25 folds, your mixture may still look lumpy. Continue to fold about 10 to 12 more times, checking texture after each fold. The batter is ready when it holds its shape when spooned onto itself and slowly flattens out after 15 to 20 seconds. If the batter is stiff and doesn’t flatten out, it’s undermixed. If the batter is runny and fluid, it’s overmixed and won’t hold a shape.

Transfer half the batter to pastry bag. Slide master guide of circles between baking sheet and parchment paper. Hold piping bag vertically and pipe batter to within 1/8″ from the edge of the circle. Carefully remove master guide from underneath piped circles and transfer to second baking sheet, repeating with remaining batter. Remove guide and save for future use. Tap pans sharply on counter; rotate 90 degrees and tap two more times (to deflate air bubbles and prevent cracked shells).

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until you can cleanly peel the parchment paper away from the macaron. Place pans on wire racks and cool completely before removing shells. For the cream cheese frosting, beat butter, cream cheese and salt in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; gradually add powdered sugar 1/3 cup at a time and beat just until smooth.

When ready to assemble, fit a large disposable pastry bag with a round tip and fill with frosting. Pipe about a tablespoon of frosting onto the bottom of half the shells, then sandwich with remaining shells. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Yield – 64 shells, 32 macarons
Calories – 104 (per macaron)
Carbs – 15

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  1. says

    Gorgeous Strawberries & Cream Macarons and photography, Laura! Innovative styling making use of the crystal ring holder, too! Very dreamy with the sprinkles, like you mentioned. LOVE IT! (Who cares what the French think, right?) Oh, freeze-dried strawberries are a baker’s secret weapon. Plus, they’re just great to munch on. (I get mine from Whole Foods and am using them in a recipe coming soon to the blog.) BRAVO! xo

  2. says

    Two successful macaron recipes in a row! Congrats!! Beautiful colours + delicious flavor combination – strawberries and cream cheese are a dreamy pair. :)

    • Tammy says

      Hi Laura!

      I was wondering if I could substitute the freeze dried strawberry with fresh ones. Would that chabge the consitincey of the batter?

      • Tutti Dolci says

        Hi Tammy, no – fresh strawberries won’t work as a substitute because they will add extra moisture to the batter. Macarons can be quite temperamental! If you don’t have freeze dried strawberries, you could try my vanilla bean macarons and then use your fresh berries for the filling. Hope that helps!

  3. says

    How irresistible! I have been experimenting with TJ’s freeze dried fruit but my strawberry creations lack the iridescent luster of your little beauties! A lovely post Laura!

  4. says

    How beautiful! Pink always reminds me of my little girl. She has brought so much pink to our house and she would love these cookies because of their rosy color!! Love the idea of using pulverized freeze dried strawberries! Genius!

  5. says

    These are so pretty and pink is my favorite color. Looks like you may have the macaroon bug, well I’m sure your family won’t mind a bit!

  6. says

    Oh, Laura, you’ve outdone yourself with these picture perfect macarons! I showed them to my kids (it’s been YEARS since I’ve made any)and they demanded a chocolate version! Wish me luck!

  7. says

    I so love coming in here to see your photos. Those pink macaroons are to die for. I have been watching different cooking programs on TV lately and they make such inventive macaroons. Maybe one day I will try though they do seem very tricky.

  8. says

    Ooooh, interesting…with the freeze-dried strawberries! What a great idea! I wouldn’t know what to do with free-dried fruits – hehe. Just have to say it again…I learned how to make my first macarons from The Brave Tart’s recipe! In fact, that’s the only recipe I know how to make because I never found a reason to deviate from it! It IS that reliable!

    Anyway, perfect macarons, Laura! I think you should start selling these! I am not kidding!

  9. says

    These are the prettiest macs I have ever seen! I love the idea of creating a gorgeous strawberry flavor macaron:-) Your pics are just beautiful! Hugs, Terra

  10. says

    Sorry I’ve been a bit behind on your blog. I’ve seen your pictures on pinterest and they all look absolutely amazing! You are already master (how do you call for female master?) of macarons, Laura! Do you think I can suddenly jump on to make macarons? You know my baking skills… not sure if I have even basic baking skills (knowledge and everything) but your macarons really seduce me!

  11. Rachel says

    Does burgundy gel paste give it that pretty color rather than using pink? Did you use Wilton or AmeriColor gel?


    • Tutti Dolci says

      Hi Rachel, I used AmeriColor gel in burgundy. Start with 1 drop and then see if you need 2 – the freeze dried strawberries in the mixture also help with the color.

  12. sandy says

    I’ve just made these and they’re currently resting before going into the oven (not in your instructions I know, but I can’t make myself cook macarons without giving them some rest time).
    The colour is beautiful even without the food colouring, and the mix tastes fabulous.
    Next up is a batch with freeze dried mango instead of strawberries. I think the cream cheese filling should still work though.
    Thanks for an excellent recipe!

  13. sandy says

    these tasted fabulous! Although they did brown rather than stay pretty pink, but I’ll put that down to my notoriously fickle oven. The strawberry flavour came through loud and clear, especially after I stored them in the fridge for a day – it seemed to mellow the cream cheese filling and make them a more cohesive whole.
    Thanks for a fabulous recipe!

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