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operation stay put

Recipe: blackberry macarons

What a weekend! We had some pretty crazy (read: extremely high) winds in Colorado Saturday night, clocking as much as 115 mph at Breckenridge. Based on our 6+ years in this house, we gauged it probably gusted to 90 mph here… and this wasn’t even the worst wind storm we’ve experienced. We watched in moderately alarmed curiosity (before the power went out) as the front wall of our great room flexed with each gust. Of course, it would have to be the weekend that my in-laws were visiting, but thankfully the guest room is on the ground floor. Our bedroom is on the third floor and so we endured 8 hours of the Northridge earthquake. Kaweah slept (happily) through the whole thing. Ah well, there’s always a price for paradise.

Aside from the windstorm, we took my ILs into Boulder for some shopping and dining. We enjoyed a beautiful family dinner at The Kitchen one evening and introduced them to The Pinyon and Chef Theo.

the kitchen: rabbit leg confit

the kitchen: alaskan halibut

the kitchen: apple doughnuts

the pinyon: butternut ravioli, brussels sprouts, mushrooms in brown butter sauce

Before the winds went cuckoo, we did have some really beautiful clouds set up over the house last week. Even if I didn’t have some background in atmospheric science, I would still be 100% completely enamored with our Colorado skies. Who needs television?

wave cloud at sunset over my house

still there long after sunset

And now, I’m happy to be home to work on long-term projects and resume a much-needed routine! No more travel or house guests for over a month! All of the local ski hills are either open or opening within the next week. My list of recipes to try is growing almost as fast as the list of things we need to fix and do around our neglected house. Speaking of recipes, I came across these macs that I made earlier this year. Even though blackberry season is over, you can use frozen blackberries for the curd and the buttercream. I find frozen organic blackberries to have decent sweetness and flavor.

sugar + red + blue = purple sugar

whipped whites with purple sugar

Just remember that the color of the sugar is going to be diluted by the egg whites, so definitely make it darker than the color you hope to have in the final macaron shell. As for the fillings, I prefer the curd filling (it’s thick enough that it won’t run) to the buttercream, but they are both great. Since I had them on hand after making blackberry curd cheesecakes and this blackberry lemon elderflower cake, I figured French macarons were in order.

macaronage: folding the powdered sugar and almonds into the whites

piping rounds

Fruity macarons are always my favorites, but that comes as no surprise seeing as I’m not big on chocolate. The person who is big on chocolate (Jeremy) gave the blackberry macs his fair assessment. He liked the blackberry curd macs better thank the blackberry buttercream macs because the flavor was more pronounced. Of course, he readily ate both. So if blackberries are out of season, frozen organic blackberries will work. Or if you’re lucky enough to be in season, go gangbusters on those blackberries!

pipe some filling onto the cookie

take your pick: blackberry curd, blackberry buttercream, or both!

Blackberry Macarons
[print recipe]
based on strawberry macarons recipe

225g powdered sugar
125g almonds, blanched
25g sugar
red food coloring (about 3 drops)
blue food coloring (about 4 drops)
100g egg whites (about 3), aged 1 day* and room temperature

* separate the whites from the yolks and store the whites in a bowl covered with plastic wrap on a counter for a day.

Grind the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add a drop of food coloring at a time to the granulated sugar and whisk together until evenly colored and much darker than your final mac will be. Set aside and let dry for a few minutes. Whip egg whites until foamy, slowly add the granulated sugar and continue to whip until they are glossy. They are ready when you tip the bowl upside down and the egg whites don’t fall out, but JUST as you reach this point. Don’t overbeat the whites. Fold the almond and powdered sugar mixture into the whites with a wide spatula. The mixture should remain shiny and flow easily – hold a ribbon for a few seconds. Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe small rounds onto parchment lined baking sheets. Let the macarons rest for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 315°F (325°F at 8500 feet) and when they are ready, bake them for 12-15 minutes (12 minutes for me). Let cool, remove from the paper and fill with the blackberry buttercream or blackberry curd (about 1-2 cups). Makes ~36. If making small macarons (1-inch), bake for about 10 minutes.

blackberry swiss meringue buttercream
8 oz. egg whites
16 oz. sugar
1 lb. butter, room temperature
4-6 oz. blackberry purée

Combine egg whites and sugar in a Kitchenaid mixing bowl. Whisk constantly over a gently simmering hot water bath until 140°F is reached. Remove from heat. Place on mixer with whisk and whip until stiff. Turn down whip speed to 3rd and whip until cool to the touch (this takes a while – should be cooler than your hand). Change to a paddle and gradually add soft butter by tablespoon pieces. Mix to emulsify. Once desired consistency has been reached, add purée and mix well. Makes about 6 cups.

blackberry curd
2-4 cups blackberries, fresh or thawed (I used 4 cups)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup sugar
2 oz. butter
4 tbsps cornstarch
4 tbsps cold water (originally 2 tbsps, but was impossible to mix)

Place the blackberries, water, and orange zest in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Press the mixture through a food mill or you can purée the berry mixture in a food processor and press through a sieve. Pour the berry liquid back into the saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 1 cup sugar and 2 ounces butter. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. While whisking the berry mixture, pour the cornstarch into the pan. Stir until thick and bubbly and stir for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour the contents into a bowl or vessel and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool. Makes about a pint.

23 nibbles at “operation stay put”

  1. Lulu says:

    Goodness, the “still there long after sunset” photo: so gorgeous

  2. Melissa | Dash of East says:

    Oh yum! I have such a weakness for blackberries, and can’t wait for them to come back into season!

    These macarons look delicious. I’ve always wanted to learn how to properly make these little cookies, but I think I’m a bit intimidated. Maybe one day I’ll attempt them. In the meantime, I’ll look at these photos and drool :)

  3. sweetmaddy says:

    I am lucky enough to be living in Paris and just ate some macarons from Ladurée the other day! But I will save this recipe for when I return and become Paris-sick. Yours look amazing!!!

  4. Faythe says:

    Oooooh, purple sugar. Blackberries. {Swoon}

  5. Margie says:

    Beautiful macarons, fantastic photos. The wave cloud amazed me. I’m going to have to Google to find out about them, specifically.

    Those Chinook’s will really blow the britches! We lived between Boulder and Longmont, about the Niwot area, when I was in junior high. One particular storm left my folks replacing windows on the front of the house, and there was a construction crew hired to remove about thirty loads of sand and debris from the front yard .. there was an open field right across from us, thus the reason for so much extra dirt. …. I’m glad to know you faired well after those heavy winds!

    Hugs to Miss K :)

  6. Amanda says:

    oh my goodness….are these macarons for real??! woow…perfection!! I’ve always wanted to make my own….and blackberry looks delicious!!


  7. Rumpy Drummond says:

    Mmmmm….. is it really so simple?

  8. Susan says:

    Your macarons look delicious, and you make it look so easy.

  9. Jane M says:

    2 weeks ago I took a class on baking macarons. I’ve since baked 2 batches at home! When our daughter comes home next week we are going to attempt baking even more! Our Emily wants to give it a go!

  10. Connie says:

    ooo… I am up in Jamestown Co and the wind was really bad. Kind of fun… I love this recipe.
    My Hubby and I are trying Pinyon this weekend.

  11. Mandi says:

    These look perfect. I have never even made macaroons …. shame shame…..

  12. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen says:

    Wow… just beautiful!

  13. Dina says:

    these look delicious!

  14. di from the culinary library says:

    Love your pics. What camera body/ lens do u use?

  15. Savorique says:

    Some people may find it useful to age the egg whites for a day or two to get rid of excess humidity when the atmosphere around is humid.
    I’d pick the buttercream for maybe a less sweet taste in the month.

  16. katherine says:

    These macaroons look so delicious! My sis bakes macaroons and she has yet to try this flavour! I might have to get her to make some for me :)

  17. Mari says:

    hahaha lovely coincidence, I’m kind of avoiding studying for my Petrology exam next week by looking for recipes with blackberries. I think I wanna be like you when I grow up!

    I plan on baking these next weekend, with some wild blackberries I gathered near my campus; hope they’ll turn out as beautiful as yours are!

  18. Tia says:

    The macaroons look great and are so easy to make! Thank you!

  19. jenyu says:

    Lulu – thank you.

    Melissa – they aren’t too bad, really! If they were, I definitely wouldn’t make them ;)

    sweetmaddy – thanks!

    Margie – yeah, I think our town is particularly perfect for getting the worst of it.

    Amanda – of course! They’re not too bad, but I did have plenty of trial and error when learning to make them. Once you get it down though, it’s not terrible at all.

    Rumpy Drummond – it is, but it is “finicky”.

    Jane M – fun, isn’t it? So rewarding when they come out.

    Connie – I hope you liked The Pinyon!

    di – for the food recipe shots I use my Nikon D200 with the 24-70mm lens. For my nature shots I use my Nikon D3X with my 24-70mm or my 70-200mm or my 14-24mm. For the travel or restaurant shots (on the go) I use my Nikon D700 with 24-70mm lens.

    Savorique – yes! I forgot to mention that because I always have egg whites lying around. Thanks!

    Mari – ahhh, petrology. I hope you did well on the exam :)

  20. spontaneous euphoria says:

    LOVE this! what a wonderful combination.

  21. Joy says:

    The macarons look great. The curd looks great.

  22. Boxing Day Afternoon Tea | hausmause says:

    […] for something different and to also add a bit of tartness to the already sweet macarons. I found Use Real Butter’s recipe for curd, which sounded great, and I just scaled down the […]

  23. Some Monday Motivation: Eat Dessert First – The Everyday Adventurer says:

    […] be social – Follow The Everyday Adventurer on Twitter!  Photos // Blackberry Macarons via Use Real Butter // Orange Macarons via Jenny Rogers // Neopolitan Ice Cream Macarons via Hi Cookery // […]

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