Inspired by the beautiful Japanese cherry blossoms in Washington DC, these cherry matcha macarons will make you think spring anytime!
Darlings, it’s getting beautiful outside. We still have days that are just a bit too cool and windy for my taste, but warmer weather is coming, and with that, barbecues, pool days, summer festivals, and enough sunshine and hot weather to make this Godmother happy. But for now, I’m content watching the beautiful cherry blossom trees outside our house burst into bloom! About 25% of the buds have opened and in a few days the trees will fully bloom to show their full beauty.
All the locals are buzzing about the cherry trees blooming around the Tidal Basin downtown, but I know we who live in Northern Virginia feel fortunate to find the same beautiful trees away from the crowds too. Did you know that the trees were a gift from Japan in 1912? The joy this gift brings this area each spring makes my heart happy, and inspired the cherry matcha macarons, because macarons make people happy.
What I love about these cherry matcha macarons is that the matcha flavor really is the star, and the cherry is subtle and just adds a bit of sweet fruitiness to round out the macaron flavor. It is on the sweeter side, as you’ll notice I filled these macarons with an American buttercream instead of my usual Swiss meringue or ganache buttercream. The filling was inspired by my smooth raspberry buttercream frosting.
You should be able to find matcha powder in most grocery stores as it’s become quite popular in recent years, just be sure that the package says matcha powder and not just green tea powder. Matcha powder has a stronger flavor so you don’t need to add as much to the shells, which is important as you don’t want to throw off the ingredient ratios in your macarons. I did find that my shells baked best at a lower temperature than normal for a slightly longer baking time.
I hope you enjoy this cherry blossom inspired recipe. They’re a beautiful way to celebrate spring, and if you wrap a few cherry matcha macarons as a gift, you’ll spread the same feeling of friendship and warmth the trees bring each year!
Matcha Macaron Shells:
- 150 g almond meal
- 150 g confectioner's sugar, powdered sugar
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 30 g water
- 110 g egg whites, divided
- 1 tbsp matcha powder, 5 g
Cherry Buttercream Filling:
- 4 oz frozen cherries, use fresh if you want, thawed
- 1/4 lb unsalted butter, 4 oz, softened
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- Make the macaron shells by weighing out all your ingredients. Place almond meal/sugar mixture, matcha powder, and 55 g egg whites in a bowl and set aside (do not mix together).
- Place 150 g caster sugar (fine granulated sugar) in a small saucepan with 25 g filtered water and fitted with yourthermometer. Place the other 55 g egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Cook the sugar and water over medium heat, gently swirling the pan occasionally to ensure even heating until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage at 235 F. If sugar crystals begin to form along the sides of the pan, use a silicone pastry brush dipped in a bit of water to dissolve them. When the mixture reaches 220 F, start your stand mixer at medium speed to foam the egg whites. Stop the mixture once the egg whites look like a bubble bath.
- When the sugar syrup reaches soft ball stage, immediately remove from the heat, increase your mixer speed to high, and slowly pour in the sugar syrup in a thin stream avoiding the sides of the bowl as much as possible.
- Continue whipping the egg whites until you’ve reached a soft/firm peak. You don’t want to over beat or you’ll have too much air in the egg whites and the shells won’t rise properly. You’ll know it’s ready when the egg whites are stiff enough to form a soft “cloud” inside the whisk.
- Form a small well in the egg whites and dump in the entire almond meal/sugar/egg white concoction. Using a rubber spatula, cut into the center of the bowl, scoop out to the edge of the bowl, and fold in. Work your way around the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well incorporated. Keep going until you have a nice homogeneous mixture that moves at the pace of slow lava when you scoop up a bit and drop it back in.
- Carefully fill a piping bag with your macaron mixture and pipe onto your prepared baking sheets in little rounds.
- Fill both your baking sheets and then take each sheet firmly in your hands and rap them twice on the counter. Rotate 90 degrees and rap them twice more. This is to remove any air bubbles that would cause your shells to crack in your oven.
- Allow the shells to rest, uncovered, while you preheat your oven to 295 F.
- Bake the shells one sheet at a time for 20-22 minutes, until you can easily lift a shell cleanly off the baking sheet.
- Remove the shells from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring, upside down, to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Making the filling:
- For a smooth filling, press the completely thawed cherries through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl to remove the juice from the pulp. If you'd prefer a stronger cherry flavor, blend the cherries very well in a small food processor.
- In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and a pinch of salt on high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Add one cup of the powdered sugar, mix well. Scrape the bowl. Repeat. Then add your cherry juice or puree.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
- Pipe the filling into the macaron shells and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator 24 hours before serving (if you can wait that long).
If you want more cherry blossom inspiration, be sure to visit my cherry blossom cake tutorial to learn how to paint on buttercream!