My favorite treat at Disneyland are the oversized Raspberry Rose Macarons from the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe at the end of Main Street and these copycat French macarons are as close as I can come to the real thing without going to the park itself! Tart fresh raspberries balance out the sweetness of the raspberry rose cream sandwiched inside delicate, meringue-like macaron cookie shells.
Last October I took my girls to Disneyland to party crash my sister’s Disney vacation with her five (FIVE!) girls and her husband. Our parents came too and we had such a great trip together. My girls are both bracketed in age by cousins and they get along amazingly well, which just makes my heart happy. The oldest was my niece Emma who was only 6 at the time and the youngest were the twins who weren’t even 18 months at the time. And since my sister & her husband obviously have their hands full on a regular basis, my mom and I offered to take all the girls to lunch over on Main Street (because corndogs and the Jolly Holiday bakery) while my sister and brother-in-law got to enjoy a mini Disney date in New Orleans Square getting a Monte Cristo sandwich (incidentally, the best thing to eat in Disneyland).
All 7 girls had been so good and ate so well that after lunch I went into the bakery and got an assortment of Disney goodies (Matterhorn macaroons! chocolate mousse brownie! fruit tart! and of course, the seasonal Mickey Macaron!) which we then shared. And while all of the desserts were yummy, it was the giant Raspberry Rose Macaron shaped like Mickey’s head that was hands down the favorite of everybody. So much so that later that day my mom went back and got another one just for the two of us to share while we watched over the twins and Rose, who had all fallen asleep, while the big girls went on bigger rides.
And I have been dreaming about recreating those amazing and oh-so-beautiful raspberry rose macarons ever since.
Now, I wasn’t able to actually go to Disneyland and get one of their macarons to taste test side by side versions to make sure mine is exactly like theirs, but this is as near as I can remember. The rose flavoring is super subtle but definitely makes these special and unique. And it’s how Disneyland does theirs. But if you don’t want to bother with it or want to sub in coconut or almond flavoring instead, that’s totally cool.
Also, you totally do not have to make these into giant Mickey shaped macarons. I made a batch of these piped into heart shapes (because Valentine’s Day) and they turned out super cute! Or you could stick with traditional 2″ circles if you prefer.
Okay, here is the thing about macarons. I’m definitely no expert at making them. And you don’t have to be either.
I think that macarons are one of those things that intimidate people to the point that they don’t even attempt them. The thing is, they really aren’t that hard to make! If you don’t get hung up on making PERFECT macarons on your first try (or two or three), then you can still end up with delicious macarons, even if they crack or don’t have “feet” or are hollow in the center. Because none of those flaws are fatal to your macarons. They will still taste amazing and have a chewy, almost nougat-like texture inside with a delicately crisp shell outside.
Once I embraced a laissez-faire approach to macarons (I mean, that’s French too, after all. So there!) and stopped worrying about whether a batch would turn out exactly how I envisioned, I found macarons to be really fun to make and even better to eat! Not all of mine had feet like they are supposed to (although many of them did! yay!) and some cracked on top (I think it had to do with my oven cooking a little hot at the back because they cracked in a row while the rest of the pan was fine), but they all tasted fantastic.
To get the vibrant color, I used burgundy gel food coloring. I actually made another batch using red gel food coloring, but I didn’t think the color was as close to the ones at Disneyland. The burgundy still ended up being a little too pink to be just like the raspberry rose macarons at Disneyland which are like a dark, vibrant, red that almost leans toward magenta or purple hues. I’m not sure how they get such a deep color in their macarons but if anybody has ideas I would love to hear! I’ve heard of using ground up freeze-dried fruit to color macarons and maybe that would do the trick? Just don’t use liquid food coloring because that can really affect your macaron batter.
And anyway, the more you make them, the better you will get at it and eventually you will master macarons. At least, that is what I keep telling myself as I certainly have not mastered them yet.
It would probably help if I invested in a kitchen scale so I could actually measure my ingredients by weight rather than using U.S. cup measurements since most macaron tutorials I have read talk about how important it is to have a scale to weigh your macaron ingredients. But you know what? It’s still possible to get decent macarons without a scale. So please don’t let not having one be a deterrent! I included the measurements in grams as given by the blog Bravetart, for anyone who happens to have a scale and wants to take that approach.
BTW, macarons are a great way to use up extra egg whites leftover from making Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes, delicious homemade aioli, or any custard base ice creams. In case you were wondering what to do with extra yolks or whites.
And if you have any leftover raspberry rose cream after filling your raspberry rose macarons, it would make an awesome filling for crepes or topping for pancakes with some fresh fruit!
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