Mad about Valentine’s Day Sweets

              Heart Shaped Ispahan

While on vacation last month, I had this grand plan to bake Valentine’s Day themed cookies when I got home: hearts, roses, butterflies, the works. But Chinese New Year celebration (and of course, the mandatory recovery period from all the over-indulgence festivities) got in the way and Valentine’s Day has come and gone with no cookies in sight.

Small Heart Shaped Macaron

To make up for the slack, I decided to try baking heart-shaped Ispahan macarons, something I first saw on Flickr (at Pierre Hermé) and then again at Carousel at Royal Plaza at Scotts. I also wanted to try out the age-old flavour combination of strawberries and cream with this Pierre Hermé inspired dessert.

              Macarons with Strawberries & Cream

In keeping with the original PH Ispahan flavours, I paired fresh raspberries with raspberry cream (instead of the usual rose cream) and lychee bits. For the experimental version, I used fresh strawberries with vanilla cream and buttery shortbread pieces in the middle and assembled this combination with both 3″ heart-shaped and 3.5″ round shells. I even managed to put together a small heart-shaped macaron.

Macarons with Strawberries & Cream

I’m completely thrilled with the results; the visual impact of both raspberry and strawberry versions is undeniable (in my opinion anyway)! I’m also very glad to report that both versions are equally wonderful tastewise! Afterall, how can one go wrong with strawberries and cream? :)

I definitely won’t be waiting for Valentine’s Day to roll around before making these gorgeous little desserts again!

62 Responses to “Mad about Valentine’s Day Sweets”

  1. Miri Says:

    Karen, these are absolutely stunning, sooo perfect!! The photos are also gorgeous, as always. Looks like you’ve had a really tasty Valentine’s Day.

  2. danielle Says:

    omg.. u’re crazy!!! how divine :)

    if i do decide to move here, we have to get together n throw a baking party or something..

  3. Mandy Says:

    wow! These are absolutely amazing!

  4. Joy the Baker Says:

    I can’t believe how flawless those look! Absolutely beautiful! Wow. Wonderful work!

  5. macaron fever Says:

    They are beautiful! How did you keep the colours of the shells so fresh looking without them turning brown under the oven heat?

  6. helen Says:

    I gather one thing - that baking macarons is second nature to you. I’m jealous!

    These are just picture perfect. Well done!

  7. Mad Baker's Apprentice Says:

    These little miracle creations don’t just look gorgeous but they also taste absolutely divine. :)

  8. Ashley Says:

    These are so gorgeous. They look incredibly tasty as well. Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Amelia Says:

    This looks so good! I like the photos a lot.

  10. Karen Says:

    Miri, Mandy, Joy, Helen, Ashley & Amelia: Thank you very much! I’m really pleased with how the photos (and the desserts) turned out. :D

    Danielle: Thanks! I guess that’s why the “mad” in “Mad Baker” makes complete sense. :) I’d love to get together to bake if you do move here. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

    macaron fever: Try baking on a lower rack or placing an aluminium foil on another rack above the one you’re baking on.

    Thanks, Schatz! You’re really sweet. XOXO

  11. sandii Says:

    karen..your creations are absolutely divine…well done.
    Pls give us some tip on how to pipe the heart macs freehand..wow all the shape ..looks so consistence..

  12. Ali Says:

    Amazing! I’m impressed…these look so perfect! They are too pretty to be eaten…!!!

  13. Veronica Says:

    Karen, these look gorgeous! You are so right nothing like classic Strawberries and cream.

  14. Suesse-mahlzeit Says:

    I can only say wouv! Everything beautiful!! ;)

  15. Kaman Says:

    That is the most appealing valentine’s day sweet I have seen so far and it doesnt’ even consist chocolate! SUPPPERRR CUTE! LUVS IT

  16. macaron fever Says:

    Thanks for your little tip! You certainly create very pretty macarons!

  17. Madeline Says:

    Wow, you don’t get much prettier than that! Those are absolutely exquisite, nice work.

  18. Cindy Says:

    These are absolutely adorable!

  19. michelle @ Us vs. Food Says:

    wow, those look incredible - so sculptural. and i love the idea of the strawberries and cream.

    i hereby declare that i will learn to make macarons before the month is out.

  20. Joanna in the kitchen Says:

    Wooooow. Those are adorable and for sure very delicious. Great photos :-D

  21. Christina Says:

    These are lovely, would you mind describing how you get the macarons to be heart shaped though?

  22. Karen Says:

    Ali, Veronica, Kaman, Madeline, Cindy, Michelle & Joanna: Thank you very much!

    Süsse-mahlzeit: Vielen Dank! Sie haben auch wunderschöne Bilder auf Ihrer Website.

    Sandii & Christina: Simply pipe the batter in a heart shape instead of a round one. Draw the heart shapes on the back of the parchment paper as a guide if you feel the need to do so. You might also want to pipe them smaller than you’d like the final size to be since the batter might spread after piping.

  23. Venus Says:

    Hi~

    ♥simply gorgeous♥
    Your pictures of these lovely ♥ -shaped macarons are so ♥tantalizing♥ *Q*

  24. Tartelette Says:

    These have a major “Wow” factor…I am floored! Absolutely gorgeous!

  25. Åza Says:

    Hey!
    .just have to say that your skills in baking are just amazing! I´m a pastry chef in Sweden and just love what you do and visit your site often. Be proud :) Super great photos also/ Åza

  26. Cheryl Says:

    Wow, those are pretty stunning. The colors on them are amazing too.

    The actually look like a mouth with teeth. Kinda cool.

  27. Millie Says:

    Hey Karen,
    I e-mailed you a several time.
    But it seems like you never got them?
    Please let me know if you have gotten them.

    btw, these heart shaped Ispaphan look so beautiful!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Karen Says:

    Hello Mel!

    It’s really good to hear from you. I’ve actually sent you a few emails, but didn’t get any reply. In fact, I just sent one 5 mins ago!

    I only received one email from you on 10 Feb when you first got back to Taiwan. Will you be coming to Singapore? You can try sending e-mail to sauleng[at]gmail[dot]com instead. It might work better since you’re using gmail.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

  29. Adeline Says:

    Dear Karen

    Thanks for your help and inspiration. You’ve been tagged! Please check out the link here. http://yuribake.blogspot.com/2008/02/meme.html

  30. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy Says:

    Hi, Karen! You’re creations are so beautiful! I feel like I could almost pluck them from my screen. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve tagged you for a meme. I’d love to hear more about you!

    http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com/2008/02/its-raining-memes.html

  31. david Says:

    There look SO SO SO GOOD. So good, in fact, that I’m thinking of eating my arm. Maybe I should go make myself a snack.

  32. Robin Says:

    OMG, these look INCREDIBLE.

    Really, absolute gorgeousness.

    I need this in my house every day.

  33. Karen Says:

    Venus, Helen, Aza & Cheryl: Thank you very much!

    Adeline & Susan: Thank you for the meme tags! I’ll have to find time to answer. :)

    David & Robin: Thank you so much!

  34. Jennie Says:

    I’m a new fan, but these are beautiful! Not just the pastries but the photography too. Did you take classes to learn how to take these photos? I would love to learn the secrets!

  35. Jo Says:

    Dear Karen,

    Is it possible to order these beautiful heartshaped macarons from you? I understand that you are fully booked until end of March. Do let me know when is the earliest I can order? Thanks so much :)

    Great job done on your website. I enjoy browsing through it. Your baking and photography skills are indeed really good!

    Cheers,
    Jo

  36. Karen Says:

    Jennie: Thank you! I haven’t taken any classes, neither pastry nor photography-wise. :o) I haven’t really got any secrets to impart. Just a lot of exploration and experimentation!

    Jo: Thank you! I’ll be sending you an email shortly.

  37. Shirley Says:

    I have finally taken the plunge and started experimenting with macarons. I approach it like I would synthesise my polymer in the lab. Still tweaking and think I am becoming more consistent but you’ve really provided the inspiration for me to look up to…. looking forward to more postings from you….

  38. Ashley Says:

    I am so glad that I just randomly found your blog through Flickr! Your photos are beautiful and the baked goods look even better! You’re so talented and your blog is definitely my new favourite. I’m going to go and drool over all of your macarons now.

  39. Camemberu Says:

    OMG every photo you have is so jaw-droppingly gorgeous! Yum Yum Yum! Two thumbs up!

    Definitely adding you to my blogroll and daily feed!

  40. Linda Says:

    WOOOAAAWWW!!! gorgeous!
    your whole blog is just SO inspiring, I love it :-)
    and your macarons are the best…

  41. Debra Says:

    Hi, do you have the recipe for the Valentine’s day sweets?

  42. charmaine Says:

    hi can i still order these for an anniversary?

  43. Karine Says:

    Hi, it’s all so beautiful ….. Can you give me the recipe??????

  44. Karen Says:

    Hi,

    wana check with you where do you get those gold round discs for the macarons…. been trying to look for it for my mini cakes..

    TIA

  45. Kristen Says:

    Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing

  46. elizabeth Says:

    hi Karen, i got some problems with my butter cream for my macaron. Once i take it out of the fridge, after 5 mins, it begin to get soft. What should i do so it wont get soft too fast ? Cant even transport to my friend’s house. Pls give me some advise. Tks, elizabeth

  47. elizabeth Says:

    Hi Karen, need your advice. I made some macaron, i used pink colour, but after i bake, the colour became very dull, not the same. Should i add more colour before baking ? Your macaron colours are very nice. Please help. Tks, elizabeth

  48. Karen Says:

    Elizabeth: I have the same problem with buttercream, so I’m not sure if I can help you. You might like to try transporting them in a cooler and putting the macarons into the fridge immediately when you get to your destination.

    As for the colour, you can either try lowering the temperature at which you’re baking the macarons and bake them for a longer time or protect the macarons from direct heat while they are baking.

  49. elizabeth Says:

    Hi Karen, Tks for the advice. Will try out n see how it goes !

  50. Serene Says:

    Hi Karen, i’ve always wanted to do this! but im having trouble finding the perfect macaron recipe. are you able to give us the recipe here? im sure others would love to learn how to bake these lovely macarons too! :)

  51. Anny Says:

    Hi ,

    i am your secret fan since last year :D .I am really impresed with the bouquet u made :D It is awesome. Btw , I want to ask that whether would u receive order for wedding cake ? We intend to have a small wedding party :P since the actual day would be in my own country :D .I am really in love with your cake . I dont know whether it would be rude to ask for this since you are a so passionate about cake .But It is really wonderful for me to have a cake from Mad Baker in my big day :D thanks a lot and nice to meet you
    anny_cady@yahoo.com.vn
    if u got face book , please add me from this email .it would be my pleasure .thanks =D

  52. amanda Says:

    yes! can u please share the macaron recipe? :) How can we not be tempted to bake macarons after seeing your pictures and your successful attempt at baking them. They look so professional! you’d be doing us fellow mad bakers a good favour by sharing.. ;) wink-*

  53. Karen Says:

    Serene & Amanda: I use the macaron recipes on Helen’s blog regularly and they always turn out great. Please check out her recipes here. While success in macaron making does depend on a certain degree on the recipe, I find that most of the time, the challenge lies not in finding the “perfect recipe” but in the macaronage process. Happy baking!

  54. valentine's day recipes Says:

    O my god.. they look so yummy.. so beautiful

  55. Lorraine Says:

    Hi I know this isn’t a new post but I stumbled upon it as I was looking for Valentine’s day ideas. I was wondering if you used a cookie cutter for the heart shaped macaroons? And what size?

  56. Karen Says:

    Lorraine: You can’t use a cookie cutter to make macarons. The batter has to be piped in a heart shape.

  57. Lucy Says:

    i love ur macarons! i have been experimenting but have had many failed attempts. can u please share your recipes? everything is soooo beautiful!

  58. Grace Says:

    Hi Karen!
    Your macaron photos are simply AMAZING. I can’t stop looking at them!
    I was wondering if you could kindly send me a copy of the macaron recipe you use. I’ve tried a couple of recipes and since they failed I couldnt bring myself to make them again:(

    Reading your blog with much love from Australia

  59. Lex Says:

    Awesome!!

    Can I order this from you?

  60. Karen Says:

    Grace: Thank you very much! I sometimes use Helene of Tartelette’s macaron recipes. They work well. Here’s the link to her very comprehensive macaron tutorial.

    Lex: Thanks! I’m really sorry to disappoint you, but I haven’t taken any orders in over 2 years. =)

  61. Sarah Smith Says:

    These are so cute! Too bad valentine’s day is over. I will def bookmark this page for next year.

  62. Stacey Says:

    This looks delicious and they’re absolutely beautiful! I wanted to let you know that I linked to this post on my blog post “21 Delicious Desserts for Your Valentine”.
    Stacey

    http://iwanttomakethis.com/2012/02/21-delicious-desserts-for-your.html

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