Christmas Macarons

It was about a year ago that I tried making macarons for the first time. Intimidated by the horror stories, I kept putting it off. I learned then that they’re not as crazy difficult as they seem, and since then I virtually haven’t stopped. I’ve made macarons probably more than anything else this past year, and everyone here sure isn’t complaining. We absolutely love them. I love trying new flavour combinations, and everyone else loves devouring the spoils.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 00

Christmas baking is getting into gear and I’ve made hundreds of the bite-sized treats already. but while I was making standard macarons, I wanted to make some a little extra festive.

I started off making the snowman macarons. For these I marked 3cm circles on a layer of baking paper, then covered that with the second layer of baking paper. You’ll want to give them a lot of room cause they’re going to be bigger than usual.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 01

I piped all the bodies first to see how far they spread. Every macaron batter seems to have a mind of its own: some spread lots, and others hardly at all.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 02

When they look settled, you can pipe the heads. Pipe them a little bit away from the body so that it spreads into it. You don’t want to be piping it directly onto the body.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 03

Let the batter spread to make sure all the head pieces are attached to the body pieces. Top up any with more batter if you need to.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 04

While they’re doing their thing, you can get started on the rudolph macarons. These ones are a basic shaped mac so there’s nothing special you need to do with the batter, but we do need to prepare the antlers. If you wanted you could pipe chocolate antlers to attach, but I love the pretzel antlers. You need to chop the pretzels in half. They love to break in all random directions, but I find when I cut from the bottom up I get less breakages.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 05

Keep going until you’ve got enough antlers for the amount of macs you plan to bake. I got about 14 5cm macs from this batch. I was going to coat them in chocolate, but I decided I liked the pretzel colour too much.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 06

When your macs are baked and cooled, you can pipe the filling in. For the snowmen, pipe a dollop on the body and then another on the head. The filling will spread to cover the gap when you sandwich it.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 07

The rudolph macs are business as usual. I was aiming for a nice fluffy whipped chocolate ganache, but we’re in the middle of summer and it’s so hot that it just kept melting.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 08

Before you sandwich the macs, pop the pretzel antlers in. If you’re having heat troubles like I was, you might want to pop it in the fridge for a bit here to let them set in position.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 09

Once your macs are sandwiched it’s time to decorate. Here you have a number of options. You can use lollies (candy) or any other sprinkles or dragees to decorate the snowmen. You can use edible ink markers to draw on the features, or just food colouring and a paintbrush. You can get write on icing pens if you prefer to pipe it. You could colour chocolate and pipe that, or you could use royal icing. I usually can’t be bothered making up royal icing just for things like this, but I had to make some for a few other things so I went with royal icing this time.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 10

In no time you’re left with an army of the most delicious snowmen.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 11

Inside I filled it with peppermint infused white chocolate ganache. I would usually use peppermint tea to balance out some of the sweetness, but I wanted to keep the ganache white for these.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 12

I made the rudolph macarons chocolate. I haven’t quite got the hang of chocolate macarons yet. Every time I try them end up coming out kind of cakey. This batch looked a bit more promising, until my oven turned itself off half way through baking them. So I don’t know if the textural difference is due to the cocoa or my oven spazzing it, so I’ll tentatively give you the option to follow what I did, but if you’d like to be more cautious just colour them brown.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 13

Inside it’s filled with a dark chocolate ganache. Very chocolatey and very indulgent.

Cakecrumbs' Christmas Macarons 14

If you’re not familiar with macarons and want some directions about making the batter, or what to look for during the macronage process, there’s step by step photos for making the batter here.

Snowman Macarons
Ingredients
Macaron biscuit

125g almond meal

150g pure icing sugar

100g egg whites (approx 3 eggs) aged 1-7 days

65g caster sugar

royal icing, or other decorations
Peppermint infused white chocolate ganache

150g dark chocolate, chopped

75ml cream

1/4 tsp peppermint essence

Method
Macaron biscuit

  1. Prepare baking trays with double sheets of baking paper. Trace 3cm circles onto one of the sheets of baking paper as a guide for piping your snowman bodies, leaving a few cm between each and enough room above for the heads; make sure the side with the ink/lead is facing down so it does not come into contact with your food.
  2. Process almond meal and icing sugar together in a food processor, then sift through a fine mesh sieve; sift mixture twice more, then set aside.
  3. Beat the egg whites until foamy; continue beating on low speed, adding caster sugar a tablespoon at a time. Increase to high speed and beat until mixture forms stiff peaks and is glossy. You should be able to hold the mixture above your head without it falling.
  4. Fold the almond meal mixture into the meringue a third at a time.
  5. Using your spoon or spatula, swipe the mixture against the side of the bowl, scoop the batter from the bottom and plop it upside down. This movement deflates the meringue. You need to repeat this process until your batter is sufficiently runny. To test, look for the following signs: Your batter will slowly slide back down the sides. If you scoop up a bit of batter with your spatula or spoon and let it drop back into the bowl, it will fall slowly, form a small mound on top of the rest of the batter slowly sink back into it. Another good way to test is by getting a teaspoon of batter and plopping it into a small plate. If the peak formed when it falls from the spoon sinks back into the batter within 15 seconds, it is done.
  6. Fill a piping bag with a 1cm round nozzle, and pipe rounds of macaron batter onto the circles you marked as a guide. Allow the batter the spread, then pipe the heads above the bodies. Once done, bang your trays against the counter to knock any air out of the batter. Set aside your macarons aside to dry at room temperature. This will take 45mins-1 hour. Macarons are sufficiently dried when the batter does not stick to your finger when touched.
  7. Preheat oven to 200°C or 230°C fan-forced.
  8. Place tray in the oven, reduce temperature to 140°C or 130°C fan-forced. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Here is where you need to experiment, as every oven is different and it will make a difference for macarons. Keep an eye on them and make sure your shells don’t char. Shells will be ready when they can be lifted from the baking paper without sticking. 25 minutes did it for me. temperature by about 10°C and baking for 10-15 minutes longer.
  9. Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Set aside the chocolate in a bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and peppermint essence to the boil.
  2. Pour cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is combined.
  3. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Whip the mixture until light and fluffy (optional).

To assemble, spoon or pipe ganache onto half of the macaron shells. Sandwich with the remaining halves, then pipe on the snowman’s features. Macs are best after a day in the fridge but can be eaten immediately.

Rudolph Macarons
Ingredients
Macaron biscuit

125g almond meal

150g pure icing sugar

100g egg whites (approx 3 eggs) aged 1-7 days

65g caster sugar

brown food colouring or 2 tbsp cocoa

pretzel halves for antlers

Cinnamon chocolate ganache

150g dark chocolate, chopped

75ml cream

Method
Macaron biscuit

  1. Prepare baking trays with double sheets of baking paper. Trace 3-4cm circles onto one of the sheets of baking paper as a guide for piping your macarons, leaving a few cm between each; make sure the side with the ink/lead is facing down so it does not come into contact with your food. Alternatively, use a silicone or macaron mat.
  2. Process almond meal and icing sugar (and cocoa, if using) together in a food processor, then sift through a fine mesh sieve; sift mixture twice more, then set aside.
  3. Beat the egg whites until foamy; add brown gel paste or powdered food colouring here if using. Continue beating on low speed, adding caster sugar a tablespoon at a time. Increase to high speed and beat until mixture forms stiff peaks and is glossy. You should be able to hold the mixture above your head without it falling.
  4. Fold the almond meal mixture into the meringue a third at a time.
  5. Using your spoon or spatula, swipe the mixture against the side of the bowl, scoop the batter from the bottom and plop it upside down. This movement deflates the meringue. You need to repeat this process until your batter is sufficiently runny. To test, look for the following signs: Your batter will slowly slide back down the sides. If you scoop up a bit of batter with your spatula or spoon and let it drop back into the bowl, it will fall slowly, form a small mound on top of the rest of the batter slowly sink back into it. Another good way to test is by getting a teaspoon of batter and plopping it into a small plate. If the peak formed when it falls from the spoon sinks back into the batter within 15 seconds, it is done.
  6. Fill a piping bag with a 1cm round nozzle, and pipe rounds of macaron batter onto your baking trays. Once done, bang your trays against the counter to knock any air out of the batter. Set aside your macarons aside to dry at room temperature. This will take 45mins-1 hour. Macarons are sufficiently dried when the batter does not stick to your finger when touched.
  7. Preheat oven to 200°C or 230°C fan-forced.
  8. Place tray in the oven, reduce temperature to 140°C or 130°C fan-forced. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Set aside the chocolate in a bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to the boil.
  2. Pour cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is combined.
  3. Allow to cool to room temperature, then whip the mixture until light and fluffy.

To assemble, spoon or pipe ganache onto half of the macaron shells. Press the antler decorations into the ganache. Sandwich with the remaining halves, then pipe on Rudolph’s features. Macs are best after a day in the fridge but can be eaten immediately.

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Christmas Macarons

  1. how do you store complete decorated macarons with royal icing? I heard the royal icing can breakdown from the condensation in the fridge.

    • They’re definitely best decorated soon before serving. I’ve never had the royal icing break down, but it can sweat when removed from the fridge. I stored these in the fridge and the icing was fine, but people also took them out and ate them immediately as wanted so it didn’t have time to start sweating. If you’re going to be placing them on a platter at a party, for example, you probably want to put the macs in the fridge the night before, decorate them the next day and leave them at room temperature.

  2. Cake crumbs
    I attended the CIA in the early 1990’s. Your pastry work I find to be as good or better than anything I remember at school. I got out of the food industry and went in another direction. I just don’t think people today appreciate what time and labor is put into making the things you do. Congrats on the effort and the work you put forth, it can be seen and appreciated by people who know what it takes to get to the level that you have attained.
    I have a question maybe you can help me with if you would be so kind. Although I am not in food anymore I still tinker in the kitchen with cakes We used to make sponge cakes in regular
    sheet trays and use a stencil that you can buy from hardware stores that I have seen used on the fronts of radiator covers in the houses in my area. The stencils are put on top of the sponge cake and a preparation I think chef called cocoa paste was rubbed over the stencil and put the design of the grate on the cake….I looked at my notes from pastry class and just can’t
    find the recipe for the paste or what it was really called. Any help or thought on the matter would be greatly appreciated. We would line cake pans like I have seen you do with the preparations and fill them with bavarians..and other preparations. They looked real good when they were done.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can
    share
    Sincerely Jeff K.

    • Thank for for your lovely words, Jeff. They have made my day completely.

      As for your question, the only thing I can think of that I know of that sounds like what you are describing is a joconde biscuit. The pattern on the cake is often made with a cocoa decor paste, but the decor paste does not have to contain cocoa. The recipe I use is not for use with a stencil. My understanding is that the sponge batter used with stencils is much runnier. The stencils, to me, require a lot of money best spent on other things so I spread the decor paste thin and pattern it myself. If you have them you may require a different decor paste to the one I have — I could not tell you for sure as I’ve never baked with one.

      Here’s one of my tags with a few of the jocondes I have made: https://cakecrumbs.me/tag/joconde-imprime/

      I hope that helps!

  3. Hi there!
    planning on making these tomorrow so just drawing my stencils now. I was wondering approx how many snowmen you got from the recipe above?

    thanks,
    Jenn

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s