Roasted Pear and Vanilla Bean Scones with Salty Honey Glaze


 
Roasted Pear and Vanilla Bean Scones with Salty Honey Glaze - Giant Craggy Scones filled with pear chunks held together with tender scone dough, and finished with a sticky honey glaze and a generous dose of flaky sea salt.
Roasted Pear and Vanilla Bean Scones with Salty Honey Glaze - Giant Craggy Scones filled with pear chunks held together with tender scone dough, and finished with a sticky honey glaze and a generous dose of flaky sea salt.
Roasted Pear and Vanilla Bean Scones with Salty Honey Glaze - Giant Craggy Scones filled with pear chunks held together with tender scone dough, and finished with a sticky honey glaze and a generous dose of flaky sea salt.
Roasted Pear and Vanilla Bean Scones with Salty Honey Glaze - Giant Craggy Scones filled with pear chunks held together with tender scone dough, and finished with a sticky honey glaze and a generous dose of flaky sea salt.

Hi! Happy New Year! Sorry for going a bit quiet over here - I took some time off, and then couldn’t quite kick myself back into a routine. This time of the year is always a little weird for me, as I tend to get super homesick (I’m sure that the cold doesn’t help either), which tends to trigger anxiety, and I then find it super hard to get anything done. It happens every year and I’m always surprised, until Mum reminds me (every year) that it does, and I have to just remind myself to go a little easy just for a bit. Once I manage to get myself back into routine it usually sorts itself out, and I am super happy to have found my baking mojo again! I can’t wait to share some super fun things with you this year - there are some awesome things lined up!

These roasted pear and salted honey scones are inspired by some I ate when I spent 24 hours in Portland, Maine in October last year. I got up early and made my way to Tandem Coffee and bakery, which is a crazy cute little cafe and bakery. I plopped myself in the corner with a book, ate the best breakfast sandwich I think I will ever have in my life, and then grabbed a scone to go as I was leaving for the airport. And oh man am I glad I did. The scone had giant chunks of pear, held together by tender scone dough, and was topped with a salty honey situation that rounded it all off so, so perfectly. I knew I had to immediately recreate them, so here we are (like, 3 months later haha).

Because pear, like most fruit, releases liquid when it bakes, I decided to roast the pear chunks slightly first to help get rid of some of the moisture, stopping the final product from being too soggy. The cooled roasted pear chunks are then tossed through the scone dough, and stay firm enough after baking to give an amazing variation in texture. The honey on the top adds a lovely sweetness, and then the flaky salt on top cuts perfectly through the honey, while adding crunch. Because of the giant chunks of pear, the scones are slightly more craggy and rustic than regular scones, but I promise you that this is totally made up for by how they taste. They would make a perfect morning or afternoon treat, and are easy enough that you can quickly whip them up at short notice. Enjoy!

A few wee tips:

  • These are a little more craggy than traditional scones, because of the moisture provided by the pear. This also makes them super tender and delicious.

  • Depending on the juiciness of the pear, you may need a little additional liquid in the scones. Add the amount called for in the recipe, then add by the teaspoon as needed, focussing on dry spots. The pears do provide some moisture, so make sure you are aware of this - you won’t need more than 240g (1 cup) of milk total.

  • Because you don’t want to completely squish the pear, I add three quarters of the milk and mix it into the flour mixture, before tossing in the roasted pear chunks. This helps reduce the chances of breaking up the pear as you mix in the rest of the milk.

  • Don’t take the honey too far - you only want to boil it for a minute tops. If you take it too far it turns into a hard caramel that is super hard to eat. I took mine to 240°f / 115°c and then left it to stand, where it thickened nicely.

 

 

Roasted Pear and Vanilla Bean Scones with Salty Honey Glaze

- Makes 8 Large Scones -

Scones
6 large, firmish pears, peeled, cored, and diced (800g chopped pear)
600g all-purpose flour
5 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
160g unsalted butter, diced into small cubes and frozen for 15 minutes
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
210g whole milk, divided, plus a little extra if required (see notes)

Honey Glaze
150g honey (I used a raw clover honey)
Flaky Sea Salt to finish

 

- PROCESS -

SCONES

Preheat the oven to 400°f / 200°c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the diced pear evenly over the lined sheet. Roast the pear for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pear feels dry and is beginning to turn golden brown in places. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Leave the oven on.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and rub in using your fingertips until it is mainly combined, with a few lumps remaining. Mix the vanilla bean paste into the milk. Add about half of the milk into the dry ingredients, mixing with a spatula or your hands until combined. Add the cooled pear chunks to the bowl, and toss well with your hands to ensure they are evenly dispersed through the mixture.

Add the remainder of the milk, and mix gently with your hands until incorporated, taking care to not crush too much of the pear chunks. You want the dough to be cohesive with no dry parts. Add extra milk a teaspoon at a time if needed, and mix to combine.

Line the baking sheet used for the pears with a fresh piece of parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and flatten into a rectangle using your hands. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 pieces. Dust the bottoms of the scones lightly with flour and arrange evenly on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the scones for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown on the bottoms and lightly golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. While the scones are cooling on the rack, prepare the honey glaze.

 

SALTY HONEY GLAZE

Place the honey in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it starts to bubble. Once the honey is boiling, boil for one minute, then remove from the heat and allow to stand in the saucepan for 20 minutes to cool and thicken.

Using a pastry brush, brush the cooled honey thickly onto the top of the scones. Finish with flaky sea salt. Best eaten the day they are made, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and reheated in the microwave before eating.

Roasted Pear and Vanilla Bean Scones with Salty Honey Glaze - Giant Craggy Scones filled with pear chunks held together with tender scone dough, and finished with a sticky honey glaze and a generous dose of flaky sea salt.

Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


 
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.

Merry belated Christmas! I hope you all celebrated (if you do), with those you love, surrounded by loads of food. We had a super chill Christmas with Jill and her family, which was just what we needed. I always struggle a little with homesickness, especially around the holidays, so it’s always so nice to have people who are like family to spend it with.

I had planned to take between Christmas and New Year off, kicking off again once we are in 2019, but I remembered this morning that I was meant to share this recipe for Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting before Christmas, and life got in the way, so here we are now!

I know people think of Gingerbread as a holiday recipe, but as far as I am concerned, it should be a year round flavour. The recipe for the Gingerbread sheet cake comes from my good friend Brooke Bell’s book, “Cake: Layered, Frosted, Sliced and Shared”. The book is filled with cakes for every occasion, from a jazzed up box mix to more complex layer cakes. The recipe for this Gingerbread sheet cake jumped out at me - it is super simple to make, but still incredibly delicious, filled with warming spices, keeps well, and perfect for feeding a crowd. It would be perfect just with a little dust of powdered sugar, but I had some cream cheese that needed using up, so made a quick maple cream cheese frosting, which fancied it up just a tiny bit - definitely not totally necessary, but very, very delicious. This cake is perfect to help us bridge the weird gap between Christmas and New Years.

A few wee tips:

  • This cake is amazing just with a quick dusting of powdered sugar, so if you aren’t in the mood for frosting, feel free to skip it.

  • This cake keeps beautifully in an airtight container - perfect for if you have people drop by.

  • I love sheet cakes because they transport super well - provided you have a parchment paper sling in the baking pan, you can frost it right in the pan and serve from there.

  • You can either make this in a bowl with a whisk or electric hand mixer, or your stand mixer - I did it in my stand mixer because I am lazy, and it worked just as well!

 

 

Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

- Makes one 9” x 13” cake - serves 12-16 -

Cake recipe reprinted with permission from “Cake: Layered, Frosted, Sliced and Shared”.

Gingerbread Sheet Cake
320g (2 1/4 cups) All-Purpose Flour
200g (1 cup) Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
300g (1 1/4 cups) whole milk
170g (1/2 cup) unsulphured molasses
90g (6 Tbsp) Canola oil
2 large eggs

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
335g cream cheese, cold from the fridge
670g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp salt
80g maple syrup

 

- PROCESS -

GINGERBREAD SHEET CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Spray a 9” x 13” baking dish with baking spray, or grease with butter. Line with a parchment paper sling.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; add milk, molasses, oil, and eggs. Beat with a mixer at low speed until combined, about 1 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap pan on counter twice to release air bubbles.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Dust with icing sugar, or frost with maple cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)

MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese on high until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt, and mix on low to combine. Turn the mixer to high and beat for another 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup, and beat until well combined.

Scrape the frosting onto the cake, and spread with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.

“Cake: Layered, Frosted, Sliced and Shared” was written by Brooke Bell, and is Copyright 2018 83 Press.

The Ultimate Christmas Macaron Box


 
The Ultimate Christmas Macaron box - a cute, gluten free twist on the traditional cookie box. This cookie box is filled with the flavours of christmas - Candy Cane, Eggnog, Christmasfetti, Gingerbread, and cranberry. Each macaron is filled with a delicious complementary filling - ranging from american buttercream to German buttercream. This macaron box would make the perfect homemade gift. Grab the recipes now!
The Ultimate Christmas Macaron box - a cute, gluten free twist on the traditional cookie box. This cookie box is filled with the flavours of christmas - Candy Cane, Eggnog, Christmasfetti, Gingerbread, and cranberry. Each macaron is filled with a delicious complementary filling - ranging from american buttercream to German buttercream. This macaron box would make the perfect homemade gift. Grab the recipes now!
The Ultimate Christmas Macaron box - a cute, gluten free twist on the traditional cookie box. This cookie box is filled with the flavours of christmas - Candy Cane, Eggnog, Christmasfetti, Gingerbread, and cranberry. Each macaron is filled with a delicious complementary filling - ranging from american buttercream to German buttercream. This macaron box would make the perfect homemade gift. Grab the recipes now!
The Ultimate Christmas Macaron box - a cute, gluten free twist on the traditional cookie box. This cookie box is filled with the flavours of christmas - Candy Cane, Eggnog, Christmasfetti, Gingerbread, and cranberry. Each macaron is filled with a delicious complementary filling - ranging from american buttercream to German buttercream. This macaron box would make the perfect homemade gift. Grab the recipes now!
The Ultimate Christmas Macaron box - a cute, gluten free twist on the traditional cookie box. This cookie box is filled with the flavours of christmas - Candy Cane, Eggnog, Christmasfetti, Gingerbread, and cranberry. Each macaron is filled with a delicious complementary filling - ranging from american buttercream to German buttercream. This macaron box would make the perfect homemade gift. Grab the recipes now!
The Ultimate Christmas Macaron box - a cute, gluten free twist on the traditional cookie box. This cookie box is filled with the flavours of christmas - Candy Cane, Eggnog, Christmasfetti, Gingerbread, and cranberry. Each macaron is filled with a delicious complementary filling - ranging from american buttercream to German buttercream. This macaron box would make the perfect homemade gift. Grab the recipes now!

We had to sneak in just one more cookie box before Christmas. And it just had to be a macaron box. Jase and I have been making macarons once a month to really nail them down, and we’ve been talking about making a macaron box for Christmas for the longest time. We made this one over the course of two days, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

We wanted to capture as many flavours of Christmas as we could, and I think we managed to encompass almost all of them. I found this a little easier to make than a standard cookie box, maybe because we were just repeating the same process over and over to create the shells, varying the colouring and finishes, and then just had to worry about making the fillings, rather than thinking about all kinds of different batches of cookies as with the cookie boxes. Macaron boxes like this would make the most amazing gift, particularly if you are baking for someone who is gluten free - and if you’re like me and have still done next to no Christmas shopping, a homemade gift such as a cookie box would be so perfect! Each batch of macarons makes about 24-30, so you could make 5-6 cookie boxes if you made all the flavours. You can also mix it up and add them to a treat box - there are two I have made here and here.

Here’s what we ended up with:

  • Candy Cane Macarons - Vanilla bean shell with peppermint Swiss meringue buttercream

  • Eggnog Macaron - Nutmeg dusted shell with an Eggnog German buttercream

  • Christmasfetti - Vanilla bean shell with Vanilla bean American buttercream and sprinkles

  • Gingerbread - Vanilla bean shell with Gingerbread German buttercream

  • Sugared Cranberry - Vanilla bean shell with Mascarpone frosting and Cranberry Jam

A few wee tips:

  • I have added the base recipe we use for the shells down below, then at the end I have put the variations in food colouring or finishing that we did to make each shell ‘flavour’ (they are all vanilla bean flavour). The filling recipes and assembly instructions will be underneath the shell recipe.

  • Everything I have learnt along the way about making macarons is in the notes of this post - I update it whenever I have something to add. I suggest giving it a good read through before you start if you are new to macs!

  • I used this box to make this cookie box - Rich cut me little dividers on the laser cutter, but the craft wood is soft enough that you can use a craft knife and a ruler. I then just taped the dividers in.

  • We made all the shells on one day, and the pastry cream for the German buttercreams (eggnog and gingerbread), and then the following day made the remainder of the fillings, filled the macarons, and filled and shot the box. If you break up your workload, and prep your ingredients before you start (having enough sheet pans is important), it isn’t too much work!

  • In terms of work flow, we were able to start the next batch of shells soon after piping out the previous ones. Like I mentioned before, this only works if you have lots of sheet pans!

  • If you are making something like this and you don’t want to make loads of batches of shells, you can split the batter is mixed - for example we split a batch and piped some plain and dusted with nutmeg for the eggnog flavour, then piped some through a piping bag painted with food colouring for the peppermint. We kept the shells all the same flavour for convenience.

  • If you are colouring one batch of batter two different colours, mix it part of the way, then split the batter into separate bowls (half a batch of batter weighs 420g), then add the gel food colouring and finish the mixing process.

  • Store the macaron shells in an airtight container until you are ready to use.

  • Enjoy! If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to pop them here and I will answer any I can! Merry Christmas x

 

 

Vanilla Bean Macarons

- Makes about 30 Macarons -

Macaron Shell Recipe from I love Macarons, with adaptations from Fox and Crane 

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

 

- PROCESS -

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add gel food colouring, if using, a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

-FLAVOUR / COLOUR VARIATIONS -

  • For Candy Cane shells, paint the inside of the piping bag with four stripes of red gel food colouring. I found you need quite a long brush to avoid making a mess, so taped mine onto a chopstick first. Fill with Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows).

  • For Eggnog shells - Dust with nutmeg after piping. Fill with Eggnog German Buttercream (recipe follows).

  • For Christmasfetti shells - Colour the batter green (we used forest green by americolor), and sprinkle with Christmas Sprinkles. Fill with American Buttercream (recipe follows).

  • For Gingerbread Shells - colour the batter brown (we use chocolate brown by americolour). Fill with Gingerbread German Buttercream (recipe follows).

  • For Sugared Cranberry Shells - Colour the batter red (we used Super red by americolor), then dust the shells with edible glitter and white sanding sugar after piping. Fill with Cranberry jam and Mascarpone frosting (recipe follows).

 

 

Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

60g egg whites
100g granulated sugar
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Red gel food colouring to Paint bag.

- PROCESS -

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and peppermint extract, and mix until incorporated.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Fit a piping bag with a closed star tip, and paint four stripes of red food colouring on the inside of the bag. Fill with the buttercream.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of buttercream on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Eggnog German Buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

110g sugar
12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) cornstarch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
190g eggnog
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
340g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

- PROCESS -

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and corn starch, then whisk in the egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium saucepan, heat the eggnog and vanilla to just shy of a simmer.  Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow container or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight. If you need to speed this process up, you can place the pastry cream in a bowl, then place the bowl in an ice bath. Stir frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment, and place the pastry cream in the bowl. Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together! Store in an airtight container until ready to use, or if using immediately, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of buttercream on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Vanilla Bean American Buttercream (for Christmasfetti Macarons)

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
500g (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 Tbsp whole milk, as needed
Green gel food colouring (we used Forest green by Americolor)
Additional Sprinkles (optional)

- PROCESS -

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter, vanilla bean paste and salt until pale and creamy. Sift in the powdered sugar, and mix on medium speed until well combined. If needed, add milk a tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is light and fluffy, and a pipeable consistency. Add gel food colouring until the desired colour is reached. Transfer to a bag fitted with a large french star tip (I used an ateco #866).

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of buttercream on one half of each pair. Sprinkle with additional Sprinkles. Top with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Gingerbread German Buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

110g dark brown sugar
12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) cornstarch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
190g whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
15g unsulphured Molasses (treacle if you are in NZ)
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
340g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

- PROCESS -

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and corn starch, then whisk in the egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Heat to to just shy of a simmer.  Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow container or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight. If you need to speed this process up, you can place the pastry cream in a bowl, then place the bowl in an ice bath. Stir frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment, and place the pastry cream in the bowl. Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together! Store in an airtight container until ready to use, or if using immediately, transfer to a piping bag fitted with small french star tip.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe small buttercream blobs on one half. Top with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Cranberry jam and Mascarpone Frosting

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -


Cranberry Jam
230g fresh cranberries 
170g apple cider or water (If you are in NZ, apple cider is reduced apple juice, NOT the vinegar)
100g white sugar 
1 medium lemon, juice + zest 

Mascarpone Frosting
225g Mascarpone, at room temperature
55g cream cheese, at room temperature
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
25g powdered sugar

- PROCESS -

CRANBERRY JAM

Place the cranberries, apple cider, and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is boiling. Boil for 13-18 minutes, stirring often, until the cranberries have burst.

Transfer the mixture to a high speed blender, or blend with a stick blender, until smooth, approximately one minute.

Return the mixture to the saucepan, add the lemon juice zest, and cook over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and cool in the saucepan for 20 minutes, before transferring to an airtight container and refrigerating until completely chilled. The mixture will thicken as it cools. When you are ready to assemble, transfer to a piping bag and snip a small piece of the end off.

MASCARPONE FROSTING

Place the mascarpone, cream cheese, salt and vanilla bean paste in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until well combined and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and mix well to incorporate. Add about 2 tsp of the cranberry jam, and mix to combine. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a circle of buttercream on one half of each pair. Pipe a small blob of cranberry jam in the centre. Top with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

The Ultimate Christmas Macaron box - a cute, gluten free twist on the traditional cookie box. This cookie box is filled with the flavours of christmas - Candy Cane, Eggnog, Christmasfetti, Gingerbread, and cranberry. Each macaron is filled with a delicious complementary filling - ranging from american buttercream to German buttercream. This macaron box would make the perfect homemade gift. Grab the recipes now!