The Ultimate Easter Macaron Box


 
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!

I am so, SO excited for Easter baking season. I think it might be my actual favourite - I spent today making dark chocolate cardamom hot cross buns and a carrot cake sheet cake, but I still have a bunch more recipes lined up that I can’t wait to share with you!

Jase and I couldn’t let the best baking season go by without a macaron box, and I think we really knocked it out of the park this time. We brought back our first mac recipe we shared - the creme egg mac, and then filled the box with a whole bunch of other Easter inspired flavours. I am totally obsessed with how this box came out, and I hope that you give some of the recipes a try! I am particularly excited by how the chocolate peanut butter and peeps macarons came out - this was our first time piping marshmallow into macarons, and I certainly don’t think that it will be our last.

We’ve come full circle with our macaron recipes - this is the 13th that we have shared! It was so fun to see how much we have learnt along the way, and it’s super satisfying to see how consistently we can make macs now. It goes to show that to get good at something, practice is really the best way to master a skill. Trial and error, and working out what works and what doesn’t work for you seems to be the best way. Everyone works out their own wee way of making things. This way works best for us, and has worked for a bunch of others, but it may require some wee tweaks to get it to suit you- don’t be afraid to play around and see what is best! xx

Here’s what we ended up with:

  • Creme Egg Macarons - Speckled shell filled with a Creme Egg chocolate ganache

  • Hot Cross Bun Macaron - Vanilla bean shell filled with a spiced German buttercream

  • Coconut Macaron - Vanilla bean shell filled with a coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Macaron - Chocolate shell filled with peanut butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Peeps Macaron - Sugared Vanilla bean shell filled with a vanilla bean marshmallow and rolled in sanding sugar

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, except for the chocolate, and I have added in a note, or you can just refer to this recipe. 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!

  • We 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. We then just taped the dividers in.

  • We made all the shells except for the chocolate ones on one day (we could have done them all on the one day, we just got lazy), the mini egg ganache, and the pastry cream for the Hot Cross Bun German buttercream, 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!

  • We worked it so that we could re-use some of the fillings - we made one larger batch of swiss meringue buttercream (double what is listed below, so 4 sticks of butter), then split it, and added the coconut to half and the peanut butter to the remaining half. This made the filling process super easy as we didn’t need to make five fillings from scratch

  • 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 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. For example we split a batch and coloured half for the creme egg macs, and half for the peeps macs, then did the same with the coconut macs and the hot cross bun macs. We made one bigger batch of the chocolate shells as the cocoa powder has to be mixed in with the ground almond mixture.

  • Store all the shells in an airtight container until ready to fill.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Macarons

- Makes about 30 Macarons -

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

Note: this is the base recipe for every shell we made in the box, except the chocolate shells. For Chocolate shells, reduce the powdered sugar to 270g, and add in 20g dark dutch process or black cocoa with the powdered sugar mix. There is a recipe here.

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 Creme egg shells, tint the shells with grey/blue gel colouring (we used ‘ash’ by americolor and a tiny drop of black), then splatter with watered down black gel food colouring using a paintbrush after the shells have baked. Fill with Creme egg ganache (recipe follows)

  • For Hot Cross Bun shells, tint the shells with brown food colouring (we used ‘chocolate brown' by americolor), then fill with spiced German Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Coconut shells, tint the shells with yellow food colouring (we used ‘lemon yellow’ by americolor), then fill with coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Chocolate shells, add 20g dark dutch process or black cocoa to the powdered sugar mix - see the note above, or there is a recipe here. Fill with peanut butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Peeps shells, tint the shells bright pink (we used ‘deep pink’ by americolor), and dust with pink sanding sugar once piped. Fill with vanilla bean marshmallow (recipe follows)

  • If you would like to add a cross to the hot cross bun macarons, you can make one out of powdered sugar and milk. Sift 100g powdered sugar into a bowl, then add milk until you form a thick paste. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, and pipe crosses on half the shells (do this before you fill them).

 

 

Creme egg ganache

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

12 regular sized cadbury creme eggs (35g each, 420g total), chopped
90g (6 Tbsp) Heavy Cream
30g (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter
100g milk chocolate

- PROCESS -

Place all of the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the bowl does not touch the water. Stir with a whisk or spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a container, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the filling. Refrigerate for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the ganache has firmed up to a piping consistency. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.

Pair each macaron shell with another of a similar size. Pipe a circle of buttercream on one half, and then sandwich 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.

 

 

Spiced 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
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice or mixed spice
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, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice / mixed spice. 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 large french star tip.

Pair up the macaron shells, and a round of buttercream 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.

 

 

Coconut Swiss Meringue buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

60g egg whites
100g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
100g coconut threads or flakes, blitzed in a food processor until finely chopped
Sprinkles to finish (we used ‘hangin’ with my peeps’ by sprinkle pop)

- 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.

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. Add the blitzed coconut and mix to combine. Fit a piping bag with a large round tip, and fill the bag 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. Smooth any buttercream that is sticking over the edges with your finger, then roll the macarons in sprinkles so that the sprinkles stick to the buttercream. 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.

 

 

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

60g egg whites
100g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
150g smooth/creamy peanut butter (processed peanut butter is best, natural may seize your buttercream)

- 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.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste and peanut butter. 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 small french star tip, and fill the bag with the buttercream.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of buttercream blobs on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Smooth any buttercream that is sticking over the edges with your finger, then roll the macarons in sprinkles so that the sprinkles stick to the buttercream. 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 Marshmallow

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

Note - make sure you have everything ready to go before you make the marshmallow, as you will have to work quite quickly once it is whipped. Pair up the shells and have the piping bag ready. Extra marshmallow can be cured in a greased loaf pan.

14g (2 packets) powdered gelatine
76g cold water
103g liquid honey
76g water
265g sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Bright Pink gel food colour (we used ‘deep pink’ by americolor)
Pink Sanding sugar to finish (optional)

- PROCESS -

Fit a large piping bag with a round tip. Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. In the mixing bowl, combine the cold water and gelatin and mix well with a fork, and leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup.

In a medium pot, combine the water, honey, vanilla, and sugar. Heat over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the syrup reaches 240˚f /120˚c, then remove from the heat and leave to cool to 210˚f /100˚c.

Turn the mixer on to medium, and mix for a few seconds to help break up the bloomed gelatin. With the mixer running, VERY carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer. Turn the speed up to high, and whip for 5-7 minutes, until the marshmallow has doubled in volume, has turned white, and holds somewhat of a peak when you stop the mixer and lift out the whisk. While the marshmallow is mixing, add pink gel food colouring as desired. Transfer to the piping bag.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of marshmallow on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Press down lightly, then carefully sprinkle the exposed marshmallow with pink sanding sugar. 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 Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons


 
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron

Hi! Happy Happy Wednesday! Things have been a little hectic around here - we are preparing to shoot our new collection for the studio this Saturday, which is super exciting, but it wouldn’t be shoot prep without a wee bit of last minute running around trying to get everything sorted (currently waiting for an email from a lady about a fig tree). I wanted to quickly pop by and share this recipe before we post our epic Valentine’s day box for tomorrow, because 1. the recipe takes up loads of space, but 2. these are so delicious and cute that I figured they would need their own post so we could really show them off. I’m currently sitting in our fave coffee shop right by Jase’s house - I just left there where we literally just shot these, so this might be a new record for shoot-edit-post.

For our February Macaron recipe we kept it kinda cliche Valentines day with Raspberry and Chocolate. I’m really not a huge Valentines fan, but I can’t resist making a whole heap of pink stuff. We went with a pink shell, which we filled with a dark chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream, darkened with a little black cocoa, which turned out to be the most amazing tasting thing ever - all dark chocolate buttercream will have cocoa in it from now on. The inside got a wee dollop of a raspberry quick jam - I made my own, but you can absolutely use a store bought one to save some time!

These Macs were a part of our Valentine’s cookie box, which is coming tomorrow - but they would be perfect on their own, as a valentine’s gift, or just for a little anytime treat.

A few wee tips:

  • Everything I know about Macarons - all the tips and tricks I can think of, are in this post

  • We used Black cocoa in the buttercream, but a dutch cocoa would work great too if you don’t have black cocoa.

  • You will have some Swiss Meringue Buttercream left over - you can either half the recipe if you don't want this, or it keeps super well in the fridge if you wanted to use it for another project. I find that making half a batch of buttercream can be a little tricky, depending on your mixer. Plus I think if you're going to go to the effort you might as well make lots to use again! It goes perfectly on a sheet cake - it would be epic on this banana cake.

  • The Raspberry jam does need a little time to cool, so make sure you account for this. I like to make my own, but store bought is also perfect - you can even get a few flavours to mix up the filling if you like. Again - this will make a bit more than you need, but it’s a great thing to have around.

 

 

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons

- Makes about 24 macarons -

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
Gel food colouring - we used Electric Pink, and one drop of superblack by americolor
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Raspberry Quick Jam
375g frozen raspberries
400g granulated sugar


Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1/2 cup (123g) egg whites, or 4 large egg whites
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
455g (16oz, or four sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
250g dark chocolate
1/4 cup (25g) Black cocoa or dutch process cocoa

 

- PROCESS -

MACARON SHELLS

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 pink gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add one very small drop of black if desired to deepen the colour. 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. 

 

RASPBERRY QUICK JAM

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, mash the raspberries roughly. Bring to a rolling boil, and then add the sugar. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a container or sterilised jars, and allow to cool completely before using. Store in the fridge.

DARK CHOCOLATE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

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 mix until incorporated.

While the buttercream is mixing, melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl in 30 second increments in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the cooled chocolate, and sift in the cocoa. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (we used Ateco #805). 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Place the raspberry jam into a small piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pair up each macaron shell with another of an equal size. Pipe a ring of buttercream on one half of the shell, then a blob of the compote in the middle. Place the second shell carefully on top. Repeat with the rest of the macarons. Macarons are best chilled overnight to allow the flavours to meld, but can also be eaten immediately. 

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Macarons - A classic pink shell, filled with a homemade raspberry quick jam, and a silky Dark chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, deepened with a little black cocoa. These are a classic valentine's day pairing, and would be perfect as a gift, but would also make an amazing anytime treat for a chocolate or berry lover. #frenchmacaron #valentinesmacaron

Apple Butter Macarons with Spiced Swiss Meringue Buttercream


 
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron

For the last couple of years, we have been part of a CSA. CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” - essentially a farm upstate grows all the produce, then each week drives a truck down to drop off shares to a bunch of different CSAs. You pay at the start of the year, and then get to pick up seasonal veggies for 22 weeks! Each week is slightly different. It’s a great way to meet people, and the produce is always amazingly fresh. I became part of the volunteer group that runs it a few years ago - we each take turns running the pick-ups.

Anyway, where I am going with this is that I ran the pick-up last week, in the middle of a storm. I froze my wee fingers off, but it ended up being incredibly worth it, because due to the storm a bunch of people didn’t pick up, so I came home with a GIANT crate of apples. Like, crate that they use in the orchard. It’s way more apples than I know what to do with, so I’m going to get to it this weekend making some apple butters and pies so that we have them on hand in the freezer.

I popped round to Jase’s yesterday and we made these apple macarons! We filled them with an apple butter, and a swiss meringue buttercream which we spiked with vanilla bean, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. You can’t really get any more autumn than that. Fall AF.

A few wee tips:

  • I have included notes to make apple butter (which is really just reduced apple sauce!) in both the instant pot and the slow cooker. You may or may not have to reduce down the mixture using the slow cooker - it depends on your apples. You are looking for a thick apple puree or sauce consistency. Remember that it will thicken in the fridge slightly!

  • Using the instant pot you will have to reduce it more because the water does not evaporate. You can do this on the saute function, however I find this a little inconsistent in heat delivery, so prefer to switch it to the pot.

  • The Apple butter needs to cool down before it can be used - overnight is ideal. You will be left with extra - but it is amazing on toast or baking!

 

 

Apple Butter Macarons with Spiced Swiss Meringue Buttercream

- Makes about 24 Macarons -

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

Apple Butter
960g (2 pounds) apples, cored and diced
100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
Maroon gel food colouring (we used maroon by americolor)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Spiced Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1/2 cup (123g) egg whites, or 4 large egg whites
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
455g (16oz, or four sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

 

- PROCESS -

APPLE BUTTER

Combine all the ingredients in the pot of an instant pot. Seal and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes, then quick release the pressure. Blend well using a stick blender or high powered blender, and transfer to a medium sized pot over low heat. Cook down for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring frequently, until the apple butter has reduced to a thick paste (It will thicken slightly in the fridge). Transfer to a covered container and cool in the fridge completely.

Alternatively, to make the apple butter in the slow cooker, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours, until the apples are very soft. Blend either with a stick blender or a high powered blender. If the mixture is still reasonably runny (this will depend on the moisture content of your apples), transfer to a pot over low heat. Cook down, stirring frequently, until the apple butter resembles a thick paste. Transfer to a covered container and cool completely in the fridge.

MACARON SHELLS

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 maroon gel food colour 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. 

SPICED SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

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 mix until incorporated.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cloves. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small french star tip. 

ASSEMBLY

Place the apple butter into a small piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pair up each macaron shell with another of an equal size. Pipe a ring of buttercream on one half of the shell, then a blob of the compote in the middle. Place the second shell carefully on top. Repeat with the rest of the macarons. Macarons are best chilled overnight to allow the flavours to meld, but can also be eaten immediately. 

The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron