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!

Toasted Sugar Vanilla Bean Macarons with Caramelised White Chocolate German Buttercream


 
Toasted Sugar Vanilla Bean Macaron shells are sandwiched with a silky, creamy German buttercream loaded with caramelised white chocolate, Subtle elevated flavours makes this a perfect simple recipe that is sure to wow your friends or make the perfect treat or gift. #frenchmacaron #macaronrecipe
Toasted Sugar Vanilla Bean Macaron shells are sandwiched with a silky, creamy German buttercream loaded with caramelised white chocolate, Subtle elevated flavours makes this a perfect simple recipe that is sure to wow your friends or make the perfect treat or gift. #frenchmacaron #macaronrecipe
Toasted Sugar Vanilla Bean Macaron shells are sandwiched with a silky, creamy German buttercream loaded with caramelised white chocolate, Subtle elevated flavours makes this a perfect simple recipe that is sure to wow your friends or make the perfect treat or gift. #frenchmacaron #macaronrecipe
Toasted Sugar Vanilla Bean Macaron shells are sandwiched with a silky, creamy German buttercream loaded with caramelised white chocolate, Subtle elevated flavours makes this a perfect simple recipe that is sure to wow your friends or make the perfect treat or gift. #frenchmacaron #macaronrecipe
Toasted Sugar Vanilla Bean Macaron shells are sandwiched with a silky, creamy German buttercream loaded with caramelised white chocolate, Subtle elevated flavours makes this a perfect simple recipe that is sure to wow your friends or make the perfect treat or gift. #frenchmacaron #macaronrecipe
Toasted Sugar Vanilla Bean Macaron shells are sandwiched with a silky, creamy German buttercream loaded with caramelised white chocolate, Subtle elevated flavours makes this a perfect simple recipe that is sure to wow your friends or make the perfect treat or gift. #frenchmacaron #macaronrecipe
Toasted Sugar Vanilla Bean Macaron shells are sandwiched with a silky, creamy German buttercream loaded with caramelised white chocolate, Subtle elevated flavours makes this a perfect simple recipe that is sure to wow your friends or make the perfect treat or gift. #frenchmacaron #macaronrecipe

Ok, so I’m not sure how it is nearly December, but it is. Like, on Saturday it’s here. This year has simultaneously dragged by and flown past, but for the most part, it’s been a good one. I’ve been working my wee butt off prepping a bunch of Christmas posts for you (last year I left it all till the week before Christmas and it was NOT a wise move), so this year I’m hoping to be a little more prepared. Check back in about two weeks where I probs would have left it till the end and will be scrambling to post everything I’ve been planning for a whole year. Lol.

Amidst the crazy I did have time to pop over to Jase’s yesterday to make macarons! We made these little numbers - a toasted sugar vanilla bean shell, with a caramelised white chocolate German buttercream. Oye. We started off the day by totally ruining a batch, which I think was a good reminder that if macarons can smell cockyness, they will fail on you. The batter was over-mixed, so they spread and held hands in the oven, and it was just a general shit show. Happens to everyone. The next batch we were much more careful with (as you have to be with macs) and they turned out pretty damn perfect if you ask me!

Jase toasted a whole bunch of sugar recently, using Stella’s method, so we subbed the sugar in the shells for toasted sugar, and upped the Vanilla bean content. The toastyness of the sugar in the shells is subtle, but gives a light caramel flavour. We then filled them with a caramelised white chocolate German buttercream, which complimented the toasted sugar perfectly. Someone recently described German buttercream as “room temperature ice cream” which I think is the perfect description. I love how silky it is, how easily it can be infused, and how well it lends itself to additions such as melted chocolate. It’s by far my fave buttercream - if you haven’t tried it before, you should definitely get onto it. The flavouring in these is definitely a little more subtle than other macs we have done, but I think they are super delicious, and I hope you do too!

A few wee tips:

  • The recipe for toasted sugar is here. There’s no point re-writing it when Stella does a Stellar (lol, sorry) job of it.

  • The sugar may clump up a little when stored, so sieve it if needed.

  • When adding the melted caramelised white chocolate to the german buttercream, you need to make sure that it is cooled, otherwise your buttercream becomes soup very very quickly.

  • We used Valrhona’s Dulcey Caramelised white chocolate (it comes in both a bar and feves), but you can also make your own! Edd has a great tutorial here.

  • As per, the post with all of my macaron tips and tricks is here - I add to it as we work things out!

 

 

Toasted Sugar Vanilla Bean Macarons with Caramelised White Chocolate German Buttercream

- Makes about 30 Macarons -

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g toasted sugar (see tips for recipe)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Caramelised White Chocolate German Buttercream
190g whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
110g Toasted sugar
12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) cornstarch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp kosher salt
340g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g Caramelised white chocolate, (see tips) melted and cooled to room temperature

 

- 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 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. 
 

CARAMELISED WHITE CHOCOLATE GERMAN BUTTERCREAM

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk 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. If you need to speed this process up, you can place the pastry cream in a quarter sheet baking sheet, press a layer of plastic wrap on to the surface, and either freeze or refrigerate until cold, stirring occasionally.

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! Once the buttercream is homogenous, add the cooled melted caramelised white chocolate and mix well to combine. Store in an airtight container until ready to use, or if using immediately, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

ASSEMBLY

Pair up each macaron shell with another of an equal size. Pipe a blog of buttercream on one half of the shell, then 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. 

Toasted Sugar Vanilla Bean Macaron shells are sandwiched with a silky, creamy German buttercream loaded with caramelised white chocolate, Subtle elevated flavours makes this a perfect simple recipe that is sure to wow your friends or make the perfect treat or gift. #frenchmacaron #macaronrecipe

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