Once you've mastered macarons, they are so versatile. The limit to them is only your imagination. That's why you have pastry shops that specialize in macarons only! To get into the holiday season, try your hand at this fun macaron.
212g almond flour
212g powdered sugar
85g egg whites, to mix with the flour
90g egg whites, to whip into meringue
1 tbsp vanilla paste/extract
5g gingerbread spice (or make your own - see section below)
30g freshly grated ginger
235g granulated sugar
Gingerbread spice formula:
2 part cinnamon
2 part allspice
1 part ground ginger
1 part nutmeg
1 part clove
For the Buttercream Filling:
35g granulated sugar, to mix with yolks
35g granulated sugar, to mix with milk
60g egg yolks, about 2-3 medium yolks
75g whole milk
9oz butter, unsalted, room temperature
1/2 tbsp vanilla paste/extract
1/2 tbsp peppermint extract
Preheat the oven to 350F in a convection oven. If using conventional oven, preheat to 400F. You will need a candy thermometer (sugar is difficult to work with without one of these babies) and a scale. A gingerbread man template, if you want to pipe that shape.
- Sift the almond meal and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the 85g of egg whites, vanilla, spice, and fresh ginger. Mix until well combined. It should have a consistency of a thick paste. Set aside.
- In an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, start whipping the 90g egg whites into soft peaks. Add a pinch of sugar while it's whipping. Once it reaches soft peaks, turn the mixer on the lowest setting just to keep the whites moving.
- You can do this step concurrently with step 3 or if this is your first time, do it consecutively. Combine the granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Place on high heat.
- Heat the sugar solution until 245F degrees. Remove from heat immediately.
- Turn on the mixer to medium speed and slowly trickle the sugar solution into the whipped egg whites. Be careful not to pour too quickly as it will deflate the whites.
- Fold the egg whites into the almond meal paste. It will have a thick cake batter consistency.
- Put the batter into a piping bag and cut about 1/2" tip.
- Pipe the batter into gingerbread man shapes. You can create the shapes on a sheet of paper. Simply place the template under a transparent silicone mat or parchment paper. You can also pipe the batter into rounds of about 2" in diameter on a silicone mat. It is best to create a template to be consistent in size as you will be sandwiching a filling between two cookies.
- Bake for approximately 10 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely to room temperature.
- While the cookies are cooling, make the filling.
- In a medium, heatproof bowl, combine the egg yolks and 35g sugar. Whisk and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining sugar and milk on medium high heat. Bring to boil, then remove from heat immediately.
- Temper the egg yolks with the hot milk, by slowly trickling the milk while constantly whisking the yolks.
- Once all the milk has tempered with the yolks. Pour all of it back into the saucepan and return to medium high heat.
- Constantly whisk the mixture while it is heating until it becomes a custard-like consistency.
- Once it's become a custard, pour the mixture into a mixer bowl. Whisk on medium speed for 8-10 minutes until the mixture becomes pale yellow.
- Once the custard is cooler, begin adding chunks of butter to the custard while it is whipping. Keep adding in parts until all the butter is added. Whip until desired filling consistency, it should look like mayonnaise.
- Add the vanilla and peppermint and any food coloring you desire (I've used 15-20 drops of natural red food coloring from beets).
- Put the filling in a piping bag and cut a 1/2" tip.
- To assemble the maracons, turn one macaron cookie upside down and pipe in desired amount of filling. Top the filling with a similar sized maracon and squeeze slightly to adhere the cookies.
- Enjoy the cookies the day of or save in a sealed container in the refrigerator for later.