Candy Cane Macarons

28 Dec

The holiday rush has come to an end, which means I have a chance now to mention all my holiday baking! I’ve been admiring French macarons from afar for quite some time: I’m always amazed at how perfect they look in photographs and how many flavor combinations there are to use. But I was intimidated by “aged egg whites” and the fact that everything was measured in grams. And I had heard rumors that this was a “finicky” cookie–a rumor which I proved to be true, with a previous less than successful attempt–a lemon macaron that did taste delicious (I must give credit where credit is due) but left something to be desired in the looks category.

However, I wanted something for a co-worker gift that would impress and amaze–so I laid it all on the line and went for it. The night before I wanted to deliver my goodies. With no plan B. So, I had left my macarons no choice but to turn out beautifully. Otherwise it was a handful of Hershey’s Kisses for all, and honestly that’s a mighty poor showing for someone who calls herself a baker.

A brief warning or two: these cookies are not for the faint of heart. They are not hard, but you must sally forth with confidence into the world of macarons. Based on my experience, I think it’s fair to say they can sense fear. Also, I did age my egg whites uncovered overnight at room temperature (the amount of planning that went into these treats was insane) but then at the last minute added three more un-aged whites to double the recipe (sooo…not that much planning after all).

Candy Cane Macarons

Adapted from Cake & Allie

Printable Recipe

220 grams almond flour

6 egg whites (aged 3-5 days, covered, in the fridge or overnight, uncovered, at room temperature)

50 grams granulated sugar

400 grams powdered sugar

Sift together almond flour and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and set aside. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. I traced a 1 1/2″ circle in pencil on one side of the parchment and then turned the sheet over so I would have a consistent cookie size–but if you’re confident in your eyeballing abilities, this step is not necessary.

Using a mixer, beat egg whites to a foam. Once it starts to look like a bubble bath, add the granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks are just beginning to form. Check it often so it does not become over-mixed.

Carefully add the almond / powdered sugar mixture to the egg whites and fold to combine. The combining should not take more than 50 strokes with the spatula. You want the mixture to be thick enough to pipe (without running all over the place) but thin enough to flatten out on its own. You can test the batter by spooning a small amount on to a plate–if it melts into itself its ready, if it doesn’t give it a few more stirs.

Place the batter into a large pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe small circles (1″-1 1/2″ in diameter) onto the prepared baking sheets. Lift each baking sheet about 6″ off the work surface and let it drop. This is what helps the characteristic “feet” form. Let the macarons rest for 45 minutes to an hour to let a hard shell develop.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 300°. Bake each baking sheet separately for 9-11 minutes or until the macarons are set but not browned. Let cool completely before filling.

Peppermint Buttercream Filling

2 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Whisk together egg whites, sugar, and salt in the top of a double boiler. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Once you can no longer hear the sound of the sugar against the bowl when you whisk, remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Beat the hot egg whites until stiff peaks form–about 10 minutes.

With the mixer set at medium speed, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, letting it mix in completely before adding another piece. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until the buttercream comes together. Once it is smooth, add the peppermint extract and mix on low speed until it is incorporated. Place the buttercream into a pastry bag and pipe a small amount onto a macaron shell. Top it with another shell and squeeze together gently. Roll the edges in crushed candy cane to garnish.

I put four in a treat box and then tied them up with Christmas-y ribbon to give as gifts.

Advertisements

One Response to “Candy Cane Macarons”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake « baking all the rules - June 10, 2012

    […] the dessert that her diet requires her to be wheat-free, so I thought I would make some cute-o macarons, which use almond flour, as a birthday snack for the party-goers. However, after more conversation […]

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: