Candy Cane Macarons
So, I finally made macarons. They have been something that has intimidated me for ages. I always thought they were so cute and look delicious, but the delicacy of making them was something that scared me a little. So, I kept putting them off, making up excuses as to why I hadn't attempted them in the kitchen yet. Even so, they were always still in the back of my mind. So, this Christmas I decided to confront my fears and just do it. Going to my trusty blog, where she has a wonderful photographed step-by-step process, I thought that maybe I could get through without having a total panic attack. I couldn't believe myself, they came out great! I made them for everyone in my family and they were so excited. Definitely a huge hit. A big enough hit, that I had to make them again. I mean, I did have left over candy canes after all! This time I got to enjoy a few myself. Wow, they are amazing. Oh so delicate though. Make these today and you won't regret it! I think I might need to go have another one...
Candy Cane Macarons
Yield: about 20 macarons
For the macaron shells*
200 grams confectioners’ sugar
110 grams almonds (blanched, slivered, or sliced)
90 grams egg whites (aged at room temperature for 1 day or 3-5 days in the fridge)
25 grams granulated sugar
*Note: macarons cannot be made with volume measurements, so only weight measurements will be provided
For the filling
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
crushed candy canes
To make the macaron shells, combine the confectioners’ sugar and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are finely ground and the mixture is well blended. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat, gradually adding the granulated sugar. Beat until a stiff, glossy meringue forms (do not over-beat). Add the ground nut mixture to the bowl with the egg whites. Fold together with a spatula until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and the batter is thick and smooth. (This should not take more than 50 strokes.)
Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a plain round tip and pipe small rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1½ inches in diameter. Let the piped rounds sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to harden their shells.
Preheat the oven to 280˚ F. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool 15-20 minutes before removing from the baking sheet. Let cool completely before filling or storing.
To make the frosting, combine the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until a thick and shiny meringue has formed and the bowl is cool to the touch. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low. Add in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding more. Once all the butter is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until thick and smooth. (The mixture may look soupy or curdled but it will come together eventually – just keep beating!) Blend in the vanilla.
To assemble the macarons, pair up the shells by size. Add the finished frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe a small round of frosting onto the flat side of one shell from each pair. Sandwich together with the other shell and push gently together so that the frosting reaches the edges of the cookies. Place the crushed candy canes in a shallow dish. Gently roll the assembled macarons in the crushed candy canes so they adhere to the frosting.