These fun, pinwheeled Peppermint Macarons with Chocolate Ganache are such a special treat to help you celebrate the season!
Ah, December. I knew you would come eventually. And I’m so, so happy you’re here.
These babies are sweet little drops of Christmas. Minty, chocolately heaven! But Cristina! You object, aren’t these EXACTLY the same as your Mint Chocolate Macarons?
YES. And no.
First of all, because chocolate ganache > chocolate buttercream in terms of chocolate flavour punchiness. Secondly, because I thought I knew what I was doing.
Spoiler alert: I did not know what I was doing.
Because the thing with macarons is that you can watch five million youtube videos, read ten million tutorials (although this one from Eat Live Travel Write is the one I follow rather religiously – Mardi gets me).
You can think you know how to combat hollow shells, grow those fluffy feet, know exactly how many strokes to develop your ‘macaronage’ (plus fancy words like ‘macaronage’), but tutorials can’t teach you what to do when you drop said cookies on the floor. Or when you accidentally set the oven 100° hotter than it should and you open the door 12 minutes later to charcoal bricks. It doesn’t teach you that your oven is actually way slower than every other oven, and what should take 15 minutes takes 25, and even then you’re still picking at them with burning finger tips to see if they lift off the baking sheet whole, or still stick and need to go back in for precisely 3 more minutes.
It’s the doing that makes you able to create the perfect macaron. The doing and the miserable, horrible failing, over and over.
I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
Because do you know what? These actually turned out perfect. Slightly crunchy outside, squishy inside… On what is maybe my 20th macaron baking experience ever.
And how, did you ask? Well obviously I’m going to put the instructions below.
But the real, honest trick to making the perfect macaron?
Fail. Fail horribly. Fail often.
You can do it. I believe in you.
First, mix your almond flour and icing sugar. I pour them both in my food processor and blend a couple of times, since my almond flour is a little chunky! I then run them through a sifter AND a medium-sized sieve to get rid of any final almond chunks.
Then in a very clean mixer with a very clean whisk attachment, blend your egg whites until they’re bubbly and frothy. (I say very clean because if there is any trace of oil, your meringue won’t set up.)
Add that sugar a little bit at a time. Someone described it to me as you want the granules of sugar to melt into the egg whites. By doing it a little bit at a time, you’re helping the process! Whip that up into a beautiful, very stiff meringue on med-low, about 5 mins.
Now add your almond mixture to your meringue, and start folding them together, sweeping a soft, bendy spatula around the outside and bringing it through the middle, pressing the meringue against the sides of the bowl to deflate it a little. Do this no more than 50 times. This is your macaronage. You should be able to lift your spatula and have it run off in thick ribbons. Some people say the consistency of lava.
Delicious delicious lava.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round nozzle (I used a Wilton 12).
Cover baking sheets with parchment paper (you can stick it down with a little batter under each corner), and start dispensing the macarons. Make sure you give them a little bit of room, because they will spread out a smidge. I tend to do 5×6 on my sheets. Dispense from a 45 degree angle, and just release pressure and pull away. They should be about the size of a toonie, Canadians (ummm, 1.5 inches across, everyone else!).
Go through with a needle or toothpick and pop any air bubbles before they set. Bang your sheets against the counter for good measure, and continue your popping.
Let them sit for half an hour to an hour. The tops should get a little hard to the touch as they dry out. This is how you get those amazing feet when they rise while they bake!
Bake at 320° for 15 minutes (or 20 if you have my oven… apparently). You’ll know they’re done when they lift off the parchment, leaving nothing behind.
IF you find your macarons are getting brown, but aren’t done, you can turn down the heat a bit, or I have to stick a baking sheet between the upper heating element and my macarons to protect them.
Set those aside to cool.
Make your ganache! I tend to use a standard of 1 part ganache to 1 part cream for filling.
Heat your cream. Slice the chocolate very thin. When the cream is steaming, remove it from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until it is completely melted. DONE! Let that cool.
‘Cause it’s painting time! I’m using a mixture of red gel food colouring and vodka (vanilla extract is also good), because it dries faster than water so the macaron doesn’t get soggy.
Paint five swirling stripes!
Match ones that are roughly the same size and spread some ganache in there to make your sandwiches!
Check out these other amazing Christmas Cookie recipes from some of my favourite Canadian bloggers!
Welcome to this very special Canadian Cookie Collaboration between the Canadian Food Creatives and the Canadian Christmas Cookie Exchange. #CDNFoodCreatives
Visit these Canadian Bloggers to save all of these sweet holiday cookie recipes:
- Austrian Husarenkrapferl Cookies by Evelyne at CulturEatz
- Candy Cane Kissed Chocolate Chip Cookies by Fareen at Food Mamma
- Chocolate Candy Cane Biscotti by Amanda at Peppers & Pennies
- Christmas Piñata Cookies by Karin at The Kitchen Divas
- Coconut shortbread Sandwiches by Taylor at The Girl on Bloor
- Crispy Spicy Almond Roccoco Italian Cookie Recipe by Maria at She Loves Biscotti
- Double Chocolate Mint Cookies by Diana at 365 Days of Easy Recipes
- Eggnog Madeleines by Samantha at My Kitchen Love
- Eisenbahner (Railroad) Cookies by Vicky at Tiny Sweet Tooth
- Gluten Free Thumprint cookies by Jenn at One Heart One Family
- Jewish Shortbread Cookie Pie by Jo-Anna at A Pretty Life in the Suburbs
- Nanny’s Molasses Cookies by Laura at Bluenose Baker
- Peppermint Macarons by Cristina at I Say Nomato
- Sablés Bretons with Chocolate Caramel Beurre Salé by Hilary at Cocoa Bean, the Vegetable
- Stained Glass Gingerbread Cookies by Megan at Food & Whine
- Stuffed Double Chocolate Turtle Cookies by Cassie at Crumb Kitchen
- Thumbprint Caramel Shortbread Cookies by Kacey at The Cookie Writer
- Toasted Flour Sablés by Kimberlie at The Finer Cookie
- Triple Chocolate Pistachio Cookies by Marie at Food Nouveau
- Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Ginger Crisps by Melanie at The Refreshanista
- Macaron Cookies:
- 115 g (4oz) ground almond flour
- 230 g (8oz) powdered sugar
- 144 g (5oz) room temperature egg whites (~4 medium egg whites)
- 72 g (2.5oz) white sugar
- 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
- ~50g (2oz.) semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped into very fine pieces or grated.
- ~50g (2oz) heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp vodka OR clear extract
- 1-2 drops red food colouring
Before we start, it is important for me to note that macarons are a little finicky, and many of the times in the instructions below might be different for you based on things like the humidity of your kitchen. A little trial and error may be necessary!
Weigh out your almond flour and powdered sugar, and place in a bowl together. Depending on how grainy or sticky your almond flour is, you can put the mixture in a food processor and pulse 10 times for 10 seconds.
Pass the mixture through a fine sieve. This part takes some time, and you may have to use your hand. If there are any very large grains, don't push them through, just set them aside for another recipe.
Set the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture aside.
In a stand mixer, beat your egg whites until they are frothy, and then add your white sugar a little bit at a time.
Beat on a low-medium speed until stiff peaks form (it was about 5 minutes for my mixer)
Add your peppermint extract, and beat for another 30 seconds or until evenly distributed.
Gently fold your meringue and your almond flour mixture together using a flexible spatula. I go around the bowl once, scraping the sides, and then through the centre, pressing the mixture against the side of the bowl. That's one time. Try to fold it no more than 35-50 times. It should become almost liquidy and sink back into itself. Some people say it's the texture of lava.
Place parchment paper onto two flat cookie sheets. You can make it stick with just a little batter under each corner.
Place the mixture in a pastry bag with a large, round nozzle (I used Wilton 10). Squeeze the macarons onto your baking sheets, holding your pastry bag at a 45° angle, and just release the pressure and pull away once you've got a nice circle 1.5 inches in diameter.
Set your macarons aside for at least 30 minutes to an hour, or until the top of the dome hardens a bit. Depending on how humid your kitchen is, it might take an hour or more, but that is how you get that really nice dome and the little 'feet'.
Preheat your oven to 320°F.
Bake the macarons for about 12 minutes. Keep a close eye on them. You'll know they're finished when they just come off the parchment paper leaving nothing behind.
Remove from the oven and let cool
Heat your cream in a pot on the stove until it begins to steam.
Remove from heat, pour your chocolate in and cover for 1 minute.
Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated, and set aside to cool.
Mix your vodka and food colouring.
Using a food safe, thin, soft paint brush, paint 5 swirling lines, starting thin in the centre and working your way outward.
When the paint is dry, match up your macarons and fill with the ganache to make sandwiches! Enjoy!