Peppermint and White Chocolate Macarons
I’ve wanted to try macaron-making again since the first attempt back in July. So, in the spirit of the holidays and an upcoming “White Elephant Party,” I decided it was a good opportunity to give it a whirl-this time with a more festive flavor combo. I’d heard that chocolate shells are the most difficult to make, so this time I went with a basic shell that’s flavored with peppermint extract. Naturally white chocolate is a good match for this, and pretty holiday-appropriate. Since the Chocolate-Caramel macarons, I’ve learned some tips in perfecting the texture of the shells:
- The first time I used a coarse almond meal, which gave the shells a grainy texture. I found they came out much nicer using a fine meal. I think this had a lot to do with the ingredients being able to blend better and gave me a smoother, thinner batter.
- Make sure you let your tray of piped batter sit for at least 15 minutes. This gives your shells and smooth and shiny top.
- Bake one tray at a time! I learned this after an entire tray of shells cracked during my first batch. I also think a thicker tray helps a lot-I’ve read that some people stack 2-3 trays on top of one another as well.
- Really let them cool before removing from the tray-or the soft interiors will stick to the pan and peel off.
So here you go! The recipe for peppermint and white chocolate holiday macarons. Though I must forewarn you, eager bakers, this was an all-day cooking affair! Since I wanted to make a lot of cookies (I ended up with about 50), you may prefer to halve the recipe. Or, like me, just make sure you plan something to do while you wait for your trays to dry, bake, and cool. I ended up wrapping most of my Christmas gifts! So, while a bit exhausting, the day was extremely productive and the outcome was worth the effort!
Peppermint Macaron Shells adapted from I Love Macarons
1 1/3 cup almond flour
3 cups powdered sugar
6 large egg whites, left out, uncovered overnight
½ Cup + 2 TBSP granulated sugar
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
Red Food Coloring (optional)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready. Using a pencil, draw 1-inch circles approximately 1-inch apart on your parchment paper.
In a food processor, blend the almond flour and powdered sugar until well incorporated.
In a stainless-steel bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs whites on high speed until they are foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar, peppermint extract and about 20-30 drops of red food coloring to the egg whites and continue to beat until it forms a stiff meringue.
Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture into the meringue in a couple additions. Blend by scopping batter up from the bottom and pressing it against the sides of the bowl. Do this a few times until well incorporated.
Fill pastry bag with the batter and carefully dispense into your drawn circles. Once the tray is filled, rap the baking sheet on the counter to help settle the batter. Let tray sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes so that a slight crust forms on each shell.
Bake at 375 F for 9-12 minutes, until the shells are slightly crisp on top. Allow to cool before removing from the trays. Repeat, one tray at a time until you’ve used up the batter. Make sure you use a new piece of parchment at least every other batch to assure smooth and round shells.
White Chocolate Ganache
2/3 cup heavy cream
10 oz good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
1 ½ TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 3 pieces
Put the white chocolate in a heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil, then pour over the chocolate. Using a whisk or rubber spatula, stir together until smooth. Once smooth, stir in the butter. Place the bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice water, stirring constantly until ganache is thick enough to pipe cleanly. Work quickly, as the ganache will begin to harden again. If this happens, you can set the bowl over a simmering pot of water and stir it until smooth-then repeat the cooling process.
Peppermint Chocolate Macaron Assembly
Pair your cooled macaron shells into like sizes; I recommend you do this before making the ganache filling. Fill a piping bag fitted with a wide, round tip with your white chocolate ganache. Carefully pipe filling onto the flat side of one shell, leaving about 3mm space from the edges. Pick up your filled shell and its empty pair, and place them together, gently twisting as you press.
Store your macarons in the refrigerator. This allows the filling to soak into the shells and give them that distinct chewy bite. They’re best enjoyed the following day, brought to room temperature.