Day 8: Cranberry Macaron Ornaments with a Gingerbread Buttercream Icing

Day 8 of my 12 days of Christmas cookies/treats! If you have followed me for a while, you know I LOVE making macarons and I love playing with flavor combinations with macarons. In this day and age, we are lucky to have different freeze dried fruit powders, which give flavor to the shell, apart from flavoring the buttercream.

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Macarons can be kept simple, or fancied by decorating the shells in a pretty manner! I love getting my kids involved, because trust me, they have some of the best ideas! I was brain storming with my daughter about these macarons that I wanted to create, and she came up with the idea to decorate them as ornaments! How fun would that be! So I decided to dye them red, along with cranberry extract powder for the shell. The dried cranberry powder is from Amazon, and here is the link. You could also use Cranberry Juice powder, that is also available at Amazon. We decided to decorate the shells as ornaments, with royal icing, and use sprinkles to give them a bit of a sparkle! My kids had so much fun decorating the macarons with me! We make snowflakes on the macaron shells, and some were decorated as ornaments. The sprinkles I used are from Fancy Sprinkles! We love these sprinkles.

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The buttercream is a gingerbread buttercream – absolutely delicious!!! It has molasses and gingerbread spices in it, and it complements the shell really well! I wanted to make a cranberry curd for the center of the macaron, but I got a bit lazy and I let it be as is. The bite into the macaron was absolutely divine!! So much festive, winter flavors in one bite – a taste of the holidays! We were very happy with the results.

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Macarons are so fun to make, it takes a few tries to get it right and there are so many videos on YouTube to help with the macaronage step etc. It is very important to read all the steps first, and understand the process, and then attempt macarons. I have provided as many tips as I can in my Method below and I hope that can be useful when you make them.

 

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I had such a fun time making these macarons and decorating them with my kids! We really enjoyed the flavors too, and this was my favorite cookie to make out of all the 12 days! Please feel free to email me for any questions regarding how to make macarons and I will help to the best of my ability.

Day 9 is one of my favorite confections! Coming tomorrow!

Cheers,

Amisha

Day 7: Cranberry Macaron Ornaments with a Gingerbread Buttercream Icing

Ingredients

    For the Cranberry macaron shells:
  • 7 ounces confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 ounces almond flour
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberry powder (found on Amazon)
  • 4 large(4 ounces) egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 3.5 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • few drops of red color
  • Gingerbread Buttercream filling:
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp unsulfured dark molasses
  • 3 ½ to 4 cups confectioner’s sugar ( the buttercream should not be runny, it should be firm, but pipeable at the same time)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • Royal Icing:
  • (Recipe from SweetAmbs)
  • 3 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup meringue powder(available at Michael's or Amazon)
  • 90ml water at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

    For the macaron shells:
  1. Preheat oven to 310 degrees. Line baking sheets with the paper templates, and top with the parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse 1/2 of the confectioner's sugar with the almond flour and cranberry powder until a fine powder is formed. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and mix in the remaining confectioner’s sugar. Using a drum sieve, sift mixture three times into a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. To make the meringue: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar. Once all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is thick, scrap down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla extract and the drops of red color and increase the speed to high, whipping until stiff, firm, glossy peaks form for atleast 5-7 minutes. You can remove and turn the whisk and the meringue should hold.
  4. To complete the macaronnage step: Sift the almond flour mixture, one-third at a time, over the egg white mixture, and fold using a large spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Once all the almond flour mixture is incorporated check for the correct consistency, the batter should be firm, have a glossy shine and drip smoothly from the spatula. Make sure that the entire almond mixture is incorporated. Take in the batter with your spatula and press it against the bowl in the same motion to remove the air from the batter. This step is very important. If you overwhip the batter will be too runny so do not overwhip. It should flow like lava, slowly but form ribbons.
  5. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag filled with a 1/2 inch plain round tip(#12), and pipe 1 1/3 inch rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets. Gentle tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Do this step atleast 10 times. If they have a tip, gently pat it down with your wet finger. Let stand at room temperature for 30-40 minutes atleast. Check for a slight crust to form on the macaron. The macarons should not stick to your finger when lightly touched.
  6. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 15 minutes.
  7. Allow macarons to cool on the baking sheets for 30 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
  8. For the gingerbread buttercream filling:
  9. In a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, add the butter and salt and whip until light and creamy about a minute. Add in the spices like ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and whip again for 15 seconds to incorporate. Add in the molasses and mix again till incorporated about 15-20 seconds.
  10. Add the sugar, vanilla extract to a whipped butter and mix until the ingredients are well combined and the mixture is smooth about 2 minutes. Use a pastry bag to pipe the flat side of the macaron shell. Use the same sized macaron shell to cover the icing.
  11. For the icing:
  12. Royal Icing:
  13. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the confectioner's sugar, meringue powder on low speed until combined.
  14. On low speed, slowly add the water and let it combine. Add in the vanilla extract. Scrap the bowl.
  15. Continue to mix the icing on low speed until the icing is light in color and holds a stiff peak, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not overmix the icing.
  16. Use the stiff consistency as-is for the outline of the cookie. Put the icing in a 12 inch pastry bag with a very tiny pipping tip. Scrap the icing down with a bench scraper. Secure the top tight. Use the pipping bag to decorate the macarons with royal icing. You can add sprinkles to the macaron if you wish.
  17. The bags can be kept in the refrigerator for 10 days. Keep the tips well secured, so as not to dry out the icing.
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