Get ready to pull your hair out, because today we are making a Christmas Macaron recipe. These Italian Macarons are filled with buttercream and topped with festive sprinkles.
Christmas Italian Macaron Recipe
There are two types of Macarons you can bake – French Macarons and Italian Macarons. I’ve tried my hand at French Macarons before and had descent success, so I figured it was time to try the Italian method.
What makes the two different is the way that the sugar is melted and added to the egg whites (almost like a marshmallow base) versus just adding the sugar straight to the egg whites (like a meringue cookie base).
Macarons are Gluten Free
That’s right! Macarons are naturally Gluten free because they use almond flour and not grain flour in the mixture. You can use a different nut flour if you absolutely need to, but almond flour is used 99% of the time.
Don’t think that these cookies have a strong almond flavor. Their flavor doesn’t come from the shell, it actually comes from the filling.
You can fill Macarons with almost anything. Jams and jellies, ganache, buttercream, Nutella, whipped cream, cream cheese – honestly, whatever you want.
I chose to go simple with bright green buttercream for a big, bold Christmas color. I used a piping tip to give them a ruffled look around the sides.
The fun sprinkles and glitter were added before baking. Don’t go overboard if you’re adding sprinkles, you don’t want your tops to collapse.
The edible gold leaf was added after filling them.
Why do Macarons Fail?
Honestly, I’ve had quite a few Macaron failures over the years. I think I’ve got it under control, just to have them totally fall short out of the oven. Here’s a few reasons why you could have a Macaron failure in your kitchen.
- Uneven Tops – dry ingredients were not sifted, and therefore lumpy batter is under-mixed.
- Cracked Tops – Batter was over mixed.
- Shells are Crunchy – Shells were over baked.
- Flat Macarons – Temperature while baking was too hot, and batter was over-mixed.
- Hollow Insides – The egg whites were over-beaten. Or the shells were under cooked.
- Soft, wrinkled shells – Too much liquid was added. Don’t use liquid food coloring.
The Ideal Italian Macaron Features
If you are making Macarons, here’s a few things to look for to know that you have successfully made great Macarons.
- The tops of the shells are shiny and smooth.
- They get that ruffled foot during baking.
- They are soft and chewy on the inside.
Here’s a few more great flavor combinations for you to try out:
For the Italian Macarons
- 90 grams egg whites - at room temperature
- 172 grams granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 212 grams almond flour
- 212 grams powdered sugar
- 80 grams egg whites - at room temperature
- Tinsel Tossing Sprinkles from Sweetapolita
For the Buttercream
- 1/2 C butter
- 2 C powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp mint extract
- dash of salt
- Bright green food coloring - optional
- Preheat oven to 325F Line 3 large cookie sheets with parchment or a silicone mat with 1 1/2-inch circles.
- Prepare a double boiler with water for a gentle simmer.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the 90 g egg whites with the sugar, salt and cream of tartar. Place the bowl over the double boiler and heat to 150F to dissolve the sugar. Stir the mixture constantly while heating.
- Return the bowl to your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high for 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form. The bowl will be cool to the touch. Add your vanilla extract now.
- While the mixer is running, sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar. Add in the 80 grams of egg whites and mix until a paste forms.
- Fold in 1/3 of the whipped meringue. Repeat until all the meringue is mixed in. Press the mixture during the folding to remove any air bubbles. Continue folding and pressing until the batter runs off your spatula in a ribbon.
- Fit a large pastry bag over a tall glass. Fold the top of the bag over the edge of the glass. Fill the bag about 2/3 full.
- Pipe batter out on the silicone mat making them smaller than the circles. Firmly bang the cookie sheet on the counter 5 -10 times to release any trapped air bubbles. Pop bubbles with a toothpick and smoother over. Add sprinkles.
- Bake the macarons fir 10 - 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and immidately move the mat with the macarons to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- For the buttercream - Beat the butter for 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add in 1/4 of the powdered sugar , heavy cream, mint extract and salt. Gradually continue adding the powdered sugar until just combined. Beat for 5 minutes adding in any up to another tablespoon heavy cream if the mixture is too thick.
- Pip filling on to the "bottom" macaron shell and then top with the decorated one.
- Keep refrigerated for up to 5 days or freeze up to 2 months.
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