For some reason, I try to make the most difficult things there are. Not saying these are super difficult, but rather ‘more involved’. My first two attempts were something less of successful. Once you get the ‘feel’ for it when it’s right though, you won’t forget.
You can make the buttercream ahead of time if you wish – and refrigerate, but be sure to bring to room temperature before using.
Recipe original at Butter Baking – please click that link and leave a thank you.
GINGERBREAD MACARONS WITH EGGNOG BUTTERCREAM
*Ingredients for the macarons*
- 300 g almond meal
- 300 g icing sugar
- 110 g egg whites
- 30 ml strong coffee
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 300 g caster sugar
- 75 ml water
- 110 g egg whites
- 1 tsp dutch cinnamon
- pinch ground ginger (extra)
- pinch sea salt
*Ingredients for the buttercream:*
- 150 ml milk
- Seeds from 1/2 a vanilla pod
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 200 g unsalted butter (softened)
- 50 g icing sugar (sifted)
- 1/4 cup brandy or rum
- Directions for macarons
- Cut several sheets of parchment paper to fit your pans.
- Sift the almond meal and icing sugar into a large bowl and mix well with the ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
- Pour 110g egg whites, the coffee and vanilla over the dry ingredients. Do not mix. Set aside.
- To Make an Italian meringue
- Put the remaining 110g egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Do not turn on.
- Put the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir. Place over a medium heat and fit with a candy thermometer.
- Watch the sugar as it boils. When the mixture reaches about 110 C, turn the egg whites onto a high speed. Whip these until they form very soft peaks. The sugar should be 115 C at this stage.
- When the sugar reaches 115 C, turn off the heat. While the egg whites are still beating on high, pour the sugar syrup, very slowly, into the eggs. Aim for a point in between the side of the bowl and the moving whisk. Continue to beat until the mixture cools (feel it through the bowl).
- Fold the Italian meringue into the almond meal mixture in three batches, until well incorporated and smooth.
- Getting Ready to Bake
- Spoon into a piping bag fitted with medium round nozzle and pipe small 1 inch rounds of mixture onto the lined trays, allowing a little room for spreading. Tap each tray onto the bench a few times to remove air bubbles. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
- Set the trays of macarons aside for about 30 minutes so they can develop a skin. Preheat the oven to 350.
- Combine the cinnamon, extra ground ginger and sea salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle a little over each macaron right before baking.
- Bake the macarons for 11 – 12 minutes. Some people open the door at the 8 minute mark to let steam out – I did not do this, but if you are having trouble, you can try it.
- Gently life macarons off paper and set on a rack to cool.
- Directions for buttercream:
- Pour the milk and vanilla into a small saucepan. Heat over a medium heat until just beginning to boil. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl.
- Combine the caster sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Whisk this into the egg yolks a little at a time. Once the milk is beginning to boil, slowly pour it into the egg mixture, while constantly whisking.
- Pour the custard back into the saucepan and return to a medium to low heat. Whisk constantly to avoid lumps, until the pastry cream is thick.
- Transfer to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap right on the surface. Place in the freezer to cool.
- Meanwhile, beat the butter and icing sugar using an electric mixer until very light and fluffy. Add the alcohol, about a tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition.
- Once the pastry cream is cool, beat it into the butter.
- Assemble the cookies:
- Try to match the shells up by size, so they have equal tops and bottoms. Place the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a medium round nozzle and pipe onto one half of the pair. Place the tops on pressing slightly.
- Keep refrigerated once iced. I did not ice all of these at one time, and kept the baked shells in a tupperware container in the pantry until I was ready to fill them. The recipe makes quite a lot of little cookies.