With traditional cranberry orange flavor, these delicate Cranberry Walnut Macaron with Orange Buttercream have an incredible sweet tart flavor that’s unexpectedly delicious.
I can’t believe that #CranberryWeek is here!! I also can’t believe that Thanksgiving is here, too!! Where did the year go?
After #AppleWeek and #PumpkinWeek, Caroline from Caroline’s Cooking and I starting planning a new event called #CranberryWeek. Well, more her than me, but I did offer input on a few of the elements. I hope this is a big event and will devote more time next year to it.
Yes, I realize it’s the week of Thanksgiving, but in all honesty when do you truly think about cranberries? When you have to buy that required can of “sauce” to put on the table with the rest of your trimmings. Right? I was the same way until I gave some dried cranberries a chance and have been hooked on these little red berries ever since.
In preparation for #CranberryWeek, I bought some freeze-dried ones from nuts.com. I also ordered some walnut meal. You see where I’m going with this, right? When I found the freeze-dried cranberries I knew macarons would be in my future.
I love how the flavors of other nuts can come through in these delicate shells. Consequently, I didn’t want just almond meal for these cookies. And to me, walnuts and cranberries go together very well. Maybe pecans, too, but I didn’t see pecan meal.
Besides, I’m almost saving those for like a pecan pie macaron anyway.
I had all my ingredients set to go and set out to make these decadent cookies. Except, I seem to keep forgetting about the temperature. I have 300 F stuck in my head but it truly should be 325F. Whenever I forget, I don’t get feet and sometimes have cracked shells. Since I had more freeze-fried cranberries, I thought I’d try again!
This time I remember the 325 F thing, and while I had feet, I had cracked tops. Cracked tops means extra moisture from something. Maybe it’s the walnuts? I’ve never worked with them before in macaron.
I’m standing in the kitchen going over all of the steps in my head to make sure I didn’t miss something. Then I remember that the second grind in the food processor left a dark red powder and not a light red powder.
This means that the cranberries were not as freeze dried as I thought.
I was under the impression that when something was freeze dried that it was, in fact, dried. Apparently that’s not so much the case.
Another interesting tidbit about this recipe, my husband liked this version. The first batch I took to work like I usually do because he’ll eat one and be done. OH no. Not this time. He seriously pouted when I took the first batch to work. Consequently, I didn’t put them out for everyone to eat so I could bring some home.
And the second batch?
“You’re not taking all of those to work, too, are you?” Except, this time I gave him grief saying I brought a whole container back and he had like one. Here’s the kicker. He doesn’t like the buttercream filling. *Lightbulb*
I have no idea how someone couldn’t like cranberry orange buttercream but whatever. I think these are up there with one of my favorite batches. Next to the Derby Pie macaron I made I think these are my next favorite batch. I love the sweet tart flavor of the cranberry and the orange and the walnut flavor is definitely richer than the almond meal.
I know, they’re macaron.
But, you really should just get over it and try these directions. I’ve made dozens of batches using these same directions. Granted not all were picture perfect, but most of them have been.
What’s your favorite cranberry orange baked good? Or do you even LIKE cranberry orange combinations?
- 1 ounce almond meal
- 3 ounces walnut meal
- 7 ounces powdered sugar
- 1/2 ounce freeze dried cranberries
- 4 ounces egg whites, room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 drops orange extract
- 40 grams granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 To 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
- 1 ounces Cointreau or other orange flavored liqueur
For the shells:
- Pulse the powdered sugar, the almond meal (sometimes called flour), the walnut meal, and the freeze-dried cranberries together in a food processor to form a fine powder. Sift three times into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large, metal mixing bowl). Sprinkle the cream of tartar over the eggs and hand mix the two together with the whisk attachment for the stand mixer (or hand mixer). Fasten the whisk attachment and beat the mixture on medium speed until foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Add 1/3 of the almond mixture into the bowl with the meringue. Fold the ingredients together with a large spatula until incorporated. Continue adding the almond mixture and folding until all the almond mixture is incorporated into the meringue and the mixture should drip slowly off the spatula; like lava flowing. (Think conditioner dripping out of a bottle. That works for me.)
- Transfer the batter to a large piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip and pipe 1 1/3 inch rounds onto a silpat covered baking sheet. There are several different templates out there. Two that I like are here and here.
- Preheat oven to 325.
- You’re going to LOVE this next part! Once all the batter has been piped or your sheets are full, grab the edges of the pan, secure the silpat with your thumbs (or any extra batter) and rap the pans on the counter. That’s right! You heard me! Bang them on the counter!! This releases any remaining air bubbles in the meringue. Continue rapping the sheets, turning occasionally, until no more air bubbles surface. Allow the macaron to rest on the counter at least 30 minutes or more depending on the humidity level of your kitchen. You should be able to lightly tap your finger on a shell and have it not stick. If it feels a little sticky, let them rest an additional 15 minutes until they no longer feel tacky to the touch.
- Once they’ve rested and the tops are no longer sticky to the touch, bake at 325 for 7 to 9 minutes. Rotate the pans front to back and top to bottom and bake an additional 7 to 9 minutes. Do the wiggle test to see if the meringue is cooked; carefully grab the top of the shell and if it moves easily from side to side when wiggled, indicating the meringue isn’t completely cooked, then continue to cook in 2 to 3 minute intervals until they no longer wiggle. It’s a technical term, I know.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before filling.
For the buttercream:
- Combine the butter and powdered sugar together in a medium mixing bowl and beat until combined. Add in the cranberry sauce and Cointreau. Continue to beat until the mixture is light, fluffy, and no longer grainy.
- Place the filling in a piping bag fitted with a plain tip (or glam it up and use a star tip like I did) and pipe the filling onto one shell, almost to the edge. Top with another shell and allow to rest before serving.
Welcome to #CranberryWeek, hosted by Caroline’s Cooking and A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. We’ll be sharing cranberry-inspired creations all week long in celebration of national cranberry day. Search #CranberryWeek to keep up to date and follow the #CranberryWeek Pinterest board for more cranberry inspiration. But first, see all the other cranberry recipes being shared today:
- Apple-Ginger Cranberry Sauce from Palatable Pastime
- Broccoli Salad with Cranberries from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Cranberry Blondies from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Cranberry Caipirinha from Caroline’s Cooking
- Cranberry Oat Smoothie from Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Cranberry Walnut Macaron with Orange Buttercream from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Warm Cranberry Spread from Family Around The Table