Coconut in shells and almond extract in the buttercream make these Snowmen Macaron taste like an almond joy! It wouldn’t be a blogging event if I didn’t make my favorite cookie.
This post is sponsored in conjunction with ChristmasSweetsWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the ChristmasSweetsWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.
Hi! My name is Christie and I’m addicted to baking macaron. It started when I was just wee little blogger of about 1 year old (technically 8 but who’s really counting!). I decided I wanted to make them for a recipe contest trying to be part of the “cool kids” group in blogging. Then my obsession just grew from there.
What was the first recipe you ask?
Bananas Foster-rita Macaron. I was trying to get into the “in” crowd (don’t judge me because I didn’t know any better when I started doing this for realz.). It was hosted by Frugal Foodie Mama and This Gal Cooks. There was a smaller group that would participate and I know I probably came on too strong and these women were like, “WTH is this chick?” Like I said, don’t judge because I was young and naïve.
Don’t we all do things when we’re first starting out blogging and we look back and say to ourselves, “WTF were we thinking?” I have a few moments like that. But, they wouldn’t make me who I am today as a blogger if I didn’t experience those situations or events.
Oh, and I’m done trying to find a “cool kids” crowd to belong to because I found something even better! I have found a group of bloggers who are just like me! They love to create recipes and blog about it. They have real lives and most of them have day jobs. I cannot relate to someone who is blogging full time as a new blogger. It just gives you unobtainable pipe dreams in my opinion.
Anyway! Back to the macaron!!
I was determined to master these finicky little beasts, but I knew all the YouTube watching wasn’t going to save me. That whole “lava flow” thing that they talk about for the consistency of the macaronage I just wanted getting. That’s when mom came to the rescue and sent me to school. She gave me a birthday present of a macaron class at Sur La Table. That’s when it all clicked!!
I think most are intimidated by them because – well I don’t really know why! I mean, I know my earlier recipes weren’t picture perfect, but I was trying to master them. I had a few accidental successes, but I guess it’s the lava flow macaronage consistency that could intimidate them. I still don’t quite get that, but what I do know is the batter is ready when it turns from matte to having a sheen to it. It turns glossy! And that’s exactly when I know it’s time to pipe.
I’ve learned over the few short years how to trouble shoot what goes wrong. Wrinkled tops? Oven temperature is too low. Hollow shells? Probably overworked the batter or cooked them too long. Can’t remove them from the silpat? Probably undercooked them and they need more time. For me, I have a brain fart and forget the temperature for my oven is 325. If I forget that, then they wrinkle and I do that V8 thing where I smacked myself in the forehead and then crank the oven up.
I keep saying this, but they’re really not hard to make.
Really not! The food processor processes the almond meal, powdered sugar, and any other ingredients I want to add in there. These have coconut chips in the shell. I was going for an almond joy type experience, but I think the shells need a bit more coconut flavor. The hardest parts are sifting three times or more and piping. At least for these it was piping. They didn’t quite come out in the shape I wanted. That just means I need to keep making them to master the snowman shape. That’s all!
The rest of the steps are make a meringue. I always use the American meringue. Wait at least 30 minutes for the tops to dry. And then you bake them. Of course there’s the whole what to put in the middle issue. Ganache or buttercream? Lately, I’ve been making buttercream because I suck at that, but the more you try to do something the more you learn and the easier it gets.
Of course, it’s easier to make these Snowmen Macaron when I know how the ingredients are going to act and react. That’s why I always use Dixie Crystals powdered sugar. When you’re doing a science experiment, there are certain controls that you need, right? Well, for me the science experiment of adding different ingredients in the shell for flavor means I use the same almond meal and the same sugars.
This is how I knew in the pizza macaron that it was the tomato powder that I added to the shells that made them too moist. And how I knew that the cranberry walnut ones weren’t smooth because of the walnut meal in the shells. When you keep the basic ingredients the same you can learn these nuances about making the cookies.
BUT you have to try to make them first!
- 4 ounces almond meal
- 7 ounces powdered sugar
- 2 ounces coconut chips
- 4 ounces egg whites, room temperature
- Pinch cream of tartar
- 45 grams granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 – 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- Pulse the 7 ounces powdered sugar, 4 ounces almond flour, and 2 ounces coconut chops 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 continue to 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 meringue. Continue folding and adding the almond mixture until all of it 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.) The mixture will have a sheen to it when it’s ready to pipe.
- Transfer the batter to large piping bags 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.
- 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. This indicates that the meringue isn’t completely cooked. Continue to cook in 2 to 3 minutes intervals until they no longer wiggle.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before filling.
- Cream the butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the powdered sugar and mix until becomes smooth and creamy. Stir in the almond extract.
- Add the whipping cream 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. You don’t want it too thin or it will squish out of the macaron when you eat them.
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