If you are one of those people who completely shuns Christmas until December, please, look away now. I shamelessly admit to loving Christmas and (almost) everything that comes with it. Yes, I confess, my tree went up last night a whole 5 days before the start of advent – shock horror!
I’d originally planned these macarons to take to cake clubs Christmas gathering (also held yesterday, so it’s not just me!), but time just wasn’t on my side this weekend, and I couldn’t make it back over to Nottingham. I decided to make them anyway, much to Rob’s delight, and we happily munched through rather too many, in front of a good Christmas film last night.
You can find my macaron recipe on this previous post. I followed it exactly as is, adding a tiny blob of gel colour in at the egg beating stage, saving the majority of green colouring to right before piping, painting lines of green gel colour inside the piping nozzle before adding the macaron mixture.
In hindsight I should have piped a bit through first, as the first shells came out rather uncoloured:
But, as I piped on, they got more swirly and candy-cane like, and when the piping bag needed refilling, I streaked in some more good, solid lines of colour (using a cocktail stick).
The result – some great swirly shells! I love how they got little circles in where the air bubbles rose up and popped (during the slamming on the worktop stage), no two were the same.
I left them for their skin-setting period and baked, and for reasons which fail me, they just did not rise up as much as my previous macarons. Answers on the back of a postcard please. Nevertheless they still had all the elements of good shells: shiny, crispy outsides, and soft chewy middles, all encompassed by great festive green swirls. (Yes, size-consistency is still on my to-do list 🙂 )
For the real candy cane element – the sweet mint flavouring, I whipped up some light, white, mint buttercream.
Using approx. 50g lurpak (good for white colour buttercream), 110g icing sugar and 1 teaspoon of peppermint essence (available easily in the supermarket), I beat the butter well, to add lightness in both flavour and colour, using an electric whisk on high for about 3 minutes, before adding in the icing sugar and mint flavouring.
I paired the shells up on the cooling rack ready, then sandwiched each pair together with a very generous dollop of the peppermint cream.
Ensuring it was well spread out from all sides (a cocktail stick came in handy here), I then rolled the whole macaron in red sparkly sugar, which stuck to the wet buttercream.
Half an hour in the fridge and they were soon ready to eat – a crunchy treat with a soft, sweet, sticky mint outside. They won’t be around for long!