Gingerbread Macarons with Eggnog Buttercream

gingerbread macarons by butter
Christmas is only a week away now!

How crazy.

Where did this year go?!

gingerbread macarons by butter
It was winter all of about five minutes ago. It was cold and rainy and wet and miserable.

Then before I knew it, it started getting warm. And the sun started rising earlier. And summer came along with a bang.

The stores put up their Christmas decorations. And trees. And Santa popped up in all the malls.

gingerbread macarons by butter
And now, Christmas carols are playing everywhere.

I’ll let you in on a little secret?

I love them. I am a Christmas sop.

gingerbread macarons by butter
Miracle on 34th Street
and all the Home Alone movies and songs like It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

All I need now is to be on the opposite hemisphere and for there to be a little snow outside and I’d be in heaven at Christmas.

gingerbread macarons by butter
This past Sunday it was a little chilly, it rained a bit, the sky was grey and I had the day off. So I turned on carols and spent the morning baking in my pyjamas. Christmas baking. The best kind of baking.

gingerbread macarons by butter
Last year I made you some absolutely delicious Gingerbread Men for Christmas.

This year I went one better. I made you gingerbread spiced macarons. With spiked eggnog buttercream. The best of both worlds.

gingerbread macarons by butter
Don’t you just love me right now?

Yeah, I thought so.

Happy Christmas baking! What’s happening in your kitchen these holidays?

gingerbread macarons by butter
GINGERBREAD MACARONS WITH EGGNOG BUTTERCREAM

For the gingerbread macaron shells
300g almond meal
300g icing sugar
110g egg whites
30ml strong coffee
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g caster sugar
75ml water
110g egg whites
1 tsp dutch cinnamon
pinch ground ginger, extra
pinch sea salt

Line 4 – 6 trays with baking paper.

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.

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.

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 180 C (350 F).

Combine the dutch 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, opening the door at the 8 minute mark and the 10 minute mark, in order to let out any steam. If they grow and develop little “feet”, they have worked. They are ready when you can gently lift one off the tray without leaving its foot behind.

Set the macarons aside to cool completely while you make the buttercream.

For the eggnog buttercream
150ml 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
200g unsalted butter, softened
50g icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup brandy or rum

First, make a pastry cream. 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.

Match the macaron shells up so they have partners of similar size. Upturn one shell of each pair of macarons.

Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a medium round nozzle.

Pipe a little buttercream onto the center of each upturned macaron. Sandwich it together with its partner.

Keep refrigerated. Makes 50 – 60 macarons.

35 Thoughts on “Gingerbread Macarons with Eggnog Buttercream

  1. I’m jealous that you can make up your own macaron recipe! Seriously. I’ve made them once and I was just happy that I was able to follow a recipe and make them turn out right! And I love the unique flavors you put into this one. Beautiful job as always, photography and all.
    On a side note, it must be so crazy to have Christmas in the middle of summer! And I’m a Christmas sop too. :)

    • Hahah the first time I made them, my only focus was getting them to turn out right too. But as you do it again and again you come to realise that it really is simple, it just requires precise planning and timing ;-)
      Thanks so much, you’re really kind!
      And I know, it is very weird to have Christmas in summer! Doesn’t make sense really :-) Hope you have a great Christmas this year!!

  2. Naoma Sproles on December 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm said:

    Hello, why don`t you give in your recipes, American measurement`s?????? Nan

    • Hi Naoma, I live in Australia where we use grams, which is why my blog uses grams.
      I have provided a conversions page to help with American measurements, but a good key to remember is that 28 grams = 1 ounce. Otherwise, a kitchen scale is great, and typically allows you to change between grams and ounces.

      • In all technicality, using grams is a much more accurate way to measure small amounts anyways. And most scales come with the ability to switch between standard and metric. Natasha, thank you for this wonderful recipe! I am going to be using it as one of my plated desserts in my Advanced Pastry class!

  3. Whoa, eggnog buttercream?? You have the best ideas and flavor combinations! When are you opening your own bakery? :)

  4. Debbie Ware on December 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm said:

    I am a just a little confused. “pour 110grms egg white with the coffee and vanilla onto dry ingredients and leave. Next paragraph make italian meringue with the remain 110grms egg, white, where has this come from as I have put it on the dry ingredients

    • 110g egg whites are listed twice in the ingredients list Debbie, once at the top with the dry ingredients, and again lower down with the other ingredients used for the Italian meringue.

  5. Amazing, I love how festive these are. Beautiful pictures.

  6. Mmmm Sounds like a great combo, perfect for the holidays. Don’t think I’ve made macarons since…probably culinary school :S I must try these, your photos are gorgeous!

  7. These look so scrumptious. I love eating macarons but have never tried making them. Might give this a try :)

  8. I’m guessing icing sugar is powdered sugar but what is caster sugar?

  9. These macaroons look good, I must try to make them!

  10. Hi! I’m Anjo from Munchcraft, and I just wanted to let you know that I posted a picture and link of your macaron as part of my eatpraylove series. Because your macarons are awesome and deserve lots of love. And eating. Hope it’s okay? If not, let me know and I’ll take it down ASAP. Thanks! :D :D :D

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  13. Charlene on December 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm said:

    I am looking forward to making these this year for Christmas! But I have never made an Italian meringue and I am nervous about the timing of the sugar syrup temperature and the soft peak egg whites. Also, I was wondering if there is a substitute for the brandy/rum in the eggnog buttercream since I do not have those in my pantry and I do not want to go out and purchase any. Thank you!

    • Hi Charlene!
      Good luck with the italian meringue then! Follow the instructions, use a thermometer, and you should be fine.
      As for the eggnog, replace with your alcohol of choice, rum essence, or omit altogether.
      Merry christmas! :-)

  14. Hi Natasha,

    I’m putting together a holiday baking recipe round-up for my blog, Handcrafted Parties, and I’d love to feature one of your macaron photos in my post, with photo credit, a recipe link and a direct link to your homepage.

    Please let me know if this is okay, as soon as you have a chance.

    Thanks!
    Lisa Frank :)
    handcraftedparties.com

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  16. Hi, I plan to make these for Christmas – the first time I will be trying macarons! But I hate coffee. Can I leave that out, or do I need to substitute something to make them come out right? Also how long do they keep in the fridge?

    • They don’t taste like coffee Charlotte, it just adds colour (naturally) and depth of flavour. If you don’t like it that much then leave it out, but they will be a different colour. And they last a few weeks and freeze well.
      Merry Christmas!

  17. Sarah Walker on December 24, 2013 at 11:46 am said:

    Is it possible to omit or substitute the coffee?

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