Sunday, December 4, 2011 / 82 Comments / , , , ,

Easy Peppermint Macarons & Holiday Decor


Hello Friends! Come in, come in! It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here. Our trees are up and the weather is starting to cool down. I'm no stranger to making French Macarons, and as I've said before, they're not hard to make if you follow the right recipe. I just read on that macarons and other tiny treats are no longer going to be hot in 2012. So make them now! I had a great excuse as my first "room mom" duty of the year for my daughter's preschool called for cookie baking for the holiday sing. Unfortunately (fortunately?) this batch was thrown on the floor by a certain 20 month old, so we were forced to eat them. These peppermint macarons filled with ganache were the best I have ever made. A little peppermint extract does wonders for these delicate little cookies. 

Before we get to the recipe, I wanted to share a little of our Christmas decorating...

The Trees
This year the girls have had so much fun decorating and redecorating their tree. The kiddie tree is in our playroom/family room and covered in plastic and wooden brightly colored ornaments. B (4) says she's going with a "Jewelry Box Fairy" theme this year. My "mommy" tree is in the living room and I decided to keep it all silver and white. I'm going with a "woodland fairy" theme, you could say :)
photo tip: for glowing tree pictures check out Unskinny Boppy

The Mantel 
I stuck to what I love best - white and naturals. With a hint of glitter. I love my mercury glass, it feels vintage and glamorous at the same time. I added a new grapevine wreath this year and weaved some tiny lights throughout. I love the rustic feel it adds.

A Sweet Table 

So what do you think, are macarons on their way out? Or are they a Parisian classic that will always be on the hot list?

  Peppermint Macarons

printer friendly recipe

*I made some with white chocolate ganache and some with semisweet chocolate ganache. In my opinion the semisweet were way better. The white chocolate made the photos for being more photogenic and not being consumed as rapidly.

1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar
1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract 
  1. To make the macarons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners' sugar mixture and extract until completely incorporated.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macarons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.
  3. Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macarons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macarons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
Melt chocolate and cream together in the bowl of a double boiler, stirring to combine. Cool slightly. Pour in a pastry bag and snip off end. Fill macarons and sandwich together. 
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