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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Christmas Macarons!

Did you know that it's Christmas in TWO weeks time??? I've had so much going on this past month that I'm struggling to fit it all in!

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I adore macarons, and two of my favourite bloggers, Deeba and Jamie, have started Mac Tweets, a blog for macaron lovers. It's a place where you can find macaron recipes, inspiration, ideas and join the Mac Attack challenge. If you want, you can also tweet about your triumphs, woes and 'feet' with the Mac Crowd.
For the latest challenge, I decided to make some festive cranberry macarons, adorned with pistachios and filled with white chocolate vanilla cream. I used my favourite recipe which I adapted for 1 egg white, especially useful for a small batch, which allows you can be experimental without wasting lots of egg whites. I know some people don't weigh their egg whites, but I prefer to and if you are making macarons for the first time, that would be my top tip as eggs really do vary in weight. I leave them out to come to room temperature for an hour or so first, and I always allow them to rest for an hour after piping. I've tried leaving the door ajar with a wooden spoon, and have cooked them with a closed oven door and haven't really seen any difference.
If you want a circle template to put under your Silpat or parchment paper as a piping guide, you can find one to print here.
For lots of tips, advice and macaron tales, visit the Mac Tweet site and have a go at making some - they're delicious!

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Festive Cranberry & Pistachio Macarons with White Chocolate Vanilla Cream

This recipe uses 1 egg white and only makes about 14 halves, 1½" across. I've added the amounts at the end for 4 egg whites.

42g ground almonds
75g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
38g egg white (roughly 1 large egg white)
10g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of dried sweetened cranberries that have been minced or chopped finely
Couple of drops of red food colouring
Handful of pistachio nuts, finely chopped

White Chocolate Vanilla Cream
60ml double cream, whipped until stiff
60g white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste


Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together in a bowl and put to one side.

In a large clean, dry bowl, whip the egg white with a pinch of salt until it becomes foamy and stiff. Gradually add the granulated sugar, whisking well after each addition, until the mixture is stiff and shiny.

Gently fold in the almond mixture and the minced dried cranberries using a large spoon or spatula, until incorporated. The mixture should be shiny and firm, but with a bit of 'flow' to it. Don't over-mix it or it will be too runny.

Fill a piping bag with a 1cm round tip and pipe the mixture onto Silpat or baking parchment. Tap the sheets gently to remove air bubbles and sprinkle a few chopped pistachio nuts onto half of the macarons. Let dry at room temperature for about an hour or so before baking.

Bake in a preheated oven, 160º/325F for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size.

Remove from the oven and leave to go cold. Peel off the Silpat or baking parchment.

Whip the cream until stiff and gently fold in the melted chocolate and vanilla bean paste. Pipe or spoon onto half the macarons and top with the other half before serving.

Amounts for 4 egg whites
125g ground almonds
225g icing sugar
110g egg whites brought to room temperature
30g granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
3 teaspoons of dried sweetened cranberries that have been minced or chopped finely
Couple of drops of red food colouring
Handful of pistachio nuts, finely chopped

White Chocolate Vanilla Cream
150ml double cream, whipped until stiff
150g white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste


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My festive macarons are headed over to the brilliant Food Blogga's Eat Christmas Cookies, being hosted by Susan. Don't forget that the page is being updated as the entries come in, so check them out!

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Some other Christmassy cookies on this blog:
Triple Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies
Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti
Pecan Pie Cookies
Chocolate and Pistacho Wedges
Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies
Chocolate Caramel Nuggets
Macademia and Ginger Fingers


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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2009 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

37 comments:

KennyT said...

So beautiful!!!

Bellini Valli said...

These are very festive Nic. Can you believe I have still never made a macaron. I had my first one in San Francisco:D

Katiecakes said...

They're SO SO pretty! I love them!

Katie xox

Happy cook said...

I love the colour and the spirniknles with the pistachio nuts.
Looks beautiful and perfect.

The Cooking Ninja said...

Simply beautiful! Yes I agree on weighing the whites. They vary from one egg to another.

Deeba PAB said...

Oh theses are just so gorgeous & festive Nic. I need you to make them for me the next time I vist...pretty please! Just getting my life together & I am tempted to try this superb combination...SOON! Will mail you in a few days. Loved seeing you & thanks for everything my dear! xoxo
Also, thanks for joining us in our 'feet finding' fun!

Sylvie said...

Christmas has somehow managed to creep up on me this year too. I haven't even had a chance to go to the German Christmas Market for a sausage and mulled wine yet! You macarons look wonderful, so pretty. Happy Christmas, Nic.

Jamie said...

These are not only gorgeous to look at but just perfect macs! I love the cranberries folded in! Beautiful job, Nic, just beautiful! So glad you participated in Mac Tweets!

sunita said...

Nic, your macs are so pretty and festive; perfect for this time of the year.

Grace said...

well, i still haven't hopped aboard the macaron train, but these are dainty and delicious. festive, too. :)

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Wow - how beautiful are those, Nic? Fantastic! I'm not a particular fan of macarons, but I'd happily give these a try ;)

The Mrs. said...

Mmmmmm these look beautiful and quite delicious!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Ooh well done, I love these pink cranberry macs. Wish I could eat one right now. xx

alexthepink said...

Wow, these look delicious! Very professional finish too...

mangocheeks said...

They look simply divine with a seasonal twist.

myfrenchkitchen said...

Beautiful macarons...they DO look festive!
Ronelle

diva said...

NIC! i love the colours in this, and oh did u do this on purpose - pistachios! i love :) send me some please. u have beautiful feet and they make me feel so festive now. i must get on the mac bandwagon as soon as i can. x

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Those are so pretty...such a gorgeous colour. And I like how the recipe is a nice, small, manageable quantity. Nice one for experimenting with something a little 'dangerous' like macarons!

Claire said...

These look fantastic! I need to try macaroons again after my complete failure when I did them for the daring bakers challenge. Love your festive flavours!

Patricia said...

Oh Nic they are beauteous and what an intriguing flavour for a macaron...thanks for the link to the macaron blog, I'll bob off there right now!! Cheers, Patricia in FRIGID Maine!!

nipitinthebud said...

wow I've never seen anything like it Nic - genius.
We hosted christmas dinner for my family today and your chocolate christmas pudding truffles went down a treat. Mine weren't as pretty as yours (more like spiky sea urchins) but they tasted delicious. I used bournville with seville orange to coat them. mmmm

vickys said...

hi! :)

I'm in awe! I love macaroons and after failing like, 276476 times, I have now developed a phobia.
Seeing yours just makes me wanna try them again...

Kathleen said...

These are just the sweetest things! I hope I can make them before Christmas! Thanks for sharing.

Sam said...

I can't believe how quickly Christmas is coming around! These would make a brilliant christmas gift!

Margaret said...

They look so beautiful Nic.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Those are oh-so-pretty in pink!

Chez Denise et Laudalino said...

They are lovely and I really like the flavors you used for the holidays, pistachios are so perfect this time of the year. I tried to sprinkle sumac on top of mine but they sunk. I will have to try nuts next time.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Your macarons are so pretty, Nic! And very festive - those colors are absolutely Christmassy.

eatlikeagirl said...

How gorgeous are these?! Bet they taste delicious too. YUM!

faithy, the amateur baker said...

very pretty!

Barbara Bakes said...

I'm so impressed you were able to add nuts and cranberries and still get those gorgeous feet! I think I'll try your 1 egg version next time!

Sophie said...

Oooh waw,...they look absolutely beautiful, Nic!!

MMMMMMMMMM,...Now, I would like to savour at least 3! Yummie!

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

I really need to get some macaroons in the oven! You've inspired me...

Katie said...

Just beautiful and so festive.

Lisa said...

Beautifully cheerful and festive! I must make macarons...

lisamichele said...

I absolutely LOVE the cranberry-pistachio combo in the shell, and what better than vanilla buttercream to round it off? Beautifully done, great photos, and love your blog! Have a wonderful holiday!

Katie said...

Beautiful! I love that you've posted a recipe that yields a small amount of batter. Thank you!