Candy Cane Macarons for a Virtual Holiday Party

One of the most rewarding things about food blogging for me has been the wonderful friends I have made in the process.  There are a lot of really great bloggers out there, and I have become very close with some of them.  Even though we are spread all across the country, we still spend plenty of time emailing about much more than just food.  A few weeks ago as I was working on the guest list for my real life holiday party, I was thinking what a shame it was that I couldn’t invite some of the people I consider very good friends, just because we’re separated by pretty long distances.

And then I thought, who cares?  We could just have a virtual party instead!  So I emailed everyone to see if they would be interested in having a virtual party with me, and they were all game.  The idea is simple – each of us is posting something we would contribute to a holiday party.  Some made cocktails, some appetizers and some desserts.  Looking at everyone’s beautiful photos and tasty creations, it makes me really wish we could have done this in person.  (Ladies, you are always welcome in my home and we can make this a reality!)  I’ll definitely be trying each of these recipes in the future.  Below is the spread we have created together.  Click on the individual photos to be directed to the full recipes.

Tara of Smells Like Home made these beautifully festive cranberry lime bellinis.  I don’t know about you, but I enjoy just about any cocktail with cranberry and lime, so these are right up my alley.  She also shared a virgin version for those who can’t partake in the spirited variety.

Nikki of Pennies on a Platter made baked fontina.  A plate of amazing gooey melted cheese with herbs and seasonings, for eating with crusty bread?  Hello, I’m in love.  This was already on my list of recipes to try but now I think I’ll need to try it stat.

Kelsey of Apple a Day made sparkling pepper berry cocktails.  A beautiful bright red cocktail with a kick!  I’ll admit I’ve alway been a bit wary of things like desserts or cocktails including peppercorn, but if Kelsey recommends it, then I’m sure it is fabulous.

Elly of Elly Says Opa! made dolmades, a Greek dish of stuffed grape leaves.  Her version is vegetarian and includes a filling of rice and herbs.  I’ve never tried anything with grape leaves before but these look so delicious, I know I’ll be trying them soon.

Josie of Pink Parsley Catering made these gorgeous raspberry cream puffs.  Cream puffs are a wonderful dessert all on their own but the idea of filling them with raspberry pastry cream is pure genius.  And, these are definitely ideal party food since you can easily grab one (or three) with no utensils required.

And, I made the candy cane macarons you see above.  I actually did serve these at my real life holiday party which took place over the weekend, and they were a major hit.  I think it was the first time tasting French macarons for a lot of guests, and I think they are glad to have been introduced.  As usual, I was lukewarm about these because of the peppermint, but everyone else loved them and there were none leftover at the end of the night, despite me making a double batch!   The filling I used is a Swiss meringue buttercream, my favorite kind of vanilla frosting.  If you want something a little quicker, a basic vanilla buttercream would do just as well.  Or if you are a real mint lover, add a bit of peppermint extract to the frosting to enhance that flavor even more!

I had a wonderful time with this virtual holiday party and I’m very thankful for my food blogging friends.  You are all amazingly talented women and I feel lucky to know you!

Candy Cane Macarons
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Yield: about 20 macarons

For the macaron shells*:
200 grams confectioners’ sugar
110 grams almonds (blanched, slivered, or sliced)
90 grams egg whites (aged at room temperature for 1 day or 3-5 days in the fridge)
25 grams granulated sugar

Please note – measuring by weight is essential for macarons, so volume measures will not be provided.

For the filling:
½ cup sugar
2 large egg whites
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For garnish:
Crushed candy canes**

* If you haven’t made macarons before, you might want to check out this post about my first time making them.  It discusses some of the basics of this sometimes finicky cookie and has some step-by-step photos that might be helpful.
**It is really important to crush your candy canes well.  All too often I see holiday desserts with large, sharp chunks of candy cane that seem more likely to draw blood than make a dessert festive and appetizing.  Plus, crushing them is so fun!  I put them in a large plastic bag, grab the meat mallet and hammer away to be sure they are evenly ground.

To make the macaron shells, combine the confectioners’ sugar and almonds in a food processor.  Pulse until the almonds are finely ground and the mixture is well blended.  In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat, gradually adding the granulated sugar.  Beat until a stiff, glossy meringue forms (do not over-beat).  Add the ground nut mixture to the bowl with the egg whites.  Fold together with a spatula until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and the batter is thick and smooth.  (This should not take more than 50 strokes.)

Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Fit a pastry bag with a plain round tip and pipe small rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1½ inches in diameter.  Let the piped rounds sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to harden their shells.

Preheat the oven to 280˚ F.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool 15-20 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.  Let cool completely before filling or storing.

To make the frosting, combine the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar is completely dissolved.  Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium speed until a thick and shiny meringue has formed and the bowl is cool to the touch.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low.  Add in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding more.  Once all the butter is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until thick and smooth.  (The mixture may look soupy or curdled but it will come together eventually – just keep beating!)  Blend in the vanilla.

To assemble the macarons, pair up the shells by size.  Add the finished frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip.  Pipe a small round of frosting onto the flat side of one shell from each pair.  Sandwich together with the other shell and push gently together so that the frosting reaches the edges of the cookies.  Place the crushed candy canes in a shallow dish.  Gently roll the assembled macarons in the crushed candy canes so they adhere to the frosting.

Source: Tartlette

34 Responses

  1. Hello Annie,
    I love your blog! I was wondering how to convert this recipe to cups and teaspoons ect?? I would like to make these but I don’t have a scale..
    Thank you…
    Amanda.. 🙂

    • I added a note to the recipe, but for macarons to be successful, it’s essential to measure by weight so volume measures will not be provided. If you read my first post about macarons, it explains this a bit more.

  2. Thank you for the invitation, Annie! It does make me sad that we’re all so far apart but I’m so thankful for the friendships we’ve made. What a great party this was! Merry Christmas!

  3. macaroons look too good,..

  4. These look too pretty to eat! What an awesome idea to have a virtual holiday party. The recipes all look delicious!

  5. Love the virtual fiesta! And those macarons…goodness…gorgeous!

  6. Man…these are the prettiest Macarons ever! Really! Great job

  7. Looks delish!!

  8. Everything looks great! I would love to attend a holiday party like this. 🙂

  9. i love the idea of a virtual party, how fun! your macarons look so perfect. that is one dessert i am too intimidated to try so far

  10. I love your idea of hosting a virtual holiday party with blogger buddies! Everything looks fantastic :).

  11. Hey Virtual partying !!! Great idea AND no calories!!!!!

  12. I’m drooling.

  13. OK … I think I’ll get over my intimidation and try these babies out. Fingers crossed. 😉

  14. Those macarons are gorgeous, Annie! I think it’s awesome that you hosted a virtual party. Getting to know other bloggers and becoming friends with them is definitely the best part of blogging. 🙂 Happy holidays!

  15. Thanks so much for inviting me, Annie – this was so much fun! And I am now determined to try macarons. I”m thinking of trying Tartlette’s eggnog macarons. I think y’all should all come to BlogHer Food in Atlanta in the spring and we can have a big fun GTG!

  16. Thank you so much for the invitation, Annie! I had such a great time making my cocktail and truly wish we could all sit together and enjoy our treats. Hopefully we’ll be able to get together again this summer. Love and Christmas blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  17. I’m not a huge peppermint fan myself, but macarons always look so pretty and these are no exception! I’ve never made macarons, but I will have to try out your recipe soon. I recently started a food blog/diary myself, so hopefully I’ll be able to get it posted on there. Annie — this is by far one of my favorite daily reads, you do a GREAT job!

  18. Beautiful. The candy canes give them such pretty color.

  19. Your candy cane macaroons look delicious and your photos are amazing too! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  20. Thanks so much for reaching out and hosting our virtual get together, Annie! I had a lot of fun. The macarons look amazing.

  21. Thanks for hosting, Annie! Love your description of each dish!

  22. That looks like so much fun!

  23. I love this! I am for sure going to be making some of these. I’m a little nervous to try macarons, still, but I’m working up the courage!

  24. Looks great! I can’t wait to try these! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  25. Such a fun idea! Everything looks divine, especially your adorable macarons!

  26. So I’ve been wanting to make macaroons for a while now.. and after the holidays I am determined to take a look at your first post with tips and make some! Yours just look too good to keep holding back! Great job hostessing such a lovely party 🙂

  27. these look so great! and what a fun idea for a virtual party… 🙂

  28. What a great idea! Everything looks lovely

  29. those macarons are some of the prettiest that i’ve ever seen! i’ve always been too intimidated to try making macarons, but you have inspired me!

  30. OMG! annie, i am so envious!! those macarons look divine :O i’ll keep trying to successfully make them and perhaps one day i will prevail.

  31. I’m planning on making these tomorrow. Do I just set egg whites out overnight to age them? Is that safe? I guess since they are cooked it will kill any bacteria?
    I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

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