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Eggnog Macarons

Eggnog French Macarons are really very special. I think delicate and lovely Macarons could be the perfect elegant addition to your holiday table, or you can box them up and give them as gifts.

a closeup shot of eggnog macarons with nutmeg and a grater

People go absolutely gaga over French macarons. Over the course of the 10 years I was running my wedding cake business I watched the wave of French macaron popularity swell.

Hoping to ride the wave I started selling macarons as wedding favors and for dessert-table displays. I often had to make 200-300 cookies per order, which means baking 400-600 shells.

Because my commercial kitchen only had a powerful convection oven it took some trial and error to get a system down to produce those delicate little bites.

hundreds of macaron shells cooling on a table
Hundreds of macaron shells cooling in my commercial kitchen.
a clear box with 2 french macaron and a green ribbon
French macarons are the perfect wedding favor or box them up and give them as holiday gifts.
a french macaron display tree with brown pink and green cookies
A macaron tree is a spectacular centerpiece for a wedding or holiday table.

There are no shortcuts to perfect macaron!

So why I haven’t I posted a recipe for French Macarons before now? Well, I knew posting a macaron recipe would involve quite a bit of explanation and detailed description because there are no shortcuts to the perfect macaron.

Even experienced bakers can have trouble with the admittedly finicky cookies. I’ve given detailed instructions, but you may find that things work slightly differently in your own kitchen.

Even when making the Eggnog Macarons for this post I ran into a few problems. First, I had to scale down my recipe to a manageable size for a home kitchen.

When I baked the first batch in my home oven they browned way too fast and cracked. Turns out the oven in my house is running about 25°-50°F too hot. Who knew? Most baked goods can take a temperature variation, but it took these fussy cookies to make me check the calibration of my oven.

Anyway, once I got the oven sorted out I was back in business.  So that brings us back to these delicious Eggnog Macarons.

Both the shells and buttercream filling have classic eggnog flavorings. My buttercream filling is a mix of butter and the almond flour base. I originally got the idea for the filling from an old French cookie book and I love it because it’s not very sweet and has a great texture.

Important Steps for Macaron Success:

After making literally thousands of macarons I’ve keyed in on the steps that are necessary for the most perfect cookies.

  • Age the egg whites. This is the first and most important step. I’ve tried making macaron shells with freshly separated egg whites and I got cookies with ugly, lumpy shells. Remember, macarons are all about that perfectly smooth and satiny shell.
  • Weigh your ingredients. Volume measures are not precise enough for this recipe.
  • Grind the almond flour & sugar. It may seem redundant since the almond flour is already ground, but I’ve found that the extra step makes for a smoother shell in the end. I’m guessing it has something to do with the almonds absorbing some of the sugar, but whatever it is, don’t skip that step.
  • Sift the almond flour and sugar after processing it. Again, this will eliminate any lumps of sugar or large bits of almond that might mar the texture of the cookies and will also evenly distribute the spices.
  • Fold the batter until it’s smooth and shiny. Either under or over folding the batter will result in wonky shells. I’ve found it’s easier to under fold than over fold. Check out the slideshow below to see photos of the perfect batter texture.
  • Let the shells dry for 30 minutes before baking. This will set the top and help create the iconic “foot” of a perfect macaron.
  • Refrigerate the assembled cookies before serving. A night in a covered container in the refrigerator will help the cookies absorb some moisture from the filling and let the flavors meld.
  • You can freeze macarons for several weeks after they’re assembled, making them the perfect make-ahead dessert or gift.

Scroll through the step-by-step process photos to see how to make perfect French Macarons:

whipped egg whites on a whisk
The whites should be whipped to full peak.
a template for making macarons
Make a template to get consistently sized cookies. Mine are 2″.
macaron batter
The batter will start out rough and dull in appearance.
macaron batter
The batter get smoother and shinier, but it’s not there yet
perfect macaron batter
The batter is ready when it’s smooth and shiny but is not runny
piping french macarons on a sheet pan
Hold the piping bag 1/4″ over the parchment. Squeeze with constant pressure without moving the bag. A ball of batter will grow. Pipe to within 1/4″ of the template. The disc will spread to almost fill the circle.
french macarons baking
The feet will start to form in the first 5 minutes or so of baking
testing french macarons for doneness
Shimmy the top of the cookie. If it moves separately from the foot it’s not ready. If the middle is soft but the top is attached to the foot it’s baked.
a plate with eggnog macarons plus some on a table with nutmeg and grater

Will you get edible macarons if you don’t follow all these steps? Sure, they’ll be edible, but why go through all that trouble for an ordinary cookie? Take the time to create something really special to share with your loved ones this holiday season.

Now that you’ve made this recipe what should you do with the extra yolks? Check out this collection of recipes that use extra yolks for some great ideas.

Once you’ve mastered the French Macaron you might want to try your hand at another very special French pastry, Caneles de Bordeaux.

If you love French Macarons (and I know you do) here are some other lovely flavors to try:

If you like this recipe please consider giving it a 5 star review!

eggnog-macarons-13a

Eggnog Macarons

Yield: 24 sandwich cookies
Prep Time: 1 hour
Baking Time: 13 minutes
Drying Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 43 minutes

French Macarons are really something special. Make them for the holidays with delicious eggnog flavor. The ingredients for this recipe are given by weight for the most accurate measurement.

Ingredients

Eggnog Macaron Base Mix

  • 6 oz (168g) Almond Flour
  • 2 oz (56g) granulated sugar
  • 8 oz (224g) confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Eggnog Macaron Shells

  • 3 large egg whites, aged overnight in the refrigerator (see note)
  • 1.5 oz (42g) confectioner's sugar
  • 12 oz (336g) Eggnog Macaron Base Mix

Eggnog Macaron Buttercream Filling

  • 1 stick (4 oz, 112g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Remaining Eggnog Macaron Base Mix
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons brandy

Instructions

To Make The Base Mix

  1. Pulse the almond flour, granulated sugar and confectioner's sugar in a food processor to combine.
  2. Move the mixture to a sieve and sift with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk the ingredients after sifting to be sure they are well combined
  3. Divide the base - setting aside 12 oz (336g) for the macaron shells and the remaining for the buttercream filling.

To Make the Macaron Shells

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Use a biscuit cutter or glass to draw twenty-four 2" circles on a 1/2 sheet of parchment paper. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and put the paper with the circles underneath the parchment on one of the pans.
  2. Whip the egg whites to soft peak. With the mixer running add the 1.5 oz of confectioner's sugar and whip to full peak. Gently fold the almond mixture into the whites in two batches. Continue folding until it becomes soft and shiny, but not thin and runny.
  3. Scoop the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip (or cut the tip of a disposable bag). Pipe discs of batter until until they're 1/4" from the edges of the circles you've drawn. Sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg onto each cookie. Set the pan aside to allow the cookies to dry for about 30 minutes.
  4. Touch the top of a cookie to make sure it's dry to the touch, it can be a bit tacky but shouldn't stick to your finger
  5. Bake for 7-8 minutes. For even baking turn the trays so the back side is at the front and rotate the trays between racks. Bake for another 5-6 minutes until the shells are dry and the centers are still soft.
  6. To check if the shells are baked I like to gently shimmy the top of the shell. If it jiggles separately from the "foot" the inside is still too soft. If it feels soft but is attached to the foot it's done. Be careful handling the shells, it's easy to crack the surface

To Make the Buttercream Filling

  1. Combine the softened butter with the remaining base mix and flavorings. Whip on medium-high speed until the buttercream lightens in color and becomes aerated.
  2. Scoop the buttercream into a clean pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip or cut the tip of a disposable bag
  3. Pair up the cooled shells by size. Flip over half the shells and pipe a dollop of buttercream. Sandwich the cookies gently, handling the cookies by the edges and not the tops.
  4. The finished cookies should be refrigerated in a covered container for 1 day before serving. The cookies can also be frozen for several weeks.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

kay

Wednesday 9th of January 2019

Hi, I will be catering a formal event and would like to make these gorgeous macarons. Your instructions say they can be frozen, what is the process to unthaw them? Also,can they be stored at room temperature or should they be refrigerated? If so, how long can they be refrigerated? I have cakes, pies, chocolate dipped strawberries, and cupcakes I will also be preparing, so I'm trying to prepare ahead if possible. Please advise and thank you.

Eileen

Wednesday 9th of January 2019

Hi Kay. I used to make macarons as wedding favors when I had my cake business and would work a week or two ahead. I would say up to 3 days you can store them in the refrigerator, longer than that put them in the freezer. To store them, line them up in plastic containers. Place sheets of parchment between the layers and work carefully so they don't crack. If you're going to freeze I suggest you also wrap the container in plastic wrap just to make sure no freezer smells get into the container. Unwrap the container and let them defrost either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I always store macarons in the refrigerator until I'm ready to serve them. In fact, they need at least a day in the refrigerator to "ripen". Personally, I kind of like them cold, but you can let them come to room temperature for serving. They're also easier to set up on a display when they're chilled since the filling is firm. I don't know if you've seen them, but I also have recipes for Lemon Blueberry Macarons, Strawberry Rose Wine Macarons and Chocolate Bailys Macarons.

Wayne

Saturday 7th of January 2017

Why can't a view a recipe without my 6 year old daughter looking over my shoulder and 'strongly suggest' that we bake right now! Because the photo of the macarons with the bow look so wonderfully delicious! Thank you Eileen for the recipe :)

Eileen Gray

Saturday 7th of January 2017

Ha, ha! Thanks, Wayne.

Monika Dabrowski

Wednesday 14th of December 2016

These look absolutely beautiful! How did you get them to be practically identical? Precision baking is not my forte so I really admire this skill in other people:)

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 14th of December 2016

Thanks Monika. 30 years of pastry experience helps, but using a template with the circles drawn helps keep the sizes consistent.

Erin

Monday 12th of December 2016

I've never made macaroons. These look lovely!

Amanda

Sunday 11th of December 2016

These are truly impressive! I'm sure it takes a bit to master the technique. What really surprised me is that it uses almond flour. That is good news for those sensitive to gluten. Love the tip about aging the eggs.

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