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Peppermint Macarons are the sweetest, most melt-in-your-mouth delicious Christmas cookie with a wonderful vanilla peppermint buttercream filling. They fancy up a Christmas cookie platter or Christmas cookie exchange with one of the best flavors of the holiday season!
I love the classic Christmas cookies like peanut butter blossoms or soft & chewy gingerbread men, but there are so many cookies to try and so few days of Christmas that each December I like to make at least a couple new cookie recipes. Especially if I'm going to a Christmas cookie exchange party with friends!
Peppermint is one of my favorite flavors of the Christmas season. The vanilla peppermint buttercream that I made for filling the macaron shells is so delicious and perfectly balanced without being overly minty.
Just be sure you use peppermint and not some other kind of mint like wintergreen. Nobody wants to bite into a macaron that tastes like toothpaste.
Macarons are my go-to solution when I find myself with extra egg whites on hand. Like during the summer when I make custard-based ice creams and use leftover yolks for Jolly Holiday raspberry rose macarons.
These cute little peppermint macarons are the perfect way to use up all those leftover egg whites that I end up with around Christmastime from making a batch of homemade eggnog or old-fashioned divinity.
I just stored my leftover egg whites in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two and then pulled them out an hour before I wanted to make these peppermint macarons so they could come to temperature since I didn't want to bake these the same day that I was making eggnog.
But I guess you could always do something healthy with them like make an egg white omelette or something.
Seriously though, please don't be intimidated by macarons! Even imperfect macarons taste amazing. And they really aren't as difficult as you might think!
I'm no expert at macarons by any means and I shun fussy notions like weighing ingredients unless absolutely necessary, opting instead to just use the good old measuring cups that I'm used to. And so far, I'm unconvinced that using a scale to measure out almond flour and egg whites is absolutely necessary.
Which means I'll never be accepted into the world of macaron connoisseurs. And I may have a batch here and there that doesn't turn out perfect little "feet" (those ruffly delicate bottoms that are a hallmark of a quality macaron).
But I'm okay with that. And so were my friends who lived in France for years and declared these at least as good as the authentic macarons they enjoyed there. They were probably just being nice, but hey, I'll take that kind of flattery any day!
Tips for Making Macarons
Instead of a lengthy explanation of macaron theory and troubleshooting (which I find intimidating and overwhelming), I'm going to focus on the 3 things that I think are most important to know when making macarons.
- Make sure you use room temperature egg whites.
- Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together well before folding them into the egg whites by hand with a rubber spatula.
- Let the macaron shells dry for 30-45 minutes before baking.
More Christmas Cookies You Will Love
- Toffee Pecan Shortbread Cookies
- Double Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Mexican Wedding Cookies [aka Russian Tea Cakes]
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 3 egg whites room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Red gel food coloring
- ½ cup butter softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2-3 Tablespoons cream or milk
- 4-5 candy canes crushed (optional)
- Combine the almond flour and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Using a sifter, sift mixture 3-4 times, until thoroughly combined.
- Separate egg whites from yolks and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until they begin to froth. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until the egg whites begin thicken and resemble shaving cream. Add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form when you lift the whisk attachment from the bowl.
- Add the sifted almond flour and powdered sugar to the egg whites in three additions, mixing by hand using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after each addition until combined. The batter will be thick at first but as it comes together it will loosen up. I use a folding motion and mix until the batter falls off the spatula in a blob but isn't runny. It might take making macarons a time or two to get the feel for it, but you want to try not to undermix or overmix.
- Prepare a pastry bag or large ziploc bag with the tip snipped off with a round tip. Add a few stripes of red gel food coloring up the insides of the bag before filling with macaron batter if you want the red and white swirl effect on your finished macarons.
- Pipe into 1-inch circles on parchment lined baking sheets using a swirl motion. Rap each pan against the counter 2-3 times to remove bubbles, then let the macarons sit uncovered at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
- Heat oven to 300 degrees, then bake macarons for 15-18 minutes. Cool completely before removing from the parchment paper.
- Beat the butter in a mixer until pale, smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, mixing well between additions.
- Add peppermint and vanilla, then add cream or milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach a spreadable, but still thick, consistency.
- Pipe frosting onto the bottom of one macaron shell, then top with a second shell. Roll edges of each filled macaron in crushed candy cane, if desired.
- Technically, you are supposed to wait to eat the macarons until the next day because they taste even better then, but they are super hard to resist!