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Gingerbread Macarons

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Come December, chocolate takes a back seat for me and I am all about the spices! I could eat gingerbread every day in December if my jeans would let me. These macarons have the ultimate winter pairing. Filled with homemade cranberry sauce and cream cheese buttercream, you will win over any cookie exchange or holiday party with these elegant and fancy macarons.

Gingerbread has the warm, cozy, comforting feeling that makes you want to snuggle up on the couch with your family watching Home Alone for the 15th time. Except these delicate desserts will turn heads making everyone think you are a senior French pastry chef AND you can bake them in your home kitchen.

If you are new to baking macarons, I highly recommend that you look through my post 'Macaron Perfection' which details the step-by-step of making a macaron. Once you know how to make the macaron shells, the combinations are endless.

You need to practice and learn how to make these perfect macaron shells. Perfect rise, with minimal holes, ensuring that our macaron shells not only look perfect but are not hollow inside.

I say this in every macaron post I make, macarons are an advanced 'cookie' to bake. They take precision, practice, and patience. You might follow the recipe 100% without realizing that your oven is a bit off or that you under or over mixed your batter. Keep practicing. Trust the method.

The ingredients for the shell are quite simple...

Blanched almond flour, powdered sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, brown gel food color and gingerbread spice. Here are a few photos of the German products that I use.

The process of making the shells is the same as my other macaron recipes. Just the few teaspoons of the gingerbread spice creates the most luscious and flavorful gingerbread macaron.

I am always blown away at the beauty of freshly piped macarons.

Even though I have been baking macarons for years, I still get butterflies in my stomach and worry with anticipation while they bake.

But nothing to worry about here!

Now that the hard part is done we can work on the cranberry filling.

I want to point out right away that two components of the filling can and should be made ahead of time. You can make them days or even weeks ahead of time. If making more than a day or two in advance you must place it in your freezer.

If you are not using leftover cranberry sauce for your filling then let me guide you in the right direction. First you MUST use fresh cranberries. Don't be afraid, they are incredibly easy to use. Just wash them, pick out any bad 'apples' and put it all into your saucepan along side the orange zest, fresh squeezed orange juice, orange slices and sugar. Stir. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 10ish minutes. Then stir in your cinnamon and nutmeg.

Now was that so hard?

You can sip your coffee, make lunch for the kids or just sit down and scroll social media for the 10 minutes. You will hear a lot of 'popping' sounds while the mixture cooks. That sound is the cranberries popping. When they pop, they release a lot of liquid. That is normal and good. The 10 minutes of simmering help to reduce the liquid and once the filling really cools it thickens up completely naturally. You will start to see it thicken at the end of the simmer but it won't truly be really thick until it has had time to cool and set in the refrigerator.

That's it. Really it is that simple. I like to store small amounts of my cranberry sauce in mason jars, so I have this filling on hand at all times.

Buttercream is so versatile, you can use this same recipe to decorate cakes and cupcakes. The recipe that I have for you today makes way too much buttercream. I do this on purpose. You always want to have more than necessary, just in case. Plus this buttercream freezes and stores wonderfully so you will always have it on hand.

I like to use an American buttercream because it is the stiffest of all buttercreams and make it easier to pipe delicate and detailed designs.

If you are in Germany like me, I like to use this brand of butter or Weihenstephan butter. Both are my favorite brands and I usually just buy whichever one is on sale. However I find that the different brands of powdered sugar are basically identical and do not make a difference. One brand is from the grocery store Penny and the other from Rewe.

Making the buttercream is not hard at all and only takes about 15-20 minutes from start to finish. Now that we have all of our components ready, we can start assembling.

You want to lay all the shells out on a clean service and find their 'matches.' You need to make sure that both shells are the same size. Keep one flat side down and flip over its partner. Then pipe a ring of cream cheese buttercream, creating a dam. This will ensure that the cranberry sauce stays in place.

Feel free to laugh at me, but I love using my kids spoons from when they were babies and just started to eat. The spoons are SO tiny and are perfect for spooning out a very small portion of filling.

That's it! Your macarons are finished! Just make sure to secure the top macaron shell and letting them cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set.

I'm not sure which I like best, the clean look of the gingerbread macaron shell sitting perfectly on top of the cream cheese buttercream, or seeing just a smidge of the cranberry sauce peeking through giving us the pop of color.

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday and as always, if you have any questions or comments about this dessert, please feel free to message me. I am here to help so that you can become the best home baker that you can be.

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