It’s Just…A Gingerbread Macaron Recipe

Gingerbread Macarons

It’s bitter cold here in Brooklyn. I know January is supposed to be cold, but I can’t really can’t get over it. I also just came back from 84 degree Miami, so that isn’t helping either.

To keep warm, I’ve been turning out stews, curries, soups. Really anything with heat or spice. I’ve also been on a gingerbread kick, and I made a batch of gingerbread macarons. The shells are lightly spiced and filled with a molasses, gingerbread buttercream. I brought some to a birthday party, and they were a big hit.

Gingerbread Macarons

Since macarons can be a royal pain in the ass, I thought I’d point out some tips and tricks that work for me. Not going to go into too much detail because Not So Humble Pie and Brave Tart do a great job. What I can tell you is this: If you are having trouble with a recipe DO NOT SWITCH. Each recipe has different ratios of ingredients and will be behavior differently. Instead, take your time with one recipe and tweak one variable at a time. In my experience, many macaron issues are not because of your technique but because you use a home oven, which is subject to uneven heating.

Ingredients
Measure your ingredients using a food scale. It will increase your success rate.

Sift your flour/sugar to ensure a smooth shell.

Meringue
A good meringue is absolutely critical to well formed macarons. This recipe calls for stiff peaks. That means the whisk will leave deep tracks and the meringue will look like fluff.

Gingerbread Macarons

Macaronnage
I often read to mix the dry ingredients into the meringue until it “flows like magma”. I’ve never seen magma and think this is a terrible description.

An under mixed batter has a stiff consistency. If you drop some of the batter on itself, it won’t ever fully reincorporate.

A perfectly mixed batter is just starting to show movement and is a slightly shiny, single mass. If you drop some of the batter on itself, it will reincorporate in about 10-20 seconds.

An over mixed batter has a runny consistency. If you drop some of the batter on itself, it will almost immediately reincorporate.

Gingerbread Macarons

Here, the batter is nearly ready. Just a few more folds to loosen it.

Piping
You need to SLAM your piped baking trays on a hard service 3-5 times to remove any excess air bubbles.

You don’t have to pipe all of the batter at once. You can leave it covered in the pipping bag for an hour or two.

Baking
For more consistent results and ensure even heat distribution, bake the shells on two professional baking sheets.

Some recipes call for you to dry your macarons on the counter up to an hour to form the skins. This really ins’t necessary. You can achieve as good, if not better results, by drying the shells out in a low heated oven.

Baking Method A: If you have a convection oven or one that heats evenly, bake the shells low at 200 degrees F for 15 minutes to dry out the shells. Then, increase the temperate to 350F until the foot and edge of the shells are firm, about 10 minutes.

Baking Method B: If you have an older oven or one that doesn’t heat evenly, pre-heat your oven to 400F. Put the pipped baking sheet into the oven and turn it off. After 7 minutes, turn the oven on to 400F and bake for another 7 minutes.

Baking Method C: If the above baking techniques didn’t work, follow Baking Method B, but place a single, empty baking try one or two racks above/below your pipped trays to defer your oven’s heat. If you have a top heating oven, put the empty tray above your cookies. If you have a bottom heating oven, put the empty tray below your cookies.

Gingerbread Macarons

Refrigeration
Macarons are not ready to eat out of the oven. They need time to mature or absorb the moisture from the filling. After filling, refrigerate overnight for that crisp outside, chewy interior texture.

Gingerbread Macarons
Know this: If your macarons are turning out less than perfect, don’t give up or switch recipes.
Gingerbread Macarons Shells
Yields 40 macarons
  • 165 grams almond flour
  • 165 grams confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • 5 grams powdered egg white
  • 150 grams granulated sugar
  • 3 grams cream of tartar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 115 grams aged egg whites
Pulse almond flour, spices, and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor 5 times for 3 seconds. Shift in a sieve to remove any clumps.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix the powdered egg white, granulated sugar, and cream of tartar. Add egg whites and whip on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 11 minutes. In the last minute, turn the speed up to medium high.

Working quickly, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue until the batter is just starting to show movement and is slightly shiny, single mass. If you drop some of the batter on itself, it will reincorporate in about 10-20 seconds.

Spoon batter into a pipping bag fitted with 1/2 inch tip and pipe quarter sized circles on a silpat or parchment paper. Slam the pipped trays on a counter 3-5 times to remove excess air.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the foot and edge of the shells are firm.

Baking Method A: If you have a convection oven or one that heats evenly, bake the shells low at 200 degrees F for 15 minutes to dry out the shells. Then, increase the temperate to 350F until the foot and edge of the shells are firm, about 10 minutes.

Baking Method B: If you have an older oven or one that doesn’t heat evenly, pre-heat your oven to 400F. Put the baking sheet into the oven and turn the oven off. After 7 minutes, turn the oven on to 400F and bake for another 7 minutes.

Baking Method C: If the above baking techniques don’t work, follow Baking Method B, but place a single, empty baking try one or two racks above/below your pipped trays to defer your oven’s heat. If you have a top heating oven, put the empty tray above your cookies. If you have a bottom heating oven, put the empty tray below your cookies.

Remove the silpat or parchment paper and let cool on a wire rack. Once full cooled, remove the shells.

Match up similar sized shells. Pipe the filling on half of the shells and sandwich together. Mature in a refrigerator overnight.

Keep filled or unfilled macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator (up to three days) or freezer (up to 1 month).

Gingerbread Buttercream
Yields 1 pint
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 sticks cold, unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
In a sauce pan, heat sugar and water until mixture reaches the soft ball stage, about 235F-245F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip on medium speed until egg whites form soft peaks. With the mixer running, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the eggs whites. Whisk the meringue until stiff peaks form and the bowl is cool, about 10 minutes.

Switch to a paddle attachment and add in butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the next piece of butter only once the last piece is fully emulsified into the meringue. Once all the butter has been added, turn up the speed to high and mix until completely smooth and fluffy. Add in the molasses and spices and mix until incorporated.

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