Celebrate the holidays with your favorite seasonal coffee in cookie form! These festive peppermint mocha macarons are filled with a creamy mocha buttercream, drizzled with chocolate and topped with a sprinkling of crushed peppermint!
originally published 12.12.2020
Now that the holidays have me in an uncontrollable baking craze, I’ve been finding inspiration for macaron flavors all over the place. For example, what better way to celebrate my favorite seasonal coffee than to make peppermint mocha macarons?
preparing your ingredients
The process of making macarons isn’t all that difficult, but it does require a bit of patience and a certain degree of precision. That being said, if you only take away one point from this post, make sure it’s this: weigh your ingredients. Using US cups just won’t provide you with the accuracy needed to get the right proportions. We’ve been using this kitchen scale almost daily for several years — it’s affordable, dependable and easy to use!
The first three ingredients in our lineup are almond flour, powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder. To get a smooth finish on your macarons, you’ll need to make sure that this mixture is finely ground. Make sure to use a super-fine almond flour and sift the mixture at least twice. You can even pulse the almond mixture (or just the almond flour) in the food processor to get the perfect consistency.
making the macarons
Now let’s get started with the base of our macarons — the meringue! First, measure out approximately 100 grams of egg whites (usually about three eggs) and let them come to room temperature. This will make it easier to whip into a meringue. Then use a mixer to briefly beat the eggs until they’re frothy and white, gradually add the granulated sugar and continue mixing until stiff peaks form. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down without the meringue falling out.
Now it’s time to fold the almond flour mixture into the meringue. This step is so important that it even has its own term: macaronage! But don’t let that scare you — the process isn’t too difficult. Add about one-third of the almond mixture to the meringue and use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl, folding the mixture over the top. Repeat this folding motion continuously and gradually add the rest of the almond mixture until fully incorporated. Your mixture should be quite thick, but still able to slowly stream from the spatula almost like a ribbon. You’ll know your mixture is the right consistency when it can fall from the spatula into a figure-eight without breaking. That’s your signal to stop mixing and start piping your cookies!
To form your macarons, fit a piping bag with a medium-sized round tip and pipe 1.5 inch (4 cm) circles onto a pan lined with parchment paper. I freehanded my macaron shells, but you can definitely use a macaron template if you’d rather. And lastly, before you can put these treats in the oven, make sure to tap the pans against the counter to get rid of any air bubbles and then let the macarons sit for about 40 minutes or until they’re dry to the touch. Now you’re ready to bake!
Phew, that took awhile! But now you’ve got beautifully formed macaron shells just waiting for the perfect filling, which can be anything from jam to chocolate ganache. Today’s featured filling is, of course, mocha buttercream!
To make the mocha buttercream, start by beating softened butter until it’s light and fluffy. Then add powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, instant espresso and a bit of vanilla extract and salt. At this point, your mixture will resemble coarse crumbs. To get to that creamy frosting consistency, start mixing in strong brewed coffee one tablespoon at a time. I generally need about five tablespoons of coffee, but you can use more or less depending on the consistency you’re looking for. Now just pipe a circle of buttercream onto one baked macaron shell and top it with another shell!
chocolate drizzle and crushed peppermint
From mixing food coloring into the dough to adding colorful sprinkles, there are so many creative and fun options to decorate macarons. For our peppermint mocha macarons, I decided to go with a drizzle of melted chocolate and a sprinkling of crushed peppermint. The chocolate holds the peppermint in place and gives the macarons a very festive feel! You might have noticed that crushed candy canes are the sole contributor to the peppermint taste in my ingredient list. While I experimented with using peppermint extract, I found that a few crushed candy canes is more than enough to get the perfect peppermint mocha flavor!
And if you’d rather not add the drizzle of chocolate to the top of your macaron shells, but still want that peppermint flavor, I do have a few workarounds. My personal favorite option would be to crush the candy canes very finely and then sprinkle a bit right on top of the mocha buttercream. But if you don’t have any candy canes on hand, adding a drop or two of peppermint extract into the buttercream will also give you a good peppermint taste. Just make sure not to go overboard!
One last tip: I find it easier to decorate the macaron shells before I add the buttercream. Piping the chocolate onto the macarons goes a bit more smoothly when the shells sit flat, which makes for a cleaner presentation!Print
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