Christmas Macarons (3 festive flavors!)
Create a beautiful and delicious holiday cookie using this macaron recipe and three festive buttercream flavors: gingerbread, eggnog and peppermint. You will have a stunning and festive cookie box! There are plenty of tips and step-by-step photos to help you get the best Christmas macarons.
This marks Day 23 of the 25 Days of Baking and by far my biggest baking challenge: the French macaron. After various attempts to perfect the French cookie, I had success! I put a holiday spin on them by providing three Christmas-flavored fillings. The eggnog is my personal favorite (it’s the same frosting as my eggnog cupcakes!)
Why this recipe works
It follows my foolproof guide on how to make macarons to get bakery style French cookies. I included plenty of tips and step-by-step photos to guarantee smooth tops and perfect feet!
The easy buttercream frosting is adaptable to three different flavor options—gingerbread, peppermint and eggnog—all of which are holiday-themed. This make an impressive and festive addition to Christmas cookie boxes!
- Egg whites: Make sure they are completely free of egg yolk and left at room temperature overnight.
- Almond flour: Use a fine almond flour such as King Arthur Flour Grain-Free Almond Flour,
- Bakers sugar: This is a superfine granulated sugar. If you can’t find it, granulated will work. You can also process granulated in a food processor for 10 one-second pulses to make it fine.
- Cream of tartar: This crucial ingredient gives the egg whites volume and stabilizes them.
- Molasses: Unsulphured molasses is used for the gingerbread frosting. Be sure not to use blackstrap molasses (it’s too bitter).
- Rum extract: This can be found in most grocery stores. It really enhances the authentic eggnog flavor for the eggnog buttercream, but you can omit if you don’t like it.
This recipe uses a basic cookie shell and the filling provides the various flavors. If you want just one flavor macaron, simply triple the flavoring agents and add it to the buttercream. For example, if you want only peppermint macarons, triple the measurements of peppermint extract and milk, then pipe and fill the cookie sandwiches.
For a punch of color, add gel food coloring to the batter during the last minute of whipping your egg whites. A couple drops should do it! If you’re an artist, try using gel food coloring and fine tip paint brushes to paint macaron shells with holiday designs.
How to make Christmas macarons
- Dehydrate the egg whites (leave out overnight).
- Sift the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar three times. Discard any large clumps. Set mixture aside.
- Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until frothy. Add bakers sugar and beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
- Fold the almond flour mixture into the egg white mixture until the batter is thick like lava.
- Pipe batter onto a silpat mat (highly recommended) or parchment paper. Bang the pans to release air bubbles. Let macarons sit for 40 to 45 minutes.
- Bake cookies at 300 F for 12 to 14 minutes. Cool completely.
- Make buttercream frosting. Beat butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined. Separate buttercream into three bowls. Add flavorings to each bowl and mix until combined.
- Make macaron sandwiches. Match up the cookie shells so they are similar sizes. Pipe desired frosting on one cookie and top with second half.
If this is your first time or need a refresher, read my post on how to make macarons. There are even more tips and tricks to guarantee success! Be sure to read this recipe all the way through before getting started. It helps to know how much time and attention each step takes.
Use a kitchen scale. Macarons require precise measurements and a kitchen scale is the best way to do this. Make sure your egg whites have no trace of yolk in them and be sure your mixing bowl is clean and grease-free. I usually wipe my bowl with a paper towel and a touch of white vinegar.
For the batter, aim for a lava-like consistency (see step photos). Avoid over mixing or you will deflate the batter. After piping your macaron batter, gently tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles. Sometimes I go in there with a toothpick and pop any visible ones!
Make ahead tips
Macarons can be made ahead of time and frozen. Wrap the cookie sandwiches in plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator for 4 hours before bringing to room temperature. This defrosting step is important because you don’t want the cookies to sweat and lose their crunchy exterior.
You can also freeze the shells and frosting separately. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled before wrapping in plastic wrap and freezing. Buttercream may also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
The egg whites were over-whipped or the batter was over-mixed.
The almond flour and confectioners’ sugar was not sifted properly. Don’t press the mixture through the mesh sieve. Discard any large lumps.
The batter probably had too much air. This can happen when the egg whites are over-whipped or if the air bubbles were not removed from the macarons after piping.
Too much liquid or humid environment. Be sure to dehydrate your egg whites and let the macarons dry out before baking. I do not recommend baking on a humid day.
If you enjoyed these Christmas macarons, you may also enjoy these other festive recipes this holiday season!
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- 100 g (about 3 large eggs) egg whites, room temperature
- 140 g (about 1 1/4 cups) fine almond flour
- 120 g (about 1 cup) confectioners' sugar
- 100 g (about 1/2 cup) bakers sugar, (granulated sugar works too, see notes)
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Buttercream base ingredients
- 1 cup (226 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 ½ cups (300 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 Tablespoon eggnog
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon rum extract
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- Crushed peppermint candies for decoration
- 1-2 teaspoons milk
- 1 Tablespoon molasses
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- Place egg whites in a small bowl (make sure there is no trace of egg yolk). Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few large holes in it. Leave out at room temperature for 8 hours or in the refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.
- Place confectioners' sugar and fine almond flour into a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Sift and let the bowl catch the sifted ingredients. Discard any large clumps in the sieve. Repeat twice more and set aside dry ingredients.
- Put egg whites in a very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk eggs on medium-low speed for a minute or two until frothy then add the cream of tartar and salt. With the mixer running, very slowly add the bakers sugar (either 2 teaspoons at a time or in a very slow sprinkle into the bowl). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes on KitchenAid Stand Mixer speed 6. Pro tip: The mixture will ball up in the whisk and the mixture will stay in the bowl if turned upside down.
- Remove mixing bowl from stand mixer. Add half of the almond flour mixture to the bowl. Use a silicone spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once mostly incorporated, add the remaining dry ingredients. Continue folding by going around the sides of the bowl with the spatula, then cutting through the center. The batter is done when it has a lava-like consistency. Do not over-mix. Pro tip: Try lifting the spatula out of the bowl and forming figure 8 with the batter without it breaking.
- Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (about 1/2-inch in diameter). Pipe batter onto a silpat mat with macaron outlines or onto parchment paper. Pipe circles 1-inch wide and spaced 2 inches apart. Lift the baking sheet about 6 inches off the counter and drop it down. Repeat twice more, then rotate the pan 180° and bang the pans three more times (this releases air bubbles from the macarons).
- Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 40 to 45 minutes and up to an hour. The macarons are ready to bake when dry to the touch (you should be able to "pet" them without leaving a mark).
- Ten minutes before macarons are done drying, preheat the oven to 300° F. Bake macarons for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool completely.
Buttercream Frosting Fillings
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed using the paddle attachment. Beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until completely incorporated.
- Divide the buttercream mixture equally into three bowls. To the first bowl, add the eggnog additions and mix until smooth. To the second bowl, add the peppermint additions and mix until smooth. To the third bowl, add the gingerbread additions and mix until smooth. If at any time the frosting is too thick, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of milk until desired consistency is reached.
- Transfer frostings into three piping bags with desired tips. Match macaron cookies according to size. Frost the bottom of one macaron cookie and top it with a matching cookie. Press down gently. If making peppermint macarons, roll the sides of the cookie sandwich in crushed peppermint. For eggnog macarons, add a dusting of nutmeg to the cookie shell to differentiate them.