It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas… macarons!

It seemed time for a little Christmas spirit, though most of it seems to be passing me by at the moment. On the occasion of a little lunch at my place for friends, I wanted to serve some new flavours of macarons to my faithful tasters.

Christmas flavours? What could I do? Christmas makes me think of fruitcake and Christmas pudding, spices and nuts. I’ve done a macaron filling with inclusions before (the Winter Solstice event) and wasn’t so convinced of its success. Part of the delight of a macaron is the flavour and unobtrusive texture of the filling when married with the light, just slightly crisp shell. Sometimes I’ve seen small nut inclusions which have worked, but nothing else.

I have a jar of Mother’s Fruitmince (one of those strange brands which differs from household to household, if you know what I mean), but I couldn’t see how to successfully build that into a filling without a lot of experimentation. Instead, I went for two options:

1. Christmas spices and citrus
2. A berry summer flavour which would bring back memories of childhood summers (meaning Christmas in Australia!)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present:

Orange and Christmas spice macarons — macarons à l’orange et aux épices de Noël

The gerbets (small ones) feature a white chocolate ganache incorporating some fantastic Seville orange marmelade which has featured previously in my macarons, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. The result: warm woody spice notes and a lingering bitterness from the orange. Very much a Christmas macaron.

Strawberry and musk macarons — macarons fraises musquées

The larger macarons were filled with a mixture of strawberries softened in sugar over low heat and then puréed, combined with white chocolate to make a pseudo-ganache. The final touch, which might make some Australian hearts flutter: a few drops of musk. (Many of us grew up with ‘musk sticks’ as a childhood confectionery item, unfortunately increasingly hard to get now.) This filling was sweet (a little too sweet for some) and really wonderful, even if I do say so myself.

To add to the specialness of these macarons, I used a gel colouring, rather than the often inadequate domestic liquid colours, and on top of them all are beautiful edible sparkles! I need to work on my star shapes though;)

And one tip for those who want to make macarons… do not make macarons when it’s raining or very humid. Macarons absorb moisture very very quickly, so they will start softening as soon as they’re cool or out of their storage container. A simple observation: if condensation forms instantly on a container taken out of the fridge, your macarons are likely to have a short lifespan in best condition (less than a day).

12 thoughts on “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas… macarons!”

  1. Surely your macarons wouldn’t have the opportunity to last a day with all the eager tasters you must have 🙂 These two variations sound wonderful – how creative!

  2. Don’t those look perfect? I am a little grumpy over your no-humidity recommendation but it really can’t be helped here. Maybe if I freeze them straight from the pan (no steaming to release) and only take them out when ready to serve?

  3. I almost forgot that winter in the U.S is summer in Australia and South Africa, that is why you can have that delicious berries. We, in California (of course) can find berries too, but it’s very expensive ($4- 5/pint) and they come from somewhere, go figure!

    I don’t know wether I should be thankful or sad, but lately we experience less and less rain. Take it on the bright side, this mean I can make your macarons….

    ha,ha,ha Duna, I was lauging at myself! When I click the link for “Musk” I saw the photo of a dear, oh.. you must be kidding me (a few drop of this animal)? anyway, the second link work for me!

    Note on mincemeat, it is pretty hard to find here, unless you go to British store, which is so far away from our house. Maybe I can make it myself, but then it is hard to find suet too. Maybe I can just try to find that “strange” Mother’s brand mince meat instead.
    Have a wonderful season!

  4. Oh Duncan… The memories are almost too much for me. They were, as usual, delicious and beautiful to look at.

  5. First time poster long time ghoster. Your musk is a must. And I was chuffed to be stuffed with them. My comments over-zealous? Other readers jealous? I think so.

  6. Very nice! Love the idea of strawberry and musk.. not something I’ve ever used in baking before.

  7. I must say I approached the musk with trepidation, despite the strong childhood fondness. The match with strawberry was a winner, definitely. I had once tried a musk cupcake at the Crabapple Cupcake Bakery which was tolerable, but lacked good execution… maybe that’s what primed me for starting to experiment with it.

  8. I don’t think I would like musk on it’s own, but paired with something else.. I can see how that would work really well.

  9. How could I have missed this post of yours. These look gorgeous and in every way perfect! Love the combination too. Have a great New Year!

  10. Your last paragraph makes me wonder. I’m currently having problem with soggy macarons after storage. My macarons get so soaked and wet after I put em in the fridge ( both the filled and unfilled macarons ) This never happens before, I thought it was because I try to slightly underbake my macarons compared to what I’ve done before, but it was because my macarons were literally chirping, it was hard and even after maturing I still get complaints for it being slightly hard. I dont think that my macarons are Underbaked at all it looks fine before I put them in the fridge.

    I live in Southeast Asia, and its the raining season in here and even if it wasnt raining, it’s pretty humid here in Asia. I’ve tried putting silica gels inside my containers to absorb any excessive moisture it used to work but now it didnt. This problem used to appear once in a while and usually it only happened to the really old ones, but now it haunts me!! I even get macarons that are only one day old soaking wet.. what do I do wrong, is it the fridge? Is it the container? Is it the rain ? or humidity? or is it my macarons? What can I do to avoid them being soggy? Help me duncan I’m desperate!!!!!!! 😀 😀

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