These beautifully festive candy cane macarons look super impressive, and with our step-by-step guide they're really easy to make. Simply whip up a light batter, bake to perfection and sandwich together with creamy white chocolate ganache for a deliciously sweet gluten-free Christmas edible gift. Don’t forget to screengrab the handy ingredients list at the bottom of the page before you go shopping.
Break up 200g white chocolate and put in a heatproof bowl. Pour 100ml double cream into a small pan and bring just to the boil over a medium heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave for 5 mins before adding a little pink food colour gel and stirring to form a bright pink, silky-smooth ganache. Leave to cool completely, then chill, covered, until of a piping consistency.
Meanwhile, line 3 large baking sheets with nonstick baking paper. Blitz 150g ground almonds and 175g icing sugar in a blender or a food processor until fine. This step is essential as lumps in the mixture will flatten the batter and can cause the macarons to have a bumpy surface.
With an electric whisk, beat 3 large egg whites (at room temperature) until soft peaks form. Make sure the bowl you whisk the eggs in is completely free from grease, as any traces can prevent the egg whites from whisking. To ensure the bowl is completely clean, wipe it with kitchen paper soaked in a little white wine vinegar before adding the eggs.
Gradually whisk in 85g caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is thick, glossy, and holds its forms a soft peak on the whisk. Over-whisking can make the mixture dry, leading to cracked macaron shells.
Gently fold the almond and sugar mixture through the meringue mix, one third at a time, with a large metal spoon. The resulting batter should be smooth, uniform and gently flowing. Don't overwork it – if it's too runny, the macarons will spread too thinly once piped.
Spoon the egg-white mix into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm nozzle and pipe 50-70 x 4cm rounds onto the lined baking sheets, leaving space between each for spreading. To pipe equal-sized macarons, draw 4cm circles on the back of the baking paper to use as a guide when piping. Tap the baking sheets sharply on the work surface to flatten the macarons, dislodge any air bubbles and give the signature smooth finish.
Tap the baking sheets sharply on the work surface to dislodge air bubbles, then, if any peaks remain from piping the macarons, lightly wet a finger and dab the peak to flatten. Any peaks will not even out in the oven so will bake into that shape unless smoothed out. Set aside for 30-40 mins or until the macarons have formed a skin, so you can touch them very lightly without the batter sticking. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to gas 2, 150°C, fan 130°C.
Bake the macarons, in batches, for 12-14 mins until they form 'feet' (the bubbly-looking bottom of the base). If you gently touch the tops they should not move around on the feet. If they do, return to the oven for 2 mins at a time until they no longer move. Leave to cool completely on the sheets.
Spoon the cooled ganache into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm round nozzle and pipe onto the base of half of the macarons. Finely crush 6 candy canes (about 75g) and sprinkle evenly over the bases, then sandwich together with a macaron top. Gently roll each sandwiched macaron through the crushed candy canes to coat the edges of the ganache.
Macarons are vulnerable to humidity and smells, so store in airtight containers between sheets of baking paper in the fridge. They will keep for up to 5 days. They will also freeze well – again, store in the freezer in sealed containers between sheets of baking paper for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature for 1 hr, then store in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Here's a handy shopping list so you can easily get everything you need to make these festive macarons.
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