Cranberry and white chocolate macarons. French macaron shells are filled with white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and fresh cranberry sauce filling, for the perfect festive macaron. These gluten free treats are easy to make for a crowd.
Hi hi! Happy Thursday! Last weekend Mike and I went to Jase’s house for a little holiday macaron collab situation! The original plan was to make a shaped macaron, but the weather wasn’t on our side for trying something tricky (macarons hate humidity) so we stuck to what we are good at, and went with these cranberry white chocolate babies, which turned out to be a great decision.
I never used to think collaborating on something would be fun for me - I’m super picky, a bit of a control freak, and get stressed out when there are other people there when I am shooting, but it’s come to be something that is so fun, and an amazing way to hang out and get content at the same time! Jase, Mike and I had the best time (Jase and I bake together a lot and he just ignores my little stresses and then we laugh at me when I inevitably love the end product, every time), and I learnt loads from watching Mike shoot - spot the backlit photo in there! I can’t wait to play around with different setups a little more.
In terms of the macarons, we went with our standard vanilla shell - we have found it is easiest to keep the shell the same, mixing up the colour and the sprinkles etc on the topping, and then to mix up the filling to give the macarons flavour. The shells can be temperamental at best, so it is best to just leave them the same in order to get consistent results. We then filled them with a white chocolate buttercream and a tangy cranberry filling in the middle, for a classic white chocolate and cranberry flavour. I am not usually a big fan of white chocolate, but paired with something a little tart such as cranberry or passionfruit, the sweetness of the chocolate plays off well with the filling. These are a perfect festive take on a macaron, but would be delicious any time of the year.
A few wee tips:
- All my macaron tips are here in this post!
- We actually made two batches to get the colour variation - the recipe here is enough for one batch. We added sprinkles to some of the red.
- You can make the cranberry filling ahead of time - it will just need a good stir before you use it!
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A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Using the double / triple function in the recipe card
You will notice that there is a '1X' '2X' '3X' button in my recipe card. This can be used for doubling or tripling a recipe. However, please note that this only doubles the ingredient quantities in the ingredients list and NOT in the method. If there are quantities or pan sizes in the method of the recipe (for example weigh out 150g brown butter), you will need to scale this number manually. It will also not change the baking time in the recipe so you will need to adjust this yourself too. It is always a good idea to read through a recipe fully before doubling it just to check this. If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking!Print
French macaron shells are filled with white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and fresh cranberry sauce filling, for the perfect festive macaron. These gluten free treats are easy to make for a crowd.
- 170g ground almonds
- 300g powdered sugar
- 180g egg whites, at room temperature
- 160g sugar
- A few drops of red gel food colouring (if using)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Sprinkles to finish
- 1 12oz bag fresh cranberries
- 200g Sugar
- 120g water
- pinch of salt
White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 125g egg whites
- 200g granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 455g (16oz, or four sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 250g white chocolate, melted and cooled.
- Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about ¾" between each circle.
- Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add red yellow gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here).
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture.
- Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side.
- Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.
- Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.
- Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. Add sprinkles if using.
- Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.
- Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity.
- About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven.
- Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done.
- Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that!
- Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.
- If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper.
- Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use.
- Place all the ingredients into a small pot. Place over med heat, bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes until cranberries burst and mixture is syrupy. Blend until smooth, then leave to cool.
WHITE CHOCOLATE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
- Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved.
- Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are white and fluffy, and the mixture has cooled, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- While the buttercream is mixing, melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl in 30 second increments in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the cooled chocolate. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip.
- Place the shells on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, Place the cranberry filling into a small piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pair up each macaron shell with another of an equal size. Pipe a ring of buttercream on one half of the shell, then a blob of the filling in the middle.
- Place the second shell carefully on top. Repeat with the rest of the macarons. Macarons are best chilled overnight to allow the flavours to meld, but can also be eaten immediately.
Keywords: macarons, gluten free, cranberry, white chocolate, french macaron