Christmas is just around the corner, and it’s one of my favorite times of year because of all the decorations, candy, fudge, and cookies. So today, I’m adding to your holiday baking list with these delicious cranberry & white chocolate macarons.
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret… these cranberry & white chocolate macarons are *actually* from last year when Erin and I went to Jase’s house for a little holiday macaron collab. While our initial plans to make fun wreath-shaped macs didn’t turn out as we had hoped (curse you, humidity!), the final results, aka these cranberry & white chocolate macarons, came out more delicious than we could have hoped!\
Cranberry & White Chocolate Macarons
This macaron shell recipe is the same one that I use for most of my macs; in terms of the macarons, I’ve found that it’s easiest to keep the shell the same, mixing up the color and toppings/garnishes, and leaving the filling to pack all the flavorful punch.
And speaking of the filling sandwiched between these macaron shells… it’s a white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream with a cranberry sauce right in the middle. The entire macaron, the delicate sprinkle-covered shells and creamy white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream with cranberry center, will just melt in your mouth.
Cranberry & White Chocolate Macarons Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
An extensive list of macaron tips and troubleshooting can be found at the bottom of my Ultimate French Macaron Guide. (Click ‘jump to recipe’ and scroll up).
CAN I MAKE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! Swiss meringue buttercream is great left covered at room temperature for 1-2 days, but after that, refrigerate it for up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months. If freezing, store in an airtight container, then thaw it at room temperature on the counter. Once completely at room temperature, place into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for 2-3 minutes until creamy again.
HELP! MY BUTTERCREAM IS CURDLED OR TOO THICK! WHAT DID I DO WRONG?
If your meringue has separated, curdled, or is too thick at any point after you mix in all of the butter, just keep beating because it will eventually come together. If it’s only getting thicker and chunkier, there’s a quick fix– place the mixture in your heat-proof bowl back over a pot of 2 inches of simmering water. Without stirring, let the edges of the meringue warm up and become liquid, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and return to the mixer. Beat meringue on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to medium-high speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. You’re basically partially melting the buttercream then re-whipping it, which actually creates a creamier frosting.
HELP! MY BUTTERCREAM IS THIN AND SOUPY! WHAT DID I DO WRONG?
If your mixture has become too thin and soupy after you add the butter, your butter was likely too warm or the meringue was still too warm. This is fixable by bringing down its temperature. Place the entire bowl in the refrigerator (covered or uncovered, doesn’t matter) for 20 minutes to cool down, then return it to the mixer and beat on medium-high speed until thickened. Any longer than this will solidify the butter, so only refrigerate in 20-minute increments. If it’s still soupy, place it back in the refrigerator for longer before re-whipping again.
HOW DO I STORE MACARONS?
There are several different ways to store macarons, pick what works best for you:
- Refrigerate the fully assembled macaron: Fully assembled macarons usually stay fresh 2-4 days after they’re made.
- Refrigerate the shells only: Macaron shells usually stay fresh 4-6 days after they’re made. Assemble and serve before this date is up. After filling, they can stay fresh for another 2-4 days.
- Freeze the fully assembled macaron: After filling the macaron, let it mature for 12-24 hours and then freeze. They’ll last in the freezer for 2-3 months. On the day before serving, thaw macarons a few hours in advance. From this point on, they will stay fresh for another 2-4 days.
- Freeze the shells only: After baking and cooling off, the shells can be frozen in an airtight container and will last for about 3 months. On the day of assembly, transfer them from the freezer to the fridge a few hours in advance. Once thawed, they can be assembled as usual. From this point on, they will stay fresh for 2-4 days.
Cranberry & White Chocolate Macarons
For the Macarons:
- 135 grams egg whites (approx. 4 large eggs) at room temperature
- 120 grams granulated sugar
- 130 grams almond flour
- 225 grams powdered sugar
- Garnish: white sprinkles optional
For the White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling:
- 125 g egg whites (approx. 4 large eggs)
- 200 g granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 455 g unsalted butter cold and cubed
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 255 g white chocolate melted and cooled
For the Cranberry Filling:
- 340 g fresh cranberries
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 120 g water
- pinch of salt
- In a medium bowl, sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar, then set aside.
- Make the macaron shells: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Continue to beat until your whisk begins leaving visible trails in the foamy egg whites.
- Once you can see trails, gradually add the granulated sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue forms stiff peaks. Add gel food coloring in this stage, if using. (Be sure not to over-whip your egg whites otherwise you risk drying them out.)
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, add the dry ingredients to the meringue and fold with a rubber spatula from the bottom of the bowl upward then press the flat side of your spatula through the middle against the side of the bowl. (The batter will look very thick at first, but it will get thinner as you fold.) Continue folding until the batter gets to a lava-like consistency.Pro Tip: The figure 8 test is a great way to check your batter’s consistency; pick up the batter with your spatula and let it flow down into the bowl while drawing the figure “8”. If it can do that without the batter breaking, immediately stop folding.
- Transfer the batter into a large pastry bag with a medium-sized round tip.
- Holding the piping bag at a 90 ̊ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into 1.5-inch rounds about an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Feel free to print out a macaron template if you’re worried about size/uniformity). Add sprinkles on the top of each shell, if desired.
- Holding the baking sheet with both hands, carefully bang the sheet firmly on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. (If you don’t release the air bubbles, they will expand during baking and crack your macaron shells.)
- Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all the batter (usually about three sheet pans worth.)
- Let the macarons rest and dry for 30 minutes or until a skin has developed before baking; on a humid day, it might take an hour or more. To see if it’s ready to be baked, lightly touch it. If the batter doesn’t stick to your finger, then it’s ready. (Don’t forget to remove the macaron templates, if using, before baking!)
- While the macarons are resting, preheat the oven to 300˚F (150˚C) and position the oven rack in the center of the oven.
- Bake the macarons, one tray at a time, for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through the baking process.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and cooling completely on a wire rack. (If the bottoms are a tiny bit sticky, keep them on the tray to cool off for an additional 10-15 minutes. If, however, the bottoms are already brown, they peel off cleanly, or they appear over-baked, then carefully take them off the tray immediately to cool down.) Repeat the baking process with the remaining sheet pans.Pro Tip: It’s always better to over- rather than under-bake your macarons as the maturation process can typically salvage ones that are over-baked.
- Make the white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk the egg whites and granulated sugar together briefly by hand, just until they are combined. Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the mixer bowl with the egg white mixture on top to create a double-boiler and heat the mixture until it reaches 160°F (70°C) and the sugar has dissolved, stirring constantly.
- 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 cube at a time. The mixture may look curdled – but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for 8-10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and it's smooth and silky, add in the cooled white chocolate. Mix for 2-3 minutes to incorporate, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any excess air.
- Make the cranberry filling: Place the ingredients into a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes until the cranberries burst and the mixture is syrupy. Blend until smooth, then allow to cool.
- Transfer the white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and the cranberry sauce into pastry bags and pair each macaron shell with another of a similar size. Pipe a ring of white chocolate buttercream on one shell, then fill it with the cranberry sauce before gently sandwiching together. Store the filled macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days and bring back to room temperature before enjoying.
- Macarons are best enjoyed the next day after they mature in the fridge (since the flavors will be absorbed into the shell). If your shell is hard/crunchy/over-baked, letting them mature will also cause the shells to absorb the moisture from the filling and soften up / give them their signature chewy texture.
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