Okay, I have a confession- I still have leftover candy canes from last year. I mean, it’s not like they go bad….
Put them in a food processor or plastic bag and smash them into small pieces and get baking.
I’m part of a monthly book club/potluck and I’m asked often to bring macarons. This month we are doing a cookie exchange at our meeting, so I’m doing double duty by making these and being able to get another post in.
Peppermint (Candy Cane) Macarons
140 g finely ground almond flour
125 g confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
110 g granulated sugar
108 g egg whites
In a food processor place the almond flour and confectioners sugar and run for 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides so the mixture settles into the processor bowl. Repeat this 2 more times, then sift mixture through a strainer (it doesn’t have to be fine) over a large bowl (I use a 5 quart size stainless steel bowl). Preheat the oven to 300° F convection, 325° F for non convection setting.
In the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk by hand (using the mixer whisk) until foamy for about 30 seconds. Prepare two baking sheets with either parchment paper or Silpat liners.
Set the mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment assembled to the mixer, and start the meringue by running mixer on power level 4 (Kitchen Aide) and start gradually adding in the granulated sugar- run/whisk for 2 minutes once all the sugar is in. Stop once to scrape the sides of the bowl to push down any sugar that appears on the sides.
Increase mixer then to power level 6 and run for 3 minutes.
Increase mixer to power level 8 and run for 3 minutes.
Stop mixer and with a bamboo skewer or toothpick add in your gel color.
Increase mixer to power level high (10) and run for 1 minute (Just to show it who’s boss!!) or until meringue is stiff peaks. A sign that meringue is ready is there will be a good amount collected within the whisk and if you turn the bowl upside down the meringue will not slip or move. If the color does not appear to be mixer to your liking at this point I add in any color and mix gently by hand; being careful not to overmix.
Add one half of the meringue to the almond flour/sugar mix and start folding with a rubber spatula until mixture starts to look cohesive. Add in the remaining half of meringue and continue to gently fold, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The batter is perfect when you lift up the spatula and tip the spatula down and ~ 4 ribbons of batter fall smoothly back into the bowl and the edges of the ribbons fade into the rest of the batter in 10 seconds.
Fill your pastry bag by using a heavy tall cup or mason jar to hold your pastry bag with the top folded over the glass. When preparing your bag after you drop in your round tip (I use an Ateco 804), twist the bag right above the larger end of the tip and push it down into tip. Fold the top 4 inches of the bag over the jar or glass. Pipe quarter size of your batter and let sit for about 15-30 minute until they are no longer tacky feeling with touching with a finger.
Bake in a preheated oven for ~ 15-16 minutes at 300° F- 325° F (see above). Allow to cool completely on the tray and then remove and sandwich with the whipped white chocolate ganache and sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of ganache inside and around the outside of the cookies.
Whipped White Chocolate Peppermint Ganache Filling:
11 oz. white chocolate chips
5.5 oz. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. peppermint extract
finely crushed candy canes
In a heat proof bowl place the white chocolate chips. Bring the heavy cream to just a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chips and let sit for 2 minutes, then stir gently to combine. If there are small pieces of chocolate not melted microwave on high in 20 second intervals until melted and stir to combine. Let ganache sit until set and then gently stir in the peppermint extract. Place the ganache in a stand mixer bowl and whip with the paddle attachment until lightened in color and it becomes thicker in texture. Place in a pastry bag to pipe. Place a circle of filling onto one cookie and top with crushed candy canes, then place another cookie on top to sandwich cookies together.