After that experience, I became obsessed with scribbling ideas for fun flavor combinations on any piece of paper I could find. Egg nog is hardly a new concept, but I have a few up my sleeve that I can't wait to show you now that I've gotten my feet wet and started to understand what makes these little guys tick.
For some reason, I thought that the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap would be a great excuse to make macarons.
Because that makes sense. Especially when you set out to make them the day before they're due to be shipped.
After reading everything I could on the internet about macarons, I set out to make 3 dozen with pal Carrie who came over for moral support and to try her hand at these delicacies as well.
We learned a lot in the kitchen that day. And, thankfully, they grew feet and were edible!
For the record, my family's Russian Teacakes were my backup plan. I did at least have a backup plan.
If you'd like to participate in future food blogger cookie swaps, you can sign up to receive more information when the time comes.
Egg Nog Macarons (Gluten-Free)
Yield: 1 dozen
Adapted from Tartelette
For the shells:
90 grams aged egg whites
25 grams granulated sugar
200 grams powdered sugar
110 grams almond flour or almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
Prepare the macarons:
- Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Sift through a fine mesh sieve to remove any large pieces of almond. Return large chunks to food processor and sift again if remnants are greater than 1 tablespoon. If less than 1 tablespoon of large pieces remain, discard them.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam (think bubble bath foam), gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. (To test if meringue has been beaten enough, tip bowl upside down. If the meringue stays in place, it has been whipped enough.)
- Add the almond mixture to the meringue Give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then slow down and fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. (Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.)
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheets. Tap the cookie sheet firmly on the counter 3 or 4 times to alleviate air bubbles.
- Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 280F. When the macarons are dull and appear to have formed a skin, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size.
- To test for doneness: choose a macaron to sacrifice and carefully attempt to pull up the edges. If the macaron pulls away from the parchment easily, it is done. If it sticks, return to the oven for a minute or two.
- Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don't let them sit too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.
For the Egg Nog Swiss-Meringue Buttercream:
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks (180gr)(6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons egg nog1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.
- Remove bowl from the stand mixer and fold in egg nog, cinnamon and nutmeg. Adjust spices accordingly. If it doesn't seem quite like egg nog, odds are you need to add more nutmeg.
- Pair shells of similar size and pipe buttercream onto one, then carefully press together to complete the macaron.
- Macarons are best 24 hours after they are finished. I couldn't wait that long, but I did notice a difference after 24 hours had passed - they really did get better with age. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.