I don’t know anyone that can make a perfect macaron (chocolate peppermint macarons or not) the way a French pastry chef can. This is taking appearance, texture, and taste all into consideration.
Even as a pastry instructor, I’ve had my failures when it comes to making macarons because there are just so many factors that go into creating these delicate almond cookies.
If it’s a little too humid in your environment, that can ruin your cookies. If you give the batter one fold too many, that can also ruin your cookies.
But when they bake up beautifully, like these chocolate peppermint macarons, with the perfect texture and signature “feet,” it feels like a wonderful accomplishment. It doesn’t hurt that these chocolate peppermint macarons also taste sensational!
I’ve discussed before how I used to feel apathetic towards macarons. They didn’t particularly excite me until I tried some incredibly delicious ones from the Ladurée pastry shop.
Since then, I’ve practiced making macarons over and over, some ending in cracked, flat cookies, while others came out looking perfectly smooth and picture-perfect. Whether they’re lemon macarons, classic vanilla flavored ones, or Christmas macarons like these peppermint flavored ones, I can’t get enough of them.
If you’ve read David Lebovitz’s post about the finicky nature of macarons, particularly chocolate macarons, you’ll come to understand more about macaron-making and what goes into making a beautiful macaron.
You see, making these chocolate peppermint macarons really comes down to technique. More specifically, a lot of the success of your macarons depends on the macaronage step, or the process of folding the egg whites into your dry ingredients.
You want to end up with a batter that drops from your spatula in velvety ribbons – nothing runnier and nothing stiffer. Getting it just right requires a practiced eye, and even then, sometimes things can go awry.
When you do end up with perfect little macarons, you’ll be so very happy. These chocolate peppermint macarons are some of my favorites.
Not only is the actual chocolate macaron part delectable, but the addition of peppermint in the filling is absolutely tantalizing. I sandwich a dollop of classic buttercream in the macarons, then roll the cookies in crushed candy canes.
That extra, festive addition is just such a great combination with the chocolate macarons. It adds just the perfect amount of minty-ness, dismissing the need for peppermint extracts or similar flavor enhancers. These make beautiful holiday gifts, as well. That is, if you can bring yourself to share them!
Chocolate Peppermint Macarons
Delicate, chocolate-flavored almond sandwich cookies filled with buttercream and peppermint candy.
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 large egg whites at room temperature
- 5 tbsp granulated sugar
for the buttercream filling
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1.5 cups powdered sugar
- 3 candy canes finely crushed
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon macaron mat, or a sheet of parchment paper with 1.3" wide circles drawn on it, each spaced .5" apart.
Use a mesh sieve or a flour sifter to sift the powdered sugar, almond flour, and unsweetened cocoa into a large bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites on high speed until they start forming indentations and soft peaks. Gradually add the granulated sugar in as the mixer continues to whisk on high speed. Stop once the egg whites are stiff. When you lift the whisk up, the peaks should stand straight up (they shouldn't curl).
Add 1/3 of the egg whites into the dry ingredients, using a rubber spatula to fold the whites into the dry ingredients. You don't have to be super gentle at this point as you're just trying to moisten up the dry ingredients. It will look very crumbly and dry at this point.
Add another 1/3 of egg whites into the batter, gently folding the whites into the batter. Finally, add the remaining egg whites and continue very gently folding until you get a thick, smooth batter. There should be no streaks of egg whites in the batter. The batter should fall off your spatula very slowly, but in a fluid-like fashion rather than globs that fall off painstakingly slow. Don't over-mix the batter!
Give the baking sheet a few taps on your counter to get rid of any air bubbles. If there are any pointed peaks on the tops of your cookies, or resistant air bubbles, use a toothpick to smooth them down.
Bake the macarons for approximately 16 minutes. Once done, remove the macarons from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes. Use a spatula to gently remove the macarons from the mat and allow them to completely cool on a wire cooling rack.
To make the filling, simply beat the powdered sugar and butter together on medium speed until smooth. Use an offset spatula or spoon to scoop about 1/2 a tablespoon of filling onto half of the macaron shells. You want to make sure there's enough filling so that when you press the top shell down, the filling will sort of squeeze out from the sides of the cookie.
Pour the crushed candy canes into a bowl, then place each filled macaron on its side into the bowl, rolling the macarons in the crushed candy.
You can leave the cookies out at room temperature if you're serving them same day, or store them in the fridge in an air-tight container until you're ready to serve them. Just make sure you allow them to come to room temperature before eating. They taste even better the next day!