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Reindeer Macarons

Reindeer Macarons

Today we are making Reindeer Macarons, which are perfect for Christmas. With a template included so you can download it, print, and place under your baking mat.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword christmas, macarons
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 16 macarons
Calories 80 kcal
Author camila

Ingredients

Reindeer Macarons

  • 100 grams white granulated sugar
  • 4 grams egg white powder optional read notes below
  • 100 grams egg whites
  • 105 grams almond flour
  • 105 grams powdered sugar
  • 5 grams cocoa powder optional, for color
  • Brown gel food coloring

Gingerbread Buttercream

  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar sifted 170 grams
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter softened 56 grams
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp molasses
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk only if necessary to thin out the frosting

Instructions

Prep the ingredients and tools

  1. Before you start, get all of the ingredients ready. Prepare 3 piping bags, one for the antlers using a tip 3, one for the ears using tip 3, and one for the face of the reindeer using tip 10 or 12.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  3. Download, print the template, and place under your mat.
  4. Wipe the tools such as bowls, spatulas, and silicone mats with vinegar if desired, this helps getting rid of any grease particles that might be in the tools.
  5. Measure out all of the ingredients.
  6. Sift the powdered sugar, almond flour, and cocoa powder (if using) together. Set it aside.
  7. Start pre-heating the oven. I pre-heat my large oven to 310ºF for 60 to 90 minutes, this helps with temperature fluctuations. I pre-heat the countertop oven for 30 to 45 minutes.

Making the Swiss Meringue

  1. Place a bowl over a pan with barely simmering water. Add the sugar and egg white powder to the bowl if using. If you’re not using egg white powder simply skip it, nothing needs to be changed in the recipe.
  2. Whisk the sugar and egg white powder so it doesn’t clump up.
  3. Add the egg whites to the bowl and whisk until the sugar is completely melted. It will take a couple of minutes. You can test by touching the mixture between your fingers, and if you feel any sugar granules just keep whisking the mixture over the water bath.
  4. Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the simmering water because you don’t want the whites to cook.
  5. Also, don’t overheat the sugar syrup, you are just looking to melt the sugar, no need to bring it to a certain temperature.Transfer the syrup to the bowl of a stand mixer. Before transferring the syrup, you might consider whipping the bottom of the bowl with a towel so the water doesn’t fall into the mixer bowl.
  6. With the whisk attachment, start whisking mixture on low (speed 2 of the KitchenAid) for about 30 seconds, then gradually start increasing speed to medium. Whisk on medium (speed 4) for one to two minutes, until the mixture is white and starting to become fluffy. Raise the speed to medium or medium-high and whip for a few minutes until stiff peaks are formed. I like to finish whipping the meringue on speed 6 of the KitchenAid.
  7. It takes me about 13 to 15 minutes to whip the meringue, but you shouldn’t go by time, go by what the meringue is supposed to look like because a lot of things can affect whipping time, such as the quality of the eggs, the weather, how powerful your mixer is, and more.
  8. Once the meringue gets glossy and you start seeing streaks formed by the whisk, and the meringue raising in the center of the whisk, it might be time to stop.
  9. You don’t want to over whip the meringue at this point because that can cause several issues, mainly hollow macarons.
  10. Whisk until stiff peaks have formed. When you pull the whip up, the peak should be stiff and shooting straight up, with possibly a slight bend at the top, but not bending to the side.
  11. Also when you swirl the whisk around in the bowl to collect the meringue, you should feel some resistance from the meringue. And when you look on the bottom of the whisk the meringue collected should be forming soft but defined waves.

Macaronage

  1. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the meringue and begin stirring. We are just going to stir until you see no more dry ingredients. As soon as you see no more dry ingredients stop stirring.
  2. Divide the batter between two different bowls, so we can make the antlers in a darker brown color. You won’t need too much batter for the antlers, probably about 1/4 of the whole batter.
  3. Keep one bowl covered while working with the other.
  4. Add brown food coloring to the smaller amount of batter to make the antlers a darker color.
  5. Start folding gently forming a letter J with a spatula and fold until the perfect consistency has been achieved.
  6. How to know when to stop folding the batter: It’s time to stop folding when the batter is glossy and has a thick and flowing consistency. There are several ways to test this.
  7. First, pick up some batter with the spatula and try to draw a figure 8 with the batter that is dripping off the spatula. If you can form several 8 figures without the batter breaking up, that’s one indication that it might be ready.
  8. The batter that’s falling back into the bowl should take 10 to 15 seconds to incorporate with the batter that’s already in the bowl.
  9. There’s another test you can do. I call it the Teaspoon test. Grab a teaspoon of batter and spoon onto the parchment paper or silicon mat. Wait a minute to see how it behaves.
  10. If the batter stays stiff, forming a point and doesn’t spread out, fold a little bit more, about 3 folds.
  11. Test again.
  12. Once the batter spreads out a bit and starts to look glossy and smooth on top, on the parchment paper or silicone mat, it’s ready.
  13. You don’t want your batter to be too runny either. So be careful not to over mix. It’s always best to under mix and test several times until the proper consistency has been achieved.
  14. When you hold the spatula with batter on top of the bowl and the batter falls off the spatula slowly but effortlessly the batter is ready. The batter will keep flowing off the spatula non-stop, but not too quickly.
  15. Transfer the batter to the piping bag fitted with the tip number 3. I also like to seal the top with a bag tie, so the batter doesn’t dry out and it gives you more control while piping because there’s no risk of the batter escaping through the top of the piping bag.
  16. Now let’s move on to the rest of the batter, we won’t add any more food coloring because this is meant to be the face of the reindeer, and just the cocoa powder will be enough color. In case you haven’t added any cocoa powder, you might want to add just a touch of brown food coloring to the batter to make it slightly beige.
  17. Fold the bater until it’s flowing off the spatula slowly and effortlessly. You should be able to draw several figure 8s with the batter that’s flowing off the spatula without having it break up, and even after it breaks up it should still continue to flow off the spatula slowly and effortlessly.
  18. I am going to divide the batter between two different piping bags, one fitted with a tip number 10 to make the reindeer face, and the other one should be a tip number 3 to make the reindeer’s ears.
  19. Seal the bags with a bag tie, and now let’s begin piping.
  20. Place the piping bag directly 90 degrees over the center of each macaron template and pipe the face.
  21. Let’s just pipe a few at a time, so the batter doesn’t start drying before all the sections have a chance to blend at the intersections.
  22. After piping a few heads, let’s pipe the ears. After the ears and the heads have been piped, we can pipe the antlers, make sure the antlers are connecting with the head, otherwise they will break off if there isn’t too much better in the intersection of the different sections.
  23. Use a toothpick to smooth out any bumps or air bubbles.
  24. Remember to remove the template from under the mat before baking.
  25. Let the macarons rest until completely dry. I never bake shaped macarons without resting, otherwise they crack.
  26. Usually shaped macarons require longer rest than round shells.
  27. You’ll know they’re ready when you gently touch the surface of a macaron and it seems dry.

Baking

  1. I baked the macarons on a 310ºF oven. I pre-heat the oven for 60 to 90 minutes, to ensure some temperature fluctuation stabilization.
  2. Bake one tray at a time.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes, rotate the tray. This step is not necessary, not all bakers have to do it, but I have to, otherwise the macarons will be lopsided due to uneven oven distribution in my oven.
  4. I baked each tray for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. When baked, the macarons will have a deeper color and formed feet. If you try to move a macaron, it shouldn’t feel jiggly. If the macaron is still jiggly, keep baking. Also try to touch the top of a macaron and it shouldn’t feel soft, if it’s still soft, keep baking.
  6. Remove from the oven and bake the other tray.
  7. Let the macarons cool down before proceeding with the filling.

Gingerbread Buttercream

  1. Cream butter at medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer for about 1 minute. With the mixer off, add all of the powdered sugar in.
  2. On low speed, mix the sugar and butter together. Once they are incorporated, turn speed to medium and cream for 1-2 minutes until very fluffy.
  3. Add vanilla extract, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.
  4. If the buttercream seems dry and stiff, add the milk. Mix for another 30-45 seconds. If the buttercream seems too runny, add more sifted powdered sugar until you obtain a firm, but smooth and creamy consistency.

To decorate

  1. I drew the nose and the eyes on the reindeer's face with edible marker, and used a touch of luster duster to make the pink cheeks on the reindeer.

To fill

  1. Place the Gingerbread Buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a small piping tip. Pipe the frosting on each bottom shell, and then top with another reindeer.

Storage

  1. Store the macarons in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1-2 months.

Recipe Notes

Vinegar: Before starting make sure to wipe down the bowls, whisks, silicone mats and everything you are going to use with vinegar, to avoid any grease particles of coming into contact with the meringue and batter.

Egg white powder: Egg white powder is not the same as meringue powder, but some people use meringue powder in the place of egg white powder. Egg white powder is made of only egg whites. They help with getting fuller shells, and specially when adding a lot of food coloring to the batter, because they make the shells dry faster and add a layer of protein to the meringue. I recommend experimenting with it if you can find it. I use 4 grams for each 100 grams of egg whites. You can read more about Egg White Powder here.

Food coloring: Make sure to use gel or powder food coloring, not liquid. If you are a beginner macaron baker, I recommend going easy on the food coloring, as it can alter your batter a lot, and it can take extra mixing time, specially if you continue to add the food coloring as you do the macaronage. Read more about food coloring here.

Scale: Please use a scale when measuring the ingredients for accuracy.

Macaron amount: it will vary greatly depending on how big you pipe the shells, and on how runny or thick the batter is.

Baking time/temperature: Baking time and temperature will vary according to your own oven. I recommend experimenting with your oven to find out the best time, temperature, position of the baking tray. Read more about oven here.

Oven thermometer: Make sure to have an oven thermometer to bake macarons. It’s one of the most important things about making macarons. Home ovens aren’t accurate at all at telling the temperature, and even a slight 5 degree difference can make or break your whole batch.

Tray rotation: Lots of bakers don’t have to rotate the trays 180 degrees in the oven after 5 minutes, but I do have to with my oven, or I will get lopsided macarons. Please adjust this according to your oven.

Macaron School: Check out Macaron School for many articles such as macaron troubleshooting, the science behind macarons, the tools I use, tips, frequently asked questions, and much more!

Spices: You can use all the spices listed or omit any of them if you don’t have them or don’t like them. Also, you can adjust the quantities to have more or less spice according to your preference.

Nutrition Facts
Reindeer Macarons
Amount Per Serving (1 macaron)
Calories 80
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.