Festive, fun, and completely adorable, these sweet little Peppermint Red Velvet Macarons deserve a spot on your holiday cookie tray! These bakery classics take focus and precision in the kitchen, but the results are as impressive looking as they are yummy!
Not all holiday desserts are created equal.
Some people rock the classics: boxed cakes and refrigerated cookies.
Others pull out Grandma’s cookbook and recreate her favorite recipes (I fall into this category).
There are also brave souls that attempt crazy stuff that they see on Pinterest. Like homemade Greek baklava and the testy French macaron recipe.
I guess I’m also one of those folks.
French macarons are one of those time-consuming, temperamental confections that have been on my baking bucket list for years.
I actually tried making them at the beginning of this year, in an attempt to check off a few of those bucket list dreams.
A few dozen eggs and a large bag of almond flour later, and I felt like I had a general idea of what I was doing.
Multiple flavors, shapes, and sizes taught me quite a bit about how to refine my egg white folding technique.
My first batch had perfect feet, but were vanilla. BORING.
Batch number two was also vanilla, but with some blue food coloring mixed in. Those macarons were the unfortunate victims of over-baking. Sacré bleu.
A few tests later and I ended up with heart-shaped red velvet macarons that were by far my favorite. They were perfectly shaped, not flat, with cute little feet and dynamic flavor.
When I was deciding on Christmas recipes, those macarons were the perfect candidate for a revisit. And let me tell you how gorgeous they looked on my festive cookie platter!
What is a macaron?
Macarons are delicate, lightly sweetened, meringue-based French sandwich cookies. Gluten-free at their core, they are made of ground almonds, egg whites, sugars, and flavorings. They can be filled with all kinds of icings or jams. The outside of the macarons are crispy, while the inside is soft and chewy, but not mushy.
Making a successful batch of macarons involves a bit of technique and being sure to follow a solid recipe. The proper consistency of the macaron shells depends on:
- Avoiding over-mixing the batter,
- Removing possible air bubbles,
- Allowing the cookies to dry prior to baking,
- Not over-baking the cookies.
Macaron vs macaroon
While they’re both delicious, macarOns and macarOOns aren’t even close to being the same!
A macaroon is a coconut-based nest-like cookie, sometimes dipped in or drizzled with chocolate.
- almond flour
- powdered sugar
- cocoa powder
- egg whites
- cream of tartar
- granulated sugar
- red velvet emulsion extract
- cream cheese
- heavy whipping cream
- peppermint extract
One thing to note, this recipe doesn’t contain vanilla extract like most traditional macaron recipes. Instead I opted for peppermint extract since these are festive macarons.
For exact ingredient measurements and recipe instructions, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post!
How to make macarons
Want to know how to make the perfect macarons? It’s honestly way easier than you think! Below is my fail proof method to making macarons. These are perfect for Christmas or even Valentines Day!
- First, you’ll want to line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silat liners and set them aside.
- Then, sift together almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Whip egg whites on medium speed with a hand mixer or thick attachment in your kitchen aid until they become foamy. Add in cream of tartar and continue to whip, slowly adding sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Now, add Red Velvet Emulsion (or red food coloring) to the egg white sugar mixture. Whip 1 minute until well combined.
- Sift the almond flour mixture over the egg whites, then gently fold it in, cutting the batter in half with a rubber spatula as you fold. The batter will start thick, but thin out as it is mixed. The batter is ready when the edges of a drizzled ribbon dissolve back into the mixture after 10 seconds. Some people note these as “glossy peaks.”
- At this point, stop folding and pipe your cookies! Transfer the mixture to a pastry or pipping bag with a round tip. Pipe out 1 1/2-inch rounds, about 1 inch apart, on the prepared baking sheets.
- Tap the baking sheets firmly on the counter a few times to pop any hidden air bubbles. This keeps the macarons from cracking during baking.
- Let the macarons dry on the baking sheets for 30-60 minutes, until dry to the touch.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake macarons for 18-20 minutes until the “feet” are well risen and they no longer stick to the parchment paper. Transfer sheets to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the peppermint cream cheese filling…
- First, beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer for 3-4 minutes until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, heavy cream, peppermint extract, and salt, beating until well combined.
- Transfer the macaron filling into a pastry bag and pipe a dollop on the bottom of half of the macaron shells, topping it with another to create a sandwich. Repeat with remaining macarons.
- Allow 24 hours before serving for best flavor. Store remaining macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 5 months.
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Peppermint Red Velvet Macarons
Red Velvet Macarons
- 1 cup almond flour 100g
- ¾ cup powdered sugar 100g
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 large egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar 50g
- 1 teaspoon red velvet emulsion extract
Peppermint Cream Cheese
- ¼ cup cream cheese softened
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Red Velvet Macarons
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue to whip, slowly adding the granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form. Add red velvet emulsion (or red gel food coloring) and mix on medium speed for 1 minute until well combined.
- Sift the almond flour mixture over the egg whites. Gently fold it into the egg whites, cutting the batter in half with a rubber spatula as you fold. The batter will start out thick, but thin as it is mixed. The batter is ready when the edges of a drizzled ribbon dissolve back into the mixture after 10 seconds. Do not over mix at this point – you’re ready to pipe your cookies!
- Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a round tip. Pipe out 1 1/2-inch rounds, about 1 inch apart, on the prepared baking sheets.
- Tap the baking sheets firmly on the counter 6-8 times to pop any hidden air bubbles. This keeps the macarons from cracking during baking.
- Let the macarons dry on the baking sheets for 30-60 minutes, depending on the temperature and humidity of your house. They are ready when they feel dry to the touch, and no batter sticks to your finger.
- Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bake the rested macarons for 18-20 minutes until the “feet” are well risen. Test one after 18 minutes – they are done when they no longer stick to the parchment paper.
- Transfer sheets to a wire rack to cool, then remove from parchment. Pair up the macaron shells and flip half on their backsides, flat side up.
Peppermint Cream Cheese
- In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter 3-4 minutes until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, heavy cream, peppermint extract, and salt, beating until well combined.
- Transfer the filling into a pastry bag and pipe a dollop on each of the upside-down shells, topping it with another shell to create a sandwich. Repeat with remaining macarons.
- Allow 12-24 hours before serving for best flavor. Store remaining macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 5 months.