Your favorite holiday snack cake meets the famous French macaron cookie! These bite-sized Christmas Tree Cake Macarons are packed with flavor and will sure to impress this holiday season!
Vanilla macaron shells filled with buttercream infused with the classic Little Debbie Christmas Cake. These are the ultimate Christmas macarons.
Stick with me, this post is a longer one, but I promise it is packed full of information that you will NEED for this recipe.Jump to Recipe
MACARON VS MACAROON
This is a common question I get ALL the time. What is the difference between a Macaron and a Macaroon?
Macarons are a bite-sized, meringue based dessert that originated in France. Macarons have an almond flour and meringue base, whereas macaroons have a shredded coconut and meringue base. Macarons are also baked as individual cookies and then filled with a buttercream or jam filling. I also find that macarons are more difficult to bake than macaroons.
HOW TO MAKE CHRISTMAS TREE CAKE MACARONS
Like I mentioned above, macarons can be pretty difficult to learn to make, however once you get it, they are addicting! I am going to try my best to walk you through step-by-step so you can get them right the first time!
WHAT YOU NEED:
Almond flour: I like to use blue diamond, but I also love Bob’s Red Mill when I can find it. You want to try to find a fine blend if you can.
Powdered sugar: No real specifications on this one. Just make sure it is fresh and there are no dried lumps in your powdered sugar.
Egg whites: There is a huge debate on whether or not you should used aged egg whites in macarons. From my experience, using fresh egg whites works just fine. I separate my egg whites before I begin, and by the time I use them they are fine.
Cream of Tarter: This helps stabilize the egg whites. I have tried using recipes without cream of tarter and I always end up with hollow shells.
Granulated Sugar: I always use granulated sugar, but you can always use caster sugar if you can find it.
For the buttercream: Butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, 1-2 Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes, green sprinkles, premade red frosting (I use the little tubes).
First, weigh your ingredients out using a kitchen scale. Yes, weigh them. I get everything weighed out in individual bowls before I begin to make the process easier.
After you have everything weighted out, add the egg whites and cream of tarter into the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until the egg whites start to bubble. SLOWLY, sprinkle in the granulated sugar. If you add the granulated sugar too fast it will not thicken correctly.
Continue mixing on high speed until you get thick peeks. See image below for a reference. When you remove your whisk, the meringue should stand straight up and not fold over on itself.
Combine the powdered sugar and almond flour into a bowl and whisk to combine. Sift half of the mixture into the meringue and fold by going around the bowl and then through the middle. Move the spatula side-to-side in a wave motion and press the meringue against the bottom and sides of the bowl to remove any air.
Sift in the remaining dry ingredients and continue to fold and press until you get a “lava” consistency. You should be able to draw a figure 8 with the mix without it breaking off. It should also disappear back into the bulk of the batter within a few seconds.
This is a very important part to getting those pretty feet and full macarons. If you mix too much, you get flat puffy “feet”, if you don’t mix enough they may come out grainy with “nipples” on top.
Once you have reached the lava consistency. Prepare a large pan with either parchment paper or a silicone mats. I love these because they have the template already printed on them. I normally turn my baking pan over and pipe on the bottom so the mat is nice and flat.
Add a large round tip (I use a Wilton 1A tip) to a piping bag and place in a large glass with the tip pointing up. Pour your batter into the bag and pipe about 1 ½ inch circles keeping your bag and tip straight up. You should get about 40 shells total.
Slightly tap the baking sheet on the counter several times to remove any air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles that come to the surface. Let the shells set for 30-45 minutes until a “shell” forms. If you can touch the top of them and no batter comes off on your finger, they are ready to bake.
Bake your shells on the middle shelf of your oven for 13-15 minutes. To check if they are done, carefully touch the top of one of the cookies. If the top doesn’t move they are done baking. If the top still moves, bake for an additional minute at a time. Remove from the oven and allow the macaron shells to cool on a wire rack until completely cooled. Do not try to remove them from the pan until they are cool.
Prepare the filling and flip over half of the macaron shells. Place a generous dollop of filling on half of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies on top and gently press down until the filling is even with the outside of the cookie shell.
Decorate by dipping the top of the shell in melted white chocolate, green sprinkles, and red frosting to mimic a Christmas tree cake.
You can eat the macarons as soon as they are done but I HIGHLY recommend maturing the macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. They get SO much better with time.
Q: CAN FROZEN EGG WHITES BE USED IN A MACARON RECIPE?
A: I don’t recommend it. I honestly have not tried it, but I would recommend using fresh egg whites only. I would not recommend using boxed egg whites as well.
Q: WHY DID MY MACARONS CRACK?
A: Most likely you had a weak meringue. Which means you either didn’t use cream of tarter, or you didn’t mix the meringue long enough. Another option is that you didn’t let the shells set long enough before baking.
HOW TO STORE MACARONS
Keep filled macarons stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-6 days. Remove the macarons from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.
You can also freeze the unfilled shells for up to 3 months. Allow them to cool completely and store in a freezer safe container. Allow the shells to come to room temperature before filling.
If you love these Christmas Tree Cake Macarons as much as I do, make sure you share this recipe with your friends on Facebook and Pinterest so they can make them too!
More Macaron Recipes to Try!
Christmas Tree Cake Macarons
- Silicone mat
- Stand Mixer
- Piping bag
- large and small round piping tip
- 70 grams almond flour
- 63 grams powdered sugar
- 55 grams egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tarter
- 55 grams granulated sugar
- 1 stick butter- softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 ½- 2 Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes crumbled
- ½ cup white chocolate melted
- green sprinkles
- premade red buttercream frosting
- Measure out all ingredients and place in individual bowls. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg whites and cream of tarter and whisk until bubbly. GRADUALLY add in the granulated sugar and mix until stiff peaks form. The meringue should stick straight up when you remove the whisk.
- Sift half of the almond flour and powdered sugar into the meringue and fold by going around the bowl and straight through the center of the meringue. Continue folding until there are no dry spots remaining.
- Sift in the remaining almond and powdered sugar mixture and fold until you get a “lava-like” consistency. You should be able to pick up your spatula and draw a figure 8 with the batter without it breaking off. The batter should also disappear back into the bulk after about 15-20 seconds.
- Prepare a piping bag with a large round tip. Use a large mug or glass to hold the piping bag while you fill with the macaron batter.
- Add a silicon mat or parchment paper to a baking sheet. Pipe about 1 ½” circles (I recommend using a template, you can easily find one on google images) of batter then tap the baking sheet against the counter to remove and air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles that come to the surface.
- Allow the shells to set for about 30 minutes or until a “skin” forms on the outside. You should be able to touch the top of the shells without batter coming off on your finger.
- Bake at 300 degrees. F for 13-15 minutes or until you can touch the top of the shell and it does not move around on the “feet”.
- Remove form the oven and allow to cool COMPLETELY before trying to remove them from the pan.
- While they are cooling, prepare the buttercream by adding the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and cream until nice and smooth.
- Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time and fully incorporate.
- Pour in heavy whipping cream and slowly increase speed to high and whip for 2-3 minutes until you get a whipped consistency. Add in the crumbled Christmas tree cakes last and mix on high speed until combined and smooth.
- Add to a piping bag with a large round piping tip.
- Flip over half of the shells and pipe a small amount of buttercream on each shell and top with the remaining shells.
- Dip the top of one of the shells into white chocolate and sprinkle with green sprinkles. Repeat with half of the shells.
- Use a small piping tip and pipe red lines of buttercream on top of the white chocolate. Use a cake as a reference.
- Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours to “mature” this will give you the best results. Bring the macarons to room temperature and serve!