29 December 2015

Pepparkaka macarons

This one has been on the back of my mind since Doctor Cutie was such a sweetie and gave me a book on how to make macarons a few years ago and this year, I managed to get around to that, since we spent a record 10 days in Stockholm over Christmas. Mostly eating and sleeping, with a couple of breaks for bird watching, since it was the hottest Winter/December on record ever. Many thanks to my Sister Bip for navigating us to a great nature reserve she found a few months ago nearby.

In Sweden they sell ready made gingersnap spice mixture and I found this recipe that seemed good, so I followed it as far as the macarons went.


110 g finely ground almonds (almond flour)
170 g icing sugar
2 tsp gingersnap spice mixture
90 g egg whites (from 3 medium eggs)
2 tbsp granulated sugar


  1. Weigh up a bit more of the ground almonds than required, then sift twice and weigh the end result - that should be 110 g.
  2. Place the almond flour in a large bowl and sift in the icing sugar and the gingersnap spice mixture. Stir through to incorporate well.
  3. In a separate bowl (ceramic, glass or metal), whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then gradually add the granulated sugar and keep whisking until they go glossy and stiff.
  4. Carefully fold in the dry mixture into the egg whites in three parts, make sure everything is well mixed. If it feels a bit stiff, continue to fold a few more times, it should loosen up.
  5. Prepare a couple of baking sheets with baking paper, then transfer the meringue mixture into a piping bag with a large round nozzle and pipe blobs onto the prepared sheets. The blobs should be about 2.5 cm diameter, flow out a bit and be fairly flat. They won't swell much during baking, so can be done fairly close to each other.
  6. Once a tray has been filled, lift 10 - 15 cm off the work top and drop onto it. Repeat a few times, this will make the macarons settle and any tops that had formed from piping should disappear. This can be a bit noisy, alternatively hold the baking sheet with one hand and tap underneath with the other.
  7. Leave the trays to rest for at least 30 minutes, more if the air is humid. A skin needs to form on the surface of the macarons to ensure they remain flat during the baking.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 125 °C and bake for 12 - 15 minutes, watching so they don't start getting colour. If they do, turn down the temperature a bit.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. They should come off the baking paper easily, if not, bake for a bit longer.
  10. Once completely cooled, place in an airtight container and keep sealed until needed.

100 g unsalted butter at room temperature
100 g icing sugar
100 g marshmallow fluff
1 tsp vanilla extract
food colouring of choice (optional)


  1. Stir the butter vigorously with a spoon to make it fluffy, then add the sugar and mix in well.
  2. Add the marshmallow fluff, vanilla extract and colouring and incorporate to get a homogenous mixture.
  3. Transfer to a piping bag, snip off the tip for a small hole (~5 mm) and pipe onto half of the macarons, placing the other half on top of them to form a sandwich.
  4. The above amounts make a lot more filling than the macarons. The filling can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen even for longer. It also works nicely on other biscuits or cupcakes. It keeps its shape fairly well and won't go solid over time.

The frosting recipe comes from this site and is for a much larger amount, but the key point is that each of the butter, sugar and marshmallow fluff are to be used in equal amounts per weight, so should be fairly easy to scale up or down as required. I used the basic vanilla flavouring and I didn't use any colouring, but I think I should have perhaps tried with yellow to make them more visually appealing, as the macarons were quite pale too. And don't get put off by the photo on the original website - I almost was and I know I'm pretty crap at taking attractive food photos myself, but this frosting is really good. My Sister Bip even tried it on pancakes and said it was absolutely yummy.

Sadly I went the lazy route (as I tend to for this delicacy) and skipped the sifting of the ground almonds, so my macarons were quite knobbly and seemed a bit crunchier than the fancy shop-bought ones. My Mum's oven is already madly uneven in baking, so most of the macarons ended up quite slopey, even though I turned the trays around half-way through baking.

I now also know that the ready gingersnap mixture is very heavy on the ginger, so this was quite dominating, too much for my liking, but this didn't prevent me from gobbling down a couple of macarons after each meal during the holidays. Lundulph also thought that there was a bit too much ginger, but said that they were quite a nice Christmas treat. I've also taken home the remainder of the gingersnap mixture and will try it out in next year's gingersnap batch, to see if it tastes differently in the cookies.

It also seems I forgot to take photos of my knobbly macarons. Oh well...