I love the red and white striped candy canes; those are my favourite candy over the Christmas season because I like how pretty they look, though you probably wouldn’t catch me eating one.
I don’t recall ever finishing a candy cane, not even a mini one though I must say that I actually like the flavour of candy cane – peppermint. I think it is excellent with chocolate, dark chocolate as in After Eights or white chocolate.
This Christmas, I decided to make candy canes my pet project. I wanted to play up its prettiness but in a different, more accessible form, call it adult-friendly candy cane, if you will.
I did a quick google search and found that there are many other out there who like their candy canes in their macarons. Well, to be fair, my idea of white chocolate and peppermint is not some never been heard, off base combination.
I settled down with Adriano Zumbo’s candy cane ganache recipe and it worked brilliantly – the right amount of white chocolate and peppermint to remind you of Christmas. I relied on my own macaron shells recipe and made pink and white shells. I was debating whether to go with bright red and white but settled on pink and white for a more soothing and dreamy look. I also experimented with a swirly pink and white blend on some of the shells and I must say that I like that effect too.
These candy cane (white chocolate peppermint) macarons are quite a hit with my family and friends. If you are thinking of making some Christmas inspired macarons, I would strongly suggest giving these a go.
They are beautiful and taste wonderful, subtle sweetness from the white chocolate with a good punch of refreshing peppermint; these candy cane macarons are certainly not your average novelty (somewhat an oxymoron, I recognised) macaron flavour where it might seem interesting to give one a try, but not enticing enough to pick up a second or a third one.
I’m signing off with some candy cane love! Happy Christmas baking everyone! x
p.s If you end up with leftover candy cane this Christmas, you know what to do!
Recipe: Candy cane macarons
Makes 35 regular macarons
Candy cane ganache recipe is very slightly tweaked from Adriano Zumbo’s recipe.
These candy cane macarons are definitely one of the best way for adults to indulge in candy canes. They would look absolutely stunning, especially at a Christmas party. Below is my tried-and-tested macaron recipe using the French meringue method and a candy cane ganache, which is essentially a white chocolate peppermint ganache really, that would bring you some Yuletide cheer.
Macaron shells (French meringue method)
260g tant pour tant (French for half for half, in this case 130g almond meal & 130g icing sugar)
100g egg whites, aged if possible, at room temperature
pinch of cream of tar tar
120g caster sugar
a few drops of wilton paste colour (pink or red)
1.Prepare your baking trays: Place baking parchment on trays.
2. Dry the ground almond meal in a 50 degrees celcius oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until it doesn’t clump together when pressed between two fingers. Then process it in a food processor with the icing sugar until a fine powder form.
3. Sift together the ground almond meal and icing suga (tant pour tant) and whisk until uniform. Split the tant pour tant equally into two separate bowls (one for pink macarons, one for white macarons)
4. Make a french meringue: begin by whisking the egg whites in a clean, grease-free mixer bowl at low speed. Add in the cream of tar tar when the egg whites turn foamy.
5. Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until soft peaks before adding the caster sugar gradually.
6. When all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff and glossy peaks. You will know when it’s ready if you lift the whisk and the mixture is firm and doesn’t droop.
7. Add in half of the meringue mixture as well as the pink/red wilton colour paste to one of the tant pour tant bowls, and the other half of the meringue into the other bowl. Fold the meringue through the tant pour tant. You do not have to be too careful about knocking the air out at this point.
8. When it is well-combined, smear the mixture against the sides of the bowl with your spatula to achieve macaronage. This should be done about 10- 12 times to achieve a smooth, glossy mixture, without holding peaks. When you lift your spatula, the mixture should fall in about 5-6 seconds. The consistency should be similar to your choux pastry mixture.
9. When it is done, fill the macaron mixture into a piping bag with plain nozzle size 8 or 10 and pipe the macaron shells onto a baking sheet. Try to pipe them as evenly as possible and leave about 1/2 inch gap in between the macarons. The mixture will spread a little. You should have a tray of pink/red macaron shells and another tray of white shells.
10. After piping the macaron shells, rap the tray against the kitchen counter a couple of times. This will help the pied (or foot) of the macarons to form.
11. Let the macarons rest for about 30-45 minutes in an air-conditioned environment until they have form a skin and the batter does not stick to your fingers when you touch it.
12. Bake in a preheated oven on the center rack at 165 degrees celcius for about 15 minutes and allow it to dry in the oven, with the oven door slightly ajar for 2-3 minutes. The macaron shells are ready when the bases are dry. You can try lifting one shell out to test, you should be able to do so easily.
13. Allow the macaron shells to cool on its baking tray before attempting to peel them off the baking sheet.
Candy cane ganache
Enough to fill 35 regular macarons
32g coarsely chopped candy canes
120ml double cream
200g white couverture chocolate, chopped
1 tsp peppermint essence
75g unsalted butter
1. Melt chopped candy canes in a stainless steel pot over medium-low heat until completely melted and slightly caramelised. Stir only if necessary.
2. Heat up cream in a separate pot over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil.
3. Pour cream over the melted candy canes and swirl pot to combine.
4. Pour cream over white chocolate and peppermint essence, stir to combine. Then add in butter and stir.
5. Chill ganache in the fridge. Start whisking the ganache once it is chilled thouroughly. The point is to whisk air into the ganache until buttercream consisitency. The ganache would be of piping consistency and be able to hold its form.
about 4 mini candy canes, chopped or crushed finely
1. Pair up a pink macaron shell with a white shell before you begin piping the filling.
2. Using a plain nozzle size no 8 or 10, pipe the ganache filling onto the center of one of the shells. Place a small amount of crushed candy canes on top of the ganache before placing the second shell on top of it and twist it gently until the filling comes right to the edges of the macaron.
3. Place it into the fridge to allow the macarons to mature at least 24 hours before consuming. This maturation process is important for the macaron shells to absorb the flavours and moisture from the filling giving it a nice chewy center.
* Finish the matured macarons within 1-2 days otherwise the shell will be too soft.