Drunken cranberries and egg nog macarons

Mad About Macarons Christmas Party Special

It’s Christmas countdown! Is the excitement crescendoing in your family? I don’t know about you but up until now, I’ve been avoiding any tunes or decorations – especially since our local authorities mounted the festive decorations as early as mid October! Motivation, however, soon jump-started last week on a shopping spree in Paris. Check out these macaron baubles for the tree.

More baubles were hanging up with the gingerbread men at my favourite pastry shop in St. Germain-en-Laye, Le Petit Gateau. This is where I first learned how to make macarons all those years ago, since they have workshops for adults and children. Looking in the window, everyone becomes a child. Isn’t it magical?

Their gingerbread men are a huge hit with customers but the pastry chefs are freaked out by them. The popular smiling treats are hanging on their strings when it’s lights out at night; first thing in the morning they’ve dropped off them, lying motionless in the window. Did they come alive during the night like in Toy Story? I wonder if they played with the dwarves (oh dear, makes me think of a terrible joke but I should keep this website respectable) or did they storm the gingerbread house, claiming their territory?

Chocolate cointreau gingerbread macarons

Speaking of gingerbread, there has been a huge trend towards gingerbread macarons on the blogosphere recently. It has been exciting to see so many macaron lovers preparing their Christmas mac treats. You must visit Laura of Craftstorming and check out her incredible Gingerbread macaron men. Also Jamie of MacTweets aka Life’s a Feast. Jamie added Cognac to her macs (she had an excuse to use the good stuff after visiting the place en direct, lucky girl!) I didn’t have any left (what’s going on in our liqueur cabinet?) so resorted to Cointreau – a lovely orangey alternative, which goes well with the ganache and spices. I loved Jamie’s addition of the sweet chestnut purée: you don’t taste it with the chocolate as much as on its own but adds a beautiful Christmas gloss to the ganache.

Patrick Roger's chocolate Christmas tree

Back to Christmas tree baubles. Just take a peek at Patrick Roger’s vitrine of his St Germain-en-Laye boutique. How would your family react if you came home with a chocolate tree like this with real orange baubles? This year, kids, we’re respecting the environment. We’re fed up of untangling the Christmas lights, so let’s just decorate it with oranges and spiced orange blossom macarons. What do you think?

Spicy Christmas Orange Blossom Macarons by Jill

This time last year it was snowing. It was so dizzily exciting at first but it soon made way to alarmingly heavy snowfalls, that my first TV debut for making macarons was postponed. Instead we consoled ourselves my munching through these spicy orange blossom macarons that I’d prepared for the program. All was not lost; we just sat and gorged on them in front of the fire with slippers on, watching the snow outside plus the snow reports on the TV.

For orange blossom spiced macarons: just follow the recipe for orange blossom macarons (on p.77 of the book), infusing 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anises and 2 cloves in the cream.

I'm a mad thai mac ready to party!

Are you Christmas partying? These mini Thai green/red curry mac’sala macarons are a real hit at parties (spot Auntie Shirley’s knitted Christmas mac warmer!) Same goes for the beetroot and horseradish macarons or tikka mac’sala curry ones: serve them with drinks or better still, with hors-d’oeuvres/starter, as a surprising gluten-free alternative to bread with Round Carrot, Parsnip and Coriander soup.

This weekend, my eldest had her first boum – disco party – which is quite a milestone for 11/12 year-olds. I’m still recovering myself after that disco! What happened to the next day? I felt more like a Black-Eyed Pea Poopper! I’ve had some serious catching up to do in the groovy world after Mamma Mia: Funky Mum needs to know LMFAO, Zac Harry, Katy Perry, Pitbull, David Guetta. Guetta-load-of-that! It was great to see over 25 kids really enjoy themselves. They’ve worked so hard this tough term as the new kids on the block in first year at Collège. They also proved they’d worked hard at these dance moves. They know how to shake their stuff!

When I brought out the boxes of macarons, one boy asked Antoine if they were actually allowed to eat them. Can you imagine? Are macs just seen as treats for the adults? Really. Makes me want to make them all the more.  Then all the boys pounced on the chocolate ones and the girls were discussing what was the cube in the middle of the strawberry ones. Fascinating.

Drunken cranberry and egg nog macarons

Meanwhile, these macarons were preparing themselves for another party debut: drunken cranberry egg nog macarons. Using my favourite Appleton Estate Rum, I only wished I’d upped the dose by not just macerating the dried cranberries in it but also adding more rum to the vanilla cream, too. It just confirms that I should do what I say myself and don’t be afraid to concentrate the flavours as much as possible.

Cranberry Egg Nog Macarons: Simply follow the basic recipe for vanilla macarons (p. 35 of the book), using 120ml whole milk and 40ml rum, and add freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon and 100g of drunken cranberries to the filling.

This week, it’s time to say “merci, maîtresse” (thank you teacher) with little macaron bags at the end of term.

Bags of macarons for the teachers

The question is, do I give dark chocolate and mint macs to the French or the British school teachers? I love making these every Christmas – and each time Antoine still tries to explain that the French just don’t like mint with chocolate. Well I’m sorry but we love it in Britain: we were brought up to serve After Eights after dinner. It’s posh. So I’m still doing it whether you like it or not, Monsieur Antoine.

After Eight macarons

Wanting to decorate them with something festive, Mum had given me these Edible Green Trees by Rainbow Dust last year. Great idea and thanks, Mum – but they were so small and fiddly to use and kept curling. Now Lora, aka The Mad Hausfrau had a great arty crafty technique of painting on snowflakes with white food colouring directly on the macaron shell, then glittering them with disco dust for a Christmas macaron disco fever!

Don’t forget to put out some macarons for Santa with these macarons aux marrons glacés. Bulging stockings are guaranteed…

Well, the macarons are made and there’s even more partying: this is going to be a mad week! Enjoy your Christmas macaron-ing. Now it’s time to hang up the decorations!

Spot the edible ones!

Don’t forget to enter the international Christmas Giveaway of Mad About Macarons!
You could be one of the FIVE lucky readers to receive a copy, courtesy of Waverley Books.

48 replies
  1. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    Beautiful! And you inspire me to attempt new mac flavors! Thanks for linking to my Gingerbread Macs (actually, Pain d’Épice!) because they were so amazing! The flavor of gingerbread with the cognac chocolate ganache was wonderful! But now I have to try some of your stunning flavors! And ha ha my sons never had me organize a boum! Must’ve been great fun!

  2. Kim Bee
    Kim Bee says:

    Jill this is absolutely amazing. I am so jealous of you. I want to move near you and shop with you and make macarons with you. But not in a weird stalker way. Lol!

    I really should take a class on blog commenting etiquette. The do’s and don’t’s.

  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    It must be so cute to have macarons ornaments for the tree. I’d assume you have one tree with lots of edible ornaments. :-) But better not to have a guest like me because by the time I’m leaving all of your ornaments are gone… ;-)

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      If I ever go on a show again, I’d love to have it recorded next time – so much easier. Doing a first demo on TV and LIVE is so nerve-racking!
      Enjoy your Christmas, too. May it be full of warm spices!

  4. Anne@frommysweetheart
    Anne@frommysweetheart says:

    Jill….I just love reading about what inspires you to make your macarons. I think the gingerbread and the cranberry eggnog are so perfect for this time of year. I agree with you….a simple, natural tree is so pretty. Especially adorned with oranges spiked with cloves and YOUR macarons! : )

  5. Laura
    Laura says:

    What a fantastic round up of holiday macarons. Thank you for featuring my gingerbread man ones. Your chocolate cointreau gingerbread macarons look and sound fantastic, as do the cranberry egg nog ones. I always buy a box of After Eights for Christmas.

  6. Parsley Sage
    Parsley Sage says:

    Hahah! That party sounds like too much fun and excitement for me :) And the reaction to your macs is adorable! Love it.

    In fact, I love this whole post. I want one of every macaron. Especially the nog one. I LOVE me some nog!

    Buzzed :)

  7. Liz
    Liz says:

    Love the After 8 macs…may have to try those soon! And all the other fun, inspirational flavors and knickknacks. And had to LOL about needing an update on hip music…I can totally relate. My kids say that by the time I put some “new” hit on my ipod, that it’s been out for years! And giggle that Antoine’s selections weren’t up to snuff :) Have a lovely week! xo

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Hehee, Liz. Yes, we’re thinking of doing another party but for us oldies. We can’t go wrong if we just say we’re all going back to the 80s. Most of the music these days is just the same stuff anyway ;-)

  8. Janet@FCTC
    Janet@FCTC says:

    These all look amazing Jill! I have had your book on my Amazon wish list for a while now but just haven’t been able to get it yet. I can’t wait till I can!!! If it has these recipes and more in it, I know I will spend a lot of time drooling over it. There is not a recipe up there that I don’t want to try.

    Glad your daughter and friends had a good time at the party. Sounds like they deserved the fun. :-)

  9. Kim - Liv Life
    Kim - Liv Life says:

    Ok, if I wasn’t in any sort of Christmas Spirit before your post, I think I’m starting to feel it now!! My girlfriend leaves for Paris this Saturday and I’ve forwarded your post to her as a little tease. She and her family are SO excited, they are hoping for some of that snow you were talking about.
    I’m really drawn to those little mini curry guys… neat idea! Maybe I will get to making some Macarons for New Years!
    Love that the party went so well! We really are out of touch with the music, aren’t we?

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Hate to say there’s no snow yet, Kim. But there’s nothing stopping you from having some heat with the curry macs. I have to say these are my personal favs!

  10. Vicki Bensinger
    Vicki Bensinger says:

    Wow Jill looks like you’ve been busy. Love the macaron ornaments – so cute. Thanks for sharing some links. I just stopped by to visit those adorable gingerbread macarons – too cute!

    I hate to break it to you but you’ll probably only be cool to your own age group for a disco party. We’re never cool enough for our kids parties, even though they try to let us think we still are. It’s fun to try though. Have a Happy Holiday!

  11. Claudia
    Claudia says:

    All. I want it all. I want to peer into that bakery window, sample every macaron, bring home a macaron ornament. Have a dish of cranberry-eggnog macarons waiting for me when I return home and yes, I do love chocolate with mint. It is indeed very posh. And that Christmas tree – would almost be ashamed to eat it – almost! What a delightful, engaging post to read on a dreary, rainy December morning in Minnesota.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Awe, thanks Claudia. If it’s any help, it’s pretty dreary now here in Paris, too! Loved your post today on Anne-Sophie Pic and congrats to your graduate daughter. You must be so proud.

  12. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time
    The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time says:

    I can’t believe that there actually macaron ornaments! I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a real one. Period. The edible kind or otherwise. Welcome to the rural south. I’d love a dozen or so of the Chocolate Cointreau Gingerbread Macarons to give my mom for Christmas (if she were able to eat sugar anymore, which she’s not). Cointreau is her favorite liqueur and she ADORES chocolate, being Belgian and all. A perfect combination.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      No I don’t ship, Tiffany. I’m a lazy gourmet so you’ll just have to make them yourself, hint, hint. Gosh, I’m being so cheeky, eh? Hugs from Paris, J

  13. Amy
    Amy says:

    Wow Jill! All of these sound amazing! I am loving the color especially of the drunken cranberry macaroons! I would like a few of each ;)! Hope you have a wonderful week!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I wish you could, too, Mardi. Yes, you would have laughed even more at the boum – forgot to mention that Antoine was DJ: a boy came up to him with his iPod and said, here, use mine – that was when Antoine had played 2 Abba songs. DJ was given a ticking off!


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