candied chestnut or marron glacé christmas macaroons

Marron Glacé Macarons for the Holiday Season

Do you find yourself carried away when you’re passionate about something? When MacTweets came up with the end of year macaron-making inspiration, I have to confess I was dilirious with mad macaron ideas: mixing this with that and being complicated with fancy flavours. Somehow at this time of year, however, we’re into luxury; but the French adore their Classics. Antoine is always reminding me of this before a French dinner party.

Recently, I dished out a salty, spicy, chocolate risotto (using Valhrona chocolate) with Reggiano parmesan. When I mentioned converting this into a macaron, he physically winced. Not because he thought it was awful but I’m sure he remembered the time I didn’t listen and I served it as a starter/hors d’oeuvres to perfectly classic, don’t-serve-me-anything-weird-please guests.  Everyone raved about it. Sorry, Antoine. A macaron like that would go a blast with some Champagne for a festive apéritif.

Candied chestnut or marron glacé macarons for Christmas

Forget the carrots and milk… I prefer macarons!

For Mac Attack #25, Seasons & Holidays, I changed heart. Well, I’m thinking that poor old Santa is perhaps fed up with the same organic carrots and glass of milk by the chimney – and he certainly wouldn’t have time to stop for a spicy, bitter chocolate risotto with a chocolate chili macaron. Sometimes we have left Santa a glass of matured Scottish single malt whisky but somehow it never lasts that long: I wonder if he even gets to drink it, poor soul.

So, it’s high time that Père Noël got the treatment. In France, a Noël without marrons glacés (sweetened vanilla chestnuts) is… is a day without sunshine? Why can’t I find the words tonight?  Perhaps I tried some of the whisky for inspiration but it hasn’t worked. In the words of Shakespeare, it stimulates the desire (I add here, to write) but takes away the performance. Say no more.

marrons glacés chestnut macarons

At this chilly time of year but festive, warm heart, chestnuts seemed to make sense. I already talked about roasted chestnuts in Paris. But this time, we’re talking sweetened vanilla chestnuts: les marrons glacés: a French favourite for the holiday season and rest-assured extra sweet bonus points if we arrive with a box of them at Christmas chez Antoine’s parents.

Jamie and Deeba at Mactweets incite so many macaron lovers to come up with a certain theme each month. I hope they don’t mind me tagging along again but don’t you love joining in fun stuff? Any excuse to make different macaron flavours…

They suggested:

Think Colour: since the flavour was chestnut, then it had to be brown. Dark brown. But somehow we don’t want them too dark. Gloomsville, no thanks. Think festive, so lighten them up a bit, using a dash of equal quantities of brown and yellow powdered colouring. To add a festive party glow, brush on a dash of golden food dust/lustre for the luxurious look (either think Pierre Hermé or imagine dancing all night at a Christmas party.)

Think Flavour: This is where the macaron comes into its own. Think concentrated flavours: add some vanilla powder to the shells for extra vanilla punch and don’t forget to taste your filling. It should pack a punch. I made a chestnut cream simply by using Clement Faugier’s sweet/candied chestnut spread with some creamed butter and some mascarpone. However, if you’re stuck for time just now, just slap on the sweet chestnut spread directly.

Clement Faugier

My very first batch of Chestnut macarons included Corsican Chestnut Liqueur from Castagniccia. Amazing. But after a few days the macarons became slightly too sweet. It’s better with a splash of dark rum.

candied chestnut or marron glacé christmas macaroons

Think Holiday! Whether you’re spending it with family or friends at home or abroad, enjoy these luxurious gluten-free treats by a crackling fire (or on the beach, you lucky southern-hemisphere friends) with a glass of off-dry Champagne. Take these high heeled fancy shoes off, ladies. They’re killing you, anyway. Change into your slippers and drift away into holiday macaronivore bliss.

Talking of bliss, have you tried them with this candied chestnut or marron glacé & vanilla ice cream?

Happy Holidays to you all! I’m packing them all up to Scotland this time…
Enjoy all the preparations and the Christmassy tunes.

A bientôt, mes amis.

30 replies
  1. Deeba
    Deeba says:

    Hi again. Just wrote a long comment and I think it got eaten up. Here I go again. I have always wanted to use chestnut cream in macarons and yours are pretty as they are perfect; delicious sounding too. Lucky Santa…Hic!! Thank you for joining us with these delighful creations at Mactweets. Love the way you incorporated our colour, flavour and holiday call into them Jill. Have a wonderful new year!!

    Reply
  2. Karen@ladymacaron20ten
    Karen@ladymacaron20ten says:

    Jill, these look absolutely gorgeous. If they taste anything like Mont Blanc which, I remember eating at Angelina’s, then I’m sure they would be out of this world! I just wish we could get chestnut spread, sounds delis. Green with envy!

    Reply
  3. thelittleloaf
    thelittleloaf says:

    I love how you’ve addressed every element of the mactweets challenge! Chestnut always makes me think of christmas and is the perfect addition to these – your photos are gorgeous too 🙂

    Reply
  4. Pauline
    Pauline says:

    Love the look of these, so sophisticated. After all those rough hewn mince pies must be a relief for Père Noël to taste some lovely light macarons. Not sure he’s that fussy about his drink though 🙂

    Reply
  5. Lora
    Lora says:

    “Change into your slippers and drift away into holiday macaronivore bliss.” That’s so up my alley. These macarons are simply beautiful. I love the gold dust and that filling..oh my.

    Reply
  6. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    My son saw an article in Time magazine about macarons last week, about how they are the new thing. I told him that bloggers were SO ahead of trends (maybe we are the trend setters?) and that there was a wonderful gal in France (you) that has perfected them and made the rest of us jealous for a long time. These chestnut delights are beautiful!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Oh, Kristen. You are so sweet. No need to be jealous dahlink, since that’s the point of the book: you can make them even better yourself and concoct your own taste combinations. Best get back to the kitchen since preparing more festive macs for a couple of parties. We have 25 12-yr-olds around tomorrow! 🙂

      Reply
  7. SarahCupcake
    SarahCupcake says:

    Yum!! I’m always intrigued by macarons. Can’t wait to read more of your blog. I’ve got a really great gingerbread macaron that I make {the ONLY one I make ;)} but I would like to try something like this.

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Fantastic! Gingerbread macaron sounds fabulous. Happy macaroning and hope you enjoy le blog. Had some subscription update problems with the feed but it should be working again shortly.

      Reply
  8. Amalia
    Amalia says:

    These look perfect as always! The color and texture looks wonderful and what could beat chestnut? Nothing that’s for sure! I’m sure Santa will love these 🙂

    Reply
  9. Carolyn
    Carolyn says:

    Fun, crazy, interesting flavours certainly have their place, but these gorgeous macarons in a classic French flavour are perfect for the holidays. I’d eat one, or five, and then run around the block to keep my blood sugars low!

    Reply
  10. Biren @ Roti n Rice
    Biren @ Roti n Rice says:

    I like the gold dust bit on the shells! Would match the baubles on my tree this year. Imagine macaron ornaments. Maybe that is inspiration enough for me to make my first batch of macarons.

    Hope you have a wonderful time in Scotland with family and friends. 🙂

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks, Biren. They are indeed now on our Christmas tree inside a bauble! Pity I didn’t manage to save any more than two, since they were all scoffed before I thought about keeping some back. Och well – just have to make more! So glad to hear you’re going to make your first batch! Yay.

      Reply
  11. Tina@flourtrader
    Tina@flourtrader says:

    This was a good read and I am definitely ready to eat some of these tasty goodies. Chestnut anything is hard to come by here, so that makes these extra special. I am ready to fly to Paris and take some lessons on making these-yum!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Tina, with your baking skills you don’t need a lesson. In any case, that’s why I just wrote it clearly in the book 😉
      Come over to Paris anyway, ok? Let’s enjoy pastries and ‘trading flour’ talk!

      Reply
  12. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    Beautiful! And I am about to post my own Holiday Macs with the same Chestnut Cream folded into chocolate ganache with a splash of cognac – so Santa will be doubly happy this year, right? Yours are beautiful – and wish we could share…. Always so so happy to have you bake macs with us for Mactweets!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Wow, that was quick, Jamie! Totally agree. You are so near yet so far – hopefully one of these days we can enjoy them together with a cuppa or a glass of something more festive! Thanks for letting me enjoy the fun with you over at Mactweets. Your macs sound delicious – and great idea! Cheers, J.

      Reply

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