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?
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’s Ginger 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.
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?
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 mad about macaron recipe book), infusing 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anises and 2 cloves in the cream.
Are you Christmas partying? These mini Thai green/red curry mac’sala macarons are a real hit at parties.
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 Leek, Pumpkin and Ginger soup with curry macarons.
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?
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.
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 Mad About Macarons), 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.
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.
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!
I love how you’re always so creative with your Macaron creations! Hope you and your family had a very wonderful holiday =)
Jill, now that is tree decorating, sweet and looks fabulous:) Happy Holidays!
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!
Thanks, Jamie. What? Never had a boum? Quite right: it’s exhausting…
Must try macs with Cognac. Your visit sounded incredible.
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.
Kim, what a giggle. Don’t change the way you comment – please. You crack me up!
A whole tree just laden with macaron ornaments!! That’s a fantastic idea! I can tell my guests to pick their desserts off the tree!
It’s fun. I’ve had to refill a few times already!
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… 😉
Nami, please be my guest – I would just have to make more!
The macarons are stunning and what a delicious post! How cute are those ornaments?!
All of your macarons are gorgeous, and I love watching you on TV! You should have your own show 🙂
Happy Holidays to you and family…
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!
Omg those ornaments are too cute!! You always make me miss Paris so much! I hope you are enjoying the holiday season!
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! : )
Anne, or YOUR macarons? 😉
That shop looks amazing and I love all your Christmassy flavours. I’m hoping to try making some macarons (finally) between Christmas and New Year when I should have a little time.
Great news, Janice! Glad you’re going to make macarons. You’ll see that they taste better homemade 😉
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.
Laura, I’m in awe. These gingerbread men as a group photo had me in stitches. Talented lady!
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!
Carlsey, was thinking of you when snapping that bottle of Appleton Estate. It’s just up the road for you, lucky girl!
Aw, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year Jill! These are all gorgeous – what creativity in this mad macaron world!
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
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 😉
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. 🙂
Thanks, Janet. Yes, there’s a lot more in it…
Enjoy the holiday preparations!
I love all those photos! Your post put me in the mood…..and those Cranberry Eggnog Macarons are so inventive and gorgeous!
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?
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!
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!
You are too right, Vicki. Hubby and I are still disco-ing in the 80s/90s and haven’t budged much from then! 🙂
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.
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.
I’m loving all of your Holiday-themed macaroons, such great flavors!
What a lovely post, Jill. And how spooky about the little gingerbread people! I feel all Christmassy now – aren’t the macaron baubles fantastic! I love your little savoury macs too. I might go mad and give these a try!
Hester, I was kind of freaked out about these gingerbread men, too. Heaven knows why they do that…
Oh MAN some of these flavors sound amazing! And I love the ornament-style macarons in the first picture 🙂
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.
Your Mum must have chocolate Belgian blood! Enjoy your sugar-free Christmas together en Belgique.
What a beautiful post. All the glorious colors just put me in the Christmas spirit. Thanks so much for sharing this Jill.
Gingerbread?!?!?!?!!? ORANGE BLOSSOM! I nearly fell out of my chair Jill! Do macarons ship to DC? Hint, hint! 😀 HUGS!
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
This is really a great post, identifying just how versatile the macaron can be when it comes to flavors and colors. I am ready to eat them all and the ornament ones are really cool too!
Tina, that’s why I adore macarons. You have an empty canvas!
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!
Such an awesome festive post Jill and you had me LOLing about the “boum” – I love that they still use that word 🙂 Yay for festive macs – wish I could come over and enjoy them with you!
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!