Gingerbread Macarons have a classic french macaron shell flavored with ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, filled with molasses buttercream, and drizzled with a sweet icing.
Macarons are one of my favorite things to make, but they are definitely tricky. They have a mind of their own and one wrong step in the recipe can totally change the end result. BUT they are also so fun to make, a major win when you get them right, and delicious no matter how they end up looking.
That being said, it is so possible to master macarons. I compiled a Step-by-Step Macaron post with all of my best tips and tricks for making the best macarons possible. It has all of the steps and tools that I use every time I make macarons and I can promise you it will get you closer to being a macaron master!
What is macaronage?
In order to make french macarons, you have to do a process called macaronage. This is where you fold the wet and dry ingredients together in order to achieve a smooth, shiny, and flowing mixture. A good way to tell if you have done the macaronage stage correctly is if you can hold up the spatula and draw a figure 8 with the mixture without it breaking off.
Ingredients for Gingerbread Macarons
Ingredients for Gingerbread French Macarons:
- Powdered sugar. This will aid in the flavor and structure of the finished macarons.
- Almond flour. Be sure that you are using almond flour and not almond meal.
- Ground Ginger. This will add flavor to the macarons.
- Ground Cinnamon. See above note.
- Ground Allspice. See above note.
- Ground Cloves. See above note.
- Cocoa Powder. I used a bit of cocoa powder to add color to the macarons. You can use brown food coloring or nothing at all.
- Egg whites. Having your egg whites at room temperature will make it easier to whip them.
- Granulated Sugar. Sugar will give structure to the beaten egg whites.
Ingredients for Molasses Buttercream:
- Powdered Sugar. This will sweeten and firm up the icing.
- Unsalted Butter. Make sure the butter is thoroughly softened too.
- Molasses. I used black strap molasses.
Ingredients for Icing:
- Powdered Sugar. See above note.
- Vanilla Extract. This will add flavor to the icing.
- Heavy Cream. This will thin out the icing so that you can drizzle it over the macarons.
- If possible, make your macarons on a less humid day. You will need to rest the macarons for longer and they might not turn out as well on a humid day.
- Don’t over mix the batter. You only need to macaronage until you can make a figure 8 with the batter. If you over mix the macarons will spread too much.
- Wipe the bowl down with vinegar before adding the egg whites to whip. Even a speck of leftover dish soap or fat (egg yolk, butter, etc.) will inhibit the egg whites from whipping up properly.
- Let the macarons rest before eating. Macarons are best when they have matured for 12 or so hours. So after you fill the macarons, let them rest overnight for the best flavor.
How to make Gingerbread Macarons
STEP 2: In a food processor add the powdered sugar, almond flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and cocoa powder and pulse until fully combined and rid of lumps. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. If you don’t have a food processor you can just sift the ingredients together.
STEP 4: Add the french meringue into the dry ingredients and begin to gently fold with a silicone spatula. This process is called macaronage. You will know the batter is ready when the ingredients are fully combined and not streaky. You should be able to hold the spatula above the bowl and draw a figure 8 smoothly without the batter breaking off. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip. Pipe 1-inch disks onto the prepared cookie sheet.
STEP 5: Firmly tap the cookie sheet onto the counter 3 or 4 times to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Use a toothpick to pop any remaining air bubbles.
STEP 6: Let the macarons rest for an hour. There needs to be a dry layer on the top. You should be able to run your finger over the top without any transferring to your finger.
STEP 7: Preheat the oven to 280 degrees (F). This is the temperature that I have found works well for my oven, but you may need to play around with the temperature.
STEP 8: Place the gingerbread macarons on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet, bake for another 5 minutes, and rotate the cookie sheet again, bake for 5 minutes. 15 minutes in total.
STEP 9: Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. They should peel off the mat easily.
STEP 10: When the macarons are cooled peel them off of the mat and match each shell to another that is the same size.
STEP 2: Add half of the powdered sugar. Beat until fully combined.
STEP 3: Add the rest of the powdered sugar and the molasses. Beat on medium speed for 5-6 minutes.
STEP 4: If the buttercream is too thick add the heavy cream or milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
STEP 1: In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar and vanilla. Slowly add the milk until you reach the desired consistency. I like my icing to be a bit thicker so it is easier to pipe.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE GINGERBREAD MACARONS
Step 2: Pipe your desired amount of icing onto the inside of one macaron shell.
Step 3: Sandwich another macaron shell on top and drizzle with your desired amount of icing.
Can I make macarons ahead of time?
For sure! I make macarons ahead of time pretty often and they always still taste amazing. If I am making macarons more than a day before I want to serve them I freeze them. They will freeze well for about two weeks. Just pull them out of the freezer about an hour before you are ready to serve them and they will thaw out perfectly. These Gingerbread Macarons are no exception!
More Macaron Recipes
- Chai Latte Macarons- Chai spiced macaron shells filled with chai buttercream.
- Snowman Macarons- Classic vanilla macarons piped and decorated to look like snowmen.
- Peppermint Bark Macarons- These swirled macarons have a peppermint vanilla shell and a chocolate peppermint pastry cream filling.
More Macaron Recipes From Kitchen 335
- Turtle Macarons- chocolate french macaron shells drizzled with chocolate ganache and caramel, sprinkled with pecans, and filled with chocolate ganache and caramel.
- Pecan Pie Macarons- a classic french macaron shell that has been sprinkled with crushed pecans and filled with brown sugar and pecan American buttercream.
- Pumpkin Spice Macarons- a classic french macaron shell flavored with pumpkin spice and a sweet pumpkin spice buttercream.
- Peppermint Macarons- french macaron shell filled with white chocolate ganache and rolled in crushed peppermints.
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For Gingerbread Macaron Shells:
- 1 ⅔ cup (200 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 cup (110 grams) almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder or brown food coloring as needed
- 3 large (100 grams) egg whites
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
For Molasses Buttercream:
- 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup (113 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- heavy cream as needed
For Vanilla Icing:
- ½ cup (56 grams) powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- heavy cream or milk as needed
For Gingerbread Macaron Shells:
- Using a food processor, pulse the powdered sugar, almond flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and cocoa powder until fully combined and rid of lumps. Don’t do this for too long or you will make almond butter. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. If you don’t have a food processor you can sift the ingredients together.
- In a medium bowl, prepare the french meringue. You can use a stand mixer for this, but I prefer a hand mixer or an immersion blender with a whisk attachment for a batch this small. Beat the egg whites on low speed until they get frothy. Increase the speed and slowly add the sugar. If you add the sugar too fast you will deflate the meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form. This is when you pull the beater out and the meringue stands up with a slight curve. It should not fall or jiggle too much if you move the beater. If you want to add food coloring, do it now, but add it sparingly or you will make the meringue too liquidy.
- Add the french meringue into the dry ingredients and begin to gently fold with a silicone spatula. This process is called macaronage. You will know the batter is ready when the ingredients are fully combined and not streaky. You should be able to hold the spatula above the bowl and draw a figure 8 smoothly without the batter breaking off. A good way to test if the batter is ready is to place a very small amount in your piping bag and pipe it onto your mat. If the batter is stiff and does not spread at all, then it is not ready. If the batter immediately runs out, then you have over folded. The batter should spread slightly and the tops should even out (there shouldn’t be any little tips sticking out), but it should not be runny.
- Firmly tap the cookie sheet onto the counter 3 or 4 times to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Use a toothpick to pop any remaining air bubbles.
- Let the gingerbread macarons rest for an hour. There needs to be a dry layer on the top. You should be able to run your finger over the top without any transferring to your finger. If it is really humid outside this process will likely take longer.
- Preheat the oven to 280 degrees (F). This is the temperature that I have found works well for my oven, but you may need to play around with the temperature to find what works best for your oven.
- Place the macarons on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet, bake for another 5 minutes and rotate the cookie sheet again, bake for 5 minutes. 15 minutes in total. The macarons should not have any color to them, and they should peel off of the mat easily.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- If the macarons were baked correctly they should easily peel off of the silicone mat
For Molasses Buttercream:
- In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter until it is very soft and creamy. The butter needs to be really soft or your buttercream won’t be as fluffy as it should be.
- Add half of the powdered sugar. Beat until fully combined.
- Add the rest of the powdered sugar and molasses. Beat on medium speed for 5-6 minutes.
- If the buttercream is too thick add the heavy cream or milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
For Vanilla Icing:
- In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar and vanilla.
- Slowly add the milk and stop when you reach your desired consistency
For Gingerbread Macaron Assembly:
- Transfer the American buttercream frosting to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip.
- Pipe your desired amount of icing onto the inside of one macaron shell.
- Sandwich another macaron shell on top and drizzle you desried amount of icing on top.