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I’ve always followed this simple mantra: great ingredients + a little imagination + determination = great food & happy friends! Enjoy my blog and if you'd like, drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

xo- Jase

the ultimate easter macaron box

the ultimate easter macaron box

Hi!

It’s finally Easter baking season! This month Erin and I realized that there couldn’t be just one definitive macaron to encompass all the flavors of Easter. So that meant only one thing: THE ULTIMATE EASTER BOX. We listed all our favorite Easter chocolates, candies, and baked goods, and while it was a long list, we settled on five macarons that we feel really deliver that Easter vibe. 

First on our list, we brought back our first collab, Creme Egg Macaron from last April. There was no way we could not include a creme egg in an Easter box and, honestly, why try to reimagine something that we are truly proud of! Second: Peeps. Love them or hate them (I LOVE them), they are one of the most iconic Easter staples around. My Gram and I used to buy them up during the post-Easter sales and “age them”. To this day, not only do I love Peeps, but I prefer them aged—meaning, yes, stale. We’d date them and slit the packages open so that the air does its work to create that good chewy texture. We’d eat them over the course of the year and decide what “vintage” was best!

For our third macaron, we decided we needed chocolate and remembered the double dutch chocolate shells we made last year—that until now, went rather unnoticed. This time, we matched them up with salty peanut butter buttercream. Classics are classic for a reason.  We rounded off our Easter box with a Coconut Sprinkle macaron filled with a simple buttercream, packed full of coconut, and covered in sprinkles. And last but not least, the very unconventional macaron flavor, Hot-Cross Buns. We both love Hot-Cross Buns and wanted to have a flavor that we really hadn't seen before. We filled the shells with a spiced buttercream that gives the essence of a Hot-Cross Bun and topped them with their classic icing crosses. If you aren’t familiar with what a Hot-Cross Bun is, here’s a link for a bit more info. 

I’ve set this post up with my base macaron shell recipe which will make 24 macarons, then followed with what you’ll need for each flavor. So simply take the flavor of your choice and use those ingredients along with the base macaron shell recipe—and don't forget your good to knows! Please note: If you are making more than one flavor, we have designed these recipes to make batches of 24 macarons each, so note and prepare time and ingredients prior to baking. 

I know it’s tradition to leave Santa cookies and milk but I personally feel that the Easter Bunny would love a macaron—who knows what a whole box of macarons will get you!

xo- Jase



The Ultimate Easter Macarons - classic vanilla shell and chocolate shells filled with peep marshmallow, reeses peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream, cadbury creme egg ganache, hot cross buns spiced german buttercream and coconut vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream by Fox and Crane - foxandcrane.com
The Ultimate Easter Macarons - classic vanilla shell and chocolate shells filled with peep marshmallow, reeses peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream, cadbury creme egg ganache, hot cross buns spiced german buttercream and coconut vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream by Fox and Crane - foxandcrane.com
The Ultimate Easter Macarons - classic vanilla shell and chocolate shells filled with peep marshmallow, reeses peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream, cadbury creme egg ganache, hot cross buns spiced german buttercream and coconut vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream by Fox and Crane - foxandcrane.com
The Ultimate Easter Macarons - classic vanilla shell and chocolate shells filled with peep marshmallow, reeses peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream, cadbury creme egg ganache, hot cross buns spiced german buttercream and coconut vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream by Fox and Crane - foxandcrane.com


…Good to Knows…

  • To save space and prevent you from scrolling for hours, I've compiled a section for all my macaron notes from my kitchen journal here! I'll keep this list updated and current as I discover new ideas, tricks and/or tips.  

  • When it comes to colors, this is completely up to your liking. These are meant to be a celebration, so customize the sprinkles and buttercream colors to your special occasions. Be creative and have fun!! If you do bake these, I’d love to share in the moment with you. Tag me on instagram @foxandcrane and use my hashtag #foxandcrane so I may see your macaron adventures.  

  • Be aware of the type of sprinkles you are using! There are some that can melt and can cause craters in the shell. Many sprinkle mixes use chocolate balls or sugar-coated candy that, when heated, may melt and disrupt the shell by falling through or disintegrating altogether! 

  • Erin also discovered an amazing parchment. It's seriously macaron magic paper. We haven't had any macarons stick since. You can order this non-stick parchment paper on amazon

  • Since we are in the middle of winter, please be aware that heating units create dry air that can speed up the drying of the macaron shells. Erin and I are very cautious of how weather affects the drying times and bakes of the shells. Shells can become over-dried in a split second. With this winter being exceptionally cold, our drying times have been cut in half. So be cautious of this if you haven’t baked macarons in a few months. If your home is on the warmer side, I suggest you turn off your heat while you’re in the drying process



the ultimate easter macaron box

Simply choose a flavor followed by the corresponding macaron shell recipe.

  • Creme Egg Macarons: Vanilla bean shell filled with a Cadbury creme egg ganache

  • Hot-Cross Bun Macarons: Vanilla bean shell filled with a spiced german buttercream

  • Coconut Sprinkle Macarons: Vanilla bean shell filled with coconut swiss meringue buttercream covered in sprinkles

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons: Chocolate shell filled with peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream

  • Peeps Macarons: Vanilla bean shell filled with soft vanilla bean marshmallow and covered in sanding sugar






Creme Egg Macarons

…makes around 24 sandwich cookies…


Creme Egg Ganache

12 regular sized Cadbury Creme eggs (35g each, 420g total), chopped
90g (6 tbsp) heavy whipping cream
30g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
100g milk chocolate, chopped

METHOD

Start off with using the Vanilla Bean Macaron Shell recipe listed at the end of this post or by following my recipe from last year!

Creme Egg Ganache
Take all your ingredients and add them to a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the bowl does not touch the water. When the ingredients begin to melt, whisk or stir until everything melts and becomes glossy. Do not allow the ganache to boil. Transfer ganache to a bowl/container and press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the mixture. This will maintain smooth texture and prevent a skin from forming.

Refrigerate for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the ganache has firmed up and is at a soft consistency that's great for piping.

Transfer ganache to a piping bag fitted with a large round ateco #805 tip.


Hot Cross Bun Macarons

…makes around 24 sandwich cookies…


Hot-Cross Bun Spiced German Buttercream
110g (1/2 cup) dark brown sugar
12g (1 1/2 tbsp) cornstarch
1 large brown egg
1 large brown egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
190g (3/4 cup) whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from one vanilla bean pod
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice - you may substitute with bakers or pumpkin spice
340g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Icing for Crosses (Optional)
50g - 100g powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp whole milk

METHOD

Start off with using the Vanilla Bean Macaron Shell recipe listed at the end of this post.

Hot-Cross Bun Spiced German Buttercream
In a medium non-stick saucepan, heat the whole milk and vanilla until they are just moments from simmering. (You're looking for those wisps of seam but no bubbles.) Remove milk mixture from the heat.

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, whole egg, egg yolks, cinnamon, mixed (bakers or pumpkin spice) and salt until combined.

Now continue whisking with one hand and pour just a bit (about a half cup or so) of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture so that you are tempering the eggs. You do not want to cook them - they will turn to scrambled eggs! Then, while still whisking, add half of the milk mixture and whisk until it's combined, followed by the remaining portion of milk. Once everything is combined, pour the milk/egg mixture back into the medium saucepan.

Now heat the milk/egg mixture over medium heat, again constantly whisking, until it begins to bubble. You do not want it to boil so do not look away. This thickens quickly. Once it has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon, cook for just one minute more. Remove from the heat and pour into a container or mixing bowl and press plastic wrap over the surface. This is a must so that you avoid a think skin from forming and altering the texture. Place into the refrigerator until cold—a minimum of four hours, or for best results, overnight.

When your macaron shells are ready for filling, place your whisk attachment on your mixer. Press the cool pastry cream through a sieve in order to remove any bits of cooked egg. Add this to your mixer bowl. Slowly add the butter to the custard on medium speed until everything has been added and your buttercream looks creamy, fluffy and lump-free.

Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large round ateco #805 tip.


Icing for Crosses
In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and whole milk until combined and you have a thick and lump-free consistency. Transfer icing to a piping bag with a very small tip and ice the tops of your macarons with a cross. Let icing set and enjoy!


Coconut Sprinkle Macarons

…makes around 24 sandwich cookies…


Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
123g (1/2 cup) large brown egg whites (about 4 large brown eggs)
200g (1 cup) granulated white sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
455g (16oz, or four sticks) room temp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from one vanilla bean pod
100g shredded coconut - pulsed in food processor

Sprinkles (Optional)
choose your favorite sprinkles - we used SprinklePop: Hanging with my Peeps!

METHOD

Start off with using the Vanilla Bean Macaron Shell recipe listed at the end of this post.

Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a digital thermometer. Make sure the sugar has dissolved completely. To check this, take a small amount of the mixture and rub between your fingers. If the gritty texture is gone, then the sugar is dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment) and whip the mixture on high until the mixture is bright white and can fold a medium peak, approx. 7-10 minutes. 

Now slowly start adding the butter, one piece at a time. Wait until each piece of butter has become incorporated before adding the next piece. This takes some time, approx. 5 -10 mins. Beware that the buttercream mixture may look curdled during this process, but rest assured this is just one of the stages the buttercream will go through. Keep mixing. Once all the butter has been incorporated, the mixture will become the creamy texture you're looking for. Once the butter is fully incorporated, continue to whip the buttercream for another 5 minutes. 

The buttercream should now be smooth and creamy. At this time, add the vanilla bean paste and whip for another 2-3 minutes. Now switch to the paddle attachment and slowly mix the buttercream on low for just 1 minute. This will knock out and remove any air bubbles that may be in the buttercream. This will prevent any air pockets when piping your buttercream. 

Now fold in your ground shredded coconut until incorporated thought out and transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large round ateco #805 tip.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons

…makes around 24 sandwich cookies…


Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream
123g (1/2 cup) large brown egg whites (about 4 large brown eggs)
200g (1 cup) granulated white sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
455g (16oz, or four sticks) room temp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from one vanilla bean pod
150g creamy peanut butter

METHOD

Start off with using the Chocolate Macaron Shell recipe listed at the end of this post.

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a digital thermometer. Make sure the sugar has dissolved completely. To check this, take a small amount of the mixture and rub between your fingers. If the gritty texture is gone, then the sugar is dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment) and whip the mixture on high until the mixture is bright white and can fold a medium peak, approx. 7-10 minutes. 

Now slowly start adding the butter, one piece at a time. Wait until each piece of butter has become incorporated before adding the next piece. This takes some time, approx. 5 -10 mins. Beware that the buttercream mixture may look curdled during this process, but rest assured this is just one of the stages the buttercream will go through. Keep mixing. Once all the butter has been incorporated, the mixture will become the creamy texture you're looking for. Once the butter is fully incorporated, continue to whip the buttercream for another 5 minutes. 

The buttercream should now be smooth and creamy. At this time, add the vanilla bean paste and peanut butter and whip for another 2-3 minutes. Now switch to the paddle attachment and slowly mix the buttercream on low for just 1 minute. This will knock out and remove any air bubbles that may be in the buttercream. This will prevent any air pockets when piping your buttercream. 

Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large round ateco #805 tip.


Peeps Macarons

…makes around 24 sandwich cookies…


Marshmallow
14g (2 packets) gelatin
150g water - split in half
100g corn syrup
270g granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from one vanilla bean pod
gel food coloring - 3-5 drop of americolor ‘deep pink

Sanding Sugar
pink or clear crystal sanding sugar

METHOD

Start off with using the Vanilla Bean Macaron Shell recipe listed at the end of this post.

Marshmallow
As always, weigh out, gather and prepare all ingredients prior to mixing. This is especially important when making marshmallows as you have very little time before the marshmallow begins to set once mixed. Start off with preparing equipment needed by spraying your spatula with cooking spray and preparing a large (or two standard) piping bag with a medium or large piping tip — I mainly used ateco #805.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the first half of water and both packets of gelatin. Whisk well, and leave to bloom (approx 5 minutes) while you prepare the sugar syrup.

In a small pot, combine the second half of water, corn syrup, sugar, and vanilla. Heat over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally, until the syrup reaches 240˚f / 120˚c. Once the temperature has been reached, remove pan from the heat and set aside until it has cooled slightly.

At this time, turn your mixer on to medium, and whisk bloomed gelatin for a few seconds to help break up into medium sized pieces. Now while the mixer is still running at medium speed, gently pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer. Tip: Pour the mixture in a slow stream down the inside of the bowl, ensuring it doesn’t hit the whisk which may cause it to splatter and burn you.

Now turn the speed up to high, and whip the mixture for approx 8-12 minutes, until the mixture has doubled in volume, has turned white and is resembling soft marshmallow fluff that holds a stiff peak Once it holds a stiff peak carefully transfer to the piping bag using your prepared spatula. Marshmallow will be very sticky. so always prep utensils before had so it’s easily to remove it from the mixing bowl.

Now pipe the still warm marshmallow onto the bottom shells and quickly sandwich them with the top shells.  Still moving quickly, roll the edges in sanding sugar and leave out to cool and set for an hour or two. Now they are ready for you to enjoy! 


Macaron Shells


Macaron Shell Recipe Adapted from I love Macarons, in collaboration with Cloudy Kitchen

Vanilla Bean Macaron Shells
170g ground almond flour
300g powdered sugar
180g large brown egg whites (about 5-6 large brown eggs), at room temperature
160g granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from one vanilla bean pod
gel food coloring - see list below

Gel Food Coloring (choose corresponding color for chosen recipe)
Creme Egg - 10 drops of americolor 'ash' and 1 of 'black'
Hot Cross Buns - 5-8 drop of americolor ‘chocolate brown
Coconut Sprinkle - 5-8 drop of americolor ‘electric yellow
Peeps - 3-5 drop of americolor ‘deep pink

Chocolate Macaron Shells
170g ground almond flour
270g powdered sugar
20g cocoa powder
180g large brown egg whites (about 5-6 large brown eggs), at room temperature
160g granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from one vanilla bean pod
 

METHOD

Macaron Shells
Cut four sheets of light colored parchment paper to fit your baking sheets. Draw 1.5 inch (3.81cm) circles on one sheet of your pre-cut parchment paper to be used as your template guide for piping evenly shaped macarons, spacing them at least ¾ -1 inch apart and about 2 inch from the edge of the pan. 

  • To save you time, here is a printable template. Note: This templet is 8x11. You will need to print two sheets and lay them side by side to fit a half sheet pan.

Scale all dry ingredients. Separate your egg whites and yolks and prepare your equipment.

Sift almond flour and confectioners’ sugar through a medium-mesh sieve and place in a bowl. Repeat this step, discarding any bits that are too big to go through the sieve. Set mixture aside.

  • Some people like to place the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor and pulse them together before sieving. This is usually a great step if your almond flour is not finely ground or if you are making almond flour at home. I use a store-bought flour with a consistency that works great for me, so I don’t do this step but please feel free to try it out for yourself and see what’s best for you.

In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk your room-temp egg whites till bubbles start to form, then beat them on high speed with the whisk attachment until they start to foam and become cloudy white. Turn down to medium speed, and gradually add granulated sugar to the egg whites until all sugar is incorporated. Turn speed back to high and beat until you start to see stiff, glossy peaks form (about 5 minutes). At this time, add your americolor gel food coloring, if using color, and continue to whip the meringue on medium for a minute more, making sure you don’t over beat your meringue. 

For a great guide to measuring meringue peaks and to see what is under-, perfect and over-whipped, check out Zoë François’s instagram stories @zoebakes and her website zoebakes.com. She has the most amazing how-to’s and tip tutorials. Zoë is an invaluable resource for baking! 

Once your meringue reaches optimal peaks, slowly start adding your almond flour/confectioner sugar mixture. I like to add this 1/4 at a time. Start to fold the mixture into your meringue using a flat spatula. Tilt the mixing bowl to a 45 degree angle, mix the dry ingredients (1/4 at a time) into the meringue, scooping from the bottom towards you and folding everything onto itself while maintaining the body of your meringue. (Smashing through the center of the mixture will cause the meringue to deflate and we’d need to start from scratch.) Continue to add the dry ingredients with this folding method until everything is added.

At this time, start pressing and spreading the batter against the bowl’s walls. This step, which I think is the hardest to perfect and to understand, is called macaronage.

Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down. Repeat this process about 15-30 times.

  • So here is where I want to explain some things I’ve learned over the years. There are NO set times, folds or strokes. It really depends on how your batter is looking and feeling. While you are folding, pressing and spreading the batter, you want to constantly check the consistency. You are looking for something that resembles a nice lava that slowly flows off your spatula. Erin mentioned to me that as it falls off the spatula, you should be able to draw a figure 8 into the bowl without the stream breaking. The 8 in the bowl should then slowly incorporate back into itself.

Once the batter is to a thick lava consistency, you are ready to pipe your shells. Here is the youtube video I still use as reference for getting my macaronage techniques down.

Now get your prepared piping bag with a round ateco #805 tip[Make sure to twist and seal the tip of the bag with a clothes pin so the batter doesn’t leak out.] I like to place my pastry bag into a large glass so the bag is upright and sturdy.

Pour all batter into piping bag and again twist and seal the top of the bag with a clothes pin so it’s not exposed to air.

  • I don’t always do this trick, but sometimes I will seal the top of the bag with a rubber band to make it a bit easier and cleaner when piping. This recipe does make a large amount of batter, so if you aren’t yet confident with holding a larger pastry bag, the rubber band will help. Or you can split this amount into two smaller bags.

It’s now time to pipe your shells. Pipe the batter onto your prepared parchment lined sheet pans fitted with your printed or drawn circle templets. Hold the pastry bag at a 90 degree angle and,  with the tip very close to the parchment, pipe the batter until you’ve filled the circle. Quickly lift and twist the bag away creating a small tail to point. If your macaronage is correct, this will fall back into itself and the top will become smooth. The shells will spread just a bit. That is why having a inch of space between them is important. 

Once the tray is full, carefully slide out the template and repeat on your other prepared sheet pans. After the trays are full, I like to take a small dab of batter and adhere the corners of the parchment to the sheet pan to make sure the parchment stay in in place during baking. 

Firmly tap the sheet pan against the counter or a flat surface a few times. Keep the distribution of the vibrations as even as possible to prevent from deforming your circles to ovals. This step helps the shells hold their rounded shape and knock out as many air bubbles as possible. 

  • Pointer from I Heart Macarons: As macarons bake, small pleat-like frills form at the bottom of each shell. This pleat is called a pied, or “foot”. Without it, the pastry cannot be called a macaron. Some bakers attribute the pied to the macaronage, some to the oven temperature, and some to a good tap of the sheet pan on the counter before baking.

At this time, after you have piped all your shells and before they have formed a skin, ONLY if you’re using a topping such as sprinkles, spices, streusel etc, generously sprinkle the shells with the topping designated for this recipe. If you prefer more or less per macaron, please use your desecration as to how you would like the shells to be topped. Allow shells to start drying.

Preheat your oven to 300˚f / 150˚c and place your rack in the center of the oven, along with an empty sheet pan. You are going to preheat this sheet pan to use as the bottom sheet pan for baking the shells. You always want to have them double tray’d to prevent the bottom of the cookies from burning. I have found that when preheating the second pan, it helps give the shells some extra lift compared to a pan at room temp. 

While your oven and sheet pan are preheating, let your shells dry uncovered at room temperature for 15-45 minutes. There’s no “set in stone" time for drying. It’s going to depend on the temperature of your space, the weather and time of year.

As they dry, you are looking for thin skin to form on top like heated milk. You should be able to gently slide your finger across and leave no marks. I like to designate one or two shell as my testers in case one is still tacky and I scar the top. 

Once the shells have their skin, place the sheet pan onto the preheated sheet pan and bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the trays once halfway through baking. At the 15-minute mark, check them by lightly pressing on the shell with the back of your finger. If it’s sturdy without movement, they are done. If there’s a little movement on the pied “foot” (the ruffled bottom part), any jiggling at all, they need another minute or two. I will now set the timer at 1-minute intervals and watch them very, very closely. They can go from underdone to overdone in a matter of 60 seconds. 

  • Maracons are a learning experience and no two bakes are the same. Sometimes I have different baking times for the same batch of shells. The key is to be alert to each of your macarons’ needs.

Once they are fully set, place sheet pans on wire racks to cool, leaving the shells on the parchment and on the pan for 15-30 minutes. When the macarons are completely cooled, very carefully remove them from parchment paper by pulling the parchment paper away from the sell. If they are still sticking to the paper, toss into freezer for a few minutes and they’ll easily release from the paper. 
 

ASSEMBLY and SERVE

It’s time to play matchmaker! Pair your shells with matching mates of equal size, then pipe filling onto the bottom shell, making sure you evenly cover the shell. Gently top with its corresponding shell. It is best to store your finished macarons in the fridge for a few hours (for optimal results, overnight) to allow the flavors to mingle and “mature” so they develop that ideal soft interior texture with that perfect crisp exterior. Macarons may be refrigerated for about one week or frozen in the freezer for a few months in an airtight container. Enjoy!



The Ultimate Easter Macarons - classic vanilla shell and chocolate shells filled with peep marshmallow, reeses peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream, cadbury creme egg ganache, hot cross buns spiced german buttercream and coconut vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream by Fox and Crane - foxandcrane.com


Provisions


Surface: Erickson Surfaces
Wooden Box: Michaels Crafts
Assorted Dishes: Vintage / Thrift finds

mini egg magic bars

mini egg magic bars

thai iced tea pie with whipped cream "ice cubes"

thai iced tea pie with whipped cream "ice cubes"