If you have been on Instagram at all this Halloween season, you’ve probably seen the most adorable Macarons from the parks that are Cookies and Cream Mummy Mickey Macarons.
What a mouthful huh? Well, as someone who has been using baking to help aid in my mental health, I had to try to make some Copycats. And let me tell you, they are soooo good, if a little sweet (but really, I don’t think I’ve ever had a macaron not be super sweet, have you?).
If you have never made Macarons before because you think they are too intimidating, I found this video by Tasty to be super helpful in learning and getting more confident. Even still, I must let you know I’m only 3 for 10 for successes/failure rate (mostly because the other recipes I had tried to do were no good. This is the best one that I have found and had success with, with some of my additional tips and tricks to help make it easier for someone that doesn’t do this all the time.) If you are worried, buy the Ground Almonds instead of Almond Flour as it does work, it just requires more sifting and turns out slightly grittier than the flour.
First thing first is to Age your Egg Whites. Separate your egg whites from your egg yokes and cover and put in the fridge for 24-48 hours before making the macarons. This sounds weird, but it will help your meringue not to become overmixed and is a small step to ensure a better success rate. You can skip this step if you forget to do it, but it can make it easier. Bring them out of the fridge an hour before baking to bring them up to room temperature (which helps them to whip better as well). I also recommend making sure your butter is out and coming to room temperature at this point for your buttercream filling.
When you get to baking, put 1 cup almond flour, 1 3/4 cups icing sugar, and 1/2 tsp of salt into the bowl of a food processor and process on low until everything is mixed together and fine. You want your mix to be super fine and smooth to get that beautiful macaron shell and the ideal texture. If you are using ground almonds instead of almond flour then this step is super important in order to get it as fine as possible.
Sift the mixture over a bowl using a super-fine mesh sieve to get out any clumps or chunks. Throw out any junk that is caught by the mesh, especially when using the ground almonds, they tend to often leave more pieces behind that need to be thrown out.
After that is done you will need to whip the egg whites and salt until a soft peak forms. Soft peaks are when it is consistently white but when you remove your beaters from the bowl the part that follows falls over and doesn’t hold its shape. I like to use my stand mixer for this so that I can be free to do other things, but if you don’t have one you can also beat them in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer (or if you’re really brave, you can whip them by hand… great workout but it takes a lot longer).
Once you have your soft peaks you need to slowly add the 1/4 cup granulated sugar until completely mixed, and then continue beating until stiff peaks form, which is when you can add your vanilla (I like to use a clear vanilla extract so that it doesn’t muddy the colour) and food colouring (if using). You’ll know you’ve reached that stage when you can lift your beaters and the peaks stand straight up. You are also able to fully turn the bowl over and nothing will move or fall out. Important note: do not add your vanilla until AFTER you have stiff peaks, or else it will impede on you achieving a good stiff peak in the first place.
Now comes the really important part: incorporating your dry ingredients into the egg whites. You are going to work in batches of 3, to help make sure you don’t overmix or have dry patches. I like to sift my almond flour mixture one more time as I add it to the egg whites to make sure it is really really fine.
When you fold your mixture into your whites, you need to be very gentle and be careful not to overmix. Some experts say to never mix more than 35 times total to get all of the ingredients incorporated, but I found personally that I had to watch videos a few times to SEE for myself what it should look like when it is done. This process is called “macaronage” and it is what makes a macaron… well… a macaron. When your mixture is fully done, it should fall off your spatula in a smooth ribbon that looks like wet sand, and you should be able to make a figure 8 without it breaking. The mixture should be shiny and smooth. But do NOT go ANY FURTHER once you reach that stage…. or else this happens.
Prepare 2 or 3 rimmed baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone mats. I found better success with silicone personally, but parchment works well too, just make sure to dot the four corners of your baking sheet with macaron mix to keep it from curling and wrecking your macarons.
Put your mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round baking tip. If you don’t have a baking tip, you can just cut the tip off of the bag, but you have better control with a tip. Pipe out your Mickey heads keeping them at least an inch apart from each other as they do spread a little. I found that if I placed the ears too close to the head, they merged funny and looked more like teddy bears rather than Mickeys, so I left a millimeter or so between the ears and the head so that it would spread and touch and look better.
Once they are all piped out, bang the baking sheet on a firm, flat surface about 5 times to knock out the air bubbles. Then you need to let the macaron shells sit at room temperature for half-hour to an hour to form a skin, which means they get dry to the touch. This is also super important because it is what allows the macarons to grow “feet” when they bake.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit at this point. Once it has come to temp, bake the trays one at a time for 17 minutes. Hopefully when they come out from the oven, they should have a good foot and be uncracked. If you don’t know, a foot is the frilly, airy looking base to your cookie that shows it rose. Let the cookies cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes before trying to remove them as they will be really soft when they first come out. Depending on the size of the cookies you piped, they may need more baking time. The way to know if yours are fully baked, they should peel off cleanly from the sheet, showing a nice smooth base, and leaving nothing behind. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack and then pair up so that you have even sizes together.
While your cookies are cooling, you can make the cookies and cream buttercream. I did my standard buttercream recipe, but found it made a lot of extra (not that there is anything wrong with that!). But here are the full amounts and you can choose to half it or now.
Add your 10 TBSP of softened, unsalted butter, 3 cups of icing sugar, and pinch of salt to the bowl of your stand mixer (or to a bowl for you to use a handheld mixer) and beat using a paddle attachment until combined. Add 2 tsp of vanilla (at this point I used my better-tasting vanilla because I didn’t care about keeping the colour pure, since we will be adding cookie crumbs) and beat for 2-3 minutes, until it gets nice and creamy. Add in 2 TBSP of milk and beat until fluffy. Scrape the bowl and add the 2/3 of a cup of oreo crumbs (I used the crumbs you can buy in a box to make pie crust, but you can also crush your own cookies, just make sure to get it pretty fine or else it will clog your piping bag later). Mix until combined and put into a piping bag.
Now. I wanted to use a star tip to make it look pretty, but quickly found out that even though I used the crumbs that there were still chunks that clogged up my tip and made me unable to fill the cookies. Luckily, I was using a coupler with mine so I was able to switch it out for my round tip, but save yourself the trouble and just go with the round tip from the start. Trace the shape of the cookies with your buttercream, leaving a little space between the edge of the cookie and the edge of your filling so that you have a little squishing room. If you are finding your buttercream is feeling a little stiff, you can run the bag under warm water for a few seconds to warm it up a little more.
Gently place the two sides together, making sure that you don’t squash the shell of your macarons. Now all that is left is the decorating! Side note…. I forgot to take pictures of this stage. I got pictures BEFORE and AFTER but none during, so forgive me.
Melt either white chocolate chunks or white melting candies in a small bag using a microwave, or if you are feeling fancy you can use a double boiler, but I didn’t use enough to warrant it myself. Now, the white chocolate was definitely yellower than the melting candies, which worked in my favour since I did not have any white colouring for my cookies and they were more yellowed naturally. Trim a VERY small hole in the corner of the bag and pipe out crisscrossed diagonal lines across your cookies, trying to keep the lines as smooth and thin as possible. I practiced on some of my “uglier” cookies first because it takes a little getting used to and I wanted some photo-worthy pics afterward ;).
For the eyes, you can either use the store-bought candy eyes (I’ve seen them for sure at Walmart, but I could assume most other stores would have some in their baking sections as well) or some form of black icing. I had black gel icing scribblers from a cake I had baked, so I used that. I don’t recommend this route because the gel never dries, and it was hard to control the flow and make it look best. But, you’re done! Take a picture if you try this recipe and tag us on Instagram!
Have a Magical Day, and don’t forget to tag us if you try this recipe!