I really wanted to do something fun and whimsical for the upcoming holidays. I tend to lean towards simple and modern, but not today! I wanted to take traditional desserts and flavors to a new level. As the popularity of the cupcake continues, I wanted to dress them up with a new twist. And since French macarons are one of my favorite desserts and my dedication to mastering the method of baking them is finally paying off, I needed to share them somehow. So, why not combine the two? The result: Macaron Pop Cupcakes. Traditional Red Velvet cupcakes are paired with Peppermint buttercream for the holiday season. The sparkly swirls and "pop-factor" make the sophisticated French macaron fun and approachable. They are filled with a peppermint ganche that easily pairs with the cupcakes flavors.
Red Velvet Cupcakes:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powders
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon Red Velvet Emulsion or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + 1 ounce red gel food coloring
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Sift together dry ingredients- set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter for about 2 minutes. Add sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, sour cream, an flavoring. With the mixer on low, slowly alternate dry ingredients and milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
Using a large cookie scoop or disher, evenly distribute batter into prepared cupcake liners. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until done.
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
6 ounces egg white
6 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1-2 teaspoon peppermint extract (to taste)
Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and place on a stovetop. Stir slightly to combine. Heat on high until the mixture comes to a boil. Using a candy thermometer (this is a must), heat until the sugar syrup reaches 238 degrees, or softball stage.
Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a bowl of a stand mixer. Be sure that the bowl and whisk are completely dry and free from any moisture and oil. With a whisk attachment, beat the egg white on high until stiff peaks form. This should take about 7 minutes. If started just after the sugar mixture is placed on the stove, both steps should be ready at about the same time.
Once the sugar syrup reached 238 degrees, remove from heat. Let the syrup rest about 30 seconds to let the bubbles settle. While the mixer is still on high, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites. Continue mixing on high until the meringue comes to room temperature. The outside of the bowl will no longer be warm to the touch.
Switch the mixer off and remove the whisk attachment. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and replace with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium, gradually add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time. Pour in vanilla extract. At this point, the mixture might look soupy or separated. Don’t give up! Continue to mix on medium-high until the mixture comes together. This may take up to about 3-5 until the buttercream becomes smooth. Use immediately, flavor, or store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Peppermint Chocolate Ganche
16 ounces chocolate (60-70% cacao), chopped
8 ounces heavy cream
3/4 - 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (to taste)
Finely shop chocolate and set aside in a heat resistant bowl. Over medium heat, place the heavy cream in a saucepan. Making sure not to burn the cream, heat slowly until it comes to a low boil. Once it starts to bubble, pour the cream over the chocolate. Let the cream sit for a few minuted before stirring. Add in the extract, and continue to stir until the chocolate has melted and the texture is silky smooth. Let cool to room temperature, stirring every once in a while. The mixture will thicken as it cools, until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
To use as a filling, spread or pipe cooled ganache onto half of a macaron cookie. Insert a lollipop stick into the ganache and seal with another macaron shell. Continue to let them cool to secure the stick.
The instructions get a little lengthy, so let me know if you'd like my to type them up in my own words.
For the swirl, I just piped glitter gel icing (could use any icing or buttercream) then sprinkled with sanding sugar. I was able to gently shake off any excess sugar crystals.