As the holidays are close, I wanted to share a unique and affordable gift idea with you! One less worry on that beautiful time of the year. The idea is to take it easy and make your own cute presents for your family and closest friends!
One of the best reasons for giving thoughtful handmade gifts is that they can represent a lot more than their price. Sometimes the easiest and cheapest handmade presents are the most memorable ones.
As I am obsessed with macarons, I wandered various ways to make them in Christmas theme. This led me to bake one of the cutest macarons I have ever done – bear-shaped macarons with Santa hats.
These unique-looking macarons are super cute and they will make everyone happy! They look like macarons from an expensive boutique bakery but are actually just made at home in a regular kitchen. In this post, you will find a detailed recipe for how you can make them as well!
Tools and ingredients for making candy cane macaron shells
- Kitchen scale
- Candy thermometer
- Mixer (stand or hand mixer)
- Small saucepan
- Silicone spatula
- Two large bowls (glass or stainless steel)
- Piping bags
- 3 small bowls
- 4 oz (115 g) Almond flour
- 4 oz (115 g) Powdered sugar
- 4 oz (115 g) Granulated sugar
- 1 oz (30 ml) water
- 1,7 oz (50 g) Egg whites part 1
- 1,4 oz (40 g) Egg whites part 2
- Red Food Coloring
- Brown Food Coloring
- Black Food Coloring Pen
- Gingerbread Flavor Drops
This amount of batter should produce about 30 macarons (60 shells).
I have put together a comprehensive recipe for baking perfect homemade macarons with the Italian method. It goes into detail on every step of the process and should help you increase your success rate! I highly suggest you take the time to read this post thoroughly as well.
Making the batter for cute bear macarons
Follow the steps on my Perfect Homemade Macarons (Italian Method) for the perfect macaron batter. Once you get to the point when the batter is almost ready, stop doing everything and read very carefully!
Once you add the last part of the egg white fluff to the mixture, mix it very slowly and gently. You don’t want the batter to be ready yet.
The second the batter seems even, stop mixing! Pour the white almost-ready batter into smaller bowls – you will need 3 different bowls.
Take a toothpick and add color to the two parts of the batter – add red to one bowl and brown to another. One bowl stays white – no need to add anything as the batter is naturally white-ish. Most of the batter should be brown – you will need red and white color a lot less than brown!
Be extra gentle with the batter as it’s almost ready. You want it to be nice and even but you don’t want to over-mix it. Gently stir occasionally and do as few folds as possible.
Do not let the green batter on the picture below confuse you – you won’t need the green batter this time! I just made the pictures when I needed a green color as well.
When the batter is ready – it is nice and flows from the spatula like a ribbon and you can write the number 8 with it – place all the colors in separate piping bags.
I recommend you to place the brown color into the two different piping bags – most of the batter in one and a few spoons of the batter in the other one. The smaller amount of it will be for the bear’s ears and it should have a lot smaller piping hole.
I also recommend cutting smaller holes in the white and red ones, too! It is a lot easier to pipe the cute elf hats by doing that.
Piping the bear-shaped macarons
For the cute bear-shaped macarons, you just need basic macaron mats or baking sheets. It is good to have silicone mats with little edges – it makes it a lot easier to get the same-sized macarons!
If you don’t have this mat, it is totally fine, too! Just use a baking sheet. To make the macarons look the same in size, you can always make your own template and place it under the sheet.
The first step is to just pipe the round-shaped macarons like you are doing when making the basic macarons. Use the brown batter from the piping bag you put most of the batter. Cut a regular-sized hole to it and start piping at a 90-degree angle like always.
Once the rounds are piped, wait a few minutes until they are dried a little. Now start piping the ears from the smaller-holed piping bag. Pipe the little ears to half of the macarons only! You won’t need the bottom shell to have a face, just keep it a basic round macaron. Pipe only one ear as The other ear will be covered with an elf hat.
Now it is time for the cutest thing – piping the little elf hats! Use a small-holed piping bag with a red batter in it.
Follow the example above – this is how I usually pipe the elf hats. To make the hat tip pointier, use a toothpick. Please do not forget to use it, it is important as the macarons will get rounder while baking and you don’t want the elf hats to look round.
Wait for a few minutes until the red color dries a bit. Now take the white batter and start piping the white elf hat details.
The last thing before placing macarons into the oven – pipe small dots of white batter straight to the bear’s face! After they are done baking, we are going to draw a face on the bears and these white dots make them a lot cuter.
Baking the cute bear-shaped macarons
Macarons are traditionally supposed to dry before they are baked in an oven. As it takes a long time to pipe the bear-shaped macarons, they should be already dried at this point.
Drying macarons is not always necessary but sometimes it helps the macarons to turn out beautiful. I recommend drying when you are a beginner and as you get more experienced, you can decide for yourself.
Bake the macarons at the 250°F (120°C). Bake each mat for 20 minutes. Everyone has different ovens, so you’ll need to experiment with the time they need to cook. When ready, they should not wobble when gently pressed.
When you take the macarons out of the oven, pull them off of the pan right away! Otherwise, they will continue to bake and can easily be over-baked.
Leave the lovely macarons to cool down for a little while and then carefully remove them from the mat. Once removed, pair each bear-faced macaron with a basic brown one! Set them aside.
TIP: Sometimes it is hard to get the macarons off the silicone baking mat as they tend to stick to the mat. In that case, I recommend putting the silicone mat with the macarons into the freezer! Wait around 30 minutes and take them out. Remove the macarons fast from the silicone mat before they start to warm up. With the help of your fingers, gently press on the bottom of the silicone mat to help the macarons get off.
Filling for Christmas bear macarons
Now it is time to make a filling for these cute macarons! Feel free to create your own favorite flavor combinations for this. For the holidays, I recommend eggnog, mandarin, cookie dough, vanilla bean, and cinnamon flavors. This time, I made gingerbread filling for these beauties!
The easiest way to make the gingerbread-flavored macaron filling is to use the Gingerbread Flavor Drops!
I also love to blend the real gingerbread cookies in the blender and add them to the filling. Also, you can add any kind of gingerbread cookie mix! These Oreo Gingerbread Cookies are also perfect for the gingerbread filling! Just blend the cookies and sprinkle them into the mixture. Start adding a few scoops at a time, then mix it and have a taste – you can always add more!
For the filling, just add a few drops of the gingerbread flavor. You can always add more if needed.
Ingredients for gingerbread filling
- 7 oz (200 g) butter (room temperature)
- 3 oz (85 g) mascarpone cheese (room temperature)
- 7 oz (200 g) powdered sugar
- A few drops of Gingerbread Flavor
How to make the gingerbread macaron filling
- Let the 3 oz (85 g) mascarpone cheese and 7 oz (200 g) butter reach room temperature
- Place 3 oz (85 g) of softened mascarpone cheese and 7 oz (200 g) of butter into the bowl and start whisking using a mixer. Slowly add 7 oz (200 g) of powdered sugar. Mix on high speed until fluffy and even. It takes around 3 minutes to achieve the perfect texture.
- Add a few drops of gingerbread flavor to the mixture and mix for 30 seconds. Crab a toothpick or a spoon to taste the filling. Add more flavor if needed and repeat mixing.
- Take the piping bag and place the filling into the bag.
Filling the gingerbread bear macarons
Set the bear-faced macarons next to the basic brown macarons. Turn the basic ones upside down and start piping the filling to them. Hold the piping bag at a 90-degree angle like always.
Before sandwiching the two shells together, it is a great time to draw the face of the bear to make them cuter. See the pictures below.
Once the faces are drawn, slowly press the shells together. Aren’t these the cutest macarons ever?
How to store the gingerbread bear macarons
Macarons taste better the longer you let them sit. You should wait at least a couple of hours!
If you want to give the macarons away, do that within a week and remind the person that he should eat them on time 🙂
I have made multiple posts on how to make cute Christmas-themed macarons and how to pack them! Check them out on my blog! I Wish You a Merry Christmas!
Enjoy your macarons!