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Gingerbread Men Macarons

Gingerbread Men Macarons

I did not intend to post about macarons again this soon until Carol planted an idea in my head. I have come to accept and oh so happily surrender to her gentle "hey Tarty! Ever thought of doing xyz?" or "what about a little of this on a little of that, eh Tarty?!". Carol perfectly fits the Parisian shoe and a visit to her blog always makes me feel a little closer to home, not to mention nostalgic of all the pastries and atmospheres of home.

The Gingerbread Men Macarons came to life because of one innocent conversation between Carol and I. Although, how innocent can conversations be when foodies are involved, hmmm…?!
Carol : "Will you do anything as mundane as gingerbread persons?Gingerbread macarons probably doesn’t work…"
Me: "Argghhhhhhhhhhhh !! YOU!!! Guess what I am scketching in my head right now?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You might have gingerbread macs before you know it!!"
Carol: "While you’re sketching, can you put teeth on the mac upper and lower and place a mini gingerperson in between?
Crunch crunch :)"

Yes, phase one is complete…Gingerbread Men macarons. Phase two with mini gingerbread men escaping the clutching teeth (or feet) of macarons is going to required some logistics and lots of tiny little drawings…and time…a precious commodity to all of us this holiday season whether you are baking, wrapping, crafting, etc… I don’t think the oven has had much of a break this weekend and I am looking forward to trying some new ice cream recipes! [Before I forget: I have taken into account those who so generously volunteered their time and feedback to test some recipes and you will find email requests soon in your mailboxes. I also want to thank those who have already started and gave me very valuable information.]

Gingerbread Men Macarons

I am still on the fence about those Gingerbread Men Macs. Aesthetics wise, I wish I’d taken a smaller tip to pipe the macaron batter to give them nicer feet and arms but I was afraid of it deflating too much if I did so. I drew templates with a cookie cutter and then filled in the space with a medium tip. After piping 10 gingerbread men, I wondered how well they would come out and decided to switch the batter to a bag fitted with a larger tip and pipe regular ones. In doing so I deflated the batter a little too much to get the proper "feet" on the shells while keeping the overall look intact.

Taste wise, we fell head over heels for those and B. declared them his favorites ever and got a little upset when I admitted finishing them up earlier today. I added the spices found in gingerbread men cookies to both the shells and the buttercream and sprinkled some crushed gingersnaps on top of the round shells. The smell in the house was absolutely wonderful! Wish I had a way to bottle that up into "Eau de Gingerbread Macarons".

Gingerbread Men Macarons:

For the shells:
90 gr egg whites (about 3)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds
1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Combine the almonds, powdered sugar and spices in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 280F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 20-22 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. To fill: pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon in the center of one shell and top with another one.

For the spiced mousseline buttercream:
3 sticks butter at room temperature
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

In the bowl of stand mixer, whip 5 egg whites until they have soft peaks. In the meantime, combine 1/4 cup water with the sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan and bring the syrup to 250F. Slowly add the sugar syrup to the egg whites. If you use hand beaters, this is even easier and there is less hot syrup splatter on the side of your bowl and in the whisk attachment of the stand mixer. Continue to whip until the meringue is completely cooled. Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. The mass might curddle but no panic, continue to whip until it all comes together. Add the spices and fold them in with a spatula.

Gingerbread Men Macarons

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K and S December 15, 2008 um 7:08 am

looks and sounds delicious! brilliant!

Vera December 15, 2008 um 7:17 am

Helen, what an amazing idea! The cookies are so cute and christmasy!

Christy December 15, 2008 um 7:22 am

Oooohhhhh….gingerbread macarons sound perfect…especially with spiced mousseline buttercream…no wonder B got a bit upset when they were gone—he had probably been thinking about it the whole day!! Well now you’ll just have to make the (gingerbread)man-eating macarons a lot sooner!

Rosa's Yummy Yums December 15, 2008 um 7:26 am

So cute! That’s a great idea!



Peabody December 15, 2008 um 8:11 am

OMG! Those are too cute for words. What a clever idea.

Botacook December 15, 2008 um 9:53 am

Quelle bonne idรฉe! Et qu’est-ce qu’ils sont beaux tes bonshommes au gingembre ๐Ÿ™‚

Nina Timm December 15, 2008 um 11:16 am

Cute factor of 100%. I have not even mastered the standard macaron yet!!!

Culinary Wannabe December 15, 2008 um 11:38 am

How ridiculously cute!! And I would be the first to drench myself in gingerbread if you ever do figure out how to bottle it. No one would ever complain about sitting next to that kind of over-perfumed lady on the plane!

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 11:49 am

My goodness, these are too cute!!! ๐Ÿ˜›

Sweet Treats by Dani December 15, 2008 um 12:20 pm

you have to be the most creative food blogger out there!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cannelle Et Vanille December 15, 2008 um 12:23 pm

ADORABLE! They are adorable Helen! I’m happy to see the power your friends have over you… I can hear them say it… "but just one more batch tarty…" Love it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 12:58 pm

WOW! Gingermen macarons! First time I see!! What a great idea!

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 1:02 pm

If I saw those in a pastry shop, I’d be powerless to resist them.

tara December 15, 2008 um 1:08 pm

So fanciful and charming – and WORLDS better than those cardboard like gingerbread men you sometime see in shops. With their charm and the spice, these are like all the best of the season, sandwiched in a few bites.

Sunshinemom December 15, 2008 um 1:17 pm

Wow! That guy looks real cute!!

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 1:53 pm

Adorable! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love them!

Babeth December 15, 2008 um 1:58 pm

Super cute! Idee genieale miss ๐Ÿ™‚

LizNoVeggieGirl December 15, 2008 um 2:03 pm

FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!! My all-time favorite holiday cookie variety ๐Ÿ™‚

Mary December 15, 2008 um 2:30 pm

OK. I have decided to try making macarons, and I am going to make this recipe of them. I don’t know when I’m going to do it, but I’m bookmarking it!

vibi December 15, 2008 um 2:50 pm

Those must be absolute killers! …two of the greatest classics wrapped in one, how could you go wrong!!? LOL
And what about the courage it took you to make them, WOW! Macarons in themself are hard enough to realise, I can only imagine how little gingerbread men macs must have been!
Very well done, Tartelette!

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 3:13 pm

Wow these look great. You must be the most patient person on earth piping 10 of these onto an outline!

Catherine Wilkinson December 15, 2008 um 3:18 pm

Too cute! Remember Mr. Bill from SNL??? Looks just like him! Adorable. I want to bite his head!

Engineer Baker December 15, 2008 um 3:20 pm

Oh this is so unfair. I’ve been tossing around the idea of gingerbread macarons, and there you go and one-up me with gingerbread men macs! Did you consider getting the little crystallized ginger men (KAF has them, as do The Ginger People I think) and putting those in the middle? The spiciness would go really well, IMO.

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 3:22 pm

Those are sooo cool!

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 3:41 pm

That is beyond cute! I’m going to tackle macarons soon enough…I love the versatility of them – it just takes someone as inventive as you to make them amazing!

Anita (Married… with dinner) December 15, 2008 um 3:42 pm

briliant! they’re adorable and they sound delicious, too.

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 3:46 pm

As someone lucky enough to try that first batch, I can say that they were delicious and fun to eat!

Mumsy December 15, 2008 um 3:58 pm

Brilliant! They are darling!

Nic December 15, 2008 um 4:43 pm

I’m laughing my socks off here!

Tiny bakery December 15, 2008 um 5:23 pm

i always think that why do macaron always in circle-shape, you show me the answer lol


Manggy December 15, 2008 um 5:30 pm

Whaddya mean, "aesthetic wise…"– the macarons are sooo precious! I want one! (Having become recently addicted to the heady taste of spicy gingerbread.) Very creative idea that paid off very beautifully ๐Ÿ™‚

Mallory Elise December 15, 2008 um 5:41 pm

haha! trop mignon! i think i really am going to make these–this weekend! i am in finals week and then leave for seattle to spend three weeks with my parents! lots of baking—on their dime woohoo!

glamah16 December 15, 2008 um 6:03 pm


Vittoria December 15, 2008 um 6:31 pm

Oh wow! now I REALLY hope I can learn how to make macarons with only honey as a sweetener!

Ivy December 15, 2008 um 6:34 pm

These are so frickin’adorable!
You’re such a genius!
I need to get over my fear of macarons and make some. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tania December 15, 2008 um 6:53 pm

I’ve been following for a while, and I have to say you have the prettiest little macarons, and the tastiest variations! I was going to try making some for the first time last night, but fell ill. These are on my list now, as well! I have to ask an amateur question, though. Why do you let the egg whites sit out for 24 hours? I’m a germ phobe, so just wondering about the purpose.

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 6:56 pm

Super cute and adorable.

Rita December 15, 2008 um 7:02 pm

What a great idea! I love when we manage to reinvent someting classic.

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 7:07 pm

They are so cute–almost too cute to eat–but I think I can manage to get over it–very festive for the holidays!

My Sweet & Saucy December 15, 2008 um 7:09 pm

What a great idea! They turned out so cute!

Dewi December 15, 2008 um 8:07 pm

As always, your idea is superb!
Cute gingerman!
Have a wonderful season, Helen.

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 8:22 pm

He is so cute, this little ginderboy:)

Parisbreakfasts December 15, 2008 um 9:11 pm

O M G!!!
I am keeping my trap shut from now on! :))))
Who would have thunk it?
Tres mignon.

MyKitchenInHalfCups December 15, 2008 um 9:55 pm

From an innocent question comes genius! That is really incredible fun for right now. I hope she doesn’t follow thru on the threat to keep her trap shut!

Frood Bird December 15, 2008 um 10:06 pm

Those are so cute! I’m sure they taste awesome, but I’d feel bad about eating them!

Is there any chance you still need a recipe tester? I didn’t realize you even asked for volunteers, but if you need one more I’d be happy to help!

Gretchen Noelle December 15, 2008 um 10:21 pm

What a wonderfully fun idea and so well executed!

jennifer December 15, 2008 um 10:53 pm

They are utterly fantastic!

Tania December 15, 2008 um 11:35 pm

Thank you! I’m going to read the whole article!

Anonymous December 16, 2008 um 12:49 am

ha..ha…that is sooo cute!!!

Shelby December 16, 2008 um 1:17 am

They sound delicious! I have never attempted macaroons. Someday I will though!

nikkita December 16, 2008 um 1:45 am

Hooya! I am trying this one out. I tried just drizzling macaron shells with mixed spices before, and wasn’t gutsy enought to actually incorporate them in the batter itself. You’ve now validated to me that they taste gorgeous and I am making these today! Hugs hugs Helen ^_^

Lori December 16, 2008 um 2:57 am

your a card! Only you would do this! Cute, very cute!

Unknown December 16, 2008 um 3:15 am

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous December 16, 2008 um 3:17 am

What a wonderful idea! I still can’t manage plain macarons, let alone gingerbread men-shaped ones. :]

And I love Carol’s blog too! Her watercolors are so elegant.

redmenace December 16, 2008 um 5:26 am

It is never too soon for macaroons. These are the cutest. Thanks for the recipe. I will try this. I made them once before and they were sticky. It was the first time I put a big X thru my New Basics Cookbook. These look great!

Anonymous December 16, 2008 um 5:43 am

-SO- creative, Helen! I wasn’t even sure that macaron batter could be piped into different shapes!

karey m. December 16, 2008 um 7:28 am

ok. i officially want to try these…that’s a first step, right?

i will let you know. xoxo!

Anonymous December 16, 2008 um 7:46 am

These are the loveliest macs ever… Put me on your list for tasting "eau de Gingergread Macarons" ๐Ÿ˜‰ this could be a Christmas hit here (forget about Channell nr.5 an so).

By the other hand. Is it late to take part of your "sweet elf staff" of recipe testers? I’m not such an experimented baker but I love to try new recipes and even more I love experimentation in my kitchen. Hope language is not a problem, I’m spanish and (as you can see) my english is not as good as I’d like.

You made me smile with this article. Thank you very much and Merry sweet and spice Christmas.

Serena@TentarNonNuoce December 16, 2008 um 9:44 am

This comment has been removed by the author.

Serena@TentarNonNuoce December 16, 2008 um 9:50 am

you can't even imagine how desperatedly I want that man-shaped cookie cutter… >:P
however…fantastic, like everything you bake ๐Ÿ™‚

Joyce December 16, 2008 um 2:12 pm

Your gingerbread macarons are beautiful!
Thank you for visiting my blog! I will be back to visit yours! Simple beautiful!!

Cookie baker Lynn December 16, 2008 um 2:20 pm

Oh my gosh, how cute are you to come up with something this darling! Love it!

Maria December 16, 2008 um 4:20 pm

Fabulous idea! These are the CUTEST macarons EVER!! I love the little guys!

Anonymous December 16, 2008 um 4:34 pm

Love the new macaron shape! Does this mean macarons don’t have to be circles? ๐Ÿ™‚

Anonymous December 16, 2008 um 4:55 pm

beautiful macarons. but! gingerbread macarons are just plain genius!! i’m so blown away. definitely wanna have one of those in my stocking please ๐Ÿ™‚ x

Cakebrain December 16, 2008 um 5:48 pm

Cute gingerbread macaron…and wonderful flavour idea!

montague December 16, 2008 um 6:19 pm

oh they are seriously adorable! and tasty i am sure!

Manuela ยฉ December 16, 2008 um 7:20 pm

It’s amazing!
Simple macarons are hard to make for most of the people. You must be an artist by doing it with a gingerbread man shape ๐Ÿ™‚

Camille December 16, 2008 um 8:54 pm

I think the macaron gingerbread men are such a fun thing for the holidays. Wonderful!

Y December 16, 2008 um 10:01 pm

Hehe… they look shell shocked. Where am I? What is this? Why am I fluffy on the inside with a crispy shell? What’s going on? ๐Ÿ˜‰

RecipeGirl December 17, 2008 um 12:05 am

Oh my goodness, I’m so glad I stopped by. These are the cutest little creations I’ve seen this season. Simply adorable!

Bonbon Oiseau December 17, 2008 um 2:57 am

hahah! these really make me smile helen…i love it.

Mrs.French December 17, 2008 um 5:45 am

the mose adorable macarons I have ever seen…and I have seen a lot…xo t

Anonymous December 17, 2008 um 5:47 am

Gasp. Tartelette you amaze me every time. I printed our your article from Desserts and it worked out! Although I’m not too pleased with the texture ๐Ÿ™ Yours, yours are perfection! So crispy, crunchy looking and sturdy! Mine were a little on the wet side.

But mmmmmmm are you crazy these flavours are driving my senses mad! Lovely work!

That Girl December 17, 2008 um 6:38 am

Hmm this might be a way to reign in the size of my macarons!

Anonymous December 17, 2008 um 2:25 pm

Bravo!!!!!! Quelle merveille et quelle merveilleuse idรฉe de faire des macarons. Cela doit รชtre dรฉlicieux… J’arrive. Prรฉpare le thรฉ.Mille bises Mam

The Short (dis)Order Cook December 17, 2008 um 2:45 pm

What a cute idea. I love how you took a traditional Christmas cookie idea and turned it into something that is uniquely you. You are the macaron queen after all.

Anonymous December 17, 2008 um 3:33 pm

I don’t know how you do it but you do it everytime!! So much fun and creativity! Bravo!


Deeba PAB December 17, 2008 um 3:45 pm

If anyone could…it could only be you Helen. These guys are too precious! Whatever are you gonna cook up next? This is FUN FUN FUN all the way! Have a great holiday season, & a warm & joyous Xmas!BTW, if you ever need any more volunteers, I'm always there. Guess I missed a post!

carolina @ patagonia gifts December 17, 2008 um 4:48 pm

Oh so cute! They look absolutely delicious, darling!

Anonymous December 17, 2008 um 7:33 pm

Wonderful idea. A twist on a Christmas tradition. I would love to be able to bake more, but I’m too scared I’d hoover up every thing in sight! Do you always taste everything or just have a bite?

please sir December 17, 2008 um 8:39 pm

Oh that is such a cute idea – love it!

Rachael Hutchings December 17, 2008 um 10:11 pm

Oh my goodness, those are absolutely incredibly too awesome for words! Now bun in the oven is demanding gingerbread macarons (she’s in charge, what can I say?), but it is POURING rain outside! ๐Ÿ™

Susan from Food Blogga December 18, 2008 um 1:25 am

The pic with the cookie cutter behind the gingerbread men is just fabulous, Helen.

Amy J December 18, 2008 um 2:18 am

Your macarons look amazing! I am far too intimidated to try making them, wish you did mail order…

Helene December 18, 2008 um 3:58 am

Babycakes: as far as tasting everything I make, the answer is yes…that is crucial. As far as eating, it all depends on the circumstances, dinner parties, order for friends, catering gig, us, etc..

Thank you everyone for your visit!

Sara December 18, 2008 um 6:09 am

Cutest macarons ever!

Deborah December 18, 2008 um 4:28 pm

These are too cute! I love them!

Clumbsy Cookie December 18, 2008 um 11:18 pm

Ahahaha! When I saw this coming up on my reader I thought: Noooo, it can’t be… But here they are! Lol! They’re one of the coolest thing ever Helen! I wish I could have one (or a bunch)!

Ash December 19, 2008 um 3:34 am

Very Very Cute!!!

sashool December 19, 2008 um 7:52 pm

amazing work with the macarons!!!! i tried my first ever bathc of em and well not so good!!!! all of em stuck to the parchment paper. cudnt gt em out rite! and mine dint ve those pretty lil amazin feet urs ve!!!! can u oh so pls tell me how u get ur macarons out so perfect!!!! pls!!!! need some guidance here
my email id is
[email protected]…… im from indian born n brought up in the u.a.e.
hopeing for a few pointers!!! preety pls!!!:D

spring snow December 20, 2008 um 3:51 pm

These looked so gorgeous and I just wanted them in my mouth. But sadly my mousseline did not work out. I was beating the butter into the meringue bit by bit but when all the butter was added, I ended up with a big chunk of butter surrounded by egg white. Maybe my house was too cold (damn grad student stipend making me choose between heat and cooking utensils!)? Will try again tomorrow or Monday.

Anonymous December 22, 2008 um 12:28 am

Ils sont trognons tes gingerbread man macarons!

En plus ca ferait une jolie chanson!

Bon, bon, bon, bon… ๐Ÿ™‚

Joyeux Noel Tartelette! ๐Ÿ™‚

Unknown December 22, 2008 um 5:08 am

hello (: these look really good! i have a question though. what dyou do with all the egg yolks you dont use?

Helene December 22, 2008 um 6:56 am

Jan: I use them in ice cream, pastry cream, custard sauces, custards, shortbreads, etc…

Eileen December 22, 2008 um 2:36 pm

How absolutely adorable! And I’m sure they taste good too ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anonymous December 23, 2008 um 9:45 pm

They are so cute !!! bravo pour ces macarons trop trop mignons et joyeuses fรชtes de fin d’annรฉe

Hayley January 6, 2009 um 3:27 am

This comment has been removed by the author.

ShabbyInTheCity January 7, 2009 um 2:04 am

I’ll be the 100th commenter! Maybe there is a free box of Gingerbread macarons (delivered ;)?
These are pure genius!
They say necessity is the mother of invention!

Anonymous March 17, 2009 um 7:36 am

This guys look really cute.

Anonymous December 5, 2010 um 7:29 am

Hi, my name is Jessica. I was wondering. Is it possible to make macarons without almonds or almond flour? I wanted to make some for my family at Christmas but my mom is allergic to all nuts.

Helene December 5, 2010 um 3:35 pm

Jessica: yes, you can but I have never done it myself. Do a google search on Daring Bakers macarons and you will find variations on the theme.

Anonymous December 3, 2011 um 2:58 am

These are so adorable! What a fantastic idea…

Julie Q November 15, 2014 um 7:13 pm

Just made these to freeze for christmas presents. They came out WONDERFULLY! thank you so much for sharing!

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