These Mint Macarons with Baileys Buttercream are a magically fun St. Patrick's Day party treat, but are also delicious any time of year!
A couple weeks ago, I got the sudden urge to bake macarons. Since St. Patrick's Day is coming up, I immediately thought of Baileys (as one does) and decided I needed to add Baileys to my macarons.
But as most macaron enthusiasts know, adding too much liquid to macaron batter is asking for trouble, so I decided to make a Baileys buttercream filling for them instead.
For the macaron shells, I went with a mint flavor (but a subtle one!) and a green and gold marbled look. If leprechauns were like Easter bunnies, something tells me they'd be leaving these little treats everywhere.
It's been one of my goals in life to make perfect macarons. Every time I make them. Most people know that macarons can be pretty finicky, but that doesn't mean they're impossible. In fact, they're actually quite easy once you have some experience and know how to troubleshoot them.
I'll admit that I've had quite a few macaron failures in my life, but these days I have mostly successes thanks to lots of trial and error and understanding how the science behind macarons works.
Below are the important things I've learned that contribute to macaron success.
Tips for Making Macarons
- Always weigh your ingredients! This can make all the difference in your macaron success. Two different cups of flour can weigh completely different amounts depending on how they're packed and having exact amounts is very important for macarons.
I recommend getting a kitchen scale (here's an affiliate link to the one I have and like). I do include basic cup measurements in this recipe so you have an idea of how much to use, but be sure to weigh for exact measurements.
- Be sure to sift ingredients. Almond flour and confectioners' sugar can get clumpy, so you want to be sure to sift them. In fact, double sifting is even better. I start by sifting the flour and sugar together into one bowl and then I sift them again into the meringue mixture.
- Make sure you understand what "stiff peaks" are. It's important that you beat your egg whites to stiff peaks. If they're under-beaten, your macarons won't form feet and may crack and if they're over-beaten, meringues may be hollow. You'll know you have stiff peaks when the tip of your egg white peak doesn't curl down. You should also be able to turn the bowl upside down and egg whites will stay put.
- Fold macaron batter until it flows like lava. Make sure when you're folding the dry ingredients into the egg whites, you're doing so gently and turning the bowl as you fold so you reach everywhere. Lots of people say to fold 50-60 times, but I recommend just continuing to hold spatula up to see if batter is flowing off it.
- Be careful with adding liquid. Too much liquid can disrupt macaron consistency, so be careful when adding flavorings and color. I recommend using extracts or concentrates for flavor, so you can just add a little. For color, gel food coloring is better to use than liquid.
- Let macarons rest before baking. It's imperative that you let the macarons dry out a bit before putting them in the oven, otherwise you're likely to get cracks and macarons with no feet. Letting macarons rest will allow their tops to harden, making the air escape through the bottom when baked and forming feet.
How to Make Mint Macarons with Baileys Buttercream
Now for the process of making the mint macarons. Believe it or not, making macarons is actually pretty easy when it comes to each individual step. I truly believe most failure is due to improper ingredient measuring and not getting your ingredients to the right consistency before proceeding.
Step one is to measure out all ingredients. Sift almond flour and confectioners's sugar into a bowl. And weigh egg whites.
Step two is to make the macaron batter, which is a meringue based mixture. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until they're foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt.
Turn mixer back on to medium and while running, add in about 1 tablespoon sugar at a time. Increase mixer speed to medium/high and beat until soft peaks form. Add in mint extract and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
The lower right picture in the below collage shows what stiff peaks should look like.
Remove bowl from mixer and sift almond flour and confectioners' sugar into the bowl with the egg whites. Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold ingredients together by scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and folding the meringue up and over and pressing down. Continue this motion while turning bowl.
As you mix, the batter will begin to thin out. You want to keep folding until the batter drops from the spatula like "molten lava" (it should flow) and is glossy. This process is called "macaronage."
Step three is to pipe, rest, and bake macarons. I wanted to give my macarons a green marbled look, so I used some green gel food coloring in my pastry bag.
If you want to do this, too, place pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (I use Wilton 1A) in a tall drinking glass and fold over the top of the bag. Dip a pastry brush or paintbrush in the green food coloring and starting inside the pastry tip, brush a stroke of food coloring from the tip to the top of the bag. Repeat three more times. Then fill the bag with the macaron batter.
Pipe macarons in 2-inch rounds on parchment paper lined baking sheets. You can eyeball it, but I recommend using a template (like this one). I set the template under the parchment paper and pipe to the center of the inner circle since the macarons will continue to spread a bit. Then I pull the template out and use it on my next baking sheet.
Bang the baking sheets on your counter a couple times to eliminate any air bubbles in the macarons.
Before baking, you need to let the macarons rest for about 45-60 minutes to help dry them out. They shouldn't be sticky when they're going into the oven.
After they're dry on top, pop the baking sheets in the oven at 300 degrees for about 15-18 minutes, until macarons are firm to the touch and have risen to form feet. Let macarons cool completely on baking sheets
Step four is to fill macarons. I made a simple Baileys buttercream by simply beating together butter, confectioners' sugar, and Baileys.
Once macarons are completely cooled, you can brush them with gold dust, if desired. I think this adds a fun magical St. Patrick's Day look and it's super easy to do with the right product. This is an affiliate link to the gold dust I use, which works perfectly. I simply use a little pain brush and brush it across the macaron shells.
Pipe about 2 teaspoons of Baileys buttercream on one macaron shell. Place another shell on top and gently push together.
I'm really hoping these mint macarons bring us some good old-fashioned St. Patrick's Day luck in the coming days. Not only are they pretty looking (they look nice even without the gold, but the gold adds more of a fancy feel!), but they're incredibly tasty, too.
I only added a little bit of mint extract to these because I didn't want the mint flavor to be overpowering (sometimes mint desserts are just too much for me). The results are a super subtle mint macaron with a delicious sweet Baileys buttercream that definitely shines through.
Macarons feel like such a special treat for me, probably in part because of the care that I know goes into making them.
Don't fret if your macarons don't turn out perfectly on your first time. You'll quickly learn that there's a huge wealth of "macaron troubleshooting guides" on the internet for this very reason.
But like I mentioned, if you have your ingredients weighed perfectly, you beat your egg whites until just stiff, you fold batter until it flows like lava, you should be pretty good to go!
More Macaron Recipes
Once you get the basic macaron technique down, the world is your oyster and the macaron options are endless! Here are some of the cutest macarons I've seen:
- Raspberry Jelly Donut Macarons (from Posh Little Design)
- 3D Rainbow and Cloud Macarons (from Indulge with Mimi)
- Pumpkin Macarons (from The Sweet Occasion)
- Earl Grey Macarons (from The Baker's Almanac)
- Birthday Cake Macarons (from Kitchen 355)
- Key Lime Macarons (from The House of Elyn Ryn) <--- also great for St. Patrick's Day!
And i'm going to go ahead and say nobody is going to complain when they're offered a mint macaron with Baileys buttercream... Even if it doesn't look absolutely perfect.
And with a couple times practice, you'll have perfect macarons in no time!
More St. Patrick's Day Desserts
If you're looking for more fun St. Patrick's Day treats, I have lots of favorites! Here are some of the best:
- Guinness Doughnuts with Irish Whiskey Frosting
- Lucky Charms Cookie Dough Bars
- Chocolate Stout Brownies
- Lucky Charms Hot Chocolate
- Guinness Cupcakes
- Lucky Charms Ice Cream
- Chocolate Truffles with Irish Cream Filling (from Boulder Locavore)
- Healthy Shamrock Shakes (from Just as Tasty)
Do you make any special desserts for St. Patrick's Day?
Mint Macarons with Baileys Buttercream
- 80 grams extra fine almond flour (about ⅚ cup)
- 85 grams confectioners' sugar (about ⅜ cup)
- 2-3 large eggs (60-64 grams), room temperature
- ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 50 grams granulated sugar (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ tsp mint extract
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 drops green food coloring
- Gold powder, optional
- ¼ cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 tsp Baileys
- In a large bowl, sift together almond flour and confectioners' sugar.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until they're foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt.
- Turn mixer back on to medium and while running, add in about 1 tablespoon sugar at a time. Increase mixer speed to medium/high and beat until soft peaks form. Add in mint extract and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Remove bowl from mixer and sift almond flour and confectioners' sugar into the bowl with the egg whites. Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold ingredients together by scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and folding the meringue up and over and pressing down. Continue this motion while turning bowl. As you mix, the batter will begin to thin out. You want to keep folding until the batter drops from the spatula like "molten lava" (it should flow) and is glossy.
- Place a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (I use Wilton 1A) in a tall drinking glass and fold over the top of the bag. Dip a pastry brush or paintbrush in the green food coloring and starting inside the pastry tip, brush a stroke of food coloring from the tip to the top of the bag. Repeat three more times. Fill the bag with the macaron batter.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set template underneath (see notes for template printout). Holding the pastry bag vertically, pipe evenly sized rounds onto the baking sheets. Batter will spread, so only pipe to the edge of the center circle on the template. Note that you want your rounds to be 2 inches. Gently tap the bottom of the baking sheets on counter to eliminate any air bubbles in the batter.
- Let baking sheets sit out for 45-60 minutes to allow macarons to dry out. In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
- Bake macarons on middle rack for 15-18 minutes, until macarons are firm to the touch and have risen to form a foot. Let macarons cool completely on baking sheets.
- Lightly brush gold powder over the tops of macaron shells, if desired.
- Put Baileys buttercream in a pastry bag and pipe about 2 teaspoons on the bottom of a shell. Place another shell on top and push together.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter until creamy.
- With mixer on low, blend in the confectioner’s sugar until well-combined. Mix in Baileys until combined.
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