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Candied Gingerbread Macarons

Time2 hours 20 minutes
YieldsMakes 40
Gingerbread spices flavor these delicate, gluten-free macarons, perked up with bright Meyer lemon curd in the middle.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times; prop styling by Kate Parisian)
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All the flavor of gingerbread but in the lightest package possible, these festive macarons are a great treat for anyone too full from all the holiday eating. The homemade Meyer lemon curd isn’t necessary but certainly balances the sweet cookies with a soft acidity. If you don’t want to make the curd, buy it or use a tropical or tart citrus jam instead. When separating eggs for the whites used in the macarons, make sure to save the yolks to use in the curd.

1

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or, if you have them, silicone baking mats. Keep a third baking sheet nearby. Very thinly slice the candied ginger, then cut each piece in half and set aside.

2

In a large bowl, use a sieve to sift together the powdered sugar, almond flour, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, coriander, cloves and salt. Whisk to ensure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

3

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, until frothy. Increase the speed to medium-high and set a timer for 2 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly pour the superfine sugar into the egg whites; continue beating until the timer goes off (the meringue will be stiff and shiny).

4

Scrape the meringue into the bowl of the dry ingredients. Using a large silicone spatula, fold the meringue into the almond flour mixture, giving the bowl a quarter turn with each fold. Continue folding and turning and scraping down the bowl until the batter is smooth and falls off the spatula in a thick ribbon, no more than 2 minutes (about 60 turns).

5

Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip or a plastic piping bag that you can snip the tip off of. Holding the bag perpendicular to and a 1/2 inch above the prepared baking sheets, pipe 1 1/4-inch rounds (40 per pan). Firmly tap the baking sheets twice against the counter to release any air bubbles. Dip your finger in cold water, and lightly press down the tips of the meringues on one of the baking sheets.

6

For the meringues on the other baking sheet, top each with a piece of sliced ginger (do not press down on the ginger; let it rest on top). Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the tops are no longer sticky to the touch, 1 hour, depending on the humidity. You might have to rest the cookies in another room if it is too warm or humid in the kitchen.

7

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325 degrees. Stack one of the baking sheets of macarons on the third reserved baking sheet (a double baking sheet protects the cookies from the heat), then place the stacked sheets in the oven and bake the macarons, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the tops of the cookies are shiny and rise 1/8 inch to form a “foot,” about 20 minutes. Transfer the top pan to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining baking sheet of macarons, using the third baking sheet under it, as well.

8

Flip the unadorned macarons over, and spoon or pipe about 1/4 teaspoon of lemon curd or jam in the center of each. Top with a candied ginger-covered macaron, and press gently to adhere to serve.

Meyer Lemon Curd

1

In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the zest and egg yolks, and whisk until the mixture forms a thick paste. Pour in the juice, and whisk until incorporated.

2

Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring steadily with a small silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the curd thickens and just starts to bubble, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the curd through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard the zest in the sieve. Add the butter to the curd, and stir until it melts and combines with the curd.

3

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 4 hours or overnight. Stir the curd again until smooth before using.