Champagne Macarons

Champagne Macarons

December 31: National Champagne Day

Champagne is synonymous with special occasions. Whether ringing in the new year, toasting a happy couple at a wedding, launching a ship or celebrating other events (such as getting “feet” on macarons after several failed baking attempts!), champagne certainly adds a touch of class.

We gave our macarons a glamorous makeover by using the special sparkling wine as an ingredient. Both the shells and buttercream filling contain a bit of the bubbly. Serve champagne macarons on New Year’s Eve and National Champagne Day to add prestige to your party!

Recipe

For the champagne macarons (Italian meringue method)

  • 1 cup almond flour/meal
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 egg whites (fresh, unpasteurized and aged overnight at room temperature)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon champagne (we used pink champagne)

Directions

Sift the almond flour/meal with the powdered sugar. Grind in a food processor in batches to remove any lumps (optional). Whip the egg whites until peaks form. Make a simple syrup to stabilize the egg whites by boiling the sugar and water together until it reaches a temperature of 245 degrees F on a candy thermometer (or until it reaches a soft ball stage). Pour into the egg whites and whip again until stiff and glossy.

Champagne Macarons

Stir in the vanilla and champagne. Fold in the almond flour/meal-sugar mix until the consistency “flows like magma.”

Champagne Macarons

Pipe one-inch discs on a parchment paper on top of an insulated baking sheet. Let the discs air dry to develop a thin skin for at least 30 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees F for about 15 minutes. Watch the “feet” develop, but be careful not to brown or burn the macarons. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Peel off the macarons from the parchment paper. Sort by size and match pairs.  Make the filling.

Champagne Macarons

For the champagne buttercream filling

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2+ tablespoons champagne (we used pink champagne)
  • edible pearl dust (we used Wilton brand orchid pink color to enhance the rosé hue)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with a pinch of salt until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Thin to a spreadable consistency with champagne. Fill a pastry bag with a large round tip. Pipe in the filling and sandwich the macarons together. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the filling set.

Champagne Macarons

Using a dry, food-safe brush, paint both sides of the macaron shells with edible pearl dust to give them some sparkle.

Champagne Macarons

Bonus Recipe

Champagne Macarons with Caviar-Cream Cheese Filling

Champagne Caviar Macarons

Mac Attack #14 challenged us to create a macaron with a sweet and savory flavor combination. Our entry at MacTweets was a champagne macaron shell (recipe above) sandwiched with whipped cream cheese filling and rimmed with capelin caviar (directions below). YUCK! No offense to our friends who indulge in the overpriced and overrated fish eggs, but we probably just have beer tastes over a champagne budget!

For the caviar-cream cheese filling

  • Cream cheese, whipped
  • Caviar, chilled

Directions

Make the sweet champagne macarons. Prepare the savory filling. Whip the cream cheese to a spreadable consistency. Generously coat one half of the macaron shell with the cream cheese. Place another shell on top of it as a sandwich. Press the caviar on the sides of the cream cheese filling with a spreader. Serve immediately as caviar is perishable.

Champagne Caviar Macarons

Notes

  • Caviar is considered to be a rich, upscale and luxurious delicacy. It pairs well with champagne or vodka.
  • Highlander first sampled the salty spread in his college Russian class. Islander’s Ukrainian friend, Olga, introduced her to the reeky roe.
  • Caviar is typically served straight from its container on crushed ice, inspiring our final photo food photo above. It is usually spread with crème fraiche on lightly buttered toast as canapés (appetizers) at fancy functions. We substituted the crème fraiche for cream cheese just for the photo because it was a solid spread that did not make the macaron shells soggy.
  • Our pink champagne macarons baked into a bare blush hue. We recommend painting the shells with edible pearl dust (gold, white or orchid pink) to correspond to the type of champagne used in the macaron ingredients (sparkling wine, blanc or rosé).
  • See our Mac Attack page for more macaron recipes.

 

Champagne Chicken

Champagne Chicken

December 31: National Champagne Day

Bust out the bubbly and celebrate New Year’s Eve with champagne chicken! It is a rich and romantic dish to serve for an intimate candlelight dinner as we ring in the new year. If we are not spending this evening with family and friends, we simply cozy up as a couple in the comfort of our own home and eat something symbolic or special, such as champagne chicken. Then right before midnight, we change into our pajamas, watch television to see the crystal ball countdown in New York Times Square, kiss and quietly toast the end of another blessed year and pray for health, happiness and prosperity in the coming year. Highlander and Islander wish our blog readers and subscribers a Happy New Year’s Eve and Happy National Champagne Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from H.M.’s Food and Wine)

For the herb-breaded chicken cutlets

  • 4 thin-sliced chicken breast cutlets
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in this mixture, shaking off the excess flour. Heat the olive oil and melt the butter together in a skillet.

Champagne Chicken

Fry the chicken until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towels and keep warm. Prepare the champagne-mushroom cream gravy/sauce.

Champagne Chicken

For the champagne-mushroom cream gravy/sauce

  • 1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour (from the herb-breaded chicken cutlets above)
  • ½ cup champagne, room temperature
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In the same skillet, saute the shallots, scraping the brown bits on the bottom. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened. Mix in the flour, adding a drop of olive oil if necessary to avoid burning. Pour in the champagne and chicken stock. Simmer for about two minutes. Stir in the cream until the gravy/sauce is lightly colored and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. When serving the chicken cutlets, pour the gravy/sauce over them while hot.

Champagne Chicken

Notes

  • A sparkling wine may be used as a substitute for the champagne.
  • Champagne chicken is delicious over rice or pasta. Serve with a side of vegetables.
  • Search our blog for additional recipes for new year’s festive foods, including those we traditionally eat on Hogmanay (Scottish new year) and the Asian lunar new year.