Recipe: hot cross bun macarons

Mac Attack 6 is underway at MacTweets, hosted by Deeba and Jamie, this month’s theme is April holidays. Although we had a range of possibilities; April Fool’s Day, Passover, St George’s Day and more, I have opted for the obvious, Easter and made this month’s macarons in homage to that eternal favourite, the hot cross bun.  I had intended to pipe crosses on top of all of them but my “ivory” gel food colouring in fact went orange and so I opted for “less is more”. 

I am, as I sit in my back bedroom typing, freezing. It has been chucking down a monsoon outside and despite our having been away last weekend, my husband has the day before Good Friday booked off work as we intended to go somewhere for Easter. Like Bruges for instance. As it happens, the preparations for last weekend’s muffins and cupcakes distracted me from booking anywhere and as the day got nearer and the weather reports got more hideous, paying to go away and hover around wet in a cagoule seemed even more crazy than doing it at home.

I’ve been doing some research on BBC Weather. It really is raining everywhere in Europe this Easter weekend. Apart from Berlin which is apparently sunny. Only I don’t believe them as every other city in Germany is raining like everywhere else. It’s not just rain either, it’s heavy rain and thundery showers. Seriously the only places where it is not raining for five days on the trot are Malaga and Marrakech.

Looking back, my husband and I have had this problem every Easter, with the exception of 2000 when we flew to Provence for 2 nights, we’ve spent each time climbing the walls. Why do I have this amnesia about arranging anything concrete to do at Easter? Chocolate must numb the brain.

So, dear readers, how are you entertaining yourself this Easter? And are you keeping dry?


Hot Cross Bun Macarons with Fruited and Spiced Buttercream

for the shells
110g icing sugar
50g ground almonds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
The seeds of 3 cardamom pods
2 free range egg whites (60g worth), left to age for 2 days
40g caster sugar

for the fruited and spiced buttercream – blend the following:
80g butter, softened
250g icing sugar, sifted
50ml milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp sultanas
1/2 tbsp candied peel

1. Sift the icing sugar, almonds and spices into the food processor and blitz to give yourself an even finer powder.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites to a foam using an electric mixer then add the caster sugar gradually and continue beating until you have a meringue that stands in soft peaks.
3. Tip the dry ingredients on top. Using a silicon spatula, sweep around the bowl in a circle and then cut sideways strokes with the thin blade of the spatula through the centre backwards and forwards ten times. Repeat sweeping around the edge of the bowl and doing your ten strokes five times so that you’ve done fifty strokes.  Your batter should be roughly ready by this point, you are looking for a flowing lava effect. If it is too stiff continue sweeping around the edge of the bowl and doing another ten strokes until you are happy with the flow.
4. Fix parchment paper to your baking sheet with a blob of meringue batter in each corner.  Fill piping bags with the batter, I use disposable ones with around 1.5cm width snipped of the end.
5. Pipe discs in a circular movement around the size of a two pound coin. Allow a similar distance between the piped circles incase they spread. Pick the tray up with both hands and rap on the table firmly to make the circles settle.
6. Preheat the oven to 150c.  Leave the piped circles near a radiator for twenty minutes to dry out (winter only). In summer, leave for 30 minutes (apparently, I haven’t done this properly in summer yet but this is what everyone else says).  The surface of the circles should dry out so that they are no longer sticky to the touch.  The feet develop as the surface has toughened before the centre has cooked, the pressure that builds up under heating forces the top of the macaron to rise, then you should get feet.
7. Bake for 12-18 minutes depending on size. The length of time really is trial and error.  I put mine on the lowest oven shelf but again you will need to experiment.
8. Hopefully, if you’ve cooked them enough but not too much, you’ll have that happy medium of a surface that peels beautifully off the baking parchment but a meringue which remains soft and gooey like a truffle inside. If you are having trouble removing them from the paper, some drops of water sprinkled under the parchment whilst still warm will help steam the macarons off. But I find that they come off best when completely cool and don’t need this. So don’t be impatient!
9. For the buttercream, blend the butter, icing sugar, milk and spices in the food processor. When combined, sweep around the edge with a silicon spatula to make sure all ingredients incorporated, throw in the sultanas and candied peel and pulse again a few times until the fruit has been chopped into the buttercream in small pieces.
10. When the shells are cool, spread or pipe your filling on the flat side of a shell and sandwich with another, squeezing gently.  Allow to set for a couple of hours. I find the texture softer when they’ve been filled and kept in a tin overnight. They keep in an airtight tin for a week. If you can resist them.


  1. MeetaK says

    oh i am in first on the comment good thing i caught your tweet early. sarah this is simply fantastic and ingenious – a great take on hot cross buns!

    Oh an it's not raining in weimar it's sunny and bright and think it might stay that way too over easter!

  2. faithy, the baker says

    These look amazing! I love the idea of hot cross-macarons! 😀 Love the nice rounded top! :)

  3. Heavenly Housewife says

    Wow, these look amazing, hard to believe that you once had a problem making them, now your macs look so fab!
    *kisses* HH

  4. An Open Book says

    I empathize with you…4 days off and i dont ahve a clue what to do…its sunny right now, but im pretty sure the weekends gonna be horrible..happy Easter in a advance and the macs look delicious

  5. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite says

    Sarah – they are PERFECT! Nothing better than a hot cross bun crossed with a macaron.. Congrats!

  6. Jamie says

    LOL I actually laughed out loud at how clever and cute these are! Brilliant, Sarah! I love them! And you are really making perfect macs now!

  7. Mr. P says

    This is really inspired. What a fantastic idea!

    Who eats them all? I was planning on doing some today, but chores are getting in the way. My plan was to take them out with me later, but the friends aren't getting any sweets today if I don't get a wriggle on.

  8. Charli says

    A beautiful idea! I was planning to do a lot of baking on Easter, and I think another attempt at macs might have just made the cut!!!

  9. Poires au Chocolat says

    How cute! What a great idea.

    Here in Switzerland it's snowing :) I've got lots of work to do so I think I'll mainly be doing that, baking and maybe a little skiing.

  10. Marisa says

    What a great idea! Easter is possibly my favourite foodie holiday and these look absolutely divine.

  11. aforkfulofspaghetti says

    After all those earlier attempts, you're becoming quite the macaron pro now! Pierre Herme had better watch out… 😉

  12. MaryMoh says

    Perfect macaroons! I still find it challenging to make but each time I see macaroons, I think it brings me closer to trying. I wish I can have some to try!

  13. Edd says

    Sarah these look excellent and the flavour is such a wonderful idea did it manage to resemble the taste of real hot cross buns?

  14. tspegar says

    Girl! You did it! Those are fantastic looking macs! Hooray! It was spring like weather last week and is a snowy mess this week so Easter shall be a surprise…

  15. Rambling Tart says

    You are SO good at macarons now, Sarah! Remember your first attempts? :-) You're inspiring! I clean forgot about Easter too. Sigh. Thankfully I have rellies nearby who planned all sorts of fun things involving visiting and lavish feasting. :-) Up to Canada I go! :-)

  16. Sarah says

    Only yesterday, I was bemoaning the fact that it is always the 4-day bank holiday that I forget about until it's too late. It only dawned on me yesterday morning, whilst riding a sea of caravans up the M40. So it is a weekend of provincial pleasures for me.
    Anyway, I really only came on to praise the flavour idea for these macs to the skies! How did they taste?

  17. Kitchen Butterfly says

    Yay….back to Macperfection…..again. They look lovely. Have a great Easter. We're off to Belgium….stay well!

  18. catty says

    Hot cross bun flavoured macs!! Nothing wrong with combining two delicious tastes :) good work Sarah!!

  19. ginandcrumpets says

    There is no occasion you can't bake a macaroon for. Utter genius. I will be spending the holiday going for a walk even though it's raining (my family is never defeated when it comes to walks) and then settling down to watch Up with a big Easter egg. Happy days.

  20. BonjourRomance says

    Bonjour Sarah,
    Wow these macs looks incredible, you'll be opening a patisserie before long. I've yet to try making macarons, afraid it will be a disaster. I'll let you know when I get up the nerve because I get inspired everytime I see your delicious creations.
    Wishing you and your family a very Happy Easter weekend (in spite of the rain)!

  21. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says

    Fantastic idea and I like the addition of the cross! Actually it's a bit wet here today which is unfortunate! :( Hope you're having a great Easter!

  22. Morwenna Ellis-Philips says

    Wow look at the feet on your macarons they look great!
    Morwenna xo

  23. The London Foodie says

    Excellent idea, macs are so hard to get right I was never brave enough to bake them! I should really have a go after reading this, they look so utterly delish!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  24. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says

    @meeta Lucky things in Weimar… I got so soaked in Bath on Thursday I might as well have been in one.
    @faithy Thanks, although I've heard that "real" macarons are meant to have flat tops! I prefer little domes myself.
    @diva, @heavenlyh Thanks! Happy Easter to you too.
    @anopenbook Next time I'm booking a break to Malaga or something!!
    @mardi @jamie Thanks! They are quite cute.
    @mrP Fortunately they keep quite well in an airtight tin so they get handed round to visitors for the next week.
    @charli Great to see you! Not seen you on Twitter for ages and you were of course one of my first baking partners that very first time I made macs last September with Susan Doughmesstic and Barbara Bakes
    @Poiresauchocolat I like the idea of skiing but not the cold!
    @marisa Thanks!
    @aforkful LOL, I think PH's crown is quite safe from me but thank you!
    @juls Great minds and all that…
    @marymoh Go on you know you want to…
    @edd yes I think they did!
    @su-yin ah yes feet at last… will never take them for granted though
    @tspegar No snow here thank goodness!
    @ramblingtart Have a great time in Canada!
    @sarah They tasted good. I know the M40 well…
    @Kitchenbutterfly Oh no! I was supposed to be going to Belgium and we might have met up! What a wasted opportunity!
    @catty Thank you!
    @ginandcrumpets Yes I would use umbrella but they don't really mix with toddlers… until the day he can hold one by himself without wanting to play with it
    @bonjourromance Give it a go!
    @Lorraine Thanks, I wish I'd used thinner nozzle to pipe as it would have looked better. Never mind. Hope you have had great Easter too.
    @morwenna Yes we are foot-tastic now, Happy Easter!
    @thelondonfoodie Be brave, you can never had the disasters I went through.
    @julia Thanks!

  25. Bonnie says

    I love macs with flavors that I can relate to something familiar, like hot cross buns. So original.

  26. Deeba PAB says

    Hey there gorgeous…sorry I missed these beauties. You've mastered the art of macaronia beautifully. Love them, the hot crosses on top, and the spiced buttercream. What a delish package!