I heart the holiday season in a big, BIG way. The pretty lights, the trees, the gifts, the hot cocoa and marshmallows. So to celebrate, we’ve asked some of our favorite Little Black Book members to craft some holiday inspired DIY projects. Little crafts that are chic, elegant and would make anyone who received them grin from ear to ear. But the best part, all of the projects can easily be interpreted into favors of all kinds. It’s a win, win for all!

Our first project was designed by a bakery that we are SO proud to call a Little Black Book member, Vanilla Bakeshop. Their designs always blow me away and I am not the only one. The adorable little shop has become quite a blogging celebrity, with their cakes and desserts popping up in so many real weddings around the web. Well today, they are all ours and they’ve designed a little gift that will definitely make you swoon…

holiday diy project

DIY Tips for Holiday Macarons
The French Macaron is a grown up almond cookie that is delicate and perfect as a wedding favor or stocking stuffer this holiday season. Each almond sandwich cookie is filled with creamy buttercreams, preserves or rich chocolate ganache. Here are some helpful tips on making your own! –from Vanilla Bakeshop

Color & Flavor Coordinate: Presentation is key! You eat with your eyes first. Take that into consideration when you are making your French Macarons. Choose three flavor and color combinations that compliment each other and taste delicious.

Personalize: Adding a personalized custom label to your favor is a sweet touch that is simple and inexpensive. A helpful online source is www.MyOwnLabels.com. Chose from a variety of label templates and colors. Cost: approximately .75 per label.

Packaging: Choosing recycled eco-friendly cardboard or clear favor box is a creative way to show off your colorful French macarons. A cost effective online packaging source is www.papermart.com Cost: approximately .50 per box

Ingredients

3 ½ cups Powdered sugar
½ tsp. Vanilla extract
3 cupsAlmond meal
6 Egg whites
Pinch Salt
½ cupGranulated Sugar

Helpful tips before you get started:

*Oven temperatures vary. Test this recipe first, before you begin production to ensure the cookies bake perfectly. If the cookies crack on top, your oven might be too hot. Turn your oven down by 5-10 degree’s. The cookie should have a smooth shell top.

*Chose three different food colors for your cookies and decide what flavor will correspond with the color. Example: A pale green macaron filled with mint chocolate ganache.

*Gel based food-coloring works the best. Divide your batter mixture into three separate bowls, and add a different color per bowl. This will allow you to have three different colors and flavors.

*Use a toothpick when adding the food coloring. A little goes a long way.

Instructions
Pre-heat Oven 240 degree’s

1. Whip egg whites in a mixer with whisk attachment until frothy. Rain in granulated sugar slowly. Whip until the egg white is a soft peak. Add salt, vanilla extract and food coloring.

2. Continue to whip until a medium peak forms. Do not over whip.

3. Sift powder sugar and almond meal together.

4. Fold powder sugar and almond meal into egg white mixture.

5. Fold together until mixture is the consistency of slow moving lava. (About 20-30 seconds of folding.) Be careful not to over mix.

6. Fill pastry bag fitted with #828 tip with macaron mixture.

7. Pipe into small silver dollar size rounds on parchment covered sheet pans.

8. Once all rounds have been piped, allow it to sit out for 30 minutes to dry and create a shell.

9. Bake at 240 degree’s for 9-11 minutes. Rotate halfway through baking process so cookies are evenly baked. Cookie tops will pop up creating a macaron “foot” below the shell top.

10. Allow to cool before piping filling.

11. Fill with your favorite butter cream, preserve, or chocolate ganache filling.< br/> 12. This recipe yields 40 French macaron sandwiches.