Begin by making the macarons, preheat the oven to 170C Fan and using the templates line two baking trays, then place a layer of baking paper over the top. You will need to line your trays with templates so that you have at least 40 x 4cm macaron shells and 80 x 2.5cm shells.
You will have more macaron mix than this and so I would pipe a few spares of each size to allow for cracks or breakages.
To make 20 snowmen this is the minimum shells you would need. Obviously you will need to pipe and bake in batches as they will not all fit on two trays.
Grind the ground almonds and icing sugar together in a food processor and then sift them into a clean bowl with the titanium dioxide.
Add 75g of egg whites to this mix and beat it, until it forms a paste and is well mixed. Place to one side.
Add the water and granulated sugar to a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
Put 75g of the egg whites into a stand mixer and whisk them on a medium speed until frothy.
Bring the syrup to a boil and heat until it reaches 118 degrees.
Pour the syrup in a slow steady stream into the egg whites as they are being whipped on a high speed. Keep whipping until the meringue forms a stiff peak, about 5mins and is cool to the touch. Add a third of the meringue to the almond paste and beat it in thoroughly.
Fold through the remaining meringue, ensure the ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
Put the macaron mix into a piping bag and pipe out the macarons on the sheets you have prepared.
Tap the bottom of the tray to remove any bumps or air pockets, then put the macarons in the oven for 8-10 mins for the 2.5cm size and 12-14 mins for the 4cm size, keep an eye on them because you don’t want them to get any colour. Turn the trays halfway through cooking to ensure an even bake.
Let the cooked macarons cool completely before trying to remove them from the tray.
You will probably need to cook in batches, be sure to use fresh greaseproof paper each time.
These shells can be frozen, or stored in an airtight container somewhere dark and cool (not the fridge) for a couple of days.
To make the buttercream, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk for a few minutes until pale and creamy.
Add the icing sugar, titanium dioxide and almond extract and whisk on low until it comes together and forms a buttercream and is fluffy.
Then add the milk and Amaretto and give it a final mix before placing it in a piping bag with a round nozzle fitted. The buttercream needs to be made and used straightaway.
To make the chocolate arms and buttons for the snowmen you need to temper the chocolate and you will need some food grade acetate. Take the template for the arms and place them on a baking tray. Lay the acetate over the top of the template and take another sheet to pipe the buttons onto.
To temper the chocolate, place 75g of the chocolate in bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt the chocolate until it reaches 45c.
You may find that you still have some pieces of chocolate, but that’s fine remove it from the heat and continue stirring the chocolate, add the un-melted chocolate to the melted chocolate a few buttons at a time until the temperature of the chocolate comes down to 32C. You may find you do not need all the chocolate to adjust the temperature, but add the buttons gradually until they have melted.
Place the chocolate inside a small piping bag (you can make your own here) and pipe the arms onto the acetate, using the templates as a guide. You’ll have to work quite quickly, as tempered chocolate sets very quickly.
On the blank sheet, pipe small blobs so that they look like buttons. Pipe more arms and buttons than you need as the arms can be very fragile. Leave them somewhere flat to dry, don’t place them in the fridge.
To assemble, pick 20 of the smaller sized macaron shells that look the best and draw snowman faces on them using the edible food pens. Take a similar sized shell and using the buttercream sandwich the faces together and place them to one side.
Take 40 of the larger size shells and pipe buttercream on one half and sandwich them together, put these to one side.
Take 40 of the smaller shells, pipe buttercream on one half, and sandwich them together. Each time you fill one of the smaller shells, use a small blob of buttercream to sit it on top of one of the larger shells. Take a pair of arms and push them gently into the buttercream in the top macaron.
Take one of the heads, pipe a blog on the bottom edge (i.e. underneath the snowman’s chin), and stand it on top of the two sandwiched macarons so that the face is facing outwards.
Take the buttons, dip them in buttercream, and attach three of them to the snowman. Repeat with the remaining macarons.
You will have enough macarons to make 20-24 snowmen, you may find that you can make more, or just keep filling the remaining macarons with the buttercream and eat them as they are.
These will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days once filled, but they are best eaten on the first day.