Sustainable holiday recipes: Gingerbread-spiced macarons and gingerbread cookies using banana peel flour

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      If you make or buy cranberry sauce for holiday meals, but have more leftover than you know what to do with, here’s an idea.

      But in addition, these recipes save banana peels from being thrown into the garbage or compost by turning them into flour.

      Fairmont Washington, D.C., executive pastry chef AJ Thalakkat in Georgetown provided these recipes for macarons and gingerbread cookies as part of a collection of holiday recipes of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts that focus on sustainability and reducing food waste.

      “Leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving is the perfect filling for macarons, and using banana peels to create flour for gingerbread cookies and macarons helps to make a zero-waste Christmas,” Thalakkat says.

      Banana peel and gingerbread-spiced macaron with citrus-cranberry preserve


      150 grams almond flour (fine sifted)

      30 grams banana peel flour

      260 grams confectioners' sugar, sifted

      150 grams sugar

      210 grams egg white (room temp)

      pinch salt

      Gingerbread Spiced Butter Cream

      ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

      2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

      ¼ tsp cinnamon powder

      ¼ tsp cinger powder

      Pinch star anise powder

      2 tbsp milk

      Citrus Cranberry Preserve

      2 cups cranberry sauce

      1 tsp apple pectin

      1 tbsp sugar

      1 orange zest

      1. For the banana peel flour, dehydrate banana peels until crispy, blend, sift and set aside.

      2. Blend all dry ingredients in a food processor and then sieve.

      3. Whip egg white and sugar on a slow speed until soft peak. (Note: whipping egg whites on slow speed produces a more stable meringue. Aging egg whites for macarons is an important step. Separate the eggs, place the whites in a clean container, cover with plastic wrap with a few holes poked in, and leave it in the fridge for a few days before using.)

      4. Fold in almond, banana peel flour and sugar mixture, mix until smooth.

      5. Pipe the batter on sheet pans lined with parchment. Tap the tray several times to remove air bubbles. Allow to sit for 40 to 60 minutes so the macarons form a skin.

      6. Heat oven to 300°F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

      7. Cream room temperature butter with a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of a standard mixer until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until fully incorporated. Add in finely sifted spices.

      8. Pour in milk and beat for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

      9. Gently heat up leftover cranberry sauce on a low heat. Whisk in pectin, sugar and orange zest and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes on low heat. Store refrigerated until used.

      10. Pipe gingerbread spiced buttercream onto the back of half the shells and scoop a small amount of cranberry preserve in the center. Form a sandwich and repeat. Macarons should be aged in the fridge for a day for best results. This allows the filling to soften the insides of the shells.

      Executive pastry chef AJ Thalakkat from Fairmont Washington, D.C.
      Fairmont Hotels and Resorts

      Gingerbread cookies with banana peel flour


      250 grams butter

      200 grams brown sugar

      148 grams golden syrup

      530 grams flour

      70 grams banana peel flour

      20 grams baking soda

      8 grams ground ginger

      3 grams cinnamon powder

      1 gram star anise powder

      80 grams milk

      1. For the banana peel flour, dehydrate banana peels until crispy, blend, sift and set aside.
      2. Mix all the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
      3. Melt the butter and add sugar and the syrup. Pour the melted butter and sugar mixture over the dry ingredients.
      4. Mix until well combined, finally add in milk and mix further.
      5. Wrap and store the dough, refrigerate until ready to use.
      6. Mix the dough until pliable, roll out the dough using a rolling pin to ¼ inch thickness.
      7. Cut out desired shapes. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 320°F for 12 to 15 minutes.
      8. Cool the cookies before decorating with royal icing.