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It’s still 100 degrees here in Texas, but the menu board at Starbucks informs me that it is fall. The Pumpkin Spice Latte and other autumnal flavored drinks are back!
My husband and I were at Starbucks a week or so ago and he ordered a pumpkin scone. I only had a bite, but it’s as if my taste buds were reawakened to fall flavors and I had an overwhelming urge to start making pumpkin flavored stuff.
I wondered how pumpkin spice macarons might taste. I haven’t made macarons in several months. You might remember that I learned how to make macarons last winter when I took cooking classes at Sur La Table. Macarons are not to be confused with macaroons. Two different things.
Macaroons are more of a harder traditional cookie, whereas macarons are a meringue based “cookie” that, if made properly, are like eating little fluffy yet crunchy pillows. 🙂
They are made with egg whites and almond flour and powdered sugar and other ingredients to give them their flavor. As with all meringues, they are best made on a dry day. Which is why I haven’t made them all summer. My glasses fog up every time I walk out of the house or get out of the car. 🙁
But even though it’s still very hot here, it has been much drier, so I decided to give it a shot. I decided to search for a recipe for pumpkin spice macarons and found one I thought sounded delicious from Preppy Kitchen.
The thing I liked about this recipe is that it didn’t use pumpkin for the macarons, but rather for the filling. The macarons were made using the spices we associate with pumpkin flavored baked goods, like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. There’s also a dash of espresso powder to impart the latte flavor.
The buttercream filling includes pumpkin and spices. I like this approach because you’re not overpowered by pumpkin flavor. It’s not PUMPKIN! But rather, pumpkin. 🙂
I use this same idea when I make banana pudding. I don’t use banana pudding mix to make it. I use vanilla, and the banana flavor comes from the actual bananas in the recipe. Much more delicate flavor.
So back to the macarons. Many people are intimidated by the thought of making them. And they are a bit finicky, but not impossible. A few tips:
- Bring your egg whites to room temperature before you begin making your macarons. And if you get even a drop of the yolk in there, you might as well toss the whites and start over. Our teacher at the cooking class told us they will never whip up properly if there are yolks in there. I separated my eggs carefully into a jar and let them sit for about an hour to come to room temperature.
- Use really good and fresh almond flour and powdered sugar. Almond flour is readily available in most grocery stores. It has a texture that is very different from regular baking flour. It almost looks like wet sand mixed with baby powder. 🙂
- Be sure to sift your almond flour and powdered sugar very thoroughly. At Sur la Table, our instructor told us to sift the mixture three times. You want a very fine texture to incorporate into your egg whites.
- Be sure to mix your egg whites to a stiff peak or the macarons will not set up.
This is a stiff peak:
- When incorporating your sifted flour and powdered sugar, don’t add it all in at once. You should add about a third at a time. And you want to mix gently, folding everything together until you achieve a marshmallow type texture. Our instructor at Sur la Table told us you should be able to make a figure 8 with your batter and that it should flow slowly from the spatula, like lava.
- Once you pipe out your meringue, you will want to let them sit until they are dry before you bake them. Otherwise they will spread in the oven. When you touch them lightly with your finger, they should feel dry and not sticky.
- You can pipe your macarons using a piping bag or you can use a nifty little kit that includes a silicone mat and a piping gadget. I love this thing. You fill it with the meringue or icing and choose your piping tip and squeeze away!
- To get rid of the the little “peak” on top of each meringue that occurs while piping, you can wet your finger ever so slightly and push the peak down.
Once your macarons are dry, you bake them according to the recipe you choose. It is best to bake them on either a silicone mat or parchment paper.
You want a macaron that rises sufficiently and has “feet.” These are the little ridges that form as the meringue rises. Here are some proper feet:
Once the macarons have cooled, you can fill them with anything you’d like. For the pumpkin spice macarons, I made the pumpkin spice buttercream from the Preppy Kitchen recipe.
These turned out beautifully.
The pumpkin flavor is subtle, and there are tiny flecks of espresso in each macaron, lending a delicate coffee flavor.
You can store your macarons in the refrigerator, where they will keep for several days. Some people prefer to eat them a day or two after they make them, giving them time to soften a bit and the flavors from the filling and the cookie to blend.
Mine just don’t seem to last that long. 🙂
If you’ve never made macarons, I would really encourage you to give them a try. They aren’t hard to make, just a little time consuming and precise. But the result is a treat unlike any other. Crunchy on the outside, with a soft inside and a delicious filling.
Pumpkin spice is everywhere this time of year. And I can’t think of a better way to incorporate that flavor into your life than with pumpkin spice macarons.
I’d love to know if you’ve made macarons and how they turned out! Let me know in the comment section.
And I’d love for you to follow me on Pinterest!