Yield - 24 assembled 1.5 inch macarons
This macaron recipe is delicious, authentically halloween, and so fun to make. I used my home-made strawberry jam. Fall is the perfect time to use all that strawberry jam you made this summer. (wink!) Store bought strawberry jam works just as well.
The pumpkin frosting was made with homemade pumpkin puree that I made from our home grown pumpkins. For this recipe, store bought pumpkin puree also works great.
I know, I get a bit carried away making things from scratch. I enjoy it but it is not at all necessary. This recipe has a lot of components but you can really simplify it by getting already made components. If want to make your own, I have included links to my recipes.
The tartness in the strawberry jelly cuts through the sweetness of the macarons and also goes really well with the pumpkin and all the spices in the pumpkin buttercream.
For the black halloween shells:
3/4 cups confectioners' (powdered) sugar
1 cup almond flour
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Black gel food coloring
For the pumpkin buttercream filling:
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
Orange gel food coloring (optional)
Strawberry Jam for the filling
For royal icing to draw the spider web:
3 large egg whites
4 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2. In a food processor, grind confectioners’ sugar and almond flour to mix it up and make it a fine texture. Next sieve through a fine sieve (make sure you use a fine sieve). You may have 2 tablespoons of coarse almond flour that doesn’t pass through the sieve. It is okay to toss this.
3. Prepare a water bath where you will begin making your meringue. Heat some water in a saucepan until it is just about to boil.
4. Place egg whites and granulated sugar in your mixing bowl and place this over your water bath from step #3. Immediately begin whisking this to dissolve the sugar. I use an electric hand mixer on low speed but you can also just use a whisk.
Note: To make your water bath, use a saucepan that your mixing bowl will fit in. The trick here is to use a setup in which the mixing bowl does not touch the hot water in the saucepan but the steam from the water heats the bowl. To achieve this, I use a rimmed saucepan that suspends my mixing bowl.
5. Continue to mix until all the sugar is dissolved. This is the trick for Swiss meringue. You have to let the sugar completely dissolve. You can test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers to ensure a smooth texture.
7. Using a spatula, fold in the sieved almond flour mixture from step #2. Do not whisk anything from this stage on. Handle the meringue with care. Fold it in 2 to 3 additions. Be careful not to over-handle this mixture. Carefully continue combining by folding, always sliding the spatula to the bottom of the bowl and back up to make sure no pockets of dry ingredients remain. Add the red food coloring. Use enough to get the color tint you desire. Fold till you have the correct consistency.
Note: The correct consistency is like molten larva. When you raise your spatula, the macaron mixture should trickle down like a ribbon and the ribbon lines slowly fade into the mixture in the bowl within 8-10 seconds.
9. Pipe the macaron mixture on the baking sheets. Hit tray on the counter for a few times to let out bubbles. Then let them rest for at least 20-40 mins, could be longer if humidity is high.
10. Preheat the oven to 295 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. Test if the macarons are ready to bake: lightly touching the macaron mixture, a light coating should have developed and it should not stick to your finger.
12. Bake for about 14 minutes at 295 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake only one tray of macaron at a time. The macarons are ready when they lift off the parchment paper easily.
13. Let them cool on the sheet for 5-10 minutes then transfer the parchment paper and macarons to a cooling rack.
14. Make the buttercream. Whip the butter with a whisk attachment of a stand or hand mixer until it is light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin purée, continue whisking. Then add the powdered sugar in 2-3 batches. Add the rest of the ingredients for the buttercream. Continue whisking, you should have beautiful buttercream at this point. Transfer to a piping bag with a medium tip for pipping.
15. Make the royal icing by combing all the ingredients and mix until you have a pearly gloss mixture. Transfer to a piping bag with a fine tip for pipping.
16. To assemble your macaron, pipe a circle of buttercream around the underside of a cookie, making a well. Fill the middle well with strawberry jam. Top with another cookie to make a sandwich. Fill all the cookies this way.
17. Draw a spider web on each cookie and let dry for 10 mins. Enjoy.