Halloween is lurking just around the corner. October is the quintessential month for all things pumpkin and pumpkin spiced. What’s not to love about the cozy autumnal flavors of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg? From cookies to pancakes and just about anything else you can think of these days, pumpkin spice is everywhere. This week’s recipe is perfect for celebrating our favorite spooky holiday coming up in just a couple of weeks. Macarons are thin, airy meringue cookies sandwiching a creamy buttercream, frosting or ganache filling. Now, don’t be too frightened by the thought of making these French cookies. As long as you weigh out and sift your ingredients carefully, you shouldn’t have any problems. This Halloween worthy treat boasts cookies flavored with everyone’s favorite pumpkin pie spices and filled a simple, rich pumpkin cream cheese frosting. The more pumpkin, the better, we say! Pipe on some spooky faces using black decorating icing and you have yourself some edible jack-o-lanterns that are scarily delicious!
There’s something about pumpkin pie spices that always seems to evoke a nostalgic, comforting feeling every year as we welcome in the fall season. But here’s a fun fact: Pumpkin spices don’t actually contain any pumpkin. Instead, what you’re craving when you think about traditional pumpkin pie is a concoction of commonly found spices, namely ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg and ground cloves. While actual pumpkin pie spice can be found at the grocery store, making your own blend at home is not only more cost effective but also allows you to make your own tweaks if you prefer more or less flavor from any of the spices. After you’ve put together your own, you too can enjoy all your favorite things pumpkin spiced.
Pumpkin Spiced Macarons
Yields: 20 macarons
For the macaron shells
- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup of almond flour
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1 drop of orange food coloring
- Black decorating icing
For the pumpkin cream cheese filling
- 1/4 cup of fresh or canned pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup of cream cheese, softened
1. Take parchment paper and line two separate baking sheets. Draw 12 1.5 inch circles onto the parchment papers, spacing them about 1 inch apart from each other.
2. In a food processor, process the almond flour, powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves until finely ground. Take a sieve and sift the dry ingredients.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, pour in the egg whites and beat them at medium speed until the mixture is frothy. Reduce to low speed and add the granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Then increase the speed to high and beat for around 5 minutes until you see stiff peaks form.
4. Take a rubber spatula and gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture. Do not over mix. Then add the food coloring to the batter. Fold the mixture again until it loosely falls into a ribbon into the batter.
5. Take a pastry bag and fit it with a 1/2 inch rounded tip. Fill the bag with the batter and pipe into the circles you have drawn onto the parchment paper.
6. Tap the bottom of the baking sheets and make sure there are no air bubbles present. Let the batter sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and bake the cookies for around 10 to 15 minutes.
8. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely for around 15 to 30 minutes.
9. While the cookies are cooling, make the filling. Combine the pumpkin puree and cream cheese together until well mixed.
10. Take two of the cookies and pipe a teaspoon of the filling onto each side of the cookies. Sandwich the two cookies together to form one macaron. Repeat this step.
11. Take your black decorating icing to pipe Halloween designs onto your macarons.