Happy Halloween! I should start off by telling you there’s no pumpkin in this recipe, but a hefty amount of pumpkin pie spice. ‘Pumpkin Pie Spiced Macarons’ is just a super long and not catchy name for a cookie, so there ya go. Plus, well… they look like pumpkins!
I’ve made french macarons before, so I’ll try my best to keep this post short, but these step by step pictures are just so pretty I want to include them all. And the finished cookies are pretty gorgeous, if I do say so myself, so you’ll get plenty of Pumpcaron shots at the end. Pumpcaron – I like that. And now I’ve said it twice, so it’s a word.
NOTE – I decided to draw out little shapes on parchment to help me size the cookies evenly, and if you’re doing the same, I recommend stenciling at least the first sheet (since you’ll be baking them one at a time) before you prep the batter. I chose to do it after the batter was ready, and it put a bit of a stop on my operation. Draw your designs on one side of the parchment paper, and then flip the paper pencil side down before piping out your cookies.
PUMPCARON – makes about 40 sandwich cookies
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 2 large egg whites – room temp
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup baker’s sugar
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (can use 2 tsp for less punch)
I got a new coffee grinder, so I was able to make my own almond flour this time. Very exciting.
Pulse together the almond flour, pumpkin pie spice, and powdered sugar in a food processor.
Then, sift the mixture twice to weed out the bigger chunks.
You may now preheat your oven to 375ºF. Just a warning – you’ll be reducing the temperature just before baking.
Start whisking your egg whites on medium until they’re foamy. (Set your timer for 8 minutes.) Add the cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Then, turning your mixer to low – but not off, add in your baker’s sugar and crank the mixer speed up to high. Beat the eggs for the remainder of the 8 minutes, until stiff peaks form. When time is nearly up, feel free to add food coloring.
Once the egg whites are ready, sift your dry ingredients over them. Fold them gently together until smooth and shiny. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl, you’ll find plenty of pockets of dry ingredients you’ll want to incorporate. At this step, it’s possible to both over or under mix. Use your best judgement, but well-mixed batter should be smooth and shiny.
Now, if you’ve already drawn out your stencils, it’s time to pipe out your batter. Prepare a piping bag with a large round tip. Warning – the batter is runny, so it will start dripping out without your squeezing the bag. Start drawing whatever shape you’re making from the outside, working in. That way the cookie’s edges will be even. Be careful about peaks, you can gently pat them down, because they’ll stay once baked.
Let the cookies set on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before baking. I set a timer for this too. Then, just before popping them into the oven, lower the temp to 325ºF. (You’ll turn it back up again before putting in the second batch.)
Bake for about 10 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. They won’t change in color, but they’ll puff up. You don’t necessarily want them browning, or they might be over-baked. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before moving them to a wire rack.
Now before doing the second tray, get the oven temp back up to 375ºF, and let it stay there for about 5 minutes before lowering it again just before you bake your next batch.
Now, if you’re going to decorate these as I did, you’ll want to do it before you fill them. Otherwise, I’d recommend cream cheese frosting to fill these. (Half a recipe should be plenty.) I didn’t even add vanilla. The spice in the cookies was so flavorful that regular ole’ cream cheese frosting was the perfect accompaniment.
For decorating – I used candy melts! Melt them according to the directions on the bag, and then pipe the candy onto the cookies using a small tip. I found it equally frustrating to use a candy piping bag that I’d cut the tip off, and to use a metal tip and coupler which caused the candy to cool and harden quicker – so take your pick :) This is a tedious process that involved re-melting the candy a couple of times, but you can see that it was worth it in the end. By the way – you only have to decorate one half of each cookie, not both sides (unless you want to). To make the stems, I piped out about 1/4″ green stripes onto wax paper on a cookie sheet. Some had texture and some were straight(ish) lines, they were all different thicknesses. It’s all personal preference, and there’s no wrong or right. Let them cool, and then affix them to the cookie with a small dollop of melted candy. And here’s a trick I learned – once the candy hardens on the cookie, you can peel it right off if you want to redo something. You have to wait for it to dry completely though.
Once you’re done decorating, it’s time to fill the cookies. Pipe the cream cheese frosting onto one half of a cookie, but keep it away from the edges. Once you sandwich the two cookies together, the frosting will spread out.
And here is the finished product:
Make sure you refrigerate these, they’ll keep for a couple of days in a sealed container. I’d love to hear how you’ve gotten creative with macarons, but until then, here are some more pictures for you to enjoy.