It’s been a WILDLY exciting few weeks here. I know, I know, no one likes a gloater. But I love stories of near disasters that end fantastically and I’ve had a few of those lately. The one I agonized most over was my new KitchenAid Stand Mixer. I ordered it after fawning over its beautiful, metallic fuschia glow only to realize that hot pink online is apparently deep red in real life. After spending several excruciating months deciding whether I could really commit to a decent (but ultimately not perfect) stand mixer, I decided to get rid of it and haven’t looked back since. After all, stand mixers are for life. You can’t settle for a subpar one. And after a mere few days imagining my future with each of the rainbow of colors KitchenAid has to offer, I found the ONE. It’s perfect in every way. We’re so happy to have found each other, and hoping to one day expand our family of attachments and accessories.
Continuing with my new and terribly thrilling life, I went to a Cook n’ Go cooking class last week. I had always wanted to do one of those classes so I jumped at the opportunity to learn a few new skills, make delicious food, and meet new and exciting friends. Our delightful menu included panko-crusted chicken bites with apricot-mustard sauce, ravioli with pumpkin sage cream sauce, chocolate cranberry tartlet, and maple-apple upside down cake. Sound delicious? It was! I’d like to say I contributed a great deal to the feast, but I found that gabbing and wine-ing was equally as fun. All in all, it was a fantastic night.
With the days getting shorter and the coats getting thicker, I decided to honor fall the way I know best: baking. I’m never one to hold back so I’ll admit that these are by far my favorite macarons yet. They’ll fill you with a wonderfully cozy feeling that’ll leave you wanting to roll around in some perfectly crunchy autumn leaves and then sit at home under a blanket and watch Hocus Pocus.
So take my lead and don’t settle for anything less than perfect (macarons).
Pumpkin Spice Macarons
Makes 15 delightfully perfect macarons
Pumpkin spice macaron shell ingredients
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¾ cup almond flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
Pumpkin Filling ingredients
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup butter, softened slightly
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 2-3 tablespoons pumpkin puree (depending on your preference)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Get two legit cookie sheets and stack them, lining the top one with parchment paper.
- Sift the powdered sugar, almond meal, and pumpkin pie spice into a bowl, and whisk to remove any lumps. Set the bowl aside.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until they begin to hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until glossy and very stiff. (Hint 1: you’ll know you’re done when the eggs clump in the center of your whisk).
- Fold the dry ingredients into the firm egg whites with a spatula until the mixture is just smooth, taking care not to excessively fold everything together. (Hint 2: you’ll know you’re done with the when the mixture is like “magma” - it shouldn’t be too runny or too stiff. When you push the batter to one side, it should slowly return to its original position, kind of the way you imagine magma would flow).
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (about ½ inch, 2 cm) and pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1.5 inch circles evenly spaced one-inch apart.
- Hit the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons and remove any air bubbles trapped in the piped batter. Now here’s the questionable part. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before popping them in the oven. (If you’re in a rush, throw ‘em in and don’t think twice about it). Before baking, make sure to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then, bake the macarons for 10-15 minutes.
- When your macaron shells are done, let them sit for a few minutes before removing the hot baking sheet underneath and let them cool completely before removing them from the parchment paper.
- Now to the good stuff. Put flour into a small saucepan and slowly add milk, whisking.
- Cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches the boil. After about 30 seconds of full boil, the mixture is as thick as it’s going to get. Allow it to cool about ten minutes.
- Apply plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the mixture and put the saucepan in the refrigerator. Let it cool down for about an hour.
- Combine softened butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Beat about 4 minutes until very light and fluffy.
- With the mixer running, beat in the milk mixture. Beat for about another minute until you have a sweet and silky faux buttercream (if it looks curdled or broken, follow the golden rule of buttercream and just keep beating until it’s where you want it).
- Beat in vanilla extract, followed by pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice.
- Head back to your macarons and match them according to size. With a nice, fat tip, pipe the pumpkin filling onto one macaron shell and top with the other. (Note: make sure not to fill until ready to serve.) Voilà! Perfect, pumpkin spice macarons!