This flavor is everywhere. And now it's in your macarons. They're also filled with a pumpkin/maple buttercream so we can all just go ahead and climb inside a jack-o-lantern together and crunch leaves under our butts. I actually don't know how fall works since I've been in LA for two years, but I'm assuming that's what people do..... right?
Are you intimidated by the thought of making these cute little french cookies at home? You shouldn't be. If you're patient and have the right tools they will turn out just great. Don't worry, I'll show you how.
Start with almond flour. If you're like me and cannot be bothered to purchase a specialty item like that, you can make your own. For this recipe I used a food processor to grind up 1/2 lb. of blanched, slivered almonds. I bought these in the bulk section of my grocery store. You want the flour to be really soft and fluffy, so you also need to sift it. This part takes time, but it will make the macarons have that nice smooth top, so you don't want to rush this.
After I sifted it a few times, it was still not soft enough for my liking. So I hand sifted it through this metal sieve/strainer.
I did this sifting method until I had 1 1/2 cups of the soft almond flour. You can see the difference in texture in the above picture. All those little lumps on the left can be run through the food processor and sifted again until you have enough. This part takes a while, but I just listened to the new Adele song on repeat and wept while I was doing it so it wasn't too bad.
The next important part is making sure that the batter you've piped into circles gets time to rest. You have to do this so a hard shell can form on the outside of the baby macarons before they bake, that's what helps them get the little "feet" you see on the bottom. If you get these once you've taken them out of the oven, then you know you've done it right.
Basically it just takes a lot of patience. When I first learned how to make macarons, I watched this video.
Now I'm at the point where I feel comfortable experimenting with flavors and fillings. Normally you fill a macaron with a ganache, jam or a buttercream. Just do what your heart tells you. I'm still perfecting my technique, I've never managed to get every cookie perfectly round, and sometimes I bake them too long. But that's what I like about baking, it's something that's always challenging, and so rewarding when you finally get it right. Plus the part where you get to eat the finished product is awesome.
Overall, making macarons is challenging, but definitely manageable, you just have to be patient. I think a lot of macarons fall or sink because they aren't cooked long enough. So take your time and enjoy the process. It's a fun way to spend an afternoon, and once you've mastered the basics, you can get really creative.
Plus they're bite sized, so you can easily share them. Maybe give these out to trick or treaters? That's probably too weird.
Also, the pumpkin maple buttercream would be very good on a spice cake, Or on pancakes if you're a monster/genius.