Perfectly spiced shells filled with a pumpkin-coffee buttercream.
Age egg whites in advance. Place egg whites in a dish, free of water or oil, cover with plastic wrap and poke holes (5 or 6). Place in fridge for the day or until the next day (up to 2 days). You can skip this step, but it will result in more time for step eight, which is okay. Do not use liquid egg whites; use eggs. Bring to room temperature before using.
Combine almond flour, powdered sugar and pumpkin spice. You may use a food processor to combine and sift to remove large pieces. Or you may sift ingredients together two or three times.
Beat egg whites on medium high to high. Be sure bowl is free of water or oil. Once frothy, add cream of tartar or lemon juice. Once beater begins to leave trails in whites, slowly add sugar. (If you were using GEL color, this is when you could add it.) Beat on high until stiff.
Once the whites collect inside the beater head, stop mixer and pull out beater. Whites should form a peak that stands but gently falls over on itself; should stay inside bowl when held upside down.
Add in 1/3 of almond/sugar mixture. With spatula, gently incorporate just enough that there aren’t dry clumps then fold in remaining mixture until dry ingredients are not visible.
Remove air by folding and spreading mixture on the side of the bowl and constantly check consistency. VIDEO For instance, using the flat side of the spatula, pull all batter to the side of the bowl nearest to you using a few strokes. Next, scrape spatula inside the bowl a couple times to move batter back into the center of the bowl. Repeat. This is a critical step. Please watch the video or search macaronage. Over mixing will result in runny batter. Under mixing will result in cracks, but no pressure… Batter is ready when it flows off the spatula in a ribbon, with no breaks, and disappears in about 10 seconds.
Scoop mixture into piping bag and pipe onto baking sheet. VIDEO Sheet should be lined with parchment paper, not wax, or with a silicone mat. Greasing a cookie sheet will not work. Pipe a little smaller than you want the shells to be because the batter will spread.
To pipe: hold tip in the center of the circle and about a half inch from the pan. Without moving from that spot, gently squeeze batter to nearly fill the circle (shells will spread slightly or more depending on how mixed the batter is). To finish, stop squeezing and either raise straight up, or make a swirl motion. If you have a point you may smooth it with a little water after the next step.
Remove air bubbles by tapping the pan on the counter on all four sides and pop visible bubbles. This is not a gentle tap, but also not a slam. Drop the pan a couple times, then turn the pan and tap the far side parallel to you and rotate through all 4 sides. It is 2-4 forceful strikes, turning the baking sheet each time. Use a toothpick to pop visible air bubbles. This will make the shells appear more even.
Rest shells until they are no longer sticky to the touch and dull. Aged egg whites will dry faster. Otherwise, this process can take 30 minutes to over an hour depending on the humidity in the environment. Turning on the oven hood will help. If your baking sheet is warped, slide parchment paper or silicone mat onto level surface for the rest period. Preheat oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
When shells are ready, place on middle rack and bake for 13-15 minutes. Knowing what time works best will take practice. Undercooked shells will stick to the pan and be gummy. Overcooked shells will be hard but will soften over time. Err on the side of overcooking! However, you do need to beware of browning.
To Fill: Match up similar sized shells. Pipe icing in the center of the shell. Sandwich with another shell. Macarons will be crunchy if you eat them right after baking. It is best to allow them to mature at least four or five hours, but preferably overnight before serving. This allows moisture from the frosting to absorb into the shell making it chewy instead of crunchy. Store in refrigerator.
Using paddle attachment, beat butter on high for one minute.
Reduce speed to medium to minimize splatter. Add powdered sugar slowly, ½ cup at a time. Occasionally stop mixer and scrape sides and bottom with spatula.
With mixer on medium, add vanilla extract.
The remaining ingredients can be added to taste. Mix instant coffee and water in a separate dish. Starting with half amounts listed, add coffee, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin spice to buttercream.
Beat on high for 2-3 minutes.
Tools: mixer with beater attachment (stand or hand), food scale, spatula, piping bag or similar, baking sheet, parchment paper or silicone mat.
For best results, use actual measurements rather than eyeballing or using teaspoon/tablespoon silverware.
Chances are your first batch will not turn out so well! Once you make them, check out Indulge with Mimi’s Troubleshooting Guide to see what you may be able to modify for your next batch.
I had a friend who is not at all a baker go through this recipe. Her results were not ideal, but the cookies still tasted good, and we know what her weaknesses are for her next batch.