I bought myself a little Kitchenaid splurge a few months back but have FINALLY just been able to use it for this month’s batch of macarons. I had a grand dream for my Kitchenaid–that it would solve all of my macaronage problems (that it would solve all of my baking problems) and I’d never make another imperfect macaron again! Well, that dream was quickly proven false but I came away with a better understanding of how to use my new, very heavy appliance!
In the spirit of the season and of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, it only seemed right to pipe out a themed flavor. For the third flavor in the A Year in Macarons series, we have a spiced macaron shell with a pumpkin pie filling. It literally tastes like eating a pumpkin pie in macaron form! As these macaron shells were baking, and as the filling was baking, the whole apartment was aglow with the warmth and the scent of Thanksgiving emanating from the oven.
Takeaways this time around:
- Kitchenaid stand mixers are far more effective than handmixers in terms of whipping power/time. Therefore, one shouldn’t use the same time scale for whipping the meringue.
- 50 macaronage folds is a general guideline, but not the rule. Continue to fold and fold (even if past 50) if the batter hasn’t reached the shiny, smooth, flowy consistency it needs to be.
- Using finer almond flour, and thoroughly mixing the dry ingredients prior to folding them into the meringue is key.
Here’s what happened that lead to this conclusion:
- I used the same time scale for whipping up the meringue with the Kitchenaid that I was used when using the handmixer. What I ended up with were overly stiff peaks, bordering the crumbly stage. What I did with batch #2 is adjust the time scale to 2 minutes each on Kitchenaid speeds 4-6-8 and a 30 second blast on 10… Much better!
- Since I over beat the meringue, it was going to take a lot more work to beat out the extra incorporated air and successfully fold in the dry ingredients. My instincts were telling me “this batter is clearly not ready” but after about 70 folds, my brain was telling me to STOP! This was one of those times I should have gone with my instincts.
- I purchased almond flour from a brand that is well-known for their finer grounds and I’ve got to admit, it seriously made a difference! However, running the combined almond flour-confectioners’ sugar mixture through a sieve or food processor really makes a difference during the folding process. I thought that getting a finer grain meant I could skip this step, but please don’t!
So know that we’ve gone through these flubs, on to the pictorial evidence that these were not exactly the most desirable looking macarons out there. However, the flavor was an absolute winner! They tasted wonderfully pumpkin, with a perfectly complimenting spiced shell. And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to thank my awesome roommate Laura for helping me in the kitchen, and also my bestie from home Sophia for sending me this adorable macaron packaging—look at how professional they look! :)
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed my little macaronage adventure, Kitchenaid version pt.1! Come back soon for more holiday-inspired recipes and other creative ideas in the coming days and weeks!
- 100 g egg white, aged 3-5 days
- 40 g caster sugar
- 125 g almond flour
- 200 g confectioner sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cloves
- 1 pinch salt (optional)
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup coconut milk
- Measure out dry ingredients using the food scale. Let egg whites sit until room temperature. Meanwhile, pulse together powdered sugar, almond powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and nutbeg in food processor until well blended.
- Meringue--In a very large bowl, whisk the room temperature egg whites, caster sugar, and salt into a meringue. I’ve found that it takes me about 7 minutes to completion, and I break it down into three basic steps:  Starting on a low-speed setting (Kitchenaid 4), whip the egg whites with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until frothy, adding ⅓ of the caster sugar and a pinch of salt along the way.  Move mixer to med-speed setting (Kitchenaid 6); continue whipping egg whites another 2 minutes until soft peaks form, and add half of the remaining caster sugar along the way.  Move mixer to high-speed setting (Kitchenaid 8); whip egg whites 2 minutes and add the remaining caster sugar along the way. Move mixer to highest speed (Kitchenaid 10) for last 30 seconds until firm peaks form.
- Be careful not to over beat the egg whites! You will know when your meringue is ready by checking to see if (a) nothing falls out of the bowl when you turn it upside down, and (b) the meringue remains in the whisk/beater when you stop the mixer.
- Fold in the mixed and sifted dry ingredients into the meringue; this is the actual macaronage step. I find that it takes me anywhere from 40-50 folds (and I actually do keep count) to achieve the right consistency. Folding doesn’t require gentleness; the macaronage process requires one to “beat” out the air from the eggwhites. When a shine develops and the consistency resembles lava or thick pancake batter, macaronage is complete. I’m careful to count the folds in order to not overmix!
- Transfer macaron batter to a pastry bag (I use a gallon ziplock bag with a cut corner) fitted with a large round tip (I use the Ateco #11 round). Pipe even circles on prepped baking sheets lined with Silpat-like mats. For even circles, I count out 1-2-3-4 while piping to help ensure more even batter distribution for each circle. It’s not a foolproof solution, but it works surprisingly well! Alternatively, there are templates that can be used and placed under the Silpat-like mats for additional assurance.
- Knock the air bubbles out! To prevent cracking and empty shells, the extra air bubbles have got to go! In parallel, drop the fully-piped baking sheet from a 6 inch range onto a counter or table that can withstand an impact. Do this three times, rotate the sheet 180-deg and do so three times again. It’s loud and might seem excessive, but seeing those tiny bubbles rise to the surface and pop make it all worth it.
- Let the shells try in a dry place. The top coat of the shell should be dry to the touch; no batter should stick. This may take anywhere from 30-120 minutes. I tend to wait at least an hour to ensure a hardened shell. Drying the shell is required for a smooth shell and macaron feet to form without cracking. Bake too soon before the shells are dried and the shells will crack—I’ve had this experience once or twice before and it’s the last thing you want to happen after having invested so much work into preparing the shells leading up to the baking.
- Pre-heat the oven to 320º F. Bake for 14-17 minutes, rotating the sheet a touch more than halfway through the baking process after feet have formed. While I prefer to bake each sheet individually to exercise greater control over each, but in the interest of time, I have tried baking both together (on middle/bottom rack and switching them halfway through) and have found success.
- Remove shells from oven and let it cool completely before removing/peeling from the mat. Be sure to let the cool, as premature removal will result in decapitation—the “cap” of the macaron shell will literally come off, leaving the base on the mat. No bueno :(
- Pre-heat the oven to 350º F.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together egg, pumpkin puree, sugar, spices, and salt. Then, stir in cocunut milk until completely combined.
- Pour pumpkin mixture into an 8x8 pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until inserted toothpick in center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before mixing the filling mixture to get a uniform consistency.
- Place in piping bag with a fitted tip (Ateco 8, Wilton 12) or snip off the corner of the bag.
- Sort and match macaron shells into pairs of roughly equal size. Lay the cookies out, flat-side up.
- Pipe a generous amount of pumpkin pie filling onto the center of one cookie. Place the accompanying cookie on top and twist the cookies in opposite directions to distribute the ganache throughout the macaron. Repeat for remaining cookies. Adjust the amount of filling placed on cookie as needed (largely dependent on cookie diameter).
- Store assembled cookies in an air-tight container in the fridge for 24. This allows the flavors and ganache to penetrate through the entirety of the macaron, enhancing both the texture and flavor of the eventual tasting experience!
- To serve, remove from refrigerator and let the macarons warm to room temperature prior to enjoying.
- In an effort to parallel process and cut down on waiting time, I baked the pumpkin pie filling while the shells were waiting to dry (prior to baking). This way, the filling has ample time to cool with minimal waiting time.
- Kitchenaid Stand Mixer | 5Quart KSM150 or 4.5Quart K45SS (budget)
- or Electric Hand Mixer | Cuisinart HM-90S or Kitchenaid KHM512 (budget)
- Silicone Baking Mat | Artisan, 2 pk (budget) or Silpat
- Pastry bags | Daymark, 100 ct
- Piping tips | Ateco set or Wilton #12
- (Optional) Coupler | Ateco set or Wilton
- Almond Flour | Wellbee’s super fine, my personal recommendation
- Caster Sugar | India Tree, 6 pack
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