Recipe by Sarah Phillips: Food Styling and Photos by Kelly Hong © 2012 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Variation: Fall Spiced Pumpkin Macaron Pops; French Macarons
Variation: Fall Spiced Pumpkin Macaron Pops
These fun little French macaron cookies serve a dual purpose: they are a great Halloween treat when dressed up as Jack-o-Lanterns, or, leave off the spooky faces and serve them as a festive Thanksgiving dessert. I've included design templates for you to use for piping the macaron batter so you are successful every time. When making macaron pops, you can't use just any filling. Find out below which one works best! For more detailed information, tips, and techniques, check out the master tutorial for French Macarons.
COOKIE RECIPE HELP
To make sure the lollipop sticks stay put in your macaron pops, use a stiff chocolate ganache or other stiff macaron filling. Otherwise, the stick will not be able to support the macarons. I've included my Spiced White Chocolate Ganache Filling recipe that's perfect for these pops.
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar; makes the surface of the cookies shinier
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 1/2 cups (4 oz) FINE almond flour or finely ground almonds
3 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or any extract; do not use an oil based flavoring as it will deflate the egg whites
10 - 11 drops Orange gel paste coloring (I used AmeriColor); for the macarons
1 drop Green gel paste food coloring (I used AmeriColor); for the pumpkin stems
SPICED WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE FILLING
10 ounces white chocolate, chopped; NOT candy melts. Use an excellent quality chocolate.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger
small pinch of nutmeg
1 or 2 drops of orange gel paste food coloring
Piping tips: Wilton 10, or an Ateco 801
Wilton #3 tip.
24 - 25 lollipop sticks
Green, orange and black edible food markers
1/4 cup orange (or white) candy melts, and more, if needed
Two Silicone Baking Mats, translucent to fit the baking sheets: Must make sure it is 100% silicone if you have to cut to fit pan size and use for baking. Sources: NordicWare.com and World Cuisine Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat
STEP I: PREPARE THE EGG WHITES
1. Allow the cracked egg whites to thicken by leaving them uncovered at room temperature for two hours. This is very important.
2. Then, warm the egg whites to around 75 - 76 degrees F . This is very important.
To warm them, run the mixer bowl under hot water and then dry. Use an Instant Read Thermometer to measure.
SARAH SAYS: Do not skip this step; I have found you will get better results.
STEP II: PREPARE THE PANS
1. Print out TWO COPIES of each Template to actual size.
You will notice that on one of the template sheets, the stem of the pumpkin stem leans to the right, and the pumpkin stem leans to the left on the other one. This is so the stems will line up when the cookies are sandwiched together.
PUMPKIN SPICE MACARON POPS - STEM LEANS RIGHT - Print two copies
PUMPKIN SPICE MACARON POPS - STEM LEANS LEFT - Print two copies
NOTE: You will need to make 24 macaron pairs with each one having one pumpkin stem leaning to the right and one with the pumpkin stem leaning to the left, so when placed back to back, the stems match and they form a solid pumpkin shape.
2. Overlap the SAME two template sheets (stem leans right) to fit on one baking sheet and tape them together in the center.
3. Repeat with a second baking sheet by overlapping the same two template sheets (stem leans left) and tape together in the center.
4. With one baking sheet, take a 3- to 4-inch length of tape and stick one end on the top of the sheet, and the other end on the bottom of the sheet, making a loop handle in the center of one edge of the template sheet.
This loop handle will allow you to remove the template from beneath the silpat after the macarons are piped.
Repeat with the second set of templates on the second baking sheet.
5. Place a silpat sheet or a sheet of parchment over each template sheet pair, making sure that the loop handle is accessible. Set prepared pans aside.
STEP II: FINISH THE MACARON BATTER
1. Sift powdered sugar into a medium-size bowl. Add in the ground cinnamon and nutmeg.
2. Mix in almond flour and set aside.
STEP IV: BEAT THE EGG WHITES AND FOLD IN THE ALMOND FLOUR MIXTURE. ADD THE VANILLA EXTRACT AND TINT THE MACARON BATTER
SARAH SAYS: It is important to follow the steps carefully; mixer speed is important and one of the most overlooked steps.
1. Fit an electric stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on low speed until it starts to froth, and then add salt.
2. Gradually increase the mixing speed to medium-high and slowly add granulated sugar, a few teaspoons at a time.
Continue to beat the whites until the "firm peak stage", which means at the end of the range of "soft peaks".
The egg white foam will start to become smooth, moist and shiny.
SARAH SAYS: Stop the beaters and then lift them -- straight peaks should almost form. Do not beat them to the Stiff Peak Stage. This is very important.
3. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/3 of the powdered sugar/almond flour mixture into egg whites until just incorporated.
4. Fold in vanilla and the next 1/3 of powdered sugar/almond flour mixture until just incorporated.
5. Fold in the vanilla.
6. Add in 10-11 drops of orange gel paste food color.
7. Fold in the final addition of the almond/powdered sugar mixture until the batter runs off the spatula like magma.
8. Remove a scant 1/4 cup of the orange macaron batter into a small bowl and fold in one drop of green gel paste food color.
9. Place a damp paper towel on the bottom inside of a tall glass. Fit a disposable piping bag fitted with a medium plain tip. I like to use a Wilton 10, or an Ateco 801.
Place the piping bag in the tall glass, and wrap its cuff around the outside.
Put in the orange macaron batter. enclose the top of the piping bag. Set aside.
10. Repeat with the green macaron batter in its own disposable piping bag fitted with a small plain piping tip. I used a Wilton #3 tip. Set aside.
11. Keep any unused macaron batter covered with plastic wrap and set aside.
STEP V: PIPE THE MACARON PUMPKIN SHAPES
1. Starting with one prepared baking sheet at a time, begin piping the pumpkin shapes by going around the outside of the shape, then spiraling in toward the center.
When the sheet is full, tap it a couple of times on your work surface, to release any bubbles in the batter.
2. On the same baking sheet, pipe the stems of the pumpkins, using the green macaron batter. Make sure to overlap the green batter onto the orange batter a little, to make the stem look more realistic.
3. When the first baking sheet is complete, gently slide the template from underneath the silpat mat by using the tape handle, and discard.
4. Repeat the macaron batter piping steps outlined above with the second prepared baking sheet until all of your batter is used up.
5. Set the piped macarons aside to dry for 1-2 hours or until the batter's sheen is gone, and they feel dry when lightly touched with a finger.
STEP VI: BAKE THE MACARONS AND LET COOL. DECORATE WITH EDIBLE MARKERS.
Bake the macarons and let cool:
1. Meanwhile, position an oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F for 30 minutes.
2. Bake one baking pan at a time, for 10 to 11 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to keep the oven door slightly ajar.
Check at 30 second intervals near the end of baking because these cookies overbake very quickly; do not open the oven door to check, but rather peak through the opening in the oven door.
Bake until macaroons are slightly firm and can be gently lifted off parchment (bottoms will be dry).
SARAH SAYS: Letting the batter rest before baking and leaving the oven door slightly ajar during baking helps prevent the tops of the macarons from being too soft or fragile.
3. When the macarons have cooled, carefully remove them from the baking sheets.
At this point, you can freeze the unfilled and undecorated shells and they freeze beautifully.
Put them in a plastic lidded container, with waxed paper between the layers.
When you want to use them, take them out of the freezer, open the container and let them thaw for about an hour at room temperature.
1. Match the macarons up in pairs.
NOTE: You will need to make 24 macarons pairs with each one having one pumpkin stem leaning to the right and one with the pumpkin stem leaning to the left, so when placed back to back, the stems match and they form a solid pumpkin shape.
2. For each pair, decide which side is the best looking, and draw the pumpkin and/or jack-o-lantern details using edible food color markers. You really only need to decorate one side, but you can do both sides if you're so inclined.
3. Use green to outline the stem and give it definition with some vertical lines.
4. Use the orange marker to draw slightly curved vertical lines from top to bottom to make it extra pumpkiny.
5. Use a black marker to make Jack-o-lantern faces. Have fun with this...this is the best part!
NOTE: If you want to make plain pumpkin pops for fall or Thanksgiving, omit the black Jack-o-lantern faces. See VARIATION, below.
6. When the pairs of macarons are all decorated, make the White Chocolate Ganache filling.
STEP VII: MAKE THE SPICED WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE FILLING. ASSEMBLE THE POPS.
Make the Spiced White Chocolate Ganache Filling:
1. Heat the cream in the microwave, or in a pot, till it reaches a gentle boil.
2. Pour hot cream oven chocolate, and gently shake bowl to cover the chocolate with the cream. Let the mixture sit for about one minute, to soften.
3. Stir the mixture, in one direction, and then gently whisk to combine.
4. Add in the vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
5. Add in the orange gel food coloring.
6. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally, until ganache is firm enough to pipe.
7. When the ganache is thickened and cooled to room temperature, put it in a disposable decorating bag.
Store, covered, at room temperature for a day. The refrigerate for a few days.
Assemble the Macaron Pops:
Since the Spiced White Chocolate Ganache Filling tends to be softer than dark chocolate ganache, I developed a little trick to make sure the macs don't slide off the lollipop sticks!
1. Simply melt about 1/4 cup of orange candy melts, and have it at the ready. This will be the "glue" that helps keep the pop stick in place.
2. Snip a small opening in the Spiced White Chocolate Ganache Filling piping bag and pipe out a blob in the center of one of the decorated macaron pairs.
3. Dip the top 1-inch of a lollipop stick in melted orange Candy Melts and gently press it into the filling. Top with the second macaron pair, pressing gently to spread the filling.
Set the pop aside until the "glue" has set.
FALL SPICED PUMPKIN MACARON POPS
If you are making Spiced Pumpkin Macaron Pops, you can dress them up by making little tendrils out of Marshmallow Fondant or MMF tinted green. They look so adorable for fall or Thanksgiving!
1. Make and fill the Pumpkin Spice Macaron Pops, but do not decorate them with black Jack-o-lantern faces.
2. Rub hands with a small amount of shortening to make the MMF rolling easier.
3. Take a tiny piece of green MMF and roll it into a sausage shape with a pointy tapered end, called a tendril.
4. Wrap the green MMF tendril around a toothpick to make a spiral shape.
5. VERY gently remove the tendril from the toothpick, by pushing it off the toothpick. Trim the tendril to size with an exacto knife.
6. Then apply a small amount of water to the end and press it into place on the stem of the pumpkin macaron.