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Pumpkin Spice Macarons

Pumpkin Spice Macarons: Have ready three baking sheets lined with parchment paper. To make all the Macarons the same size, I like to make a template. Take a piece of parchment paper and draw 20 - 1 1/2 inch (3.75 cm) circles, spacing the circles about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Place the template under your parchment paper so you can use it as a guide.

Pumpkin Pie Spice: In a small bowl, mix the ground cinnamon with the ground ginger, ground cloves, and nutmeg.

Pumpkin Spice Macarons: Place the ground almonds, confectioners sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice in your food processor and process until finely ground (about 1 minute). Sift the mixture to remove any lumps.

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (can use a hand mixer), beat the egg whites and cream of tartar, on medium low speed, just until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, and beat, on high speed, until the meringue holds a stiff peak (when you slowly raise the whisk the meringue is straight up, no drooping). Beat in the orange food coloring. Then, in three additions, fold the ground almond/sugar mixture into the meringue. When folding, cut through the meringue and then fold up and over, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Once the almond mixture is completely folded into the meringue (the batter will fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon) it is time to pipe the Macarons.

Fill a pastry bag, fitted with 1/2 inch (1 cm) (Wilton 1A) plain tip, with the batter. Pipe rounds onto the parchment paper, using the template as a guide. Then tap the baking sheet on the counter to break any air bubbles (can also break air bubbles with the end of a toothpick). Let the Macarons sit at room temperature for about 30 to 60 minutes (depending on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen) or until the tops of the Macarons are no longer tacky.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 325 degree F (160 degree C.

Bake the cookies (one sheet at a time) for about 13 - 15 minutes, rotating the pan front to back, about halfway through baking. The Macarons are done when you can just barely separate the cookies from the parchment paper. (If you find that the bottoms of the cookies brown too much, double sheet your baking pans.) Remove from oven and let the Macarons cool on the baking sheet placed on a wire rack.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling: In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, Pumpkin Pie Spice, and Pumpkin Puree and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the very soft cream cheese in two additions (scraping the bowl after each addition), beating until incorporated and the frosting is nice and smooth. Place in a piping bag fitted with a 1/4 inch (.5 cm) plain tip (I used a Wilton #12). To assemble the Macarons, take two cookies and sandwich them together with your filling (place filling on flat side of cookie). While you can serve the Macarons the day they are made, these cookies are best when allowed to 'mature' for a day or two in the refrigerator. Can be stored for about 5 days in the refrigerator or they can be frozen for about one month. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Makes about 30 - 35 Macarons.

Pumpkin Pie Spice:

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Pumpkin Spice Macarons:

100 grams (1 cup) ground blanched almonds

180 grams (1 1/2 cups) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar

1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice (see above recipe)

100 grams "aged" egg whites (about 4 large), at room temperature (Separate eggs at least 24 hours before using (or up to five days).) Cover the egg whites with paper towel or cheesecloth and place in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.)

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

35 grams (2 1/2 tablespoons) superfine sugar (can make your own by processing 35 grams of granulated white sugar in your food processor)

1/4 teaspoon orange gel coloring (available on amazon)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling:

3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) pure vanilla extract

a pinch Pumpkin Pie Spice, or to taste

1 tablespoon (15 grams) Pure Pumpkin Puree, drained overnight in the refrigerator

3 ounces (85 grams) full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature

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