These Pumpkin Macarons are filled with a sweet pumpkin buttercream and are absolutely packed with seasonal pumpkin spice flavor. They're a fun baking project that results in a delicious fall treat!
I'm pretty sure there's no better feeling than pulling a baking sheet out of the oven and seeing that you've made the most perfect macarons.
Unless it's taking a bite of said macarons that have been filled with buttercream. Pumpkin spice buttercream at that.
Lucky for me (and my husband), I tested these macarons quite a few times to come up with the ultimate recipe that is fairly easy to make (it just requires a bit of precision as most macaron recipes do!).
I'm excited to share this recipe with you and I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!
What Are Macarons?
Macarons are French meringue-based pastries that are made with almond meal, confectioners' sugar, granulated sugar, and egg whites. They are often presented as sandwich cookies and filled with buttercream, jam, or another type of filling. When made correctly, they're delicate cookies with crisp interiors.
When purchased in a bakery, macarons are typically more expensive than other treats due to the high-quality ingredients they use and the expertise and time that's required to make them.
Because yes, macarons can be finicky little buggers and require a lot of precision. There are a millions things that can prevent you from making the perfect macarons, but the more you make them, the more you get a feel for it and the better they'll be!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
I've long had an obsession with the pumpkin macarons from Bouchon Bakery and dream about them every fall season. This year I was lucky enough that my mom went to Napa in early October and brought back four delicious pumpkin macarons for me.
But that got me thinking, why shouldn't I try to recreate these amazing delicacies at home? So, I did. And dare I say... I actually like mine better??
These pumpkin macarons are PACKED with pumpkin spice flavor, even more so than the ones from Bouchon.
I've tested them quite a few times and with the right ingredients and equipment, this macaron recipe should be very doable for anyone to make!
Here are the ingredients required for pumpkin macarons. I linked to any specific brands I use as well:
- Extra fine almond flour
- Confectioners' sugar
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Egg whites
- Cream of tartar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Orange food coloring
You don't technically need any special equipment to make macarons. But it's going to make the process a lot easier and will increase the chances your macarons will come out perfectly the first time.
Here's what I recommend:
- Food Scale: Because it's so important to use exact measurements when making macarons, I highly recommend weighing your ingredients. I provide weighted measurements in my recipe, along with approximate volumes.
- Mesh Strainer: When making macarons, it's really important that you sift your dry ingredients. Both almond flour and confectioners' sugar tends to clump up and sifting will get rid of clumps and ensure it's light and fluffy. This will help prevent lumpy macarons.
- Mixer: You'll need to beat your egg whites to stiff peaks and I find it easiest to do so in my stand mixer. However, if you don't have a stand mixer, a hand mixer is another option that makes it easy to do. It takes a lot of arm strength with a bowl and a whisk, but it is possible.
- Food Coloring: If you want to make your pumpkin macarons orange, you'll need some orange food coloring. This is my favorite food coloring that I use for everything!
- Piping Bag and Tip: It's easiest to use a piping bag and pastry tip for piping macaron batter. I've linked to the ones I recommend.
- Macaron Template: There are lots of places you can get macaron templates, but I use the 1.5" template from Southern Fatty.
How to Make Pumpkin Macarons
Making macarons is not hard. It's actually quite simple. But you'll want to focus on being very precise in both ingredient measurement and process.
In a large bowl, sift together almond flour, confectioners' sugar, and pumpkin pie spice.
Like I mentioned in the equipment section, sifting your dry ingredients is very important when it comes to making macarons to prevent lumpy shells. I usually sift each ingredient individually to weigh them and then combine them all.
See how light and fluffy the ingredients look in the bowl? No clumps here!
Now, weigh out your egg whites and in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat them on medium speed until they're foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt.
Turn mixer back on to medium and while running, add in about 1 tablespoon sugar at a time. Increase mixer speed to medium/high and beat until soft peaks form. Add in vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Here's what a stiff peak looks like. Another way to test? You should be able to turn the mixing bowl upside down without anything falling out!
Mix in food coloring until combined.
Now for some macaronage!
Start by adding the almond flour mixture into the bowl with the egg whites. Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold ingredients together by scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and folding the meringue up and over and pressing down.
Continue this motion while turning bowl. As you mix, the batter will begin to thin out. You want to keep folding until the batter drops from the spatula like "molten lava" (it should flow) and is glossy. It varies on how many folds you need to make, but it took me about 65 for me.
Another way to see if your batter is ready is to conduct the figure 8 test:
Once your batter is ready, you can start piping your macarons.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (I use Wilton 1A) with macaron batter.
Line three baking sheets with parchment paper and set a template underneath if you're using one (I recommend it!). Holding the pastry bag vertically, pipe evenly sized rounds onto the baking sheets. Batter will spread a bit if your macaronage was done correctly.
Gently tap the bottom of the baking sheets on counter to eliminate any air bubbles in the batter.
Let baking sheets sit out for about 60 minutes to allow macarons to dry out. Some macaron recipes will tell you less time, but I did some testing and believe these ones really need 60 minutes. If your house is humid when you're making these, they may need more.
After an hour, test the macaron by touching it with the tip of your finger. If no batter attaches to your finger, they should be ready.
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. And bake macarons on middle rack for about 15 minutes, until macarons are firm to the touch and have risen to form a foot. Let macarons cool completely on baking sheets.
While macarons are cooling, make the pumpkin spice buttercream filling.
Put pumpkin buttercream in a pastry bag and pipe about 2 teaspoons on the bottom of a shell. Place another shell on top and push together.
And now I don't have to travel to California (or as a family member to) to get my precious pumpkin macarons!
As I mentioned, these macarons are even more pumpkin spice-y than any I've had from a bakery or store and I actually prefer them (though I have to say the consistency of Bouchon's macarons is next level!).
These delicate little cookie sandwiches are a dream come true.
And once you make them, you'll see why they're often the priciest bakery item.
I wouldn't say there's such a thing as a fool-proof macaron recipe as there are SO many factors involved in making them a success.
But I've made these so many times that I can confidently say they're fairly easy to make and should turn out well if the directions are followed!
That said, if you do find yourself having issues, I have some advice to help!
Here are a few things that can go wrong in the macaron making process and some ways to remedy them.
If your homemade macarons don't come out perfectly your first time, don't feel bad! It took me several times to get the feel for them down and since there's so many things that can go wrong, I still mess them up sometimes.
- My shells are cracked: Macarons often crack if they're allowed to rest long enough before baking. When they're drying out, a skin forms on them, which helps prevent cracks. Cracks can also happen if your oven is too hot or macarons are baking too close to the heat or if you don't mix your batter enough in the macaronage process.
- My macarons have no feet: This could happen for several reasons, but a common one is that you mixed your batter too much. It can also happen if you didn't let your macaron batter dry out enough before baking them (are you starting to see why letting macarons rest is so important??)
- My macarons have nipples: Yes, nipples! Sometimes when you pipe macaron batter, you may notice a little nipple on top of the macaron. This happens if you didn't mix your batter enough. Sometimes you'll see one when you first pipe the batter, but then it spreads and disappears.
- My macarons are lumpy or bumpy: This again could be because you didn't mix your batter enough. But it's also an issue that occurs when you don't properly sift your almond flour and confectioners' sugar.
As you can probably tell, there are lots of factors that go into making the perfect macarons. Also... Some of it may be out of your control! For instance, humid weather can greatly effect how your macarons turn out and you'll likely need to let them dry longer.
More Pumpkin Spice Dessert Recipes
I admit that I'm having a major macaron moment and these treats have been my pumpkin treat of fall, but I love all things pumpkin spice! Here are some of my other favorite dessert recipes:
- Pumpkin Spice Linzer Cookies
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Mug Cake
- Pumpkin Beer Ice Cream
- Pumpkin Doughnuts with Maple Bacon Frosting
- Pumpkin Toffee Gingersnaps
- Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- Pumpkin Pie Bars
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- Pumpkin Cheerios Marshmallow Treats
If you're a fan of macarons and all things pumpkin spice, you need these little delicacies in your life!
And once you have the basic macaron-making technique down, the flavor options are endless for what you can do. If you want to try another of my recipes, try these Mint Macarons with Bailey's Buttercream.
Have you ever had a pumpkin macaron?
- 80 grams extra fine almond flour (about ⅚ cup)
- 85 grams confectioners' sugar (about ⅜ cup)
- 4 grams pumpkin pie spice (about 2 tsp)
- 65 grams egg whites, room temperature (from 2-3 eggs)
- ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 50 grams granulated sugar (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 4 drops orange food coloring
Pumpkin Spice Buttercream
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- In a large bowl, sift together almond flour, confectioners' sugar, and pumpkin pie spice (it's VERY important you sift both the almond flour and confectioners' sugar to eliminate and lumps).
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until they're foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt.
- Turn mixer back on to medium and while running, add in about 1 tablespoon sugar at a time. Increase mixer speed to medium/high and beat until soft peaks form. Add in vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Mix in food coloring until combined.
- Remove bowl from mixer and add almond flour mixture into the bowl with the egg whites. Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold ingredients together by scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and folding the meringue up and over and pressing down. Continue this motion while turning bowl. As you mix, the batter will begin to thin out. You want to keep folding until the batter drops from the spatula like "molten lava" (it should flow) and is glossy.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (I use Wilton 1A) with macaron batter.
- Line three baking sheets with parchment paper and set 1 ½" macaron template underneath if using (see notes for template printout). Holding the pastry bag vertically, pipe evenly sized rounds onto the baking sheets. Batter will spread, so only pipe to the edge of the center circle if using a template. Gently tap the bottom of the baking sheets on counter to eliminate any air bubbles in the batter. Remove template paper before baking.
- Let baking sheets sit out for about 60 minutes to allow macarons to dry out. In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
- Bake macarons on middle rack for about 15 minutes, until macarons are firm to the touch and have risen to form a foot. Let macarons cool completely on baking sheets.
- Put pumpkin buttercream in a pastry bag and pipe frosting on the bottom of a shell. Place another shell on top and push together.
Pumpkin Spice Buttercream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add in pumpkin and mix until well combined.
- With mixer on low, blend in the confectioner’s sugar until well-combined. Mix in pumpkin pie spice.
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