Each and every year I fall harder in love with Autumn. The obviously changing seasons that we witness here in the UK has always been pretty special, but there’s something about the transition from Summer to Autumn that sets my heart a flutter. The turning of leaves that fall into golden amber piles on pathways, and the return of crisp blue morning skies fill me with nostalgic warmth and when it comes to baking I always find so much more inspiration from the bake options and flavours in season.
Apple, blackberry, chestnut, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin are all synonymous with Autumn and I’ve resisted them for far too long, so in celebration of the best season ever I wanted to kick things off with my Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Macarons.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Baking time: 13-15 minutes
70g flaked almonds
140g icing sugar
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
50g Caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ ground cloves
¼ tsp orange food coloring
For the filling
200g good quality dark chocolate
284ml double cream
2tbsp caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and leave a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Place the flaked almonds in a food processor and blitz for about a minute until as fine as possible. Add the icing sugar and process until combined.
Pass the sugar/almond mixture through a sieve, pushing down on the clumps. Leave to one side.
Whisk the egg whites and caster sugar with an electric whisk or KitchenAid on a high-speed, until they hold stiff, glossy peaks. Add all but a tbsp of the spices and orange food colouring then whisk on a high-speed for 30 seconds
Add the dry ingredients all at once and fold with a spatula, mixing from the bottom of the bowl upwards. Repeat these folds until the batter flows like lava.
Place a piping bag inside a glass and pour the batter into it. Secure the top and snip the end to about 1cm. Pipe some batter onto the corners of 2 baking trays, both lined with parchment paper.
With the piping tip ½ inch above the tray, pipe circles about 3cm in diameter ensuring to leave 1 inch space between them. Tap the sheets firmly against the kitchen work surface to release any air bubbles.
Sift the left over spices on half of the unbaked batter and leave to sit for around 10 minutes (this allows the crust to form). Bake on the lower shelf of the oven for 10-13 minutes. Allow to cool completely before piping the ganache filling.
For the ganache chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and leave in a bowl. Pour the 284ml double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, and heat until it is almost boiling.
Take the cream off the heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth then leave to cool and thick.
Once ready scoop the ganache into a piping bag and pipe onto the flat side of the plain macaron rounds with no spices; top with the spiced remaining half.
These will store in an air tight container for a few days if kept in the fridge.