Embrace the festive spirit of Thanksgiving with these cinnamon-flavored Thanksgiving Turkey Macarons, filled with a luscious pumpkin cream cheese frosting. Their delightful blend of cinnamon and pumpkin flavors makes them a perfect treat for your holiday table. Not only are they a visual treat with their adorable turkey design, but they also offer a delicious taste of the season.
Making French macarons might seem tough at first, but it’s really fun once you get the hang of it. With a bit of practice, you can make awesome macarons that look and taste great. These Thanksgiving Turkey Macarons are a cool project – they have a yummy cinnamon and pumpkin taste that’s perfect for Thanksgiving.
The macaron shells are simply flavored with warm cinnamon and colored with brown food coloring, but the star of these cookies is the pumpkin cream cheese filling, it’s absolutely delicious made with cream cheese, warm autumn spices, and pure pumpkin puree.
In the world of macaron making, there are primarily three methods: the French, Italian, and Swiss methods. Each has its own characteristics and levels of complexity. My recipe here uses the French method that I find the simplest, and most straight-forward.
Complete list of ingredients with quantities and instructions is located in the recipe card below
- Almond Flour: Almond flour forms the foundation of your macaron shells. It’s crucial to use finely ground almond flour to avoid any coarse textures that can impact the smoothness of your macarons. Weighing the almond flour ensures accuracy and consistency in your recipe. Brands like Blue Diamond and Bob’s Red Mill are great choices for their fine texture.
- Egg Whites: Essential for creating the meringue base of your macaron shells, egg whites should be at room temperature to whip up perfectly. A tip for easy separation: do it while the eggs are cold, then allow the whites to reach room temperature before use. Remember, measuring the egg whites by weight is more precise than using the number of eggs.
- Powdered Sugar: This ingredient is used in both the macaron shells and the buttercream filling. Sifting powdered sugar is key to prevent lumps and achieve a smooth, even texture in your macarons. If needed, you can make your own by blending granulated sugar until it’s fine and powdery.
- Cinnamon: This spice adds a warm, autumnal flavor to your macarons, perfectly complementing the Thanksgiving theme. Ensure the cinnamon is fresh and finely ground for the best flavor infusion in your macaron shells.
- Cream of Tartar: An acid that helps stabilize the egg whites, cream of tartar is crucial for a smooth and firm meringue, which is the backbone of your macaron shells.
- Granulated Sugar: Incorporated into the meringue, granulated sugar helps to create a stable and sturdy structure for your macarons.
- Pumpkin Spice: This blend of spices brings the essence of fall to your macarons, enhancing the pumpkin flavor in the cream cheese filling. It’s a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, and using a freshly mixed blend can elevate the taste.
- Brown Sugar: Used in the pumpkin cream cheese buttercream, brown sugar adds a rich, molasses-like sweetness that pairs beautifully with the pumpkin and spices. It contributes to the creamy texture and deep flavor profile of the filling.
How To Make Thanksgiving Turkey Macarons
To Make the Shells:
- Prep Work: Start by cleaning your bowls and utensils with vinegar to remove any grease, ensuring your macarons turn out perfectly. Sift together your almond flour, powdered sugar, and cinnamon into a medium bowl and set it aside.
- Making the Meringue: In your stand mixer, whip the room-temperature egg whites and cream of tartar until they become foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar and continue mixing until you achieve stiff peaks. This is your meringue – the key to perfect macaron shells.
- Macaronage Process: Carefully fold half of your sifted dry ingredients into the meringue. Once combined, add the rest and gently fold until you get a smooth and flowing consistency. The batter should be able to form a figure 8 without breaking when lifted with a spatula.
- Piping: Line your baking sheets with silicone mats. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round tip with the batter and pipe out small circles. Tap the baking sheet to release air bubbles and use a toothpick to pop any that surface.
- Drying: Let the piped shells sit for about 40-45 minutes, or until they form a skin and are no longer sticky to the touch. This step is crucial for creating those classic macaron “feet.”
- Baking: Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C) and bake each tray for 13-14 minutes. Let them cool completely before removing them from the mat.
Making the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Buttercream:
- Prep the Pumpkin Puree: Start by removing excess moisture from the pumpkin puree using paper towels. This step is essential for a thick and creamy frosting.
- Mixing the Buttercream: Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar. Add in the pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and powdered sugar, adjusting the quantity to achieve the right consistency.
- Filling the Macarons: Match up similar-sized shells. Pipe the buttercream on one shell of each pair and gently sandwich them together.
Decorating Your Turkey Macarons:
- Chill Before Decorating: It’s best to chill the filled macarons for at least an hour before decorating. This helps in handling them without causing any damage.
- Adding the Turkey Features: Melt butterscotch chips and use them to attach candy sprinkle eyes and a butterscotch chip beak to each macaron. For the tail, gently press candy corn pieces into the buttercream at the back of each macaron.
- Creative Touches: Feel free to get creative with edible markers to add expressions or additional features to your turkey macarons.
- Weigh Your Ingredients: Precision is key in macaron making. Use a food scale to measure your ingredients for accuracy. This ensures consistency in your macaron shells.
- Room Temperature Egg Whites: For the best volume and structure, use egg whites that have been brought to room temperature. This helps in creating a more stable and voluminous meringue.
- Sift, Sift, Sift: To achieve smooth and lump-free macaron shells, sift your dry ingredients like almond flour and powdered sugar. This step cannot be skipped or rushed.
- Macaronage Technique: The process of folding your dry ingredients into the meringue is crucial. You’re looking for a lava-like consistency where the batter can form a figure 8 without breaking. Over-mixing or under-mixing can lead to issues like cracked shells or lack of feet.
- Resting Time is Crucial: After piping your macarons, let them rest until they form a skin. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on humidity. This step is essential for creating the signature feet of the macarons.
- Oven Temperature: Every oven is different. Use an oven thermometer to ensure accurate temperature settings. A slightly lower temperature may be needed to prevent the shells from cracking.
- Patience with Cooling: Allow the macarons to cool completely on the baking sheet before attempting to remove them. Rushing this step can lead to broken shells.
- Maturing Macarons: One of the unique aspects of macarons is that they need time to develop their best texture and flavor. Once filled, store your macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving. This process, known as maturation, allows the flavors to meld together and the shells to achieve the perfect chewiness.
- Room Temperature Serving: When you’re ready to serve, bring the macarons out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature. This enhances their flavor and texture.
- Humidity Matters: Macarons can be sensitive to moisture in the air. Try to bake on a dry day, and if your kitchen is particularly humid, consider using a dehumidifier.
To maintain the freshness of your macarons, place them in a sealed container. They’ll stay fresh at room temperature for up to three days, in the refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for a maximum of two months.
Remember, macarons are quite sensitive to strong smells and can pick up odors from other items, so it’s wise to store them on their own. Also, if you choose to freeze them, first thaw them in the refrigerator and then let them reach room temperature to prevent any moisture from forming on the shells.
How Do I Prevent My Macarons From Cracking?
- Ensure that the oven temperature is correct and consistent throughout the baking process. A fluctuation in temperature can cause the macarons to crack.
- Allow the macarons to rest before baking. This will give the macarons a chance to form a skin on the surface, which helps prevent cracking.
- Use the correct amount of ingredients and measure them carefully. Using too much or too little of an ingredient can affect the texture and cause cracking.
- Don’t overmix the batter. Overmixing can result in a runny batter, which can cause the macarons to spread and crack.
- Use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper to line the baking tray. Avoid using greasy or non-stick surfaces, as these can cause the macarons to stick and crack.
- Tap the tray gently on the countertop after piping the batter onto the mat or parchment paper. This will help release any air bubbles and prevent cracking.
- Don’t underbake or overbake the macarons. Underbaking can cause the macarons to be too soft and prone to cracking, while overbaking can cause them to become too dry and brittle.
Remember, macarons are known for their delicate nature, so handle them with care. These Thanksgiving Turkey Macarons are not just a treat to eat but also a fun way to add a festive touch to your Thanksgiving celebration. Enjoy the process and have fun with the decorations!