Almond Macarons with Spiced Buttercream


As part of my (Emily’s) senior thesis work (a required project to graduate), I am choosing four French classics, researching the history, and making each of the recipes myself. Macarons were an easy pick for the dessert category: they are elegant, delicate, and so well-known. For the first recipe for the soup portion of the “meal”, I made French Onion Soup and recreated it using a homemade recipe. For the macarons, that originally seemed like a daunting task. Each time I have made them before, my patience has gotten the best of me. Sometimes I would not let them rest enough to set before baking, other times the recipes were too long to read, and I would skim through and go off baking them on my own. However, after debating for weeks on what flavor to chose and not being able to decide between chocolate or pistachio, I chose a more simple one that was still divine. Conquering making the macarons was what scared me: I have to film the process for my project (which you can actually see on @kitchentwins Instagram) and write about my process of making them (yes, the entire project is in French, and no, I will not make you read the French version of this). So when I went to go make them based off of a recipe I had found, it turned out we did not even have all of the right ingredients or quantities, and so I was left to make my own recipe. To Lyla’s surprise, they turned out more than wonderfully and melt so effortlessly in your mouth. Paired with a cinnamon and nutmeg spiced buttercream and rolled in toasted coconut, these macarons are elegant and mouth-watering, and the recipe below will be as simple yet detailed as possible.

What You’ll Need for the Macarons

  • 3/4 cup finely ground almond flour
  • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • a pinch of salt

What You’ll Need for the Buttercream

  • 4 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • + toasted coconut for the sides

To Make

  1. Start by sifting the almond flour and powdered sugar twice. To make it easier, you can sift then separately and then combine. Throw away whatever bits will not sift.
  2. In a stand up (or hand held) mix using the whisk tool, add your egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt and whip on high for roughly 2.5 minutes until soft peaks have formed. Then add the white sugar and extracts and whip on high for another 1-2 minutes until the peaks are stiff. When you lift up the whisk, the peak should stay up.
  3. Lightly sprinkle the flour and powdered sugar mixture to the whipped whites, careful not to deflate them. Taking a large spatula, gently fold the two together until fully combined. Do not over mix or combine any way besides folding or else the batter will lose the air and will not bake correctly.
  4. If you do not have a piping bag, grab a tall glass and place a large plastic bag in it. Put a sealed corner on the bottom then fold the excess bag over the sides of the glass. Gently put the mixture into the glass and seal, leaving little to no air in the bag. Cut the corner of the side of the bag that is filled about 1/2 inch thick. On a parchment lined sheet, pipe circles about 1.5 inches thick. To pipe, it is best to start in the middle of where your macaron will be then squeeze batter out until enough has spread then circle the piping bag back to the center. Repeat until there are about 15 macarons on the baking sheet. You will need another baking sheet and so repeat this. If the macarons have an uneven surface, lightly wet the tip of your finger and dab to smooth.
  5. Let the macaroons set in a room temperature place for at least 1.5 hours. The full surface of the macaron should form a shell when tapped. Bake one sheet at a time on 300ºF for 16-18 minutes. There should be a light golden sphere forming around the edges. The macarons should puff up to form that classic bottom layer. Let cool completely after each sheet has been baked, then use a metal spatula to take off of tray. 
  6. To make the frosting, start by whipping together the butter and vanilla extract until smooth (about 1-2 minutes). Add in the milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. Whip on high for about two minutes until the frosting comes together smoothly. Put in a piping bag or use the same plastic bag/glass method as done for the macaron batter. 
  7. Pipe by putting a little less than 1 tablespoon of the frosting in a mound at the center of one macaron. Take another macaron and gentle press on top so the frosting evens out to the edges. Roll in finely chopped toasted coconut.