Step by Step: Ghost Macarons with Pumpkin Buttercream

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The perfect way to celebrate Halloween this year: ghost macarons! They take some time, but are 100% worth it.

After 4 batches of macarons in the last month using the same method, I’m confident in it. The key- making an Italian meringue- it takes an extra step but is more foolproof, which I personally think is worth it if you’re going to take the time to make these in the first place.

Thanks to the instagram community for inspiring me on this! This pumpkin buttercream frosting from @thesweetoccasion is to die for. I’m not normally a buttercream person, but this one strikes the perfect balance of sweetness so all the fall spices can take center stage. While I made ghost macarons last year (that needed some work, let’s be honest), thanks to @ashleighsbakesover with her adorable ghost macarons to inspire me to try these again and guiding me to a template by @sugardevotion to figure out better shapes.

I’ve created a super detailed step-by-step post that walks you through making these macaroons- with gifs and photos to help guide you.

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Ghost Macarons

Difficulty Level: 4
Servings 50 macaroons
Cook Time 1 hr

Ingredients

  • 150 g confectioners sugar
  • 150 g almond flour
  • 110 g egg whites (divided in half- 55g will go in saucepot and 55g will go with almond/confectioners sugar mixture)
  • food coloring if using
  • 150 g granulated white sugar
  • 37 g water

Pumpkin Buttercream (from the Sweet Occasion, just slightly adapted)

  • 60 g egg whites
  • 105 g light brown sugar
  • 226 g unsalted butter softened at room temperature
  • 60 g pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions

Macaron Directions: If this is your first time making macarons, I highly recommend you use the directions below that contain gifs to show you what your final product should look like in each step.

  • Sift 150g almond flour with 150g confectioner sugar in a large bowl.
  • Place 37g water and 150g sugar in a small saucepan. Place on low to medium heat and heat on stove top until it registers 118c/244f, about 3-4 minutes. Keep a close eye on this!
  • Meanwhile, place 55g (1 cup) egg whites into standing mixer. Mix on speed 6 for about 1-2 minutes, until like a bubble bath. If egg whites are ready before sugar, keep at super slow speed.
  • With mixer running, add in the hot sugar and water mix to the egg whites. Increase to mix at a high speed (speed 8) for about 2 minutes, until like marshmallow fluff (soft peak).
  • Get the large bowl of confectioners sugar and almond flour. Add in the other divided portion of egg whites (55g; raw and not mixed) along with food coloring if using. Then add in the meringue on top of flour and fold until the batter is smooth and not lumpy, about 45 seconds. You should be able to trace a figure 8 with your spatula. Be careful to not overfold! This is a thing and will change the consistency of your macaroon.
  • Place in piping bag fitted with a .75-1.0cm tip (I use the 1.0cm tip when doing circles, the .75cm tip when doing the ghosts; if you want specifics- I used Ateco brand; 1.0cm= ateco 805; .75cm= ateco 802) When piping the macarons onto your baking sheet, keep your dominant hand on top and your non-dominant hand on the bottom. All the pressure should come from your top hand and your bottom hand is just guiding.
    1. If making circular macarons, place the piping tip in the center of the circle and begin to apply pressure with your top hand so the batter begins to come out; don’t move the piping tip at all, instead let the batter slowly fill out the circle.
    2. If you’re wanting to make ghosts, you can either draw your own or see the instagram page of @sugardevotion for a template (the one I used).
  • Lightly bang the whole sheet to pop any air bubbles and slightly flatten out batter. Let sit and dry for 30-45 minutes before baking, until a skin is formed and you can lightly touch.
  • If you notice that your macaroons have cracked on the top, it’s probably because you didn’t wait long enough.Let sit and dry for 30 minutes before baking, until a skin is formed and you can lightly touch.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350, rotating pan halfway through.
  • Let macarons sit on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Macarons should cool completely before icing (I like to wait and do this the next day).
  • Make buttercream according to directions below. Using a piping bag, pipe buttercream onto center of macaron. Gently place other macaron on top and lightly press to spread out filling. Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 3 days.

Pumpkin Buttercream Directions:

  • Make a double boiler (a small saucepot filled with 1/3 of water, heated to a simmer with a small heatproof bowl resting on top- it should not be touching the water).
  • Add in egg whites and sugar into bowl and heat until sugar is completely dissolved and not grainy. The mixture should be quite warm.
  • Pour egg white/sugar mixture into bowl of standing mixer. Mix on high speed (speed 8) until a meringue with soft peaks (looks like marshmellow fluff) has formed, a few minutes.
  • Add in softened butter, a bit at a time, with mixer running.
  • Add in pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Mix until smooth.
  • Place in piping bag and use.

Instructions with GIFs

  • Sift 150g almond flour with 150g confectioner sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Place 37g water and 150g sugar in a small saucepan. Place on low to medium heat and heat on stove top until it registers 118c/244f, about 3-4 minutes. Keep a close eye on this!
  • Meanwhile, place 55g (1 cup) egg whites into standing mixer. Mix on speed 6 for about 1-2 minutes, until like a bubble bath. If egg whites are ready before sugar, keep at super slow speed.
  • With mixer running, add in the hot sugar and water mix to the egg whites. Increase to mix at a high speed (speed 8) for about 2 minutes, until like marshmallow fluff (soft peak).
  • Get large bowl of confectioners sugar and almond. Add in the other half of egg whites (raw and not mixed) along with food coloring if using. Then add in the meringue on top of flour and fold until the batter is smooth and not lumpy, about 45 seconds. You should be able to trace a figure 8 with your spatula.
    Be careful to not overfold! This is a thing and will change the consistency of your macaroon.
  • Place batter in piping bag with ___ tip. When piping the macarons onto your baking sheet, keep your dominant hand on top and your non-dominant hand on the bottom. All the pressure should come from your top hand and your bottom hand is just guiding the tip of the bag.
    – If making circular macarons, place the piping tip in the center of the circle and begin to apply pressure with your top hand so the batter begins to come out; don’t move the piping tip at all, instead let the batter slowly fill out the circle.
    – If you’re wanting to make ghosts, you can either draw your own or see the instagram page of @sugardevotion for a template (the one I used).
  • Lightly bang the whole sheet to pop any air bubbles and slightly flatten out batter. Let sit and dry for 30-45 minutes before baking, until a skin is formed and you can lightly touch.
    – If you notice that your macaroons have cracked on the top, it’s probably because you didn’t wait long enough.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350, rotating pan halfway through.
  • Let cookies sit on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let macarons cool completely before icing (I like to wait and do this the next day).
  • Make buttercream according to directions above. Using a piping bag, pipe buttercream onto inside of macaron. Gently place other macaron on top. Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 3 days.
Course: Baking, Dessert
Keyword: Holidays, Winter

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