As I am sure you can tell, I keep toggling back and forth between pumpkin and apples this fall. Ultimately, apples always win. I have loved them longer and more. Ha! And apple pie, I mean c’mon, you just can’t beat it. A warm slice with vanilla ice cream…. My favorite fall dessert, hands down. This fall I have been feeling fairly creative when it comes to baking. I have like a hundred ideas that go through my head on a daily basis. I have to remind myself that whatever I bake, does actually have to be eaten by everyone in the family. So I can’t make 5 desserts at once. Which is always a disappointment, because when the inspiration hits, I always want to act on it immediately. Since I can’t for obvious reasons, I generally write down what I’ve thought of. I probably have too many lists laying around the house, or in my head that I just don’t always have the time to make! Or they’re out of season.
Anyway. I realized that I haven’t made macarons in wayyyy too long. Well, at least on the blog. I made some this summer but they didn’t grow feet like they should have. They were delicious, but not shareable. Those darn ol’ finicky macarons. This time around they worked! When the idea came to me, I wanted to do something fall related- obviously. At that point, I still had several bags left of apples that desperately needed processing. So I decided to go with something apple-related. Insert these bad boys.
Let’s talk about the anatomy of these. I tossed the idea around of maybe a chocolate shell, but I really wanted the filling to be the star. So, I went with a simple, plain shell instead. Inside, now, is anything but plain. I sautéed apples so there were nice and soft and had more of that “apple pie filling” flavor/consistency going on. I left them unsweetened since I knew the frosting would probably be sweet enough for both. I decided to go with a maple frosting with a pinch of nutmeg. It was jjusst right and complimented the apples perfectly. As good ol’ Olaf says, “put them together and it just makes sense!” Oh my oh my, these macarons were SO good. It was hard to stop at one! Or two…
Like all macarons, you don’t want to assemble these unless you are ready to eat them in the next few hours. If you leave them assembled over night, they will get soggy. And that would be a very disappointing ending to a hard days work in the kitchen! So don’t do that. You can certainly make everything the day before you’re ready to serve (ie: a party or get together), then assemble right before said get together happens. Or, if you’re making these just for yourself/family, store all the ingredients separately, and assemble as you eat over a few days. These macarons are definitely worth all the time they take, and you’ll love these fall treat. They will steal the show on any dessert table!
Macaron shells from Wood and Spoon, concept is Island Bakes Original
For the macaron
- 158 grams (1 1/4 cups plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons) almond flour
- 158 grams (1 1/4 cups) confectioners' sugar
- 105 grams egg whites (from 3-4 large eggs)
- 117 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons) granulated sugar
For the filling
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 small apples, cored and small diced
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
For the frosting
- 3 ounces full-fat cream cheese
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
- pinch of nutmeg
For the finishing touches (optional)
- ground cinnamon
- Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Set aside. Fit a large piping bag with a plain round tip.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the almond flour, confectioners' sugar and process until the flour is finely ground, 1-2 minutes. Sift the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Discard any remaining chunks.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on low speed until they begin to foam. Slowly, over a few minutes, increase the speed and add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix on medium-high speed until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
- Using a rubber spatula, carefully and slowly fold the egg white mixture into the almond flour mixture. Continue to carefully fold until completely combined and no dry streaks remain. Take your time, this isn't a fast process.
- Fill the prepared piping bag with the batter. Pipe small rounds on the prepared baking sheets. Lightly tap the baking sheets on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the macaron shells rest for 30-60 minutes to form a nice skin. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325ºF with a rack set in the center of the oven.
- Once the macarons have set, place one baking sheet at a time in the preheated oven, and bake for 12-14 minutes , or until the tops feel secured to the feet but wiggly slightly when nudged with your finger. Remove from the oven and proceed baking the other baking sheet(s). Let cool completely before filling.
- To make the filling, place the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, stir in the apples, cinnamon and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the apples are soft, 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until creamy and combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the confectioners' sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix in the maple syrup and nutmeg. Continue to beat the frosting until creamy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a plain round attachment.
- When you're ready to assemble the macarons, pair up the shells by size. On one side of the sandwiches, pipe a ring of frosting around the outside of the flat side. Place a small spoonful of the apple mixture in the center. Press the other macaron shell, flat side to flat side, together. Repeat with remaining shells and filling if ready to consume. Otherwise, store ingredients separately until ready to serve. Dust with ground cinnamon when ready to serve (optional).