Orange Macaron Shells
- 180 grams confectioner's sugar
- 108 grams fine-ground almond flour (or blanched, slivered almonds)
- 3 egg whites (about 90g)
- 55 grams granulated sugar
- pinch of cream of tartar
- orange gel food coloring, a small amount on the tip of a toothpick or knife
- ¼ teaspoon orange extract, optional
- 4 ounces mascarpone or cream cheese, softened (half a typical package)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
- 1-2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- zest of one navel orange
For macarons shells
- Line two baking pans with parchment or silicone baking mats.
- If working with whole or slivered almonds: Grind almonds or almond flour with confectioner's sugar in a food processor for a couple of minutes. Stop the processor once or twice to redistribute the mixture.
- Place the egg whites and granulated sugar in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until foamy.
- Beat, whip, or whisk vigorously to a stiff meringue on medium-high speed, about five more minutes. The meringue will be shiny and create pointy peaks off the paddle that curve ever so slightly. It will also stick to the bottom of the bowl if you flip it upside-down.
- Add orange extract and whip a few seconds more.
- Sift all the dry ingredients directly into the bowl with the meringue.
- Fold until the batter flows slowly and ribbons off the spatula. Mix slightly vigorous at first, then use classic folding strokes; scraping around the sides of the bowl, the up from underneath the mixture, and over through the top.
- Transfer to a piping bag (or plastic baggie) fitted with a small round tip.
- Pipe 1 to 2-inch rounds of batter onto parchment or baking mat. Hold the piping bag vertical, and about a quarter-inch above the pan.
- To help the tops of piped batter settle, very lightly tap the underneath of the pan a few times.
- Optional: Let the piped macarons rest on the counter for 15-20 minutes.
- Bake at 300° F for 14-16 minutes, rotating the pan(s) once halfway through baking.
- Cool a few minutes before removing from baking mat or parchment.
- Fill with buttercream and store chilled for 24 hours before serving.
- In a medium bowl using a hand mixer, or the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, butter, and a pinch of salt until smooth and lightened in color, about five minutes.
- Add powdered sugar in several additions on low speed, beating in each portion completely before adding the next. Stop beating and scrape the bowl as necessary.
- Once the mixture is smooth and with the mixer off, add the heavy cream or milk, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Then beat briefly to evenly distribute the flavorings.
- Transfer to a piping bag (no tip necessary) or plastic baggie with a corner snipped to make a small opening.
- Pipe a small amount on half of the macaron shells, leaving room around the outer edge of the shells (this prevents oozing when you top with the second shell).
- Store the filling chilled, and bring to room temperature to serve. If necessary, beat the buttercream again briefly before using it after chilling.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Macarons
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: French
- Diet: Gluten Free
- Serving Size: 1 finished macaron
- Calories: 109
- Sugar: 16.2 g
- Sodium: 16.1 mg
- Fat: 2.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 17.3 g
- Protein: 1.4 g
- Cholesterol: 4.4 mg
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