A French macaron is a colorful meringue sandwich cookie. Fillings can include chocolate ganache, buttercream and jam. Our version is flavored with pumpkin pie spices and filled with a salted caramel buttercream.
Preheat oven to 350°F. For the Pumpkin Pie Spiced Macarons, sift confectioners’ sugar, almond flour and spices into medium bowl, working mixture as much as possible through sifter. Discard any large bits of almonds left over in sifter. Beat egg whites, granulated sugar, cream of tartar and salt in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Beat on high speed 5 minutes or until medium peaks form. Add food colors; beat on low speed until evenly tinted. Gently stir in flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently.
Spoon batter into pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch round tip. Pipe 1 1/2-inch circles about 2 inches apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. For best results, hold tip perpendicular and 1/2 inch above baking sheet while gently squeezing pastry bag.
Bake 1 baking sheet at a time 11 to 12 minutes or until macarons are set and slightly tacky. Place baking sheet on wire rack. Cool macarons completely before removing from parchment paper.
For the Salted Caramel Filling, mix confectioners’ sugar and spices in medium bowl. Beat butter and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar mixture, scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently. Add milk, beat until smooth. Beat in caramel topping, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip.
To assemble the Macarons, pipe filling onto flat side of 1 cookie. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and drizzle with additional caramel topping, if desired. Sandwich with a same-size cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Store macarons between layers of wax paper in airtight container in refrigerator up to 7 days. Serve at room temperature.
• Beat egg whites to medium peaks only. When whisk is lifted from egg whites and turned upside down, a peak should hold but the tip will flop over.
• To create smooth macarons while piping, do not lift tip from the batter. Instead, stop squeezing the pastry bag and lightly rotate the tip off to one side.