French macarons are a delicate meringue-based confection made from almond flour, sugar and egg whites. They have been associated with all things expensive and luxurious, and it is true that one should approach the mixing bowl with caution when making this fussy delicacy. What many people don’t know is that it is entirely possible to make perfect macarons without almond flour, a type of flour made from ground almonds, and this is where my nut-free pumpkin spice macarons come in.
For this recipe, I used pumpkin seed flour. Not only is it far cheaper than almond flour, it is also a safe alternative for people who suffer from nut allergies. Additionally, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses that can give your health a significant boost. Most of all, it sounds autumnal. A strong blender, such as a NutriBullet, can be used to make your own pumpkin seed flour. If you would like to learn more about making your own nut/seed meal, please contact me. I have used sunflower seed flour too, but the flavour of the seeds may overpower any other flavours in your macarons.
There are four important tricks to achieving a good macaron shell. Firstly, the egg whites should be stiff enough for you to turn your bowl upside down without anything falling out. It is best to slowly add your sugar to the egg whites. Secondly, you need to allow your piped macaron batter to rest for about 30 minutes. It will form a smooth film over the top. Thirdly, the oven temperature should be perfect. For this recipe, I kept the oven temperature at 150°C. Lastly, store the baked macaron shells in the fridge for about 24-48 hours to “ripen” them.
Besides having good macaron shells, one will need a delicious filling to sandwich between them. Not being a lover of buttercream, I opted for a pumpkin spice chocolate ganache using the same spice in my macaron batter. I recommend using a bitter-sweet chocolate, as the macaron shells are very sweet.
Out of all of the recipes that I have ever made, macarons have been the most challenging and I had to do a lot of troubleshooting. These nut-free pumpkin spice macarons weren’t absolutely perfect, but they ticked almost all of the boxes and I am quite proud of myself. Not only do they look acceptable, they also taste absolutely wonderful! The vanilla extract does a lovely job at bringing out those warm pumpkin pie spices.