I think that there’s nothing so central to a Thanksgiving dinner as really great dessert. Normally, that’s pies and crumbles and tarts, but this year, everyone who came over brought some kind of pie. Despite this, I’m a dessert person (clearly) so I had to make something sweet.

After a few days of consideration, I figured it out– something that would combine a dessert that was a little different and my favorite Thanksgiving flavor (pumpkin): pumpkin cookies!

And what cookie is best to impress friends and family over the holidays? Trick question, it’s anything French. I’m talking madeleines and macarons.

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I was a little scared that my first attempt at macarons was for a family event, but I used a silpat with macaron-sized outlines to make them, and they turned out wonderfully! I hope that you enjoy these as much as my family and I did!

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Pumpkin Macarons*

Pumpkin Spice Cookie Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour**
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves

Pumpkin Ganache Filling Ingredients:

  • 12 tsp heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 6 Tbsp pumpkin puree***
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of ginger
  • 3.2 oz (90 grams) white chocolate
  • 7 Tbsp butter

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Destructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking tray with a macaron silpat or parchment paper with circle outlines the size of your desired macarons (normally about 1 1/2 inches in diameter).
  2. Whisk egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer on medium-low speed until small bubbles form, then increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating for about two minutes, until the mixture is white and foamy. Finally, increase the speed and beat for 2-3 more minutes, until the eggs are shiny and hold stiff peaks.
  3. Grind powdered sugar, almond flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a food processor for about a minute, then sift it through a sieve onto the egg mixture.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, beating the air out for about 20-25 folds. When ready, the mixture should fall off of the spatula in slow ribbons, or like lava.****
  5. Put batter into a piping bag and pipe onto the silpat or parchement paper, just filling the round outlines.***** Once all of the macarons have been piped, sharply rap the baking tray on the counter 1-2 times to knock any air bubbles out of the cookies. Allow the cookies to sit for about 10 minutes before baking.
  6. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool the trays on wire racks until the cookies are completely cool. The macarons will peel cleanly off of the pan when they are ready. Leave the shells unfilled in the fridge overnight.
  7. To make the ganache, bring the cream to a boil. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch, and add to the cream, mixing thoroughly. When the mixture resumes boiling, add in the pumpkin puree and spices, stirring well. Once well mixed, remove from heat and add in the white chocolate, whisking thoroughly until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Once the mixture has cooled to about 100°F, add in the butter and stir until completely combined.
  8. Pour the ganache into a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap, leaving to cool for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.
  9. The next morning, spoon the ganache into a pastry bag and pipe a nickel-sized amount of ganache onto the flat side of one cookie. Press the flat side of another cookie (of about the same size!) on top to make small sandwiches.
  10. Store the cookies for a week in the fridge (if you have that much self control) or 2 months in the freezer.dsc_0030

Notes:

  • For me, this recipe made around 50 macarons (counting the batter that didn’t quite make it 🙂 )
  • * These should be made the day before you plan to serve them, as they are best left to rest in the fridge overnight, so be sure to plan ahead when making them!
  • ** Almond flour is just finely ground almonds, so if you have almonds and a food processor, feel free to make it yourself.
  • ***In order to make the puree yourself, all you have to do is cut the squash (or pumpkin) in half, scoop out the seeds and strings in the middle, and roast cut side down in the oven at 375°F for about 40 minutes, depending on the size of your squash.
  • **** Truth time, my mixture wasn’t as runny as I expected, but it turned out fine. Just make sure that your ingredients are thoroughly combined, and that you don’t overmix them.
  • *****When I made these, I realized too late that my piping tip was smaller than I had meant it to be! Fortunately for me, I piped it on anyways, and the smaller lines in the cookies just ended up making them look like flowers! Don’t tell anyone though, let’s pretend that I was just extraordinarily artistic on purpose 😉

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Pumpkin Madeleines

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Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Destructions:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350°F. Butter or oil each mold in two madeleine pans.
  2. Place butter and brown sugar in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth (heat until butter is melted if necessary). Let cool.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until well combined.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, into the butter mixture, whisking well after each egg so that it is thoroughly blended. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  5. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until well incorporated and smooth. Add in walnuts.
  6. Using a medium cookie scoop or teaspoon, fill molds in pan with batter until about 7/8 full, gently pressing batter to ensure even distribution.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the madeleines spring back when lightly pressed. Allow the pan to cool on wire racks for 2-3 minutes, then remove madeleines and cool on the rack.

Notes:

  • This recipe makes about 18 madeleines.

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