Chai Tea Pumpkin Macarons
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Spicy chai tea cookies and pumpkin buttercream come together to create this warm and cozy fall macaron. Get the recipe plus the tips and tricks I found to baking technically perfect macarons.
It’s here! It’s fall! I’ve noticed the weather changing even over the past week or two. I’m stepping on more crunchy leaves. I had to wait for my car windows to defrost before I could drive to work. It’s still pitch black when I leave for the gym at 6am. And then there are the sudden urges to make every soup, oatmeal and cinnamon-y thing on my Pinterest board.
Thankfully I’ve been testing this Chai Tea Pumpkin Macaron recipe for the past month and it’s finally perfect and ready to share! This macaron is a bite-sized autumn bomb in your mouth.
What’s in it?
The cookie uses spicy Saigon Chai Tea from David’s Tea. We just ground up this killer tea and toss it in — full chai flavors are coming. And then we add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger... you get the picture.
And of course, it’s got pumpkin. The filling is a smooth, rich, pumpkin buttercream. I tested a couple versions and obviously went for the most pumpkin-packed option 😉
I had never made macarons before this and while I made about 5 batches to get these perfect, I’m hoping to show you the pitfalls I had and point you to resources that will speed that up for you. I’m not saying you’ll nail it on the first try, but the hardest thing about macarons is getting them to LOOK right… which means, they’ll still taste delicious even if they aren’t technically perfect. I ate a lot of really delicious, kind of ugly macarons over the past month. Hello extra 5 pounds… but seriously, you can leave now.
Before you jump to the recipe, let me tell you the pitfalls I ran into and how I overcame them:
Mixing the wet & dry ingredients to the right consistency.
Piping perfect circles.
There are a lot of recipes that suggest using a piping bag. For macarons, you really do need one. But, a disposable piping bag or simply a Ziploc bag will work just fine. If you go disposable, you can either invest in a coupler and metal piping tips or just cut the tip of the bag off at the beginning.
Once you have your piping bag filled, you want to pipe from overhead in even nickel-sized circles and keep in mind that the batter will continue to expand. This can be tricky and I’ve scraped lopsided cookies back into the piping bag multiple times while still finding my groove.
I don’t use a printed circle template but a simple Pinterest search will take you to lots of downloadable options.
Getting a smooth cookie top.
This is super important. In order for the macarons to bake properly and form their signature “feet”, you must leave the piped macarons to rest until they have formed a skin. Let the macarons rest for about 30-90 minutes after piping. Once you can touch or even pet the tops of the macarons and NO batter sticks to your finger are they ready to bake. If the macarons don’t form this skin, they will crack on top. The skin prevents air from escaping out the top and instead it pushes out from the bottom, forming the signature feet.
If it is humid in your house, you may have issues. Turn your overhead stove fan on, turn a dehumidifier on, use a hair dryer on low. The only way I can get mine to form this skin is to move our dehumidifier right next to the macarons.
Macarons sticking to the baking tray.
This primarily happens when the macarons are underbaked. If you’re unsure whether they’re fully cooked, I generally say bake the macarons a couple minutes longer unless they’re starting to brown. The frosting will soften the cookies and have saved an overcooked batch of mine.
Make sure to wait until the macarons are fully cooled before trying to pull them off the tray. Warm macarons will split more easily.
Test using both a silicone baking mat and parchment paper. There are tradeoffs with both. I’ve found that macarons are less likely to stick to parchment paper BUT they also are more likely to spread into blobs instead of clean circles. I’ve had more issues with macarons sticking to silicone mats BUT the mats are very flat which makes for much more circular cookies. If you can, test with both and see what works best for you.
Additional resources, tips and tricks I’ve found helpful:
If your macarons are browning before they’re cooked, tweak your temperature lower and the time longer. For oven temperature tweaks, check out this guide to using your home oven. And please, please use an extra oven thermometer to test if your oven runs hot or cold. Mine runs about 30 degrees cold and I always have to compensate.
Use a digital scale to weigh your ingredients. Macarons are very precise and it’s the only way I would recommend making them. Plus it seriously cuts down on time and dishes.
Some say to age your egg whites for at least 24 hours (just separate them and leave in the fridge). I haven’t seen a huge difference but it’s worth doing if you have the foresight.
I personally use Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour because I think the quality of their products is the best.
For how to fix various technical issues, check out this Macaron Troubleshooting Guide.
Chai Tea Pumpkin Macarons
Makes 30-40 macarons (60-80 halves).
Adapted from the basic macaron recipe from Pastry Pal. See her sidebar for the free downloadable guide.
Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough for 2 batches of macarons.
This recipe is easy to make in advance, just let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before you want to pipe your cookies.
Lovely little things
This sweater-coat from Madewell is seriously amazing. I tried it on and have resisted buying it up until now. The heather caramel color is absolutely fabulous and spot on my style. I’ll take a small for whoever is listening.
I got this crochet white dress from Chicwish because I foresee bridal shower dress needs in my future. For the price, it is shockingly well made and high quality
This San Francisco enamel pin is so wonderful. Beautiful, unique design. Love that it features Karl.