Orange Shells with Aperol spiked buttercream
I love Aperol because to me it is multi seasonal. In the spring and summer, there's nothing like sitting outside in the good weather sipping a glass of prosecco with a splash of this tasty orange gold. I also think Aperol is appropriate for fall, the color is perfect and the flavor can be spiced up to suit the season.
These are the plain Aperol version. I made them in the summer while still enjoying cold prosecco with Aperol in the hot early evenings. However, with the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or clove, they can make one sexy holiday macaron.
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For the Orange Shells:
90 grams egg whites - aged at least 2 days. Let them sit out on the counter uncovered.
25-50 grams of fine granulated sugar
200 grams of powdered sugar (minus 2 tablespoons)
110 Grams of almond flour*
A few drops of orange extract
Orange powdered food coloring (optional)
*You can buy almond flour that has been ground with or without the skin. I use the later (blanched). The former looks really nice if you are not coloring the shells. You can also grind your own almond flour by putting whole or sliced almonds in a food processor or blender. If you do, make sure you throw a little of the powdered sugar in to prevent the almonds from forming a paste.
Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together or pulse them together briefly in a food processor. Make sure there are no large pieces.
Whip the egg whites. When they start to get foamy, slowly add the sugar. Continue whipping until you can turn the bowl upside down and nothing slides out. (I also add a pinch each of salt and cream of tartar)
Add the powdered sugar/almond mixture to the egg white mixture. Add the extract and the food coloring.
Fold the mixture, using quick strokes at first then slow down. No more than 50 strokes all together. The batter should have a "flowing like lava" consistency.
Fill a Pastry bag and pipe circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or on a Silpat.
Let the macarons dry for about one hour until they harden.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
Bake for 18-20 minutes.
I keep the oven door propped open with a dish towel or wooden spoon. I also put a baking sheet in the rack above to prevent the heat from discoloring the shells.
Let cool completely and then match up the shells into pairs according to size.
1 stick butter
2-2+1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup Aperol
Put all ingredient in mixer and beat until smooth.
when mixing adjust by adding more Aperol or sugar until the buttercream reaches a piping consistency.
Fill a pastry bag with the mixture and pipe the filling into the shells.