livin’ easy — creamsicle macarons

by hungryrabbit on July 10, 2010

Creamsicle Macarons

When Mactweet came up with the challenge of creating a macaron based on your favorite song, I had no idea how to start, at first. I wanted to create a macaron that not only looked the part, but tasted it, too. I checked my playlists—but then considered old favorites and the possibilities opened full voice as I turned to Ella, Billie, Louie, and Nina for inspiration.

In the midst of the East Coast heat wave, I also recalled the carefree childhood summers back home. As a kid, I spent those steamy months kicking around with no cares in the world until school started again in September. Even though I didn’t grow up in the states, one warm-weather treat that all kids adore is ice cream or a similar frozen treat.  My favorite was the Creamsicle, or at least, the Hong Kong version. Every grocery store or convenient shop carried them. We had varieties that included mango and red bean, but I preferred the classic: a creamy vanilla Popsicle encased within a refreshing orange sherbet shell. The tart and juicy orange sherbet was a magical pairing for sub-tropical summers. (Maybe those Creamsicles were an early influence on my attraction to the color orange).

Ah, the livin’ was easy then, so here is a tribute to Creamsicles and Gershwin’s “Summertime.”


Music by G. Gershwin
Lyrics by DuBose Heyward

And the living is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high

Oh, Your daddy’s rich
And you mamma’s good lookin’
So hush little baby
Don’t you cry

One of these mornings
You’re going to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky

But until that morning
There’s a’nothing can harm you
With your daddy and mammy standing by

And the living is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high

Oh, Your daddy’s rich
And you mamma’s good lookin’
So hush little baby
Don’t you cry

Creamsicle Macarons

Recipe by hungryrabbitnyc, 2010
Make 32-35 macarons

2/3 cups (3 oz) ground almonds
1-1/2 cups (5 1/4 oz) confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon, orange zest, freshly grated (oven dried and grind in spice grinder)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon table salt
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 drops orange soft-gel food coloring

1. Prepare baking sheet and template: Using two half-sheet baking pan, fit each pan with a sheet of parchment. Use either a circle template or the wide end of a pastry tip, draw 1-1/8 inch-diameter circles on the papers, spacing them at least 3/4 inch apart. (I get 35 circles per sheet). Set aside.

2. Attach an Ateco #804 tip to a pastry bag. Twist the bag to hold the tip tightly. This prevents the batter from leaking out. Place the pastry bag, tip down, inside a measure cup or any container that will hold the pastry bag vertically. Set aside.

3. Grind almonds confectioner’s sugar, dried orange zest, cornstarch and salt in food processor until powdery, about 30 sec. Sift almond mixture through a medium-mesh sieve. Set aside.

4. Add egg whites into the bowl of a hand mixer or a standing mixer with whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 45 seconds to break up the whites. Increase speed to medium high and beat until foamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 minute.

5. Reduce speed to low, add food coloring and vanilla extract to just combine. Remove bowl to a work surface. Using a silicon spatula, fold in half of the sifted almond mixture with a circular motion (scooping from bottom of bowl) until just incorporated. Fold in the rest of the almond mixture with same motion. (Meringue will deflate slightly.)

6. Press and spread out the batter against the side of the bowl. Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down. Repeat this process about 12 times. This is what the french refers to as ‘Macaronnage’. This technique gives the baked macarons a luster. Be careful not to do it too many times, or you might get oil stains on the surface of your baked macarons, not so pretty.

7. Pour batter into prepared pastry bag, twist or clip to close.

8. Pipe the batter onto the center of the circles. Make small circles since the batter will spread out after it’s piped. (You’ll get the hang of it once you’ve piped a few.) Rap the baking sheet firmly on the counter. This will help the macarons to hold the rounded shape and pied (little foot) to formed.

9. Adjust oven racks to middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°F.

10. Dry the batter at room temperature, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes. A slight crust should form on top of the macarons. (This might take longer on rainy or humid days). The batter is ready if it doesn’t stick to your finger when you touch it gently.

Place one baking sheet in middle rack and immediately reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Bake macarons for 7-1/2 minutes. Rotate baking sheet, front to back and place it on rack in lower-middle position. Continue to bake for another 8-10 minutes, until crisp and interior does not give easily when gently pressed. (Check macarons around 16 minutes into baking to make sure they don’t brown. You can place a piece of foil or parchment on top at this point to prevent top from browning. When done, move baking sheet from the oven and cool on wire rack. (Residual heat from baking sheet will harden bottoms), about 30 minutes. Loosen macarons gently from parchment with offset spatula (they will be fragile).

make 2 cups

2 large egg whites
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cups unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks), softened, cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Put egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water.

2. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160°).

3. Attach bowl to a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.

3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; beat 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.

To assemble the macarons
Sandwich flat side of macarons together with a generous teaspoon of Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

1. Filled macarons can be kept in an airtight container wrapped in plastic wrap, chilled 2 days or frozen 1 month. Bring to room temperature in wrapped container (to avoid condensation), about 1 hour if chilled or 2 hours if frozen.

1. If you are making macarons in hot humid weather, add an addition tablespoon of cornstarch to the almond mixture. This helps to dry up some of the moisture in the batter. (I made these during a sweltering heatwave.)

2. Refrigerating the batter for 20-30 minutes also helps to firm up runny batter.

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 10, 2010 at 10:13 am

Oooh lovely Ken – they are Tastespotting material if I ever saw! Love the flavours!

The Cooking Ninja July 10, 2010 at 10:22 am

Those are really drooling macs. Poppet loves macs but mommy thinks it’s too sweet for her. :p Then again which kid doesn’t like sugar stuff. LOL! I love love your macs.

Jamie July 10, 2010 at 10:24 am

Baby, if these are your disaster macs then I’ll eat my hat! They are, as usual, stunningly perfect! And boy I never liked creamsicles but you have made me crave one now! These are perfect for a cool, easy, summertime. Just perfect! Thanks Ken, for baking these gorgeous, delicious macs for mactweets. Big hug, you lovely man!

Avril July 10, 2010 at 10:48 am

A most beautiful tribute!

Victoria July 10, 2010 at 12:05 pm

These are so vibrant and beautiful! What a great nostalgic treat :) I’ve never made macarons but you make it look so easy! I’ll have to try it out!

KENNECTED July 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I loved creamsicles as a kid – and still do as an adult!

I’m not a big macaron fan, but your macs look gorgeous and delicious as I’ve come to expect from your blog posts!

Keep the recipes and posts coming!

Saltyseattle July 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm

After seeing these, I may just have to bite the bullet & make macs. Yours are impossibly pretty- sound delicious, and evoke the mood you suggest perfectly. I wish you would come make them with me here in Seattle! Xo, l

Deeba July 10, 2010 at 12:52 pm

DANG are just BRILLIANT! Are you after my job mate? YIKES…hot and humid here too, and I am nowhere near feet, just failures! Love the idea of cornstarch in there. I got 3 egg whites; maybe I should give them another stab. Love the song and the inspiration, and love the fact that you are on board MacTweets! Lovely to sing the anthem with you! HUGS!!

Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle July 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Ohh ohh…I want them; and then I would freeze them and eat them that way cause the Creamsicle was my MOST favorite treat from the ice cream man.

Marisa July 10, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Creamsicles are are classic summertime flavor! Great idea. Your macarons look great. I love how pretty and delicate they look together. I really would like to try making them myself one of these days. Thanks!

Bonnie July 10, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I loved orange creamsicles as a kid. I haven’t had one in years and I think I’d rather have one of your creamsicle macs, Thank you very much. They are perfect.

Alessio July 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Very lovely mac Ken! You got the summertime mood just right, I was about to wear my sunglasses when I opened your post ;)
Interesting the addition of cornstarch to the batter (typically it is used for meringue pie). I should try my hand at this little buttons again soon or later, had major disasters the few time I did lol

diva July 13, 2010 at 5:48 am

LOVELY! played Summertime this morning and made me feel goood :) Beautiful macs. I’m truly jealous. x

Cristina July 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

These creamsicle macarons make me happy just looking at them. They’re bright, happy, perfectly formed pieds and sound so good (like an Orange Julius macaron!). Beautifully done!

Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle July 13, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I love the look of these and Creamsicles were my favorite treat from the ice cream man who came to our neighborhood when I was a little girl. Where else would the combination of orange, vanilla and feet be so tempting?

Daydreamer Desserts July 15, 2010 at 8:53 am

Your creamsicle macs turned out beautifully… and they totally scream out “Summertime”! Great job!

Cristie July 15, 2010 at 10:38 am

One of my favorite songs- all time favorites and I can hear it in my head as I write. Your macs sound so wonderful I can almost taste them as well.

Julia July 17, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Ken! What gorgeous, fabulous macs! I love creamsickles, so the idea of those flavours in a macaron has my mouth watering! I’m intrigued by the cornstartch, and I’ve never tried chilling the batter before piping before. I’ll have to give that a try next time. Fantabulous!

The Cilantropist July 18, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Beautiful macs, and creamsicles are definitely the stuff of childhood memories! :)

Cathy at Wives with Knives July 18, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Creamsicles were a childhood favorite here too, and I still love the orange and vanilla flavor combination. What beautiful macarons: the color is perfect and they have lovely little feet. These say summertime all the way.

philandlauren July 19, 2010 at 11:26 am

that looks great–it’s not easy to make macaroons

Sue July 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Your macs are textbook perfect! I love the bright color and the flavor sounds heavenly!

bunkycooks July 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Creamsicles were my favorite as a kid! I always thought the two flavors together were pretty nifty. I guess I was easily amused! Your macs are beautiful. They look like they just arrived from Paris! :)

Asha@FSK July 20, 2010 at 8:01 pm

OMG!! those are picture perfect Macs!!!!!! Beautifully done! :)

Barbara Bakes July 20, 2010 at 9:59 pm

What a great idea for a mac. I love that you used dried orange zest. Thanks for the tip on refrigerating runny batter. Your macs look perfect!

catty July 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Your macs are SO PERFECT and what a great pairing with the song :)

Annapet September 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I love macarons! Yours are lovely.

Glen's Travels August 8, 2011 at 9:13 pm

The creamsicle concept is brilliant for macarons… so nostalgic, and perfect for a hot summer’s day!

Giselle April 11, 2012 at 3:58 am

Your macarons look lovely..
Do you mind sharing how to make dried zest orange in oven?
How much gram needed after dried ? Thank You

hungryrabbit April 11, 2012 at 7:58 am

Hi Giselle, than you for visiting my blog. Place orange zest in oven at 175℃ for 10-15 minutes.You might be able to find dried orange zest/rind at the spice aisle in stores. Have fun. -Ken

Giselle April 12, 2012 at 5:42 am

Thanks ken!

Andrea May 8, 2012 at 12:29 am

oh if only! those look dreamy! these are the one cookies i would love to master at some point in my life! it looks like you will be the perfect teacher! i can tell just french the pictures that they melt in your mouth and are the perfect texture and just all around perfect perfection!

Natalie October 20, 2012 at 4:28 am

Hi, I really like your recipe for these macarons! They look gorgeous. Anyways, I tried your advice on putting 1 extra tablespoon of cornstarch into the batter, but it really didn’t help my macarons form a shell :( We have been having very humid weather lately, around 60-80% humidity. Is it because I didn’t use aged egg whites? I also heard that you can use meringue powder to help dry up the egg whites, is that true? I’ve made like 3 batches already that have failed because of the stupid humidity! >:( I have made 3 or 4 batches of macarons a couple months ago and they turned out beautifully. The only difference is the humidity.

hungryrabbit October 20, 2012 at 8:59 am

Hi Natalie, thanks for visiting my blog and glad you like these macs. Humidity is mac’s worst enemy. Perhaps, you can try to whip the egg whites beyond stiff peak; I’ve heard that works for some people. Best of luck. -Ken

Kerry Taylor November 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Hi Ken! Love your macarons, and will definitely try the cornstarch tip next Summer as I had a complete hissy fit this year when my macaroonies refused to dry out!!
Thank you x

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