This is the ultimate summer MUST-BAKE for pastry aficionados! Blood oranges are in season so take advantage of them at your farmer's market. I got a sudden craving to try a new flavor of macarons and had a bowl full of fresh local produce just waiting to be used. It had a wonderful aromatic citrus aroma and flavor, the shells had the beautiful luxurious Bouchon-macaron texture, and I could eat anything with that buttercream slathered right on it. Perfect for summer BBQs/picnics/get togethers or freeze the shells and bake at a later time! It'll take you right back to summer all over again no matter what time of the year! —Stacy
SHELLS: Place 1st two ingredients into a food processor and blitz until everything has broken down more fine. Break down any larger bits sifted through into a bowl. Add lemon zest here, if desired.
Place egg whites into a clean bowl. Mix with a hand mixer or standing mixer until foamy. Add sugar (OKAY TO ADD ALL AT ONCE), and turn on high until glossy stiff peaks form. **You will be able to see peaks when lifted from the whisk, and bowl can be turned upside down without any movement**.
Place half the almond meal mixture into the egg whites. Gently fold with a rubber spatula (**Tip: Fold from the outsides and into the middle**); about 20 folds. Add the rest of the almond meal mixture and continue to fold another 20-25 folds. The batter should resemble molten lava and slowly slide when you do the last fold.
Use Silpats or line baking tray with parchment. You can use stencils that are available online for more uniform sizes.
Spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). Pipe ~1" sized (3 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets 1" apart. Pipe straight down without moving, let it spread slightly and gently lift UP and twist so you avoid the little "peaks".
Tap the trays onto a flat surface about 10 times to release any air bubbles. Let the macarons sit on the counter for 30 minutes. While they sit, preheat the oven to 300F. Tops will be dry to the touch; that's when you know you're ready to bake.
Bake total of 12 minutes, rotating 1/2 way through. They will form their "feet" at the 1/2 way mark. I turned down the oven to about 280F for the second half as my oven is on the hotter side.
Take it out of the oven to cool. DO NOT REMOVE MACARONS STRAIGHT OUT OF THE OVEN. Wait until cool to the touch to gently remove off the tray and onto a rack to finish cooling completely.
BUTTERCREAM: Cream the butter with a stand mixer (or hand mixer) until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time to incorporate. Use a rubber spatula to clean the sides of the bowl. Add the juice and zest and continue to mix at medium speed for another 2-3 minutes. For an extra punch of orange, you can add 1 teaspoon of orange extract.
If too thin add more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more blood orange juice.
Place into a pastry bag (or ziploc with the corner cut). Gently pipe a generous dallop on 1 macaron shell. Top with the second shell and carefully press to adhere.