Yield 56 shells, or 28 assembled macarons
These crowd-pleasing Honey Orange Macarons combine comforting, mellow flavors in a tiny, colorful package.
For the honey orange filling
For the macaron shells
For the honey orange filling: In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the lemon juice. Set aside.
In a saucepan set over medium heat, whisk the orange juice, honey, sugar, and zest together until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is bubbly around the edges (no need to boil). Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together, then gradually pour some of the hot syrup into the eggs, whisking constantly to incorporate. (This will gently warm up the eggs). Whisk the eggs back into the syrup, then whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to medium heat and cook until the mixture is thick like a soft pudding, about 3 minutes, whisking constantly so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Let the mixture cool until it is lukewarm.
Pour the mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process the mixture until it is smooth and emulsified, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times along the way, about 1 minute total. Pour the mixture in a container and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (You can keep the honey orange filling refrigerated for up to 4 days.)
For the macaron shells: Return the egg whites to room temperature at least an hour before making the macarons.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond flour and powdered sugar, then process until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated, 30 seconds to a minute. Sift mixture to make sure no lumps or bigger bits of nuts are left.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium/high speed until frothy, about 1 minute, then slowly pour in the granulated sugar. After 2 minutes, add the gel food coloring, if using. Keep beating until the egg whites are stiff, dense and creamy, about 3 minutes more.
Add the almond and powdered sugar mixture to the egg whites and, using a spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients: slide your spatula all the way to the bottom of the bowl and comes back up to the top. Do this about 6 times to incorporate the dry ingredients, then keep folding for a total of about 14 times until no pockets of dry ingredients remain and the mixture drops from the side of the spatula in a slow, lazy ribbon. Start testing early to make sure not to overfold.
Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper. Cut out the parchment paper so it fits exactly over the bottom of the sheet to make sure the macarons will lay flat. Slide macaron templates under the parchment paper, if using.
Transfer the macaron batter in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch (1.25-cm) round tip. Pipe 1 1/2-inch (3.8-cm) rounds of batter, evenly spaced but still close to one another as they will not expand much.
Carefully slide the macaron templates off the baking sheets, if you used them. Lightly sprinkle the macaron shells with sprinkles, if using. Let the shells rest on the baking sheets for 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C) with a rack set to the middle position. Bake each sheet of macaron shells for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the shells are firm on their feet when you lightly tap on them with the tip of a finger.
Let the shells cool completely to room temperature before assembling them, about an hour.
To assemble the macarons: Pair same sized shells together and set side by side on a work surface. Transfer the honey orange filling to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe some filling over half of the shells. Tuck a tiny piece of honeycomb into the filling of each macaron, if using. Close the macarons, gently pressing the second shells over the filling.
Store the assembled macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate for one night before indulging.
Always bring the macarons back to room temperature before serving.
Recipe by Food Nouveau at https://foodnouveau.com/recipes/desserts/macarons/honey-orange-macarons/