If it were possible to eat brightness and sunshine...these mandarin orange macarons would definitely be the way!!!
I know citrus season is very particular during the year but I personally enjoy all citrus fruits year round.
These French macarons are tinted the prettiest, brightest shade of pale orange, coated in mint sugar, and then filled with a mandarin orange butter cream!
When I think what is the best flavor macaron? My mind always goes to a citrus flavor. I think because macarons themselves are sweet and rich, the citrus just cuts through that sweetness and really balances out the flavor.
What is a Mandarin Orange?
You probably have heard of a tangerine, and that's because they are from the same family!
Mandarin oranges are a bit different than a regular navel orange.
Mandarin oranges are generally smaller, sweeter oranges that have a a thinner skin that can be peeled super easily. If you've ever had a Cutie, those are mandarins!!!
I prefer using these oranges vs. regular navel ones mainly due to the taste of the orange itself. The flavor is much less acidic and has more of a sweeter flavor. In this recipe, we utilize the peel and zest of the orange. I find that regular orange peel has a very strong and almost artificial taste to it, especially when mixed into a buttercream. The zest of the mandarin oranges is much less artificial tasting, so it actually gives a 'real' orange flavor.
How to Make the Macaron Shell
For this particular shell, you'll need:
- Orange food coloring- I ALWAYS recommend using Americolor gel food coloring. It is the truest color of all food colorings and doesn't mess with the liquid ratio in your macaron shells!
- Granulated sugar- we are going to grind the sugar with some fresh mint for the tops of the shell!
- Fresh mint- used with the sugar to create a mint flavored sugar.
- Pastry brush- use the pastry brush to brush a bit of water to the top of the macaron shell and then dip into our mint sugar!
- Add 2 drops of orange food coloring into the egg whites while they whip.
- Once the macaron shells are done baking, allow to cool completely.
- Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, combine the fresh mint and sugar and pulse or grind to combine. Process just long enough to break down the mint.
- Once cooled, dip your pastry brush in a small amount of water, just to wet the bristles. The brush shouldn't be soaking wet. Then brush the top of each shell and dip it into the mint sugar.
I have a FULL blog post here that is BURSTING with knowledge and information on how to make macaron shells, as well as the blank slate recipe that I use for every macaron recipe including this one!!!
Mandarin Orange Macarons
- 124 g powdered sugar
- 140 g blanched almond meal
- 107 g egg whites
- 110 g sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1-2 drops orange gel food coloring
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup fresh mint
Mandarin Mint Buttercream
- 10 tbsp soft, room temperature butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 tbsp mandarin orange juice
- 2 mandarins, zested
- ⅛ cup mint sugar
- Sift the almond meal and powdered sugar together into a large bowl. If there are any large pieces of almond meal, discard. Set the bowl aside.
- Add your room temperature egg whites to a stand mixing bowl with the whisk attachment. Begin whipping on medium speed (3-4) for 1 minute until foamy.
- When the whites are foamy, add the cream of tartar.
- After adding the cream of tartar, start sprinkling in the sugar. Do not add too much at once or it will deflate your egg whites! Once all of the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium high (5-6) for 5-6 minutes, then add the food coloring. Then continue whipping on medium high for 1-2 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.
- Using a rubber spatula, add the whites to a large bowl. Sprinkle in ⅓ of the dry ingredients and gently fold them into the whites. Try not to fold too aggressively, you want to preserve as much air as possible in this step. Continue adding the dries in thirds until all of it has been added.
- Use the spatula to scrape the batter against the sides of the bowl. Every few scrapes test to see if the batter is ready. Pick up some of the batter and let it flow back down into the bowl. If it flows slowly and looks like ribbons, try to form a figure '8' . If you can make a figure 8 without the batter breaking, its ready!
- Fill your piping bag with a #12 round tip. Better to have a smaller tip than a larger one! Flip a sheet pan upside down and lay down your parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Pipe directly from above into desired size.
- Grab your pan and firmly tap it on the counter. Make sure you tap all sides of the pans. This will release any air bubbles to the surface and will flatten our your shell so there is no piping lines.
- Use a tooth pick to pop any bubbles that come to the surface for the smoothest shell possible.
- Let them sit at room temperature (make sure they are not under any vent or fan this will cause the shells to bake lopsided!) until they form a skin. You should be able to touch the top of the shells with your finger and it shouldn't leave a mark.
- Bake the macarons at 275-300 for 13-14 minutes. The shells are done when you can gently touch the top of the shell and it doesn't budge from the feet.
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before removing.
To make the mint sugar
- In a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, grind and process the sugar with the mint until combined.
For the Buttercream
- In a mixing bowl, add the soft butter and mix with the paddle until smooth.
- Add the salt and powdered sugar ½ cup at a time and mix fully on low before adding the next amount. Once all the sugar is added, whip on medium high for 2-3 minutes, until very light and fluffy.
- Add the mandarin juice, zest, and mint sugar. Mix to combine.
More Macaron Flavors!
- Sour Watermelon Macarons
- Malted Dark Chocolate Macarons
- Strawberry Lemon Macarons
- Margarita French Macarons
- Earl Grey French Macarons
- Marshmallow French Macarons
- Birthday Cake Macarons
- Banana Cream Pie Macarons
- Chocolate Coconut Samoa Macarons
- Cookies and Cream Macarons
- How to Make French Macarons: a Step-by-Step Guide
- Sweet Tart Macaron Cookies