livin’ easy — creamsicle macarons

livin’ easy — 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


  • 2/3 cups (3 oz) ground almonds
  • 1-1/2 cups (5 1/4 oz) confectioners’ 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
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 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. 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.

11. 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).

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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.


1. 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.

Heatwave Advisory:
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.