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For the macarons:
2 cups almond flour*
1½ cups powdered sugar
1½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 egg whites from medium eggs or 3/4 liquid cup egg whites, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. water
Buttercream filling (find recipe at www.charlestonmag.com)
Fit three baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a pencil and a two-inch round cutter as a stencil, draw consecutive rows of circles that are two inches apart. (You should get eight circles per baking sheet.) Spray the other sides of the paper with nonstick spray and lay the sprayed sides down onto the baking sheets, smoothing so that they stick.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine almond flour, powdered sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a medium-size mixing bowl. Create a well in the middle of the mixture. Put three egg whites in the well. Mix them in with a rubber spatula until incorporated.
Put the remaining egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and turn the mixer on at medium speed while completing the next two steps.
Put the granulated sugar and water in a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan, making sure there is no sugar on the inside walls of the pot. If there is, use a wet pastry brush to wipe them down; this will prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Without stirring, cook the sugar water over high heat until it reaches 200°F on a candy thermometer, seven to 10 minutes. Check the egg whites in the mixer to make sure they are frothy. If not, increase the speed while continuing to cook the sugar water until it reaches 248°F. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat.
Reduce the speed on the mixer to low. Slowly pour the hot sugar mixture down the inside wall of the mixer’s bowl, avoiding the whisk. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the mixture until you can create a peak that just barely folds over itself when the whisk attachment is pulled out. This meringue should now be cool. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the meringue into the flour and egg white mixture until it is incorporated. Gently fold in the remaining two-thirds just until the mixture looks the same throughout. Do not overwork.
Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium-size round tip. Pipe it onto the circles on the parchment paper, holding the tip above the center of each circle and squeezing just until the batter fills the circle. Bake one sheet of macarons at a time for eight to nine minutes, or until the edges begin to brown, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Set aside and let cool.
Put the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a medium-size round piping tip. Pipe it onto half of the macaron shells in a circular motion 1/4-inch from the edge. Top with the remaining shells, pressing gently just until the filling reaches the edge.
Store the finished macarons in an airtight container, layering parchment or waxed paper between them. If not using on the day that you make them, refrigerate. Tightly covered, they will keep for one week in the refrigerator.
*You can buy almond flour or you can make your own by processing raw, unbleached almonds in a food blender. For best results, process a cup at a time. Sift and return any pieces too big to go in the sifter to the next batch of almonds to process.