Success! This is a Vanilla-Orange Macaron
My Spice Sage which, at the time of this posting is giving away 6 free Madagascar Vanilla Beans with your $20+ purchase. I don't work for these nice folks, but I really do recommend them for your spice needs. I've only had happy experiences with them! I scraped out all the seeds and rubbed them into the sugar before mixing it with the egg whites. The rest of the bean I chopped into 2" pieces and buried in a little more sugar in a jar for something else later, thinking vanilla sugar might be good in my coffee, too.
The recipe I used for the Macarons is from Bravetart , one of my favorite baking blogs, so check it out there. She gives the best explanations and made it possible for my macaron perfection!!
The key, in brief, is whipping the egg whites to the right stiff/fluffyness, then knocking out just the right amount of air when you fold in the dry ingredients. Deflation is what you are looking for, but not too far. I was able to put the whole batch in a very large disposable Wilton pastry bag, and added a coupler and #12 tip because the bag had already been used for a large 2D tip, so the end was cut pretty big. It worked just right. I used two parchment covered cookie sheets and a 275°F oven for 19 min. Some of the macarons in the center of the pans were slightly less don that the ones around the edges, but I used them anyway. The domes were smooth and had that heavenly delicate meringue 'crisp'ness, and they all had the required "feet" the little sort of crumbly look around the bottoms that are signature for macarons.
You can find a recipe for French Buttercream here on Joe Pastry
I used 1 1/2 tsp Watkins Orange Extract instead of the called for vanilla extract.
I gave the last bite of the first one to Fred (I had to taste it first!) and he hit it on the nail when he said that with their rich delicacy you only need one (but I knew that I was glad I hadn't made them sooner because I'd be about 600 lbs by now!!)
I've boxed them up and they're in the fridge waiting for tomorrow.