The macaron madness continues! And shows no signs of abating. Since moving to using silicone mats I’ve started to run into macaron errors. I guess it’s better experiencing it now then during my first try of them, but it can be frustrating. It happens most when I tweak the base recipe, so that’s gonna be a given.
But making mistakes is an important part of the learning curve. Through making errors and working to correct them, I’m learning. And hey, an ugly macaron doesn’t mean a bad-tasting macaron. Just an unbloggable macaron. I can deal with more excuses to bake.
Perfectly formed or not, these babies seem to disappear just as quickly as I can make them. So while they’re still desired, I’ll keep on baking!
What makes these macarons different is that this time I didn’t fill them with a tea-infused ganache. I have absolutely no desire to go near a buttercream filling, but I’d wondered how a sweeter cream-based filling might taste.
This caramel filling is super easy. When making the caramel you don’t have to worry about not stirring or avoiding crystallisation like you would if we were doing sugar work. Just keep heating and stirring until it all melts.
Then you add the cream. It’s going to fizz up, this is completely normal, so don’t worry. Just be careful because it generates a lot of heat as it does this, so handies hovering over the top of the pot will get scalded if you don’t watch yourself. I was using a short, stumpy spoon and learned the hard way. “Stir, stir, ow, stir, ow, ow…”
Once your caramel cream stops throwing a hissy fit, you can add in the butter.
I thought I’d experiment with some praline on these ones. I blended some in my food processor and sprinkled on top. I had no idea how it was going to behave. If it would just melt all over the place or not.
Well, the caramel did melt all over the place. But I think I liked the effect anyway.
For some of them, I only sprinkled the praline on the right side of the shell.
The caramel filling makes it a lot sweeter and richer than the tea. You’re going to want to have a little bit of a sweet tooth for this. That said, the salt in the caramel does help cut through the sweetness.
I baked half a batch of heart-shaped macarons and took them to my partner’s place for Mother’s Day.
For the round ones, I packaged them up and sent them with the domo cookies to my friend for her birthday.
I looked into buying macaron boxes, but in the end decided it would be cheaper to make them myself. And loads more fun. And then I could give them a peepy window. Peepy windows are fun.
Salted Caramel Macarons
125g almond meal
150g pure icing sugar
3 large egg whites (aged 1-3 days) at room temperature
65g caster sugar
almond praline, blended into crumbs (optional)
Salted Caramel Cream
100g caster sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) cream
3g ground sea salt
100g butter, cut into chunks
- Prepare baking trays with double sheets of baking paper. Trace 2.5-3cm circles onto one of the sheets of baking paper as a guide for piping your macarons, leaving a few cm between each; make sure the side with the ink/lead is facing down so it does not come into contact with your food. Alternatively, use a macaron mat.
- Sift almond meal and icing sugar together; sift mixture thrice more, then set aside.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy; add gel paste or powdered food colouring here if colouring your shells. Continue beating on low speed, adding caster sugar a tablespoon at a time. Increase to high speed and beat until mixture forms stiff peaks and is glossy. You should be able to hold the mixture above your head without it falling.
- Fold in half of the almond meal mixture until combined, add the second half and repeat.
- Using your spoon or spatula, swipe the mixture against the side of the bowl, scoop the batter from the bottom and plop it upside down. This movement deflates the meringue. You need to repeat this process until your batter is sufficiently runny. To test, look for the following signs: Your batter will slowly slide back down the sides. If you scoop up a bit of batter with your spatula or spoon and let it drop back into the bowl, it will fall slowly, form a small mound on top of the rest of the batter slowly sink back into it. Another good way to test is by getting a tea spoon of batter and plopping it into a small plate. If the peak formed when it falls from the spoon sinks back into the batter within 15 seconds, it is done.
- Fill a piping bag with a 1cm round nozzle, and pipe rounds of macaron batter onto your baking trays. Once done, bang your trays against the counter to knock any air out of the batter. Set aside your macarons aside to dry at room temperature. This will take 45mins-1 hour. Macarons are sufficiently dried when the batter does not stick to your finger when touched. Once dried, sprinkle with a little almond praline if desired.
- Preheat oven to 200°C or 230°C fan-forced.
- Place tray in the oven, reduce temperature to 140°C or 130°C fan-forced. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Here is where you need to experiment, as every oven is different and it will make a difference for macarons. Keep an eye on them and make sure your shells don’t char. Shells will be ready when they can be lifted from the baking paper without sticking. 25 minutes did it for me. Note, if using a macaron mat, the biscuits bake batter at a slightly lower temperature. Try decreasing the temperature by about 10°C and baking for 5-10 minutes longer.
- Set aside to cool.
Salted Caramel Cream
- Place sugar in a medium, heavy-based saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves and turns caramel in colour. Meanwhile, heat cream in the microwave for 30 seconds.
- When sugar has melted, pour cream into the pot and stir until well combined.
- Remove from heat, stir in the salt, then leave to cool to about 45°C.
- Add the butter, little by little, stirring continuously to combine completely. Once combined, allow to cool completely.
- Beat the mixture until it becomes light and pale.
- Pipe or spoon the mixture onto one half the the macaron shells, then sandwich with the other half. Allow macarons a day in the fridge to mature before serving.
You’ll find the printable version of this recipe here.