Salted Caramel Macarons
Patience. When people use this word around me, it sounds like they are speaking another language. If you’ve worked with me, lived with me, or actually … if you’ve ever met me … you know patience is not a virtue I have. Here is a word to the wise if you are reading this post with the idea of actually making macarons — you must have patience to do so. This may be my last time making macarons because if you know any of my other recipes, you can usually make them end-to-end in less than an hour without making a giant disaster of your kitchen. These, took a lot of time and patience and attention and only yielded like 14 cookies. Regardless, I like a good challenge from time to time (stop rolling your eyes, we know I’m competitive at everything).
These cookies were inspired by my recent California trip, where we stopped at a bakery in Healdsburg called Moustache Baked Goods and ate a salted caramel macaron that changed our lives. (Yes, it was that good). I am much better at eating other people’s macarons than baking them myself.
One piece of knowledge I’d like to drop on you before we get into the recipe. I had to google what the correct spelling was for macaron. Macaron is what we’re making here today. It’s a meringue-based cookie made with almond flour, egg whites, and granulated and powdered sugar, then filled with buttercream or fruit spread. A macaroon is a dense coconut cookie composed of egg whites, sugar, dried coconut and sometimes dipped in chocolate. I don’t judge. I enjoy eating both.
I did a lot of research on different macaron recipes. And let me tell you this. Martha Stewart let me down. This is a complicated cookie. Martha, why do you write your recipes like we are all macaron experts? I couldn’t follow your recipe to save my life. You also dont have pictures associated with your recipes. How the frig am I supposed to know what a stiff peak should look like if you don’t SHOW me Martha? Criminal. It’s criminal. Yeah, I went there. Okay, enough about me and my beef with Martha … on to the cookies.
- 2/3 cup almond meal/flour
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 egg whites
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, in cubes
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp salt crystals
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using the wisk attachment on your mixer, wisk the egg whites until they are foamy. Add in the sugar and then whip the egg whites on a medium to high speed until stiff peaks are formed. This took about 8 minutes for me. What does a stiff peak look like? This is what a stiff peak looks like.
Step 2: While the eggs are peaking, sift together the almond flour, cocoa powder and powdered sugar. SIFT. That is the key to success here. The first time I tried to go with a food processor. Nope, you need to use a sifter to get the desired consistency. I actually double sifted this.
Step 3: FOLD. Take about 1/4 of the dry mix at a time and fold it into the egg whites. I tried to just add it to the mixer and blew the first batch completely. This takes patiences and muscle. (two things, I lack right now). It took me about 5 minutes to really fold in all of the mix.
Step 4: Prep two baking sheets with parchment or sil-pat liners. Take the batter and put it into a large zip-loc bag (unless you’re fancier than me and own a piping bag). Twist it to get the air out. Cut the tip off the end. The way I can recommend making a cookie is draw a circle and fill in the middle, like you can see in the picture below. (Thanks to my baking assistant Colleen today).
Step 5: Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Rotate the tray in the oven and bake another 8 minutes. Lesson learned – I would bake one tray at a time. The top tray formed perfectly. The bottom tray had a few deformed looking cookies.
Step 6: Leave these on the tray to cool for a while. Don’t try to remove them from the tray until they are perfectly cool, otherwise you will break them and then have to eat them.
Step 7: To make the caramel filling, heat the cream until it comes to a boil and set aside. Place the sugar in a separate medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Melt the sugar (without stirring) until the sugar dissolved and gets a caramel color. Remove from the pan and add the hot cream, while whisking continuously. Add in the butter and salt and stir well until smooth. Put it in the refrigerator to cool and harden up a bit.
Step 8: Turn half of the macarons upside down. These will be the ones you put the filling on. Put the cooled caramel filling in a small zip log bag (or piping bag), twist to remove the air and cut off the tip. Pipe the caramel filling onto each of the bottom halves and then gently place the other half on top.
Wonder how I get these great shots?
And there you go. A beautiful salted caramel macaron. This recipe yielded 16. Which means after the one Colleen and I taste tested during the QA phase of today’s baking, there are only 15 for cookie Monday. It’s going to be like the Hunger Games in the office tomorrow morning.
To be honest. These cookies exhausted me. I would love to enlighten you with some witty end-of blog commentary, but I’m just watching the Emmys nodding off on the couch. A double blog post Sunday will do that to ya.
But if you did make it this far into the post, congratulations to you because you are in luck. If you would like to receive some delicious cookies delivered right to you, donate to a great cause to support my running in next week’s Samaritans 5k and I will send you a sampler of Salted Cookie favorites! https://sna.etapestry.com/fundraiser/Samaritans/5K2013/individual.do?participationRef=1834.0.990259241
Happy Sunday everybody.