This recipe, I've bookmarked for months, but never got around to making them till now. I love all things with salted caramel. Caramel alone is just too sweet for me. With the addition of a pinch of salt, this makes salted caramel extremely palatable to me. There's a deep, sultry character to this - a little mysterious, a little sexy. Totally my type :).
I also tried painting macarons for the first time. Inspired by the macaron goddess Tartlette herself, I decided to try my hand at it by painting the ivory white macaron shells with brown gel colouring. They aren't the prettiest strokes but they do help make the macarons look more interesting than just plain white shells :).
Armed with Pierre Herme's salted caramel macaron recipe, I made caramel from scratch for the first time. I read numerous posts with warnings of splashbacks upon adding cream into the sugar and butter mixture, but none of that happened to me. Making caramel isn't that intimidating after all. I'm sure God was taking good care of me while I was attempting those potentially dangerous kitchen stunts...haha :P.
I'm really happy with how this batch of macarons turned out. The shells had nice, compact feet, and the filling was good and didn't make my shells soggy - definitely a keeper! However, because the filling was salted caramel cream instead of salted caramel, the caramel taste was much lighter, but creamier, smoother and easier on the palate.
After all these batches of macarons, I concluded one thing - making macarons are extremely fun! I love the entire process - from ensuring that my shells have smooth domes and prominent feet, to decorating the shells (with paint or other decorative toppings), to creating delicious fillings to complement these lovely shells - each step of the macaron-making process allows so much room for creativity that it makes it really fun and exciting!
Furthermore, macarons are extremely addictive. A full batch of macarons disappears within days in my household. I barely have enough to pass on to my friends if I didn't reserve them first. Tsk tsk to all the macaron pinchers at home...haha.
Will leave you with the recipe for now. I'm sure there will be more salted caramel macaron batches to come...which leaves me wondering what flavours shall I make for Christmas? Hmmmmm...back to the drawing board...
Salted Caramel Macarons
150g ground almonds150g icing sugar
120g egg whites (divided equally into two portions)
150g granulated sugar
[Salted Caramel Cream]
165g granulated sugar
165g single cream
32.5g salted butter
145g unsalted butter
1. Sift together the ground almonds and confectioner's sugar. Set aside.
2. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook till the sugar syrup reaches 118 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, beat 60g of the egg whites in the electric mixer on medium speed till soft peak form. When the sugar syrup is ready (both should come together at about the same time), pour the syrup in a steady stream into the egg whites with the mixer running on low. Increase the speed to high and beat till you get a thick, glossy meringue and the mixture is cool to the touch (around 10 minutes).
3. Mix the other 60g of the egg whites with the almond/sugar mixture. Add a third of the meringue into the mixture and fold gently. Add another third and fold before adding the final third. Fold gently till it flows like lava, with a thick, steady stream flowing from the spatula. Be careful not to overwork the batter as a couple more turns will result in over-runny batter.
4. Transfer the batter into piping bags fitted with big round tips. Pipe onto pre-drawn circles on parchment paper. Leave it out to set for around 25-30 minutes before baking it at 150 degrees Celsius for 13 minutes.
5. Once done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and slide the parchment onto a cooling rack. Let cool for a few minutes before removing the shells from the parchment.
[Salted Caramel Cream]
1. Warm the cream but don’t boil, set aside. Pour about 50g of sugar into a large saucepan set over medium heat and cook until melted then add another 50g. Continue until all the sugar is melted. Allow the melted sugar to caramelise until a very dark amber colour. Being cautious of splashbacks, add the salted butter and mix with a spatula. Slowly add in the cream and then cook until the caramel reaches 108C over low heat. Pour into a baking dish and put plastic wrap in contact with the caramels surface. Keep in the fridge until cold.
2. Beat the butter in the bowl of your mixer for about 8 to 10 mins, then add the caramel in two additions and beat till combined. If the mixture is very soft allow to firm up in the fridge slightly before filling the macarons.
3. Pipe a dollop of the cream on the macaron shell and sandwich with another shell.
Yields 50 mini macarons.