Why have I not been making macarons every week of my life?!
Who knew such a seemingly innocent and reputedly challenging dessert would be so simple to make…and so delicious!?
I have always loved macarons, as is evident by my undying love for pastry chefs like Pierre Herme and Sadaharu Aoki and the Laduree macaron keychain on my purse. But I have for some reason only made them once in my life–I mostly just dream about them from afar and flock to the aforementioned pastry shops as soon as I step foot in a city big enough to have them.
So I made macarons because I thought it would be a good way to challenge myself (and to calm my need to eat them until I make it to Paris this March). And what resulted was completely life changing, because now I am going to make macarons on a regular basis, in every flavor a person can possibly imagine….and also put them on every other dessert that is physically capable of holding a macaron. I also succeeded in changing my mom’s life, because she has always told me how much she didn’t like macarons–but one bite of mine and she was completely sold! (And not even in that mom way of her placating me and my dessert solely because I’m her child :P)
To make things harder on myself, because I just can’t seem to resist, I had already planned to use the macarons as decorations on a cake I planned to make–even before I had made them and knew they would turn out well. And I was making the macarons + the cake for a friend of mine who has really never tasted anything I have baked…. so the pressure was on. My friend Jenny said she likes caramel and that she would lean toward macarons over the other list of desserts I was considering making…so in my mind that equalled making a Caramel Macaron Cake.
I wanted to not have the stress of taking a video while making the macarons in case things didn’t go according to plan, so unfortunately I don’t have a video of the process, but I do have several pictures.
And not to be full of myself, but the pictures of the completed macarons are out of this world. Seriously. I think I fell in love.
I used the recipe for Salted Caramel Cinnamon Macarons from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and I was really happy with how everything turned out. I really didn’t make any adaptions and I think I would do everything the same way if I were making the recipe all over again (though I really wish I had a double oven since you have to bake one tray of macarons at a time and I made a double batch >_<).
Caramel Macaron Recipe
from Sally’s Baking Addition
200g (about 2 cups) powdered sugar
100g (about 1 cup) almond flour
120g (about 3 large) egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
40g (3 tablespoons) sugar
1) Place the powdered sugar and almond flour in a food processor or blender and pulse for 30 seconds until combined and fine in texture. Set aside.
2) Beat the egg whites and salt together on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixture. Switch to high speed and beat just until stiff peaks form. Fold in the sugar one tablespoon at a time.
3) Fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites until combined. The mixture will be smooth, sticky and glossy when it is done. Let the batter rest for 10-30 minutes.
4) Line 2-3 baking sheets with un-greased parchment paper and prepare your piping bag.
5) Fill the piping bag and pipe small (about 2″) circles on the baking sheets. Gently tap the sheets to release bubbles and sprinkle cinnamon on the top of each cookie. Let the cookies rest for 45-60 minutes and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
6) Bake sheets one at a time for 10 minutes each, then remove and allow cookies to cool completely before removing from the sheets and filling with buttercream.
Salted Caramel Buttercream
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/3 cup store bought or homemade salted caramel
1) In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter for one minutes on high speed, until the butter is smooth and creamy.
2) Beat in the powdered sugar until it is completely blended and then add in the vanilla. Turn off the mixer and fold in the caramel.
Preparing and Storing the Macarons:
–> Arrange similarly sized macaron cookies together, then pipe buttercream onto one cookie, sandwiching it with a second cookie. Be careful not to press too hard, as you don’t want to break the cookie or allow the buttercream to press outside of the edges of the cookie.
–> Macarons keep well covered at room temperature for a day or two, or up to a week in the refrigerator.