Salted caramel macarons
To some, making macarons are the ultimate culinary challenge, but trust me, they're not so much difficult to make as opposed to time consuming. There are a few steps involved and some waiting time, but if you take it slowly and carefully you will be rewarded with a large batch of these sweet and salty beauties. At around $3 a pop at cake shops, these are worth mastering at home.
Photo: Kristy Komadina
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- For the caramel
- 250ml pouring cream
- 350g caster sugar
- 350g butter, cubed
- 10g sea salt flakes
- For the macaron shells
- 300g ground almonds
- 300g icing sugar
- 220g egg whites, separated into 2 lots of 110 gms
- 300g white sugar
- 75g water
- dash brown food colouring
For the salted caramel, place the sugar in a medium-sized, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Allow the sugar to caramelise. As soon as you see patches starting to melt and caramelise, gently shake the pan, but do not stir.
Meanwhile, heat the cream in a small saucepan, but remove from heat as soon as it starts to boil.
When the sugar has reached a dark golden colour, remove it from the heat and slowly pour in the hot cream whilst mixing. Place pan back on a very low heat, and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about ten minutes. Add butter, one piece at a time, whisking after each addition. Pour the caramel into a shallow container and place in the fridge until thick (about an hour).
When you're ready to use the caramel, place it into a medium bowl and whisk using an electric mixer. Add the flake salt at this stage. The dark caramel mixture will suddenly become pale and creamy. Taste and add more salt if you like.
For the macarons, mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together. Sieve into a large bowl. Add the food colouring and 110g of the egg whites to the sugar and almond mixture and mix to combine.
Place remaining 110g of egg whites in bowl of mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Place white sugar and water into saucepan stir to combine and cook without stirring to 118°C. Once the mixture reaches 115°C start mixing the egg whites on medium-high until they are foamy and almost forming soft peaks. Once the sugar syrup reaches 118°C remove from heat and slowly pour in a thin stream down the side of the mixer bowl continuing to whisk on high. Continue to whisk the meringue on high until the side of the bowl is only a little warm to touch. The meringue mixture should be thick and glossy.
Add a third of the meringue mixture to almond mixture to loosen the batter. You don't need to be particularly gentle. Add the rest of the meringue and stir through, knocking out some of the air as you go.
Add the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe small rounds onto baking trays lined with baking paper. (TIP: I googled "macaron template" and printed it out to place underneath the baking paper. It helped me to pipe even circles.) Tap the trays firmly on the bench a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Leave on the bench to form a skin (about 30 minutes).
Meanwhile preheat oven to 140°C. Bake the macaroons for around 13 to 15 minutes. Remove the baking trays and immediately slide off the macarons and the baking paper onto the work surface and let cool completely before removing the shells for the paper.
Fill a piping bag with the caramel and pipe a generous amount onto one macaron shell. Gently press together with another shell until the caramel meets the edges.
Kristy is a mother of three who loves feeding her family wholesome, nutritious and above all delicious food. She has her own food blog called The Life She Made where she posts family style recipes and talks about life as a stay at home mother.