Friday, 4 October 2013

Salted Caramel Macarons

I know, I know, these aren't fruity at all! My efforts to make more fruit based desserts flew out the window in the face of salted caramel buttercream. Last time I made macarons I accidentally sifted icing sugar mixture, rather than pure icing sugar, into the almond meal. According to the internet this is a serious macaron dealbreaker, so I started over with the correct ingredients. I couldn't bring myself to waste the mixture, which was measured out perfectly and unable to be used for anything else. I decided to give it a go and see the results. Delicious! If you have accidentally used icing sugar mixture, I suggest go ahead with the recipe but be aware that your batter will be thicker (mine did not run off the spoon no matter how much folding I did) and increase the cooking time slightly (mine are sticky inside at 10 minutes). The buttercream is truly to die for with these plain shells.

Salted caramel macarons (shells adapted from Macaron, buttercream adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Oct/Nov 2011)
140g almond meal
225g pure icing sugar
100g egg whites, room temperature
Cocoa for dusting
 125g butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tbsp golden syrup
1/4 tsp salt
  1. Measure out greaseproof baking paper for two baking trays. Use a jigger (shot glass) and pencil to draw circles about 3cm wide and 2cm apart on the paper. Place the baking paper pencil side down on the trays.
  2. Sift the almond meal and icing sugar together twice. Discard anything remaining in the sieve.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  4. 'Macaronner' (fold) the sifted mixture into the egg whites. Continue folding until glossy and runs off the spoon in a continuous drip (doesn't plop).
  5. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain piping nozzle. Pipe rounds onto the baking paper using the circles as a guide. Tap the trays firmly on the bench to release any air bubbles.
  6. Lightly dust cocoa over the shells.
  7. Allow to stand for between 20 minutes and 2 hours, to allow a 'skin' to form on the shells. When they are ready you should be able to touch one and have no mixture stick to your finger.
  8. Preheat oven to 150°C.
  9. One tray at a time, place shells into preheated oven and immediately reduce temperature to 130°C. Bake for 12 minutes until firm to touch and have 'feet' (the ruffle around the bottom) but are not coloured. Cool completely on the baking paper.
  10. To make the buttercream, beat butter until pale and creamy. Add sugar and beat for 15 minutes. Add almond meal, golden syrup and salt and beat until combined. Taste and slowly add salt if necessary.
  11. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a plain piping nozzle. When the shells are cool, pipe the buttercream onto half of the shells and sandwich with remaining shells.
  12. Store macarons in single layers between sheets of baking paper.

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