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Sea Salt Caramel Macarons

Yield: about 2 1/2 dozen
Author: Maryanne Cabrera

Ingredients

French Macarons:

  • 250 grams (about 2 1/2 cups) almond flour*
  • 250 grams (about 2 cups) confectioners' sugar
  • 190 grams egg whites (about 6 large egg whites)
  • 65 grams (5 Tbsp) water
  • 250 grams (1 cup + 2 Tbsp) superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried egg white powder

Sea Salt Caramel:

  • 250 grams (about 1 cup) heavy cream
  • 350 grams (about 1 3/4 cup) superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 350 grams (about 1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

Instructions

French Macarons:

  • In a food processor, pulse together almond flour and confectioners’ sugar. Sift twice to ensure you will have a nice, smooth shell.
  • Divide egg whites into two containers, 95 grams each.  Take one portion and pour over sifted almond sugar mixture.  Let egg white sit on top and set mixture aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip together second portion of egg whites and dried egg white powder.  Whip on low-medium speed.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan mix together water and superfine sugar.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cook mixture to 250 degrees F.  Do not stir or agitate the mixture while it is heating up.  If you must, you have gently swirl the pan by hand.  Stirring it will cause sugar crystals to form.
  • Once sugar mixture has reached desired temperature, remove from heat and pour a steady stream into the whipping egg whites. Add this point, the egg whites should be foamy before you add the sugar.  After all the sugar has been added, increase speed to high until mixture doubles in size.  Turn down to half speed and cool down to thicken.  When mixture has cooled to about 120 degrees F is it ready to use.  While you are waiting for the mixture to cool down, take the almond sugar mixture and fold into the egg whites sitting on top.  Mix until the dry mixture is moist and wet.
  • Fold 1/3 of whipped meringue into the almond sugar mixture.  Continue to add 1/3 of meringue until all has been incorporated.  Continue to fold mixture until the batter is not too liquidly and not too stiff.  If you pull a line  in the batter, it should slowly sink back together.  Others have said it should flow like magma.
  • Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with an 11mm plain round piping tip. Line a couple of baking sheet trays with parchment paper or a silpat mat.  Pipe batter onto prepared baking sheet trays.  I like to pipe 2 inch rounds, but you can choose to go smaller or larger.  Pipe rounds at least 1/2 inch apart from each other.  Once you are finished with one tray, tap the bottom of the tray against the table to release any air bubbles.  Let shells air dry until shells form a skin.  Depending on the temperature and humidity of your room, drying time can vary.
  • Bake in a preheated 315 degree F oven.  Bake for 8 minutes to allow feet to form.  Then rotate the pan and bake for another 8-10 minutes until macarons are done.  Remove sheet tray from oven and transfer to cooling rack.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes before peeling macarons off parchment. Once macarons are cooled to room temperature, pair similar sized/shaped macarons together then fill with caramel.

Sea Salt Caramel:

  • Using a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat the sugar on high until it melts.  Lower the heat and allow the syrup to color.  Make sure not to agitate the sugar to prevent crystallization.  Remove from heat once syrup is aromatic and amber in color.
  • Warm up heavy cream in the microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute.  Add in warm cream to sugar syrup and whisk.  Be careful as the mixture will bubble and steam vigorously.  Continue to whisk until mixture has slightly cooled.  Add in the butter and salt.  Continue to whisk until homogenized.  Let cool to room temperature.

Notes

  • You can use blanched or raw almond flour.  I used raw almond flour (from Trader Joe’s) which results in that speckled brown shell.  If you want a clean colored macaron shell, go with blanched almond flour.
  • Caramel fillings should be heated to between 250-265 degrees F. Be careful not to heat beyond 270 degrees because the caramel will separate.  Otherwise, if you have runny caramel thats more like caramel sauce.