Salted Caramel Macarons & 2 Years of Blogging
Two years ago, very randomly and almost impulsively, I decided to start a blog. I had no idea where it was going to go or if I'd still stick to it a year from that point. I had always assumed I would do a simple workplace job for the rest of my life but after working for a few months, I was already looking for a way out. Joe was the one who encouraged me to pursue food photography and I'm so glad I listened to him.
Food photography led to baking, which led to recipes. Later that same month of 2009, I visited Paris with friends and tasted my first macaron, standing in a long line at the classic Laduree bakery. I returned home and read about how difficult it is to make them, and decided to see it as a fun challenge to myself.
And now, two very content and busy years later, I'm doing holiday gift orders and selling macarons by the box to a high-end fancy grocery store in St Louis, as well as writing for Sauce magazine, Honest Cooking, all the while maintaining the blog. I've always been all over the place with my interests but this is the first time I've actually discovered something that makes me so happy fulfilled...I feel like now, more than ever, I'm truly loving and enjoying life.
It hasn't been easy but definitely all completely worth it. My food photography, as well as my recipes, have definitely improved with much practice over the years. I hope in a year from now my photos are even better than what you see here today. It's been two years of pushing myself and trying to challenge myself, to make a more interesting blog, to see what I'm capable of. And I can't wait to see what's to come.
I've learned so much about food in the last few years. I've had so many disastrous recipes and kitchen disasters, surprising successes, and delicious mistakes. I got over my fear of butter, eventually fell in love with the harmony of fruit (raspberries for the win!) and chocolate, and discovered an ardent passion for the combination of sea salt and chocolate.
So today, I thought I'd share a simple recipe for salted caramel macarons. It's possibly my favorite macaron of all time, and that's big, since I don't actually eat any of my own creations! I find it difficult to stop eating these though, so beware.
I combined the classic macaron shell, tinted with some yellow gel food coloring (that turns to a cream color after mixing with the brown almond flour) and used my favorite salted caramel buttercream as the filling! You've been warned.
Dare I say it, these might be better than my salted caramel cupcakes... Try it out and let me know!
Salted Caramel Macarons
Adapted from NotSoHumblePie
- 100g egg whites (about 3 eggs but weighing would be ideal!)
- 35g granulated sugar
- 120g almond meal/flour (or very finely ground almonds) - sifted
- 200g powdered sugar - sifted
- Yellow gel food coloring
Combine the almond flour and the powdered sugar in a bowl, set aside.
Beat the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl with an electric beater, on low.
Add in the granulated sugar and continue beating.
Slowly turn the beater on high (after about a minute on each speed).
Stop when the whites are glossy and stiff and don't move in the bowl.
Add in the almond flour mixture in small amounts and use a flexible spatula to incorporate it into the batter.
Use the spatula to methodically scrape around the sides of the bowl, moving it into the center.
Add some more flour mixture and fold again.
Constantly scrape the spatula from the sides to the middle until the batter becomes one.
Repeat until all the flour mixture is incorporated and there are no streaks in the bowl.
The batter should be of lava consistency... if you drop some batter back into the bowl or a plate, it should spread and shouldn't leave a peak.
(Video on making macaron batter, check it out!)
Use a piping bag with a round tip and fill with the batter.
Hold the bag perpendicular to the sheet.
Pipe out 1/2 inch mounds of batter onto a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper, leaving space for them to spread.
Leave out for about 30 minutes or until the shells look dried on top.
Bake at 285 degrees, for 20 minutes (rotate the pan at 10 minutes).
*I've had the most success with using a wooden spoon as a wedge in between the oven door to prevent the macarons from cracking, so you may want to try that!*
Let the pan cool completely before attempting to remove the macarons and fill with the salted caramel cream.
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 sticks salted butter (softened)
1 cups powdered sugar
Put the water and the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. I would go ahead and measure out the cream and the vanilla since the sugar crystallizes so quickly. Keep an eye over the water/sugar mixture and keep stirring. As soon as it turns golden, take it off the heat. Some people wait till it turns brown but it tastes too burnt to me by that point, so I would stop after it's been golden for a few seconds. Slowly (it will splatter) add the cream and vanilla and keep stirring with a spoon over and over until it's fully incorporated. Then pour into a jar and let it cool.
This caramel sauce recipe makes 2 servings for the frosting, so only use half of it for the frosting above.
Beat the butter and the sugar until it becomes fluffy and pour in 1/2 the amount of caramel sauce you made, to taste.
Pair the macaron shells and smear some (or a lot) of frosting and sandwich them together. Let them sit in an air-tight container in the fridge overnight. They will taste twice as nice the next day.