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Salted caramel chocolate macarons

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same”

I think Rudyard Kipling may have been talking about making macarons!

Ok maybe Rudyard Kipling had more serious things on his mind when he wrote If than macarons but he may could easily have been referring to the little blitters! In my experience you meet with a fair amount of disaster before any triumph is found!

But oh when you do every pound of disaster is surpassed by just an ounce of success!

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This recipe uses the Italian method and I certainly have more luck with it than the French way. It involves cooking your meringue base by pouring the hot sugar syrup on to the beaten egg whites- something I was petrified of doing before I remembered I had handled far more dangerous substances than sugar in my Chemistry degree and as managed to complete that relatively unscathed I really didn’t have anything to worry about- and neither do you!

I do however have some rules when it comes to macaron making:

  1. It must be a warm dry day- the shells have to form a skin before they go in the oven- they have never going to manage this in a cold English house when it’s raining outside- so spare the heartache and bake a cake instead…
  2. I must be calm- the distress of a botched batch isn’t worth risking if you are already having a bad day!

Thankfully England is drier than you think and I’m a very calm and happy person so these criteria aren’t too hard to meet!

Having tried various methods I have based the following recipe on Pierre Hermé’s and his step by step instructions in his book Macaron. (Which I must say is the most amazing book- the flavour combinations are out of this world!).

Perhaps recipe is the wrong word to use here- really what I have put are guidelines. There are so many variables that you do have to give it a go and see what works for you, your climate and your oven. And do give it a go! (The flattened cracked ones are delicious with ice cream!)

This time I decided to fill my macarons with a caramel chocolate ganache and a surprise salted caramel centre. The caramel chocolate ganache makes a nice change from the plain variety and the properly salted salted caramel went down very well at work- don’t be stingy on the salt! I’ll admit that this salted caramel recipe is a cheats method – but after all the other stages I felt it was needed.

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Recipe

Makes 30 macarons

For the macarons

Adapted from ‘Macaron’ by Pierre Hermé

150g ground almonds
140g icing sugar
50g egg white
Food colouring
+
140g granulated sugar
35ml water
50g egg white

  • Blitz the ground almonds in a food processor, sieve and weigh out 140g, discarding the larger lumps left over
  • Mix the icing sugar and ground almonds and sieve again into another bowl to ensure it is as smooth as possible
  • Colour the first batch of egg whites and pour over the almond/ sugar mixture but do not stir
  • Add the granulated sugar to a pan with the water and gently heat, stirring carefully (wiping any granules of sugar off the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush) until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to high and leave to boil (without stirring) until it reaches 118°C
  • Meanwhile, as the sugar is beginning to boil whisk the egg whites to soft peaks
  • Once the sugar has reached 118°C pour it in a steady stream onto the whisking (medium speed) egg whites. (You want the sugar to land just to the side of the whisk- try not to land it on the metal as it will form sugar crystals, nor too far up the side of the bowl as it will cool too much before it hits the egg whites)
  • Continue whisking these until they have cooled (the bowl will still feel warm but not as hot as it was)- this is your Italian meringue
  • Spoon a third of the meringue onto the almond mixture and fold in. Once it is all combined add the remaining meringue a spoonful at a time folding gently to keep as much air as possible. Do not over mix- it should be the consistency of a thick cake batter- too much mixing will make it runny and make piping the macarons very difficult.
  • Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle and pipe into 1inch rounds on baking paper on a metal baking tray. (To help you can draw around a coin, leaving an inch between each circle, turn the paper over and pipe onto this, leaving a little room for mixture to spread out slightly as it settles)
  • Leave these out in for around 30mins until they have formed a skin and you can just push them without getting a sticky finger (in reality anywhere from 15mins-2hours depending on the weather)
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C fan
  • Once the skin has formed bake your macarons for 12minutes, opening the door after 8 and 10mins to allow steam to escape. To check if they are cooked or not give one a slight push to check it is no longer stuck to the baking paper- if they seem very stuck leave them a minute or two longer
  • Remove from the over, slide the baking paper off the tray onto your table and leave to cool before attempting to peel off the paper

For the caramel chocolate ganache

Adapted from ‘Macaron’ by Pierre Hermé

60g milk chocolate (40% cocoa solids)
60g dark chocolate (70g cocoa solids)
35g granulated sugar
1tbsp water
7g salted butter, at room temperature
80g double cream, warmed
Pinch of salt

  • Melt the two chocolates together over simmering water
  • In a separate small saucepan heat half the sugar with the water on a low heat. Once dissolved add the other half of sugar, turn the heat up and boil until it is a rich caramel colour
  • Add the butter in small pieces and swirl it around the pan, being carefully as it might spit
  • Add the cream in stages whisking constantly until it is all incorporated, still being careful as it will bubble up
  • Bring it back to the boil to make sure all the caramel had mixed with the butter and cream and remove from the heat
  • Stir in the salt
  • Pour the caramel onto the chocolate in very small portions, stirring thoroughly between each addition until it is all combined. (If you pour the boiling caramel directly onto the chocolate the chocolate will burn and split and you will have to start again)
  • Remove from the heat, pour into a clean dish and leave to cool

For the salted caramel middle

Adapted from bbcgoodfood

30g light brown sugar
60g cream
10g salted butter, at room temperature
Good pinch of salt

  • Place all the ingredients, bar salt, into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and everything has combined
  • Bring to the boil and let it bubble away for a 3mins, stirring the bottom every now and then to ensure it isn’t burning
  • Add salt to taste- (be generous as it is being split over 30 macarons!)
  • Remove from the heat, pour into a clean dish and leave to cool

To assemble

  • Spoon the caramel sauce and caramel chocolate ganache into separate piping bags
  • Match macaron shells into pairs if they aren’t evenly sized
  • Pipe a round of salted caramel sauce into the middle of one of every pair and then pipe a round of caramel chocolate ganache around the edge
  • Carefully press the tops onto the ganached macaron shells
  • Store the assembled macarons in the fridge for at least 24 hours, preferably 48 hours so that the flavours can develop
  • Enjoy!

 

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