Macaron shells are so delicious all on their own, but add a salted caramel filling, and they go from good to AMAZING. Salted caramel macarons might take some time to master, but once you figure out how to best make and bake them in your own oven, it will feel like a cinch!
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There are so many posts that say that they have all the answers to the perfect macarons but the truth is that the way we make macarons depends on where we live, if the environment is humid or dry, if the elevation is sea level or not, etc.
There are a lot of factors that influence how we have to make macarons, which is why I say that it might take a few tries before figure out what works best for your environment.
What are Salted Caramel Macarons?
A macaron is made from egg whites, sugar, water, and almond flour. The ingredients are so simple, but mastering the art of macarons takes some time.
Most macarons have plain macaron shells(almond flavored) with a flavored filling. Of course, once you have mastered the basic macaron shell, you may want to experiment with flavored shells.
For these salted caramel macarons, however, we use the traditional Italian meringue macaron method, and then fill it with soft salted caramel.
What is the Italian Meringue Macaron Method?
There are 2 methods for making macarons: French meringue method and Italian meringue method. For this recipe, we will only be discussing the Italian method, which is the method that most of the best macaron chefs in Paris use to make their famous macarons.
The Italian meringue method involves bringing sugar and water to the soft ball stage(244 degrees F). Then we whip the hot syrup into the egg whites until medium peaks form.
The meringue is then folded into a mixture of almond flour, powdered sugar, and egg whites that have been mixed before adding the meringue.
To make the macaron batter properly, we have to fold and smear the meringue during the macaronage stage, in which the batter goes from stiff to flowing slowly like lava.
Helpful Tips for Making These Macarons
- Make the salted caramel first. This will give the caramel time to cool in the fridge and come to the right consistency for piping.
- Measure all of the macaron ingredients BEFORE starting the process. That way, everything is ready to mix at the right time.
- Sift the almond flour and save the coarse bits for something else. The almond meal needs to be very fine to make smooth macarons.
- Age the egg whites by storing them in the fridge for 1-2 days. This draws out some of the moisture so that the macarons are more stable.
- Strain the egg whites so they they are completely liquid as well. Strained egg whites give macaron shells a beautiful sheen.
Essential Macaron Baking Tools
These baking tools are absolutely essential when making macarons. Make sure you have the following before attempting this recipe:
- A digital thermometer.
- Macaron silicone baking mats with guides for macarons.
- Rimmed half sheet baking pans. Don’t use flat baking trays! They make macarons to bake too fast.
- Disposable piping bags for the macarons and ganache.
- A #12 piping tip for the macaron batter and ganache.
- To color macaron batter, use powdered food coloring, not liquid or gel. Adding moisture to the batter can ruin the macarons.
- A kitchen scale for measuring all ingredients.
Salted Caramel Macarons
- Prep Time: 90 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
- Yield: 40–50 macaron shells 1x
- Category: Dessert
- 1 recipe salted caramel
- 150 g powdered sugar
- 150 g almond flour
- 55 g egg whites, strained in fine mesh strainer
- 150 g caster or superfine sugar
- 37 g water
- 55 g egg whites, room temperature
- 3 g powdered egg whites
- Make salted caramel sauce and refrigerate so it can cool for 2 hours before filling the macarons.
- Sift almond flour, and remove coarse grains. After sifting, weigh out 150 grams of the almond meal so the measurement is correct.
- Sift powdered sugar and egg white powder into almond flour and stir. Stir in room temperature egg whites and desired coloring until fully combined. Mixture will be very thick, like a paste. Do not leave any dry bits of almond flour or powdered sugar. Mixture needs to be thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
- Pour water, 150 grams of granulated sugar, and powdered egg whites into a medium pot and cook over medium high. Place a thermometer in the pot and do not stir.
- Meanwhile, add cold egg whites to a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When the water and sugar reached 230 degrees, turn the mixer onto high speed so the egg whites start mixing.
- When the sugar reaches 244 degrees F, remove from heat, turn mixer down to low, and SLOWLY pour the sugar syrup into the mixer right at the edge of the mixing bowl so that it slowly cascades down the side of the mixing bowl into the eggs. If the mixer is on a higher speed, the hot sugar is more likely to hit the whisk and fling onto the sides of the bowl instead of into the foamy egg whites.
- Once all of the sugar syrup is in the mixer, turn onto high and mix until medium peaks form. The bowl should feel room temperature to the touch on the bottom. Most importantly though, make sure that the meringue is whipped to medium peaks.
- Now it is time to combine the almond paste and the Italian meringue. Take 1/3 of the meringue and stir it into the almond mixture to lighten the texture and weight of the batter. This third of the Italian meringue is sacrificed in order to get the proper texture with the remaining meringue.
- Add another 1/3 of the Italian meringue, and this time, gently fold it into the batter 4 full turns.
- Add the remaining meringue, and give it 4 more full turns. At this point, the mixture will not be fully mixed. Don’t worry! Keep going.
- Smear the meringue on the sides of the bowl a few times and then bring it back to the middle. You should be able to drizzle the meringue in thick lava ribbons that SLOWLY flow into the bowl. It should meld back into the batter in 15-20 seconds. If the batter is too thick, smear and fold the batter a few times and check again.
- Check the consistency of the batter every 3-4 folds by bringing the batter to the middle of the bowl and drizzling it. The consistency can change quickly, so watch carefully! If the batter is flowing really fast and is more like a puddle, it has been over mixed and will not make good macarons anymore. There is no saving runny macarons, so you will have to start over and make a new batch. So be careful!
Baking and Filling Macarons
- Preheat oven to 300(you may have to try a few temperatures in your oven before you find just the right setting, usually between 300 and 320 degrees F).
- Line 2 half sheet pans with baking mats, preferably real French silpat mats or perforated baking mats. Fit a piping bag with a Wilton #12 tip(or similar tip size).
- Fill the piping bag with the macaron batter and twist the top of the bag closed. Pipe macarons into 1.75 inch circles.
- The best way to do this is by holding the piping bag directly above the silicon baking mat and piping straight down. Allow the batter to push out into a bigger circle while piping, and then quickly pull the tip away so that there is just a slight point remaining on top of the batter disk.
- If batter is the right consistency, the little points will disappear on their own as they sink into the piped macarons.
- Tap the tray of macarons hard on the counter a few times to allow air bubbles to escape.
- Allow a skin to form on the macarons if you live in a dry climate. This takes between 20-60 minutes. If you live somewhere humid, do not let the skins form, but put macarons directly into the oven.
- Bake for 14-20 minutes, relying more on what the macarons look like than the actual suggested time.
- Test the macarons around the 12 minute mark by gently wiggling the tops of a couple. If the tops slide or move around some, then they are still not ready. When you try to wiggle the top of a macaron and it doesn’t move, then they are ready to come out of the oven.
- Remove baking mats from trays so that the macarons do not continue to bake. Allow to cool completely and gently peel off of silicon mats.
- Pipe room temperature salted caramel on the center of one macaron shell until there is about 1/8 inch border of macaron showing. Place another macaron on top of the caramel and gently press and twist together so that the caramel comes to the edges of the cookie.
- Macarons need to be refrigerated for optimal flavor and texture, but they can be eaten the same day too. They are best to eat after 24-48 hours when they have had time to mature in the fridge. Eat within 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.
Keywords: salted caramel macarons, caramel macarons, classic french macarons