- 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.