These salted caramel macarons are for caramel lovers! Caramel flavor is packed into these French macarons with brown sugar macaron shells, salted caramel buttercream, and a dark and rich homemade salted caramel sauce.
Prep Time 2hours
Cook Time 17minutes
Drying time (minim.) 30minutes
Total Time 3hours30minutes
Servings 36macarons (assembled)
Author Kathleen Culver
170gramsalmond flour, sifted
300gramspowdered sugar, sifted
180gramsegg whites, room temperature (about 6 large eggs worth)
75grams (60mL, ¼ cup)salted caramel sauce, room temperature (recipe above)
¼teaspoonkosher salt, or to taste
Prepare your half sheet baking pans by lining them with parchment paper. Slip a printed template underneath as a guide, or trace 1½ to 1¾ inch circles about ¾ inch apart on the paper, and then flip it over so the marks are underneath.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour and powdered sugar. Set aside.
Into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites. Beat on medium speed until foamy. Gradually beat in the brown sugar and vanilla extract. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Increase speed to high and beat egg white mixture until stiff peaks form.
180 grams egg whites, room temperature (about 6 large eggs worth), 160 grams brown sugar, light/golden
To the stiff egg white mixture, add half of the almond flour mixture. With a spatula, fold it in until well mixed together. Add the second half of the almond flour mixture. This is the stage called macaronage. You want to fold in the remaining almond flour while removing some of the additional volume/air from the macaron batter.
As you fold in the almond flour, use the spatula to press the batter up and against the side of the bowl. Every few strokes, scoop the batter onto your spatula and let it drip off. It should flow in a constant, slow stream (like lava or honey) without breaking. If you can hold the spatula and drizzle a figure 8 with the batter without it breaking, your batter is ready.
Place a large round open tip (I use a Wilton 1A tip) into a 16 inch piping bag. Push a bit of the bag down into the tip from the exterior, blocking the flow of the tip. This will allow you to fill the bag without the batter dripping out. Fill your piping bag ½ to ¾ full.
Holding your piping bag perfectly upright, at a 90 degree angle from the baking sheet, pipe circles of macaron batter onto each circle marked on the parchment paper. Stop squeezing and give a quick flick of the piping bag tip up and to the side to finish each macaron. Pipe all the circles onto the parchment and continue with other pans.
Lift each pan and bang it down onto the counter (as level as possible). Give it a quarter turn and repeat banging three more times, turning each time. Turning the pans helps ensure the batter does not spread too much in any direction. Repeat with all baking pans. This step helps remove air bubbles.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 Celsius, Gas Mark 2). Place a rack in the center of the oven.
Poke any remaining visible air bubbles with a toothpick. Let the sheets of macarons rest for 30 minutes minimum (this time will vary depending on temperature and humidity), until the tops of the macarons have formed a skin, are slightly dull, and can be gently touched without making your fingers sticky.
Bake one pan at a time for 17 minutes. The macarons should develop feet and lose their sheen. If your oven does not bake evenly, rotate the pan halfway through baking. To check if the macarons are done, gently press down and slightly sideways onto the top of a macaron. If the top does not move, it is finished. If the top sinks or slips to the side, bake for an additional minute and test again.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack on the baking sheet. When fully cooled, remove from the parchment. If macarons stick, place pan in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes and then try again.
Salted Caramel Sauce
In a large, heavy shallow saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, without stirring(!), until the color of the sugar mixture is a dark amber/copper brown and is just beginning to smoke.
200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar, 60 mL (¼ cup) water
Quickly remove from heat. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the heavy cream in a thin stream into the hot sugar mixture – be careful as it will sizzle and foam at the beginning.
125 mL (½ cup) heavy cream, warmed
Continue to whisk until the cream is completely incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Add the butter, vanilla and salt. Stir until butter is melted and fully mixed in. Set aside to cool completely.
28 grams (2 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Place the egg whites and granulated sugar into the top of a double boiler over medium heat. Stirring constantly, warm to a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, or until sugar has dissolved completely. If you rub it between your fingers, you should not feel any graininess.
Remove pot from stove and strain through a fine metal sieve into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until glossy, stiff, pillowy meringue peaks form and bowl is cool to the touch – this will most likely take 5 to 10 minutes.
Swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle on your stand mixer. On medium speed, begin adding the butter a few squares at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Continue with this process until all butter has been added and buttercream is thick, creamy, and silky smooth. If the buttercream seems to curdle or turn soupy, keep beating! This is common with ingredients of different temperatures and should right itself if you’re patient. See post for troubleshooting if needed.
Add vanilla extract, cooled salted caramel, and kosher salt and mix on low until completely blended together. Scrape the bowl several times to make sure the caramel is entirely incorporated into the buttercream.
½ teaspoon vanilla extract, 75 grams (60mL, ¼ cup) salted caramel sauce, room temperature (recipe above), ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Arrange half of macarons in rows on sheet pans lined with parchment paper, flat side down. Fill a piping bag with a very narrow tip (I simply cut a very small opening with scissors) with room temperature salted caramel sauce. Pipe three or four thin lines of caramel onto the top of each macaron. Sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt if desired.
Arrange the other half of the macarons in rows on sheet pans lined with parchment paper, flat side down. Fit a 16" piping bag with a medium star tip (I used a 4B). Fill with salted caramel buttercream. Pipe circles of buttercream around the border of each macaron, making sure circle is fully closed. If the macarons move around while you're piping, place them onto a kitchen towel while piping to keep them from spinning.
Fill each of the centers with the remaining salted caramel sauce. You can simply cut a larger tip on the salted caramel piping bag so that the filling process goes more quickly. To assemble, match up similar sized macaron shell tops and bottoms. Gently press top and bottom together and place, caramel drizzle side up, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with all macarons. Place in refrigerator for 12-24 hours to allow flavors and textures to meld and mature.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Macarons can be frozen in an airtight container for 1-2 months. To defrost, place container in refrigerator overnight. Macarons are best served about 20 minutes after being removed from the fridge.