When macarons hit the stores in the United States, people were going crazy over the cookies. I, on the other hand, was not a fan. They were so incredibly sweet! I love my desserts but even I have a threshold of how sweet a cookie should be. So for this reason, I never bothered to make them from scratch…until now. Call it my curiosity or sheer boredom but I finally gave macarons another try and you know what? They’re not so bad. If you give me a batch of these caramel macchiato macarons, I won’t say no. The combination of the coffee macarons with the caramel buttercream is one that I can get on board with.
THE DRY INGREDIENTS
- 1 tb instant espresso powder, ground
- 150 g powdered sugar
- 0.25 ts cinnamonpinch cayenne pepper
- 120 g hazelnut meal
FOR THE MERINGUE
- 95 g granulated sugar
- 0.25 ts cream of tartar (or lemon juice)
- 110 g (~3) egg whites, room temperature
FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL CREAM
- 0.5 ts instant espresso powder
- 2 tb water
- cold water bath
- 0.25 ts vanilla extract
- 0.33 c heavy cream
- 8 tb (1 stick) butter, diced
- 1 ts salt
- 1 c sugar
- Line 2-3 baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- If using parchment paper, optionally draw guide circles (diameter 2.5-3 cm) about 3 cm apart on parchment paper, and flip written-side down.
MAKING THE HAZELNUT ESPRESSO SHELLS
- Beat egg whites with cream of tartar to soft peaks.
- Gradually add granulated sugar to egg whites, and beat to a stiff meringue (tips of peaks should gently curl when whisk is lifted), ~4-6 minutes.
- Add dry ingredients to the meringue.
- Fold until smooth and falling in thick ribbons (which disappear after 6-8 seconds).
- Using a large round tip, pipe circles onto the prepared baking tray spaced 1.5-2 cm between the edges of adjacent shells.
- Rest at room temperature until dry to the touch, 60-90 minutes.
- Bake on middle rack, 18 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
- Carefully remove/peel shells from parchment or silicone mat.
MAKING THE SALTED CARAMEL CREAM
- In a light-colored pot, heat sugar with water over medium heat to desired caramel color.
- Remove from heat, and carefully whisk in heavy cream until smooth.
- Whisk in butter until smooth.
- Whisk in flavorings, and transfer to a mixing bowl in a shallow cold water bath.
- Beat caramel just until peaks start to form, and remove from cold water bath.
- Assemble macarons.
ASSEMBLING THE MACARONS
- Pair shells by size.
- Using a round tip, pipe ~0.5 tb filling onto one shell of each pair. Gently sandwich with the second shell.
- In an airtight or covered container, refrigerate macarons in a single layer, at least 8 hours.
- Serve, and optionally refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.