Earl Grey Salted Caramel Macarons.

March 7, 2011

Or, as Steven likes to call them, macaronis. :)

I really wanted to try making macarons ever since Julia sent this recipe over to me. So, with Amanda’s birthday party coming up, I finally decided to give them a go. I expected utter failure. Disaster. Flat shells. Cracked shells. Lumpy shells. Burnt shells! You can imagine my excitement when I actually got some decent ones! Actually, you probably can’t. I was pretty much jumping up & down in the kitchen & talking to the shells & saying “OMG” & texting Steven pictures of them haha.

There were some cracked ones too that didn’t rise properly, but for the most part, they came out. Ideally, the shells should be a little flatter, and there should be “feet” on them, but I was just happy they looked decent & tasted yummy.

The first time I made them I started at 2pm & finished at 9:30pm. I think I knocked out at 10pm cause I was so exhausted from being in the kitchen all day. The second time around, they went much faster & I felt a bit more confident throughout the whole process. In the end, they looked like this:

Nom nom. It was by far the most labor-intensive but gratifying dessert I have ever made. I feel so accomplished. Now, on to new & different flavors!! Well, maybe some other day. I think I need a little break for now…

Here’s a modified version of the original recipe, in case some of you are inspired & want to take a stab at them too!

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Earl Grey Salted Caramel Macarons

makes 24-32 macarons, depending on size

for the macaron shells:

110g blanched almond slivers (1 cup)

200g powdered sugar (1.65 cup)

90g aged egg whites (3 large eggs)

30g fine granulated sugar (7.5 tsp)

2 tea bags Earl Grey tea ( I used Tazo)

As always, make sure to age the egg whites at room temperature for at least 24 hours, preferably 48 hours, lightly covered. Weigh out the ingredients accurately. Combine 110g blanched almond slivers with 200g of powdered sugar with the tea leaves from 2 tea bags of Earl Grey tea. in a food processor. Process until very fine and sift into a bowl. Process any larger pieces left over.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 90g of egg whites on high until frothy. Add in 30g of granulated sugar gradually, taking care to incorporate sugar well after each addition. Beat until relatively stiff peaks form. You should be able to invert the bowl and the meringue should stay in place.  Stiff peaks means that there is a peak left when you pull the whisk out of the mixture. Stop beating when meringue stays in place, inverted.

Add half of the almond and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites and gently fold to incorporate. Add the rest of the mixture and fold until the consistency of lava. Fold carefully. You would rather under-mix than over-mix the batter. Fold quickly & vigorously at first to ensure all ingredients get mixed, then slow down. To fold, scrape down the middle of the bowl until you can see bottom, then swipe around the perimeter. Turn bowl & repeat. Check if consistency is good by placing a tsp dollop of mixture onto a plate and seeing if it slowly flattens out on its own. As soon as it can do this, it’s ready.

Pipe 1 inch rounds onto silpat lined baking sheets, giving them ample space because they will spread a little. If you don’t have piping tips, fill a ziplock bag with the mixture and cut the corner of the bag to about ½ inch diameter. Pipe from the center of each macaron, letting it spread from there. Let them rest for 30 minutes or until the tops aren’t sticky to the touch.

Heat a convection oven to 260 degrees F and bake for 17-18 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets.

for the caramel:

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 Earl Grey tea bag

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp coarse fleur de sel

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp butter

Heat 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 1 Earl Grey tea bag. Let the tea infused until the heavy cream is a warm tan color.

Combine 1/2 cup of granulated sugar with 2 tbsp of water in a deep saucepan. Cook until a golden brown amber color. Watch the mixture carefully because it can burn in the blink of an eye.

Carefully add in the heavy cream mixture and turn off the heat. Be careful because the mixture will seize and bubble up when the cream is added. Don’t panic. Just keep stirring and it will calm down. Add in 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tsp coarse fleur de sel. Make sure it is a quality sea salt. It makes all the difference.

Make two batches, one for the center of the filling, and one for the cream cheese filling.

for the salted caramel cream cheese filling:

1 batch of caramel sauce

4 oz unsalted butter, softened

4 oz cream cheese, softened

50g powdered sugar (0.4 cup)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 oz unsalted butter with 4 oz cream cheese. Beat until light and fluffy. Add in sugar and incorporate well. Add in 1 batch of caramel sauce, cooled almost to room temperature, and beat to incorporate.

To fill the macarons, place a small amount of caramel in the center of a shell and encircle that caramel with the cream cheese mixture before topping it with a matching macaron shell. Place in refrigerator and let them “mature” overnight. Macarons will retain their optimal texture for about 3 days.

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And finally, I leave you with the best macaron-baking guide I found online. It is genius & so helpful. I attribute my semi-success to it!

THE END.

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