Chocolate Caramel Macarons
Let’s talk about baking obsessions. Have you got something that you just can’t stop making?
When I started baking a few years ago Cupcakes were all I ever made. I was massively obsessed with them (and still am, haha). I tried so hard to get the perfect swirl of frosting (and failed many times).

Last year I had an obsession with Macarons. For a whole month I made Macarons 3, 4 or 5 times a week! I talked about Macarons all day, I read about Macarons and trouble shooting Macarons all day, I dreamt about Macarons. They were coming out of our ears by the time I was done.
But when I set my mind on perfecting something I will try and try again and again until I am happy with the result. I am no quitter and the practice paid off!
Chocolate Caramel Macarons
People often tell me that they tried Macarons, that they didn’t turn out well and ask how I get my Macarons so ‘perfect’ (whatever that is). And my answer is always the same: practice. Practice and patience. Many people don’t get Macarons that look like they come straight from Ladurée the first time they try them. I didn’t and I still fail sometimes. You just have to try again and again. Do research on the problems you have with Macarons (e.g. no feet, deflating etc.) and always slightly tweak your method to improve.

Fellow blogger Mimi has got some great advice and videos on her website for the french method of making Macarons. Click for her blog
Chocolate Caramel Macarons

After practicing a lot with the french method I sometimes prefer the Italian method because the egg whites don’t need to be aged overnight. This has the advantage that I can make macarons whenever I want!
If you are new to making macarons try both methods and see which one you like best. The Italian method is a little bit more forgiving than the french method but like I said it’s all in the practice. :)


Recipe Chocolate Caramel Macarons

adapted from the book Secret of Macarons

Ingredients:
100 grams icing sugar
100 grams ground almonds
100 grams caster sugar
37.5 ml water
2x 40 grams egg whites
optional: food colouring (I used Sky Blue)

Chocolate Ganache:

150 grams dark chocolate
60 ml water
20 grams brown sugar
80 grams butter

caramel sauce

Equipment:
food processor
stand mixer
candy thermometer
piping bag
round nozzle (1 cm opening)

Method:

Get everything ready before you even start your mixer. Put everything in place. Having it all ready is crucial.
Line two baking trays with baking paper. Fit your piping bag with a nozzle
Put icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor and run it for a few seconds. Stop the food processor and give the mixture a stir. Repeat for a minute or so. Sift the mix, discarding big pieces.
I like to sift three times. This will help the macarons get a smooth shell.
Put one egg white in your mixing bowl.
Place caster sugar and water in a pot. Stick the candy thermometer in the pot and bring it to a boil. When the syrup reaches 105 degrees Celsius start your mixer and beat the egg white to soft peak.
Don’t let the syrup go above 115 degrees Celsius. Once the syrup reaches 115 degrees remove the pot from the heat and with the mixer running slowly and in a thin stream pour the syrup in the egg whites. Beat on high until you reach stiff peaks. This can take 5 minutes or so. Meanwhile combine the last egg white with the icing sugar and almond mix. It will turn into a thick paste.
You can now tint that paste in the colour you want or add some food colouring to your meringue. Both works.
When you have reached stiff peaks take one third of the meringue. Using a flexible spatula gently fold it together with the almond paste. Add more meringue and repeat until all the meringue is incorporated.
Scrape along the side of the bowl and then through the middle of the mixture. Repeat until the macronage loosens. Be careful not to over mix the batter causing it to be too runny. To test if the batter is ready lift some batter and let it drop from the spatula. It should take about 10 seconds for itself to flatten again. If it takes longer than that the batter is probably still too stiff. If it flattens too quickly then the batter is likely to be too runny and the macarons won’t hold their shape when piped.
Once you have reached the right consistency transfer the batter to your piping bag and pipe 3 cm rounds on your baking paper. Slightly tap the baking tray to remove air bubbles.
Let the macarons sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat your oven to 140 degrees Celsius (may wary, depending on your oven).
Bake one tray at a time for 14 to 16 minutes. Leave to cool completely.

While the macarons are cooling prepare the ganache. Coarsely chop the chocolate and put aside.
In a pot heat the butter, sugar and water until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Whisk until you have a smooth ganache. The ganache will thicken as it’s cooling down so don’t worry if it’s still runny. Give the ganache a stir once in a while until it is no longer runny.
Fill a piping bag with the ganache and fill the macarons leaving a bit room for the caramel sauce. You can use store bought caramel or make some from scratch. There is a caramel recipe here.

Chocolate Caramel Macarons

Have you ever made macarons? :) I’d love to hear your story!