Apple Spiced Caramel Macarons - Macaron Mashup for Fall!
A Recipe for Apple Spiced Caramel Macarons
Ingredients for Apple Cinnamon Shells
- Make your own berry sugar by processing regular sugar in the processor until the sugar crystals are super fine.
- Keep almond meal in the fridge when you are not using it. A few hours before baking, take the almond meal out and let it come to room temperature.
- Egg whites need to be aged for 2 days in an airtight container. Keep the egg yolks in the fridge for the buttercream.
- Pre-measure all ingredients before starting.
- Kitchen tools needed: a kitchen scale, a food processor will be helpful to grind the almond meal and icing sugar together, a sifter, spatula, hand blender or stand-up blender, piping bag and tip, silicon mats or parchment paper and heavy duty baking sheets.
Directions for Apple Cinnamon Caramel Macaron Shells
- Measure all ingredients. Set up the piping bag for the macarons with the piping tip (I use a Wilton 2A or Ateco 804 piping tip). Line baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.
- Process the almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor until it is well mixed together. Use a spoon to occasionally move the ingredients around before processing again.
- Sift the icing sugar-almond meal mixture through a sifter to ensure there are no clumps. Place a bowl underneath.
- Measure out 100g of egg whites and place in the bowl of the stand-up mixer with the whisk attachment. Slowly whisk at low speed until little bubbles form. Once the bubbles form, add in the mixture of berry sugar and albumen. Then turn the mixer to medium speed (e.g. 4 on the Kitchen Aid).
- Continue to whisk the egg whites until "soft peaks" form. To check, stop and tilt the head of the Kitchen Aid back or stop and lift the tip of the whisk into the mixture to see if a small "bird's peak forms". If you see a peak form, then you are done whisking the egg whites. If it looks drippy/wet as you lift up, keep whisking until the "soft peaks" form. Add in the two drops of Wilton Leaf Green food colouring with a toothpick.
- Slowly incorporate the almond meal sugar mixture by sifting 2 tablespoons at a time into the meringue. Mix in a clockwise direction. This step is probably one of the most crucial steps in making macarons - also known as the macaronage process. Mixing in a clockwise direction do the following while sifting 2 tablespoons of the almond meal-sugar mixture into the whipped egg whites.
1st part= 16 turns
2nd part = 11 turns
3rd part = 14 turns
4th part = 11 turns
5th part = 11 turns
6th part = 23 turns
- Give a few more turns to the batter scooping through it with your spatula. Once the macaron batter feels and looks like magma (flows slowly) you are ready to transfer it to the prepared piping bag. When you transfer the macaron batter to the piping bag you are also "mixing it".
- Pipe out small circles. Hold the piping bag vertically. Pipe straight down and then do a quick circular movement to the right to finish piping one shell. I pipe across the length of my tray. I typically pipe 18-20 macaron shells per tray. How many shells you pipe on a tray will depend on how big you make each shell. Before piping the next sheet, firmly rap the tray on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles inside the shells. This is called "tamping". Use a toothpick to gently poke any bubbles.
Continue to pipe the rest of the trays. I typically pipe about 4 trays of macarons with 18-20 macarons on each one. 5 shells on the first row, then 4, then 5, then 4.
Let macarons sit for at least 60 minutes until a skin forms and is dry to the touch (this is an important step).
- Preheat the oven to 280-290F. Allow the oven to come to the correct temperature. This may take 30 minutes. Using an oven thermometer will be helpful. Depending on your oven you may be baking anywhere from 280F to 290F. Currently I am baking each tray of my macarons at 295F for 20 minutes. Once the macarons are done baking allow the shells to cool on their tray before you gently peel them off. Lift under the mat and then push up to gently release each macaron shell.
At this point you can choose to place the macaron shells in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer to be filled with buttercream for another day. Otherwise, continue on with matching shells together in order to fill them with the apple spiced buttercream.
Ingredients for Apple Cinnamon Buttercream
- 80g berry sugar/superfine sugar
- 25g water
- 1 whole egg (~60g)
- 1 egg yolk
- 160g soft unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 5 tablespoon of processed freeze dried apple slices
- Jar of store bought or homemade salted caramel (recipe here)
Directions for Apple Cinnamon Buttercream
- Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small pot. Heat the sugar to 250F(120C) using a candy thermometer. If it boils, clean the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush. Try not to mix the solution, but allow the sugar solution to heat on its own.
- In another bowl or the bowl of your stand up mixer whisk the eggs and egg yolks until it lightens in colour.
- Once the hot sugar mixture reaches 250F slow down the whisking speed of the eggs, and immediately pour the hot sugar mixture into the egg mixture (do this part quickly). Increase to a higher whisking speed (8 on my KitchenAid). Continue whisking until the mixture has cooled down completely (approximately 15 minutes). It will look glossy, white and meringue like.
- Keep whisking the meringue until it has cooled (10-15 minutes). Meanwhile in a separate bowl, whisk the butter until it has thickened. It will lighten a bit in colour. Once the meringue has cooled (temperature drops down to 50F), slowly add in the whisked butter a tablespoon at a time. Continue whisking until the buttercream is smooth.
- Process 1 cup of freeze dried apples until it is finely processed.
- Slowly add by tablespoons into the buttercream. Add the cinnamon into the buttercream.
- Set up your macaron shells so that each shell has a partner shell that matches it in size. Pipe a small mound of apple cinnamon buttercream into the middle of each bottom shell if you are just doing apple cinnamon macarons OR if making apple spiced caramel macarons, first place a dot of caramel into the middle of each shell, then pipe a small circle of buttercream around the rim of the shell.
- Assemble the macarons by placing the tops on the macaron and gently push together until the buttercream mound flattens. Store the macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days. 2 hours before serving, bring them out of the fridge as they are best enjoyed at room temperature.
These macarons truly embody fall with the flavours of the apple spiced buttercream. Then, the dark salted caramel helps to give the entire macaron even more depth through each bite of the macaron. You really have to make these to taste for yourselves!
Pictured below is the reason for why surrounding the caramel with apple spiced buttercream is the best method for filling these macarons! It gets a tad too messy when you pipe the buttercream first and then attempt to gently fill the hole with the caramel!