You know, I just love creating recipes. It’s just so satisfying seeing something I’ve daydreamed come to life. It’s so much fun to create something yourself from scratch and blogging is a natural extension of that. My dear old Daddums is a carpenter by trade and I’ve most definitely inherited a love of creating and crafting things with my hands from him.
It’s one of my insecurities that, to quote Chandler explaining to Joey why he didn’t ask him to write a letter of recommendation for him and Monica to the adoption people, I’m “not so much with the words“. But coming up with a new recipe when a friend asks me to create something special for them lets me express myself without worrying about tripping over words and my stunted grasp of grammar show me up again. These Creme Brûlée Macarons were a request from Hungry Hubby’s colleague and I’m just so delighted to bring them to life.
Sheer, lavish decadence, these fancy little sweet treats are lengthy to prepare but they are more than worth the effort. Simple vanilla macaron shells with a tripartite filling beginning with a caramel white chocolate ganache which encircles a little dot of dark brown muscovado Butterscotch Sauce then finished off with a crown of dark, rich, bitter shards of caramel that give the crisp brûlée crack, although the smaller shards meld into the caramel in an entirely delectable way.
A great discovery was that adding the vanilla extract to the syrup removes all fear of splitting the macaron mixture and gives the classic flavour you need for a Creme Brûlée. The rich caramel flavour comes from a few drops of the very potent Buttery Caramel Foodie Flavours – one of their staggering selection of flavours. I bought a few to try for other ideas I’ve got and I’m very impressed so far (this is a true review, not a sponsored post). If you can’t get them where you live, just know making my Butterscotch Sauce and mixing some of that into the ganache will give the hit of caramel you need.
But don’t take my word for how incredible these macarons are – one of Hungry Hubby’s colleagues is French and she said they were the best thing she’d ever eaten. :O I think my work is done :D
- 144 g aged egg whites
- 180 g ground almonds
- 180 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from one large pod
- 180 g caster sugar
- 45 g cold water
- 180 g white chocolate chopped, chips or callets
- 60 ml double cream
- 6 drops of Buttery Caramel "Foodie Flavours" extract*
- 4 heaped tbsp of caster sugar
- 1-2 tsp of water
- 2-3 tbsp butterscotch sauce
- 4-5 large metal baking trays
- Silicone liners/macaron mats
- Digital scales
- Food processor
- Fine sieve
- Stand mixer
- Candy thermometer
- Flexible spatulas
- Two large bowls
- Piping bags
Make your ganache first. Place your white chocolate into a bowl and in a small saucepan, scald the cream (bring it up almost to the boil then take off the heat). If using Foodie Flavours* Buttery Caramel, drop in 6 drops only into the cream then pour over the chocolate. Mix well then pour over the chocolate and allow it to melt. You may need to give it 30 seconds on medium heat in the microwave to melt it as there is a high choc to cream ratio here. Leave to cool then put into a piping bag, clip the end and put aside some place cool until needed.
Next make the caramel to roll the macarons in later. Put a silicone liner in a baking tray with a lip (to catch any escaping caramel later!). Simply place the sugar in a small heavy bottomed saucepan and add a little splash of water. Swirl until all the sugar is wet then place over a medium-high heat. Do NOT leave the caramel for a second. Watch as the sugar first goes from cloudy white, to a translucent syrup, then from a pale golden syrup then deepen in colour until a reddish brown caramel is achieved. It will be ferociously hot and you may see a few wisps of smoke but stop as soon as you get a reddish hue then pour onto your silicone sheet lined tray and leave alone until cool - do not be tempted to touch it! It will set in about 30 minutes.
Bring the egg whites to room temp.
Line the trays with magic liners, macaron mats or baking parchment.
Weigh 72g egg whites into a large mixing bowl the other 72g into the bowl of a stand mixer and set aside.
Blitz the ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor for 90 seconds then stop the machine, stir it well to break down any clumps and give it another 60 second blitz. Sift the mix from the food processor over the mixing bowl with half the egg whites in. Use a spatula to mix it until it is a thick, well mixed sticky paste. Set aside whilst you make the Italian meringue.
Weigh your water and sugar into a small, heavy based saucepan and get the thermometer ready. Turn the heat onto medium-high and swirl to combine the sugar and water. Start whisking the egg whites in your stand mixer on medium high and let it run until stiff peaks form then turn it off.
Bring the sugar syrup to the boil, with the thermometer immersed in the sugar until you reach a temp of 118˚C. At this point, take off the heat and stir n the vanilla extract or seeds of a vanilla bean just be careful as it may spit. Turn the stand mixer back on and steadily pour the syrup onto the egg whites in a thin stream avoiding the whisk and the side of the bowl or it will solidify and form little shards of sugar. The egg whites will really increase in volume at this stage. Once all of the syrup has been poured onto the egg whites, leave the mixer running until the outside of the bowl has cooled. It will take several minutes.
Using a firm motion with a flexible spatula, mix the Italian meringue into the almond paste you've set aside and stop once there are no streaks left. This may take a couple of minutes as the almond paste is very stiff at first.
Use your spatula to draw a line through the mixture and start counting to 30 - the line should have disappeared in that time. If not, give it 3-5 more firm turns and try again. Be cautious but as long as you're not beating away for a minute or more at a time, you won't over mix it.
Scoop into a large piping bag then cut an opening 5mm across. Pipe out onto your prepared trays. Holding the bag vertically and keeping it still works very well - aim for about 2.5-3cm across and space at 1-2 inches apart (if using a silicone macaron mat, stop 1-2 mm short of the rim to allow for spreading; note that these make quite small macs so you may get closer to 50 out of this mixture). A properly mixed mac mixture will smoothen down and lose any nipple effect after standing for 30 seconds. If it doesn’t, it need a few more turns to mix it. (You can pipe a little bit of the mixture before filling the bag with the full amount to be sure but once you've made them a few times, you'll get a *feel* for the proper texture and won't need to bother).
Tap the trays of macarons onto the counter top to knock any excess air out up to 3 times - just don’t be too heavy handed!
Leave for at least 30 minutes before baking somewhere cool until a skin forms on the outside. Preheat the oven to 160˚C WITH THE FAN ON. It just works better than an ordinary oven. And I can't recommend using an in-oven thermometer highly enough, do not rely on the dial on your oven!
Cook one tray full at a time for 12 minutes exactly - open the door and test by pushing the macaron a little (very gently) on the top - it should not move. If it wobbles, cook another 2 minutes and test again. Don't let them brown as this means they are overcooked and will be very dry.
Now to be certain they are cooked, leave each tray to cool for 5 minutes then try to lift one of the central macs straight off the tray - if it doesn’t come off cleanly, pop t back in the oven for a few more minutes.
Cook the remaining trayfuls in the same manner and leave on the trays until completely cold before removing them and filling.
Break the set caramel into chunks then pound in a mortar and pestle until you have some dust and some pebbly rubble. Pour into a shallow dish.
Snip off 5mm from the bag with the white chocolate ganache in and sandwich together by piping a ring of the ganache around the outer edge of a vanilla macaron shell leaving a central void into which, you place a dot (a bit less than half a tsp) of Butterscotch Sauce. Offer up a second shell and secure by giving it a little twist. Roll each macaron in the dish of caramel shards to coat.
Leave for 1-2 days in the fridge before eating (if you can wait!).
*=Foodie Flavours is a UK brand of natural food flavourings. They are very potent so are measured in drops. If you can't or don't want to get them, I suggest beating in 1-2 tbsp extra Butterscotch Sauce into the ganache once the chocolate is all melted.
Adapted from Get the recipe for the Butterscotch here:
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