Ever since making macarons for the first time back in February (this post), I have wanted to make them again.
I came across an article on macarons variations and was intrigued by the pairing of Black Pepper Macarons With Chocolate Ganache.
The article also had a Cinnamon Macaron variation. I have been needing to use up some Salted Caramel Buttercream that I had left over from this recipe for Samoas Cupcakes, so I thought that would be a delicious pairing.
I had Chocolate Ganache left over from the Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes posted here, which is what I used to fill my Black Pepper Macarons. (Leftover ganache keeps in the fridge. Just let it come to room temperature to use. The leftover ganache isn’t pipeable (is that even a word?) so I just rolled it then flattened it into disks to fit between the macarons. Worked great, although I think fresh and gooey ganache would be even better.)
In this particular recipe, the macarons did not rise up into the beautiful ruffled circumference (referred to as the “foot”) like the ones from the recipe I used back in February. They were certainly very good tasting, though. (It could have been the time of year. My Vermont kitchen in February is an extremely cold and dry place. Pretty ideal conditions for macarons and meringue.)
The Black Pepper Macarons were very interesting. The hot spice came through strongly but was balanced nicely by the thick, sweetness of the chocolate ganache.
As for the Cinnamon Macarons With Salted Caramel….I could easily have eaten the entire tray in one sitting if I let my will power slip. They might be one of the best little creations I have popped into my mouth in a long time.
Recipes for Chocolate Ganache and Salted Caramel Buttercream are included below. The Salted Caramel Buttercream recipe will yield way more than you need for a batch of macarons. You might want to whip up some cupcakes and use the rest to ice those. I’ll help you eat them.
1-3/4 cups plus 2 Tbs confectioners’ sugar
1-1/4 cups plus 2 Tbs almond flour
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1. Line 3 completely flat baking sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners and set aside.
2. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour into a large bowl and set aside.
For Cinnamon Macarons: Add 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon to the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour while sifting.
For Black Pepper Macarons: Add 1/2 tsp ground black pepper to the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour while sifting. (Sprinkle with a little black pepper as soon as you pipe them–Step 5 below)
3. In a clean stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a large bowl and a hand mixer), whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy and the wires of the beater leave a trail, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 Tbs of the granulated sugar and continue to whip for another 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat 3 times with the remaining granulated sugar. Once all of the sugar is mixed in, continue whipping the whites until they turn glossy and stiff, 4 to 8 minutes more.
4. With a large rubber spatula, fold in half of the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once most of it has been incorporated, fold in the remaining mixture until just combined.
5. Using a piping bag fitted with a 1/2- to 3/4-inch round tip, pipe the batter onto the prepared sheets in rounds that are about 1 inch in diameter and 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, spaced about 1-1/2 inches apart. As you pipe, hold the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet and flick the tip of the bag as you finish each cookie to minimize the peaks. Rap the sheet against the counter several times to flatten the mounds and pop any large air bubbles. Let rest 20 to 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.
7. Put 2 of the cookie sheets in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 300°F (let the third sheet sit at room temperature). Bake, rotating the sheets and swapping their positions after 8 minutes, until the meringues are very pale golden, 15 to 20 minutes total. Cool completely on the baking sheets on racks. Meanwhile, return the oven temperature to 325°F and then bake the third sheet as above.
8. Remove the meringues from the parchment and pair them by size.
9. To fill the macarons, Use a piping bag with the same tip used to pipe the cookies 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons of the filling onto half of the cookies—you want to use just enough filling that it spreads to the edge when topped but doesn’t squish out much when bitten. Top the filled halves with their partners.
The cookies are best the day they’re made, but you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Chocolate Ganache Filling
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or chocolate chips
1. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat, swirling the pan a few times, until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan but the cream is not yet boiling, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and let sit for 30 seconds.
2. Slowly whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
3. Let cool to room temperature before piping onto the meringues.
Salted Caramel Buttercream Icing
Ingredients for salted caramel buttercream icing:
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons of heavy cream
½ teaspoons of kosher salt
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Directions to make the salted caramel buttercream icing:
1. To make the caramel portion: Add sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute. As the mixture darkens to a medium amber color, approximately 5 minutes add the 2 tablespoons of butter and cream to saucepan. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Add salt and stir to combine. Set aside to cool completely before adding it to the next step.
2. Finishing the caramel buttercream icing: Place butter and vanilla in a bowl and beat on high until butter is pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Turn mixer speed down to medium and add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time. Beat until combined.
3. Add in caramel sauce and beat until combined.
Recipe for macarons and ganache from Fine Cooking Magazine. There is a link on the page to a video tutorial on how to make macarons.
Today is my daughter’s 14th birthday. I cannot believe that all these years have passed. She has grown into everything that I wish I could be. I’m very proud and humbled every day by having such a major role in someone else’s life.
Happy Birthday Scooby/Shavonnie/Sidecar/Sha-bomb/Jeanne. You are loved more than you will ever know.
The Innocence Mission-Happy Birthday