When the thermometer hits below 75, you know it’s autumn in Central Florida! I’ve been extremely busy with school these past few weeks. I am loving all of my classes– my women’s literature course in particular– and I barely have time to read or write on my own! Right now I am averaging a novel and a half per week for homework, and lots of writing assignments ranging from: a critical analysis of Shakespeare to writing a script for a short film. Working two jobs on the side doesn’t help either with my lack extra time.
A month or so ago, my mother, sister, and I decided to start a book club with our friends. Our first book is a Mother/ Daughter memoir about their travels in Europe. Cute, yes?
It was horrible. I could not get through the first one hundred pages without fighting the urge to shove the book into the toilet. Yes, it’s that bad.
The writing is unbelievable, the author goes on and on about how her child, aged eight years old mind you, is frolicking around Europe enjoying all the museums and churches. I call B.S. At the age I am now, I can appreciate beautiful architect and amazing works of art. But at 8 years old? Come on. I would have preferred a trip to the park or the zoo. Sometimes I still prefer a trip to the park or zoo.
(On a side-note, my family actually visits zoos quite frequently. We try to visit one in new cities/countries. The Paris Menagerie is fantastic, their monkey exhibit is so clean!)
I saw this recipe on The Blond Buckeye this morning and I had all of the ingredients in my pantry (Shocker!) I really wanted to use little lollipop sticks to hold the macarons up, like caramel apples, but those were not in my pantry. Sadly.
Salted Caramel Apple Macarons
- FOR THE SHELLS:
- 110 grams Blanched Slivered Almonds (or almond meal)
- 200 grams Powdered Sugar
- 90 grams Egg Whites (at room temperature)
- 30 grams Granulated Sugar
- 10 grams Cinnamon
- 5 grams nutmeg
- Brown Food Coloring Gel or Powder
- 10 grams dehydrated cinnamon apples (Optional)
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
- 2 cups Powdered Sugar (plus more if needed)
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider (plus more if needed)
- Sea Salt Flakes
- FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ cup Water
- ¾ cup Heavy Cream
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla
- FOR THE SHELLS:
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (double up sheets if needed).
- Process almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor until blended into a fine powder. Sift mixture into a large mixing bowl, add cinnamon and nutmeg & set aside.
- Combine egg whites & granulated sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip egg whites & sugar until stiff peaks, adding a little drop of the food coloring during about the last minute of beating the egg whites to make a tan color.
- Add the dry mixture into the egg whites.
- Using a spatula, smash dry ingredient into the egg white, flattening mixture (use about 5-10 quick strokes to release the air). Then fold mixture onto itself until it becomes shiny again (another 30-40 strokes). When you lift up the spatula, there should be solid, thick ribbons that run off (this whole macaronage process should take no more than about 50 strokes).
- Transfer the batter to a large piping bag
- Chop the dehydrated apples into a fine mince. You may use a food processor for a finer flake.
- Using circle guides or freehand, pipe about 1¼” circles onto the prepared baking sheets (they will spread to about 1½”), keeping them at least 1-2″ apart to allow for spreading. Do this same method for the second baking sheet.
- Holding each end of the baking sheet, give it a good slam on the counter. Rotate the pan & give it another few slams to release any air bubbles that remain.
- Sprinkle the minced apples on the macarons.
- Let the macs sit out for 30 minutes before baking to form a dry shell on the tops to prevent cracking. ( I let mine sit for 45 in the humid heat)
- Preheat the oven to 315 degrees F.
- Bake each sheet, one at a time, for about 15-16 minutes (depending on size), rotating the pan once halfway through. Once they’re ready, carefully test one by attempting to lift it off the baking sheet. If the top half starts to come off from the feet, it could use a few more minutes.
- Remove the sheet from the oven & place it on a cooling rack, allowing the cookies to cool before removing them. Once they are cooled, match up macarons in pairs that are about the same size, one face down & one up.
- FOR THE FILLING:
- Beat the butter on medium-high speed for 2 minutes with an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, until soft & fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time until combined (carefully incorporate). Mix in the cinnamon and the apple cider. Continue to beat on medium for another 1-2 minutes (Add up to a ½ cup more sugar if too thin or a little more juice if too thick).
- FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE
- Combine the sugar and water into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (go with a larger size than needed, as the mixture bubbles up quite a bit when cooking). Heat pan over medium-low heat, continuously stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Once sugar is dissolved, turn heat up to medium-high heat. Let the mixture boil without stirring at all. Allow the mixture to boil. If sugar sticks to the side of the pan, use a pastry brush to remove, but do not stir the mixture
- .Lower the temperature slightly and swirl the pan to mix. Continue to boil until mixture starts to turn a deep amber color. Be very careful not to burn it (if you undercook it, you can always put it back in a pan & cook it more until it thickens to the consistency you want).
- Remove mixture from the heat & immediately whisk in the cream, salt, vanilla and butter, being very careful not to splash. Stir until completely mixed and smooth.
- Allow the caramel to cool for about 10-20 minutes, then transfer into a storage dish
- Pipe a circle of the frosting around the edge the cookie that’s facing up. Next add a dab of the caramel in the center of the circle, topped with a little sprinkle of sea salt. Sandwich the halves together, pushing the filling to the edges.
This recipe was inspired by The Blond Buckeye