Oh my goodness. These macarons were to die for.
I made these for my husband to take as part of the refreshments for a training day for 4x4 response people after a navigational challenge. I think they were all in need of a hot cup of coffee and a sugar rush when they arrived - it was a seriously miserable wet day.
I only had one. I was almost vexed to give these macarons away. They tasted so, so good !
200g icing sugar
180g ground almonds
180g egg whites (split into 2 batches)
1 tablespoon black treacle
1 tablespoon Camp Coffee
200g caster sugar
Finely grind the almonds and icing sugar together until it no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers. Sift into a large bowl. Add one batch of egg whites, the treacle and camp coffee. Stir to combine into a thick paste.
Put the caster sugar and water into a pan and boil until the syrup reaches 110deg C.
At this point, whip remaining egg whites to firm peak.
Remove sugar syrup from heat when it reaches 118 > 120deg C. Pour this in a slow stream onto the egg whites whilst whisking constantly. You will need a hand or stand mixer for this. I prefer to use my hand mixer when making macarons. Whisk until thick and shiny and fairly cool.
Fold into the paste with a spatula until a ribbon of mixture fades into the surface within about 30 seconds.
Pipe on to on of our revolutionary double sided silicone macaron mats. We now also have these mats in bright red and they should be on the website next week.
You want to leave about 5mm space around the macaronage on the mat as you pipe. Once it's sat and relaxed for a little while, it will spread.
Normally, when making macarons you need to add a lot of food colouring to retain a good coloured shell. By that I do mean a seriously hefty amount of food colouring. You will find however that the macaronage here will look very pale as you pipe it out. Once in the oven, the camp coffee and black treacle seemed to work some kind of magic and the shells came out a glorious caramel colour.
I sprinkled the tops with a few Maldon Sea Salt Flakes prior to baking.
Put in a preheated fan oven at 160deg C for 5 mins with the door open, then close the door and bake for another 18 > 20 minutes until done.
I've no idea what happened to the 3 or 4 shells on the top tray at the back left hand corner. These cracked - and I haven't had a macaron shell crack in months !
For the filling, I made some vanilla buttercream. Replacing the milk in the buttercream with double cream gave it a very smooth and somewhat lighter texture than normal buttercream despite adding a few more calories.
Seriously. If you are going to make these, don't think about calories. You'll have nightmares.... They may be small, but calorie content has to be worse than you could imagine.
Allow the shells to totally cool before removing from the mat. This takes longer than you might think !
For the salted caramel filling :
400g of extra thick double cream
250g golden syrup
add sea salt flakes (such as Maldon) to taste
This will make about double the required caramel you need - but it will store in a covered container in the fridge easily for a couple of weeks (if you can leave it alone!)
Put in a pan and boil together until coating the back of a spoon quite well. Takes about 10 minutes and will thicken more when cooled.
If when cooled it is too runny, pop back in the pan and boil a little longer.
The vanilla buttercream was totally made by eye.
Combine about 100g of softened butter with powdered icing sugar, 1tsp vanilla extract and a little double cream and beat until you have a thick, fairly stiff buttercream. You only want to make about 1 > 1.1/2 cups finished amount.
Pipe a ring of buttercream on to one macaron shell. Add about 3/4 of a teaspoon of the caramel in the centre. and then sandwich the two together.
The purpose of doing this is to retain the caramel in the middle. I like a decent amount of filling in macarons. You won't keep much caramel in the macaron without the buttercream retaining walls as the caramel will loosen at room temperature, whereas the buttercream will gain a hardened surface on the exterior and stay creamy and smooth inside.
These will keep 1 to 2 days and the recipe makes 25 macarons (50 shells) of 50mm / 2" diameter.
I also made two dozen of Oliver's favourite chocolate cupcakes (see blog for pirate cupcakes) - each with 1/2 and Oreo on top. I hope everyone was suitably refreshed !
One cupcake didn't make it that far.....