If you've ever been to France, particularly Paris and particularly in the past 3 - 4 years, you have been witness to the explosion of salted butter caramel. Berthillon, the famed glacier on the Ile St. Louis, now has a Salted Butter Caramel ice cream which is so good I could seriously lock myself in a closet with a few gallons of it and go to town. Ladurée and Pierre Hermé have developed fantastic macarons filled with salted butter caramel, which I stock up on while in town.
Inspired, I decided to try my own salted butter caramel macaron. For the shells, I used a plain macaron batter. But I filled them with a FANTASTIC salted butter caramel. The caramel is REALLY hard to handle. It oozed, it got stuck places, the shells slid around...I probably should have waited for the caramel to set just a bit longer. But wait too long and you have a hard caramel that will crack the delicate shells. Must practice more...nothing wrong with macaron practice.
I put a few grains of sea salt on the top of each macaron before they baked. That added a little more of the salt flavor. My husband thought they tasted like the best caramel corn he's ever had...The French would probably not approve of a macaron being compared with caramel corn, but I think he's right...
Anyway, for the macarons:
1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup almond flour
3 egg whites at room temperature
3 Tb. granulated sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
Blend the confectioner's sugar and the almond flour in a food processor. Begin to whip the egg whites in a stand mixer until they start to froth. Add a pinch of cream of tartar, and as they foam up more gradually add the granulated sugar. Beat until stiff.
Add the almond mixture to the egg white mixture and fold until the mixture begins to flow "like magma". I would say this will take about 40 - 60 turns of the spatula.
Fill pastry bag fitted with 1/4 " tip and make 1 inch mounds on cookie sheets lined with either parchment or a silpat. Let sit for at least 20 minutes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes.
For the caramel:
3 tablespoonscorn syrup
1 1/2 cupscaster sugar
2/3 cup double or heavy cream
3/4 - 1 teaspoon rock salt or coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
Pour the glucose syrup into a large saucepan and bring it to a boil.
Slowly add the sugar, stir until dissolved and continue to cook until the sugar has started to caramelize and turn golden brown. You shouldn't touch the sugar while it is going through this process.
Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, bring the cream and salt to a boil.
Remove the caramel from the heat and gently add the cream.
Stir over low heat until smooth.
Remove from the heat and add the diced butter.
Stir until smooth. Let it set until it is spreadable, then use it on your macarons.