2.18.2014

Making Macarons for Valentine's Day

Last Valentine's Day I wrote about my indifference towards the holiday while loving heart-shaped everything. Here I go being an even bigger hypocrite because I was excited this year! Last year marked the start of a new tradition when Andrew and I made those seriously delicious Jacques Torres chocolate truffles, and this year we decided to take on the super daunting task of making macarons. Dun Dun Dun!

Making Valentine's Day Macarons Salted Caramel Drip

Completely out of fear, I only searched using phrases like "easiest macaron recipe ever made—EVER" until I found one that fit the bill. Ann Reardon's Salted Caramel Macaron Recipe doesn't require aged eggs, rest time, or even caster sugar, so I didn't bother with any traditional French recipes as I was already entirely too stressed about feet! And skirts! And cracks!

Ingredients for Making Valentine's Day Salted Caramel MacaronsSifting Flour for Valentine's Day Salted Caramel Macarons
Whipped Egg Whites for Salted Caramel Macarons

The meringue whipped up so easily, and beautifully, we almost forgot to add in our color. Without any food coloring, we improvised and added a small amount of cocoa powder. "What if the ratios are all off now? What if we over/underfold it?" repeated in the back of my mind continuously, though I probably whispered it in horror a few times to be honest. Then came the worry over not owning an oven thermometer... They're all going to burrrn.

Shells for Valentine's Day Salted Caramel Macarons

But they didn't! We'd nailed it! Sort of. I'm not even going to pretend I completely understand the food science going on here, working with a piping bag was hard enough, but I know we should have rapped the baking sheets on our counter just a little more to release more air. We lucked out with maybe 10 perfect circles, 40-ish ovals, and a few blobs, mostly free of cracks.

Dulce de leche for Valentine's Day Salted Caramel Macarons

Earlier in the day I made dulce de leche to use as filling: as-is and in a buttercream. After everything was out of the oven and cooling, I combined all but a few tablespoons of the dulce de leche, a hefty pinch of salt, and half a cup of butter to make the salted caramel buttercream, which I layered over a bit of dulce de leche. Unreal. My dulce de leche was still a bit too warm and runny when assembling—messy, but absolutely incredible. Ultimately I switched over to just buttercream.

Piping buttercream for Valentine's Day Salted Caramel Macarons

Too eager to wait, we inhaled about ten bare shells while the next set were in the oven baking, then another ten assembled cookies afterward. By the next morning we were practically eating them by the handful. We brought some to Andrew's parents' house Sunday night and even they gobbled them up immediately. They're that good.

Valentine's Day Salted Caramel Macarons

Using the 3.5 cm template from Pure Gourmandise definitely helped as we pipped our shells. Getting them perfect is going to take a lot more practice but we will willingly labor through it! Speaking of which, I had a ton of buttercream left over so we made another thirty macarons last night! Dare I say they're even better‽

6 comments:

  1. Those look delicious! If I had a bigger kitchen I'd give macarons a try. Maybe.

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    1. I was always so afraid to give it a try but I promise they're way easier than everyone makes them out to be (they are fussy but it's really just aesthetics) and there is so little mess! Usually I'm like a tornado in the kitchen with a huge path of destruction, but not this time. I say you try it!

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  2. Replies
    1. I have to admit Andrew was way better at piping than I was. They were almost perfect that second round!

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  3. OMG!!! These look so delicious!! You might just have to move to Puerto Rico! ;)

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    1. Ha, I should go back! I haven't visited in aaaaages. I have some family I should visit, too. Macarons for everyone!

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