October 28, 2010

Caramel Fleur de Sel Macaroons

French Almond Macaroons 
I found this recipe at My Food Geek it's pretty amazing and has photos to follow along with. Probably one of the best recipes I've tried for macaroons. 
For the Macarons:
120g egg whites, divided
35g sugar
150g finely ground almonds
150g powdered sugar
For the sugar syrup:
150g sugar and 50g water
Process the ground almonds and powdered sugar in the work bowl of a food processor. Most recipes call for sifting, but I think this works better and gets everything combined.
In a stand mixer, whip 60g egg whites to soft peaks, add 35g sugar. 
In the meantime, in a saucepan on high heat bring the water and sugar for the syrup to 230 F. on a candy thermometer.Slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites and continue to whip on medium – high speed until they are completely cooled and you have a shiny meringue (10-15 minutes).
Mix the remaining 60g of egg whites and the sifted almond/sugar and carefully fold into the meringue.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the mixture and pipe macarons about 3 inches in diameter on silpat lined baking sheet.
Bake at 320 for 15-25 minutes.
Check to see if macarons are done by grabbing the top of one macaron and trying to shake it. They are done when the top barely slides against the skirt. If they are not done, extend baking time by two minutes intervals, checking after each extension.
Caramel Fleur de Sel Filling
I found this recipe at Mad Baker and it is absolutely delicious! You could probably use this filling for cakes and other cookies. Using a digital scale helps make measuring precise. 

200g sugar
Sufficient quantity water
1/2 tsp pure vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla pod
200g whipping cream, warmed
3g fleur de sel
140g unsalted butter, well-chilled and cut into cubes

1. Place the sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Add just enough water to dampen the sugar.
2. Cook the sugar to 160 degrees C without stirring. The sugar syrup should take on an amber hue.
3. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste or the scrappings from the vanilla pod.
4. Add in the warm cream a little at a time - be very careful here as the caramel will foam up and sputter. I recommend wearing an oven mitt.
5. Add the fleur de sel and stir to make sure that all the caramel has dissolved.
6. Allow the mixture to cool to around 40 degrees C.
7. Add the cubes of butter and blend in the butter using an immersion blender until you have a smooth glossy paste.
8. Line the surface of the caramel with cling wrap to prevent a layer of skin from forming and chill in the refrigerator until needed.

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