Comfort food meets elegance in these extreme macarons, which are filled with a chocolate whipped ganache, salted caramel sauce and topped with a freshly baked fudgy brownie and finished with a drizzle of more salted caramel. Everything pictured is handmade with fresh ingredients. No boxes or pre-made sauces and while each step takes a bit of time, you can taste every element in every single bite.
For my tutorial on how to make perfect macarons every time click on a previous post of mine detailing each step with pictures and videos:
I had been picturing these macarons in my head for about 2 weeks waiting for the perfect opportunity to make them. I had been craving my brownie recipe which is just and ooey-gooey chocolate explosion with a flaky top, but I wanted to reinvent it all and make my next dessert more chic. I also knew that I wanted to incorporate salted caramel. My mother-in-law is obsessed with salted caramel and was the inspiration for that addition to these macarons.
It has been about a month since I last made macarons and I was well overdue for another batch. I was just about to make these about a week ago when we had plans with 1 other family for dinner. Finally our lockdown had loosened and we were allowed to meet with one other family. I knew for our first dinner back I would make these. AND THEN...
My youngest daughter got exposed to Covid. (AHHHHHH!) Let the chaos, madness, and crazy depression thoughts sink in. I was heartbroken and scared. Since that moment when all parents rushed to the daycare to pick up their kids we found out that we were all negative and so was everyone else in her daycare except for that one child. But, the German government is super cautious, and even with a negative test, 1 week after last exposure, she still has to quarantine for 14 days. Which meant our dinner plans were cancelled.
Good news: we are all healthy.
Bad news: my 3 year old is stuck at home for 14 days and cannot leave our property- if she does there is a 4000€ fine which is about 4800 US Dollars. Yeah, I do not have that money just laying around.
After we found out that we were all negative, my mood changed and I needed to celebrate. What better way to jump back into baking than with macarons.
In this post I am not going to detail every step of how to make macarons, instead I will focus on the salted caramel sauce since I know many people get so scared when making their own. It is so easy but does have a bit of technique that I will demonstrate with some pictures and videos. And do not buy pre-made store bought. Making your own takes about 15 minutes and uses super simple ingredients.
Doesn't this look amazing???
The recipe I wrote for you below makes ALL this caramel. You actually only need about 1/4 of this to fill and decorate 1 batch of macarons. So you can make 2 batches of macarons if you like OR you can also take some of the extra brownie and add some ice cream and caramel sauce for a quick weekday treat.
To make salted caramel you don't even need brown sugar or corn syrup, just normal granulated sugar. After the sugar and water boil for about 4-5 minutes you need to watch it change color. AND you do not need to constantly stir. Just stand there and watch. It will go from a clear water mixture (the sugar will have dissolved after about 1-2 minutes) and transform to this:
This picture was taken about 5 minutes after it started boiling.
This isn't a true amber color. We want it a tad darker. So I let it cook for 1 more minute, to then get this:
This is the color you want when you take the saucepan off the heat. Then you add in your cream and after it bubbles up it settles to this:
Make sure your salt is more like a rock sea salt. The better quality salt the better quality your salted caramel will be. This is the brand that I used. We got it as a gift and I LOVE it!
Before you fill your macarons make sure that the caramel is at room temperature. If it is too hot it will be too thin. If you refrigerate your caramel because you made it in advance (I highly recommend doing this to save time) leave out the jar for a few hours so that it slowly comes to room temperature. The colder your caramel is the thicker it will be. The warmer your caramel is the thinner it will be.
See how lucious this caramel is? AND if you do refrigerate your caramel it won't separate. So many recipes that I have tried make great caramel but then it separates and gets greasy and gross. Not this one!
So I know many of you have a favorite brownie recipe. By all means, use what you love. Making brownies takes about 5 minutes of prep time. Nothing better than that! I usually finish my brownie batter before my oven has preheated and it preheats in about 6-7 minutes. But if you do not have a fantastic brownie recipe then look no further. These brownies are flaky on top with being incredibly fudgy on the inside.
The trick is to add more chocolate than normal recipes use. And I use about 2/3 dark chocolate and 1/3 milk chocolate. I use pure baking chocolate and every time I get an explosion of chocolate flavor.
While brownies are an amazing comfort food, macarons are the true test to perfect technique in the kitchen. I always feel like such a baking goddess whenever I achieve flawless macarons.
The assembly does take a little time because there are so many steps. I like to do one step at a time instead of completing one macaron at a time. First pipe a border of whipped ganache.
Then fill in the inside with your caramel.
And make sure you screw the top on correctly to your squeeze bottle!!!
Guys, I took one for the team. This sad victim could not be saved and I just had to eat him up right then and there. Oops!
Once you have filled all your macarons you can top them off with your brownie and caramel drizzle.
We might still be stuck in quarantine... well my daughter.... not us. My husband can still go to work and my older daughter can go to school. Unfortunately, we have not trained our 12 year old golden retriever to take care of a 3 year old girl yet... so I guess that leaves me stuck at home.
At least I can take a break from my work Zoom calls and spoil my family with the ultimate chocolate caramel brownie macaron.