Macaroon Mashup: Chocolate Caramel Macaroons
April 18, 2014
Macaroons have become a dessert tradition for several spring holidays. With Easter, you can add some candy eggs to look like little bird’s nests. It also makes the perfect Passover treat because macaroons are gluten-free. But which ones to use? American macaroons are usually coconut-based desserts, while the French version is smaller and almond tasting. I found this recipe that mashes up the two different macaroons, and instead of the typical buttercream or ganache filling, there’s a crunchy caramel candy layer in between the cocoa layers. These are fudgy little desserts that are more like candy than cookies.
- 1 ¾ cup confectioners’/powdered sugar (180 grams). Note: If you are making these for Passover, you can find kosher-for-Passover confectioners’ sugar in large supermarkets around the time of the holiday. Or make your own by whirling 2 cups granulated sugar and 2 1/2 tablespoons potato or tapioca starch in a food processor, blender or spice grinder until it’s more of a powder.
- 1 cup almond flour or ground almonds (95 grams)
- 5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (30 grams)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar (255 grams)
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (57 grams)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment or nonstick baking mats.
- In a bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar, almond flour, cocoa powder and salt.
- Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until egg whites are white in color and hold onto the bottom of the whisk, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue to beat, slowly adding 40 grams (3 tablespoons) granulated sugar until peaks are stiff, about 1 minute.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold almond mixture into egg whites in 4 batches, until there are no traces of egg whites.
- Spoon batter into a pastry bag or a heavy-duty plastic bag, cutting a small hole in a corner of the plastic bag. Pipe 1-inch rounds of batter, an inch apart from one another, onto the baking sheets. (Alternatively, use a 1/2 teaspoon to form the rounds.) Pick up baking sheets and bang them against work surface. Let sheets sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to dry tops. (Don’t skip this step; it helps the macaroons rise nicely.)
- Bake macaroons at 350 degrees until puffed and firm, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. Transfer sheets to rack to cool completely, then overturn cookies on the baking sheets so that flat bottoms are facing up.
- While the macaroons are cooking, make the caramel by combining the remaining 1 cup (215 grams) granulated sugar with 1/4 cup water in a clean, dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally to help distribute the sugar until it completely melts and turns a rich reddish-brown (imagine the color of an Irish setter), about 15 minutes.
- Working quickly, spoon caramel over half the overturned cookies; immediately sandwich with remaining, unfilled cookies. If the caramel hardens before you’re done, gently melt it over low heat and continue filling cookies.
- Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a simmer. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over pot. Heat, stirring frequently, until melted. (Or melt chocolate in the microwave.) Using a fork, drizzle cookies with melted chocolate. Let the caramel and chocolate set at room temperature or in the refrigerator. The caramel should harden to the texture of hard candy.
I’m not a fan of chocolate, but these were really good. And hubby ate most of them anyway!