As you know, my department at work have an unspoken rule: you HAVE to bring in treats for any occasion. ANY occasion.
However one of the guys, Shane, is gluten intolerant. So every time someone brings in cake/baked goods/chocolate, he would have to resist the urge to sample some. Imagine that! So, I challenged myself to come up with something. And, following some research, I came up with these:
Recipe (adapted from Cafejohnsonia.com):
Ingredients (makes 28):
For the filling:
One can (397g) of Nestle carnation caramel
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Half a tablespoon of salt
For the macarons:
4 packs (4*5g) Dr.Oetker egg white powder
80 grams ground almonds
64 grams finely ground roasted cashews
192 grams icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 tea-mug caster sugar
1) Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2) Pre-heat the oven to 150 Degrees Celsius. Roast the cashews until golden brown (takes 3 hours in my oven, so do this on a lazy day!). Once cooled, blitz in a food processor.
3) Mix the caramel with the salt until smooth. Leave in the fridge until needed. (You only need half the tin for this recipe, so feel free to use the remainder as a sauce for brownies, apple pie or even toast! It is recommended that you store the sauce in a air-tight container in the fridge).
4) Follow the instructions for the egg white. It is claimed that egg whites should be aged at least 24 hours before being used in macarons; however, I have never had any issues with it.
5) Put the egg white mixture into a clean metal bowl and beat at a low speed (this makes the meringue more stable). Once the egg whites start to foam (about 1.5 minutes), start beating the egg whites on a high speed and simultaneously add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. The meringue is ready when you can turn the bowl upside down and no meringue falls out.
6) Fold the remaining dry ingredients (ground almonds, icing sugar, salt, ground cashews) into the egg whites all at once. Keep folding until you get a mixture that is shiny and magma like.
7) Using a piping bag (or making one from baking parchment), pipe out circles (of 3cm diameters and 3cm apart from each other) onto the pre-prepared baking sheet. Leave the macarons to sit on a cool worktop whilst you wait for the oven to preheat 150 Degrees Celsius (15 minutes or so).
8) Bake the macarons on the low level of the oven for 8 minutes before rotating the baking sheet front to back and bake for an additional 5 minutes. The macarons are ready when the center feels set.
9) Take out the macarons and leave to cool. Once cool, match up the macaron halves to ones of similar sizes. Sandwich a teaspoon of salt caramel sauce between the two halves before digging in!
10) Repeat steps 7, 8 and 9 until you run out of batter.
11) Dig in before anyone else sees them! These macarons do not hold well in the fridge, so keep them covered up in a cool place until needed.
These macarons do take some planning and can be quite difficult to make. However, they are good! So good, in fact, that these have also made it onto the Tang’s xmas menu!