My house is currently filled with 5 types of cookies. And it would be 7, but we ate those already. It’s a combo of cookies from my photoshoot with Ambitious Kitchen last weekend, cookies for upcoming December posts, and these Chai Spiced Salted Caramel Macarons.
I keep stepping on the scale and wondering why I’ve gained 4 pounds, and then I remember: I have no fewer than 30 cookies in my house right now.
And though I am supposed to love all my baked goods equally, I love these salted caramel macarons the mostest. Because they are flavored with my favorite spices (cinnamon and cardamom) and my favorite filling (salted caramel).
So let’s take a minute to talk about macarons. I know they seem hard. Truth is, they are. But I learned this one trick online and it has never failed me: To test your macaron batter for done-ness, pull your spatula up and slowly make a figure-8 with your spatula. If you can make it figure-8 without the ribbon of batter breaking, you’re done. It shouldn’t be too flowy—just a slowwwww movement.
Tips on how to make macarons
Use high-quality almond flour—When it comes to macarons, using the best possible ingredients is key. You want to use a super fine almond flour and NOT almond meal. Almond meal contains bits of almond skin, which can mess up the taste and texture of homemade macarons. I used Bob’s Red Mill almond flour for this macaron recipe, and the cookies turned out perfectly!
Sift the dry ingredients—This recipe asks you to sift the dry ingredients three times before adding them to the wet ingredients. I know this seems excessive, but when it comes to macarons the devil is in the details. Sifting the almond flour prevents stray almond pieces from sneaking into the batter and ensures that everything comes together like it’s supposed to.
Use room temperature egg whites—Again, I know this seems like an insignificant detail, but you need to use room temp egg whites. You first need to whip the egg whites until soft peaks form, and then add in the sugar and cream of tartar before whipping them once more until stiff.
Don’t under whip the egg whites—French macarons have only one leavening agent: egg whites. Which means the egg whites need to be whipped until stiff peaks form to ensure that the macarons rise correctly. Under whip the egg whites, and your macarons won’t hold their shape or bake properly.
Let the macarons air out—After you’ve piped the macarons onto the parchment paper-lined baking tray, they need to air out, uncovered for at least an hour. This helps the cookies dry out a little bit and helps create that signature crack along the bottom of the cookie while the macarons are in the oven.
Let the macarons cool completely before sandwiching—DO NOT add the salted caramel to warm macarons. The cookies will likely fall apart, and the caramel will run everywhere.
If you’re alone in your house for the next few days, I’d suggest waiting to make these chai spiced salted caramel macarons until other people are around, because it’s really easy to pop one after another in your mouth until you realize half the cookies are gone.
In a small saucepan, heat the sugar on low heat until it’s completely melted, swirling the pan gently every 20 seconds or so. Remove from heat immediately and stir in butter. The mixture will violently bubble. You’re doing it right. Next, pour in the heavy cream and sea salt. Stir until everything is combined. Pour into small bowl or cup and allow to cool completely before using.
make the macarons
Using a fine mesh strainer, sift the almond flour, powdered sugar, and chai spice into a medium bowl. Sift the mixture again two more times. You may be left with small almond granules each time you sift. Toss these out after each sifting.
In a standing mixer using a whisk attachment (or mixing bowl with a hand mixer), whip the egg whites on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until soft peaks form. Slowly add in granulated sugar and cream of tartar, continuing to beat for 1-2 minutes more until stiff peaks form. The egg whites should be foamy and firmly hold their shape.
Carefully fold in roughly 1/3 of the powdered sugar mixture into the whipped egg whites. Fold a spatula into the center of the mixture, scooping down to the bottom of the bowl, and then scooping upwards along the side of the bowl. You should be making a rough circle with your spatula: center, down, out, center, down, out. Slowly but surely, your two mixtures should come together.
Once the powdered sugar mixture incorporates completely (no dryness remains), fold in the remaining powdered sugar mixture. Continue to fold the mixture until it resembles molten lava– when you pick the mixture up with your spatula, you should be able to slowly (like, slooowly) form a figure 8 without the ribbon of batter breaking.
Fit a large pastry bag with a ½ inch tip and scoop your mixture into the bag. Pipe 1¼ inch circles onto 2 parchment-lined cookie sheets, leaving at least 1¼ inches between each macaron. Allow macarons to air out for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake macarons for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely on their tray.
To finish the macarons, transfer the cooled salted caramel to a small pastry bag fitted with a 1/4 inch tip. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of salted caramel onto a macaron, then sandwich with a second macaron! Repeat until all macarons are sandwiched 🙂
This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. All text and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that help make Broma possible!