They’re baaaaaaack! And better than ever. My love for homemade French macarons hasn’t subsided in the past few months, so I decided to whip you up a new variation for your holiday baking. If it’s not the magical nougat chewiness in each delicate cookie, it’s the glittering sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Or maybe the salted caramel buttercream that draws me in? Yes. It’s definitely that.
Salted caramel runs through my veins.
Bottom line: you need to make salted caramel cinnamon macarons this weekend.
Before we get into recipe #5 in my annual cookie palooza, let me tell you what today is. Today, December 5th, is my last book tour stop of the year!! Like a complete freak, I’m getting teary eyed (again) as I type this. I’ve been to 18 cities in the past 2 months and today I’m in Houston. For the first time ever! Hoping to meet lots of you at Williams Sonoma (4060 Westheimer Rd) from 12-4pm. Stop by; I have oodles and oodles of candy samples for you.
Thank you for making this a wild and completely unforgettable book tour. The fun continues in February. Hoping to add more stops throughout 2016 as well. So stay tuned!
Alright, macarons. Let’s do this. Remember back in August when I shared a complete guide to making French macarons? Well, have you tried them yet? As you know, these fancy cookies are a little finicky. Impossible? No. Requiring precision and care? Yes.
Macaron baking is a craft.
But you can absolutely do it at home. Just takes a little practice and time. And make sure you’re reading the macaron tutorial I just linked. A kitchen scale is required to make my French macarons. (Here is the kitchen scale I own. Less expensive options: here and here.) Accurate measurements ensure accurate results. When it comes to macaron batter, I actually encourage you to NOT use US cup measurements as there is way too much room for error. Which equals a ruined recipe. And wasted time!
The base ingredients for the macaron shells are almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, and room temperature egg whites. You can make your own almond flour at home by pulsing blanched, skinless, unsalted, raw almonds until superfine. In my opinion, buying a package is easier!
Make sure the egg whites you use in the macaron recipe are at room temperature. It’s best to separate the egg whites in advance. Then, let them sit out for a few hours to “age.” Oh my gosh, that is SO important.
Speaking of aging, you have to let the piped macaron rounds (pictured below, left) age as well. This is crucial to making macarons! Time is macaron batter’s best friend. While the piped rounds sit, air will will help the rounds “set” and form a dry shell. I always let mine sit for at least 45 minutes.
I won’t go into too much more detail, as you can find very detailed info, photos, and explanations in my macaron tutorial.
A sprinkle of cinnamon goes on top of each round before letting them sit– before baking. Then, as they bake, the cinnamon bakes into each cookie. It’s incredible. The perfect starting point for salted caramel goodness.
I love the cinnamon speckles!
The salted caramel buttercream might just be my favorite part about these macarons. Though I totally want to just eat it with a spoon. And I did. Excuse me while I go run 100 miles to burn it off. But seriously, this macaron filling is mind-blowing. It’s basically my very vanilla frosting, only scaled down a little, with liquid gold swirled in. By that, I mean my beloved homemade salted caramel. Have you tried this stuff yet? Insert 1 million heart-eyed emojis.
Every time I make macarons, I can’t get over how unbelievable they taste. The flavors and combinations are endless, and I know you’ll fall in love with the cinnamon and salted caramel combo! If you’re looking for something a little less cinnamon and a lot more chocolate– here are my chocolate peanut butter macarons. To die for.
Salted Caramel Cinnamon Macarons
For best results, use a scale to measure these ingredients in grams.
- 200g confectioners' sugar (close to 2 cups)
- 100g almond flour (close to 1 cup)
- 120g room temperature egg whites (around 3 large egg whites)1
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 40g sifted granulated sugar or caster sugar (3 Tablespoons)
- ground cinnamon
Salted Caramel Buttercream
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (80ml) store-bought or homemade salted caramel
- Please look over my full macaron-making tutorial before beginning, complete with additional tips and tricks to guarantee macaron success.
- Place the confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor or blender and pulse or blend for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined and fine in texture. Set aside.
- In a completely dry and grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites and salt together on medium speed for 1 minute. Switch to high speed and beat *just* until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Do NOT overbeat. Using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold in the sifted granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
- Using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the confectioners' sugar/almond flour mixture until combined. Be very gentle and light-handed while doing so. Once completely combined, the mixture will be smooth, sticky, and glossy.
- Let the batter sit uncovered at room temperature for 10-30 minutes. Meanwhile, fit your piping bag with the piping tip. Line 2-3 baking sheets with silicone baking mats (read explanation in this post about why these mats are preferred).
- Fill the piping bag with the batter and pipe evenly sized rounds onto the baking sheets-- make sure you are holding the bag vertically and close to the baking sheet. While piping, the batter will slightly spread out, so keep that in mind. You want around 2-inch circles. Gently tap the bottom of the baking sheets on your counter to rid any large air bubbles. Lightly sprinkle cinnamon on each.
- Let the piped rounds sit for at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour. This is crucial to making macarons! The air will will help the rounds set and form a dry shell. They should not be sticky going into the oven.
- Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Bake the macarons for 10 minutes, one baking sheet at a time. Rotate the pan at the 5 minute mark. The tops should be crisp and the macarons should have formed their signature crinkly "feet." Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before filling.
- Make the filling: In a medium bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar until combined and creamy, then beat in the vanilla extract. Gently fold in the salted caramel until mostly combined. Some swirls are OK! Add more salted caramel if desired.
- Fill and sandwich two shells together to form an iconic French macaron cookie! You'll have some filling leftover. It's delicious... with anything. Leftover macarons keep well covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Age your egg whites. This is so important! Separate them first. Then, let them sit out at room temperature for a few hours; overnight preferred.
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