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These delicious little beauties look innocent, but contain a salted carmel surprise inside!
For the shells:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (double up sheets if needed to cover the entire pan). Set pans aside.
Process almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor until blended into a fine powder. Sift mixture into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Combine egg whites and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip egg whites and sugar until you reach stiff peaks, adding a little drop of the food coloring during about the last minute of beating the egg whites to make a tan color. My perfect time is 2 minutes on speed 4, then 2 minutes on speed 6 and then another 2 minutes on speed 8. If you do this the whites should stay put if you hold the bowl upside down.
Add the dry mixture into the egg whites. Using a spatula, smash dry ingredients into the egg white, flattening the mixture (use about 5-10 quick strokes to release the air). Then fold the mixture onto itself until it becomes shiny again (another 30-40 strokes). When you lift up the spatula, there should be solid, thick ribbons that run off (this whole process should take no more than about 50 strokes).
Transfer the batter to a large piping bag (I like to use a #12 round icing tip, but it’s optional).
Using circle guides or doing it freehand, pipe about 1 1/4″ circles of batter onto the prepared baking sheets (they will spread to about 1 1/2″), keeping them at least 1-2″ apart to allow for spreading. Do this same method for the second baking sheet, until you run out of batter
Holding each end of the baking sheet, give it a good slam on the counter. Rotate the pan and give it another few slams to release any air bubbles that remain. Let the macs sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. This helps to form a dry shell on the tops to prevent cracking.
Preheat the oven to 315 F.
Bake one sheet at a time, for about 15-16 minutes (depending on size), rotating the pan once halfway through. Once they’re ready, carefully test one by attempting to lift it off the baking sheet. If the top half starts to come off from the feet, it could use a few more minutes of bake time.
Remove the sheet from the oven and place it on a cooling rack, allowing the cookies to cool before removing them. Repeat baking the other sheet(s). Once they are cooled, match up the macarons in pairs that are about the same size, one face down and one up.
For the filling:
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter on medium-high speed for 2 minutes with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until soft and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time until combined (carefully incorporate). Mix in the cinnamon and the apple juice. Continue to beat on medium for another 1-2 minutes. (Add up to 1/2 cup more sugar if too thin or add a little more juice if too thick).
Transfer the filling to a piping bag. Pipe a circle of the frosting around the edge each cookie that’s facing up. Next add a dab of the caramel sauce in the center of the circle (I used about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon per cookie), topped with a little sprinkle of sea salt. Sandwich the halves together, pushing the filling to the edges. Repeat with remaining macarons and filling.
- See my “Caramel Sauce from Scratch” recipe in my TastyKitchen recipe box for my homemade caramel sauce; or you can use store bought.
- If using parchment paper (as opposed to a silicone mat) using small magnets help keep the paper flat, just be sure to remove before baking.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (or freeze them for up to one month). Allow them to come to room temperature before eating.
- Macarons are best eaten 24-48 hours after assembly.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!