For the macaron shells:
300g almond flour
300g powdered sugar
110g liquefied egg whites (see below)
300g caster sugar
110g liquefied egg whites
2 tsp caramel flavouring
4 drops orange food gel
6 drops brown food gel
Salted caramel sauce
500g dark chocolate
250ml thickened cream
Level: medium baby!
Add chocolate and cream into a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds at a time, mixing each time until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to set. Alternatively you may melt it using a double boiler. Fill a medium sized pot with 1/3 of the way with water. Bring to a boil. Place bowl with chocolate and cream over the top and gently mix until mixture is completely melted and smooth. To soften the ganache to spreading or piping consistency microwave for 10 seconds at a time, mixing each time with a large spatula until it reaches the right consistency. Allow to set at room temp.
Add half the icing sugar and almond flour into a food processor and process until well combined. Repeat with the other half. This will help get rid of any lumps in the sugar. Alternatively you may sift the two together. This must be done at least 3 times.
Empty the almond mixture into a large mixing bowl, add the first portion of egg whites and mix until it forms a paste. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Add the sugar and water into a small saucepan. Give them a very gentle stir to get them mixed together. Bring to a boil on medium high heat, then turn down to a simmer. Add a candy thermometer to the pot to help you measure the temp of the syrup. As the syrup bubbles away it will splatter small bubbles of sugared water on the sides of the pot. Use a pastry brush dabbed in a little water to brush those back into the syrup. This will help prevent the syrup from crystallising. When the syrup reaches 115C, add the second portion of egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and start whisking them on medium/high speed to help break them apart and get them a little frothy.
When the syrup reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites in a slow and steady stream. Whisk to stiff peaks for about 6 min. Add the brown and orange food gel and caramel flavouring at about the 3 min point, whisk into the meringue for a couple of minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down, then whisk for an extra couple of minutes. When you can turn the bowl over and the meringue doesn’t fall out, you know you’ve reached stiff peaks.
Grab a spatula full of the meringue and fold it into the almond-sugar mixture, mix until well combined. This allows the mixture to thin out a little before you add the rest of the mixture. Then add the rest of the meringue and fold by going around the bowl with a spatula then through the middle (as demonstrated in the video). Continue folding until the batter gets thin enough that it drips off the spatula and falls in a ribbon. It should take about 10 seconds for the ribbon to disappear into the rest of the batter. That’s when you know the batter is ready to pipe.
Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a round tip.
Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm (1.38 inches) in diameter, spacing them 2cm apart on (flat) baking trays lined with baking parchment. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
Gently tap the tray on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes, until a skin forms on the shells. They shouldn’t be sticky when you touch them. It’s at this point that you can preheat a fan forced oven to 180C (360F)
Bake for 12 minutes. If you feel your oven is causing the macarons to brown on one side (usually the side closest to the fan) turn the tray around about half way through baking. Once they’re baked, let them cool completely.
Fit the end of a piping bag with a Wilton 6b piping tip and pipe a swirl of chocolate frosting on one macaron. Leave a hole in the centre and fill it with salted caramel sauce. Sandiwch with another macaron.
PREPARE BEFORE YOU START:
1. Trays (lined with baking paper NOT grease proof paper)
2. Eggs - separate egg whites from the yolks and allow them to sit in the fridge for a couple hours. These must be measured accurately.
3. Sift almond and sugar together (if you don’t have a food processor)
STORAGE: store in an airtight container for up to 2 days (refrigerated or unrefrigerated).
AGEING YOUR EGGS: Egg whites will liquefy if you sit them in the fridge for several days, preferably a week. During that time, the egg whites lose their elasticity, the albumen breaks down and they will be much easier to whisk to soft peaks without turning "grainy".
HALVING THE RECIPE: This recipe can be halved
EQUIPMENT: You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe to know the exact time to take the syrup off the heat. They can be purchased on Amazon or from your local cake supply store.
Whisk attachment (or hand mixer)
Round piping tip (medium size, 1.5cm in width)