If we were to conduct a survey to find out what is the top-selling macaron flavor worldwide, I bet salted caramel macarons would be in a close race for first place, along with chocolate varieties. I know it is at the top of my list—in fact, the flavor that most certainly made me fall with love with macarons is probably Pierre Hermé’s Infiniment Caramel, his salted caramel macaron creation. It’s the perfect balance of creamy and crisp, and of sweet and salty. A work of art in a bite, in my opinion.
I created this macaron with Hermé—my macaron mentor—in mind. The salted caramel filling is adapted from his book, Pierre Hermé Macarons: The Ultimate Recipes from the Master Pâtissier, and I like incorporate ground pecans in the shells to underline the nutty flavor of the filling. Let me tell you: these Salted Caramel Macarons are quite the addictive bite; in fact, this macaron flavor is one of the two I get requested the most often—neck and neck with my dark chocolate ganache macarons. If you love desserts that showcase a delicate balance of sweet and salty, this macaron’s for you. But really, I think this treat has the power of turning any skeptic into an unconditional macaron lover.
Never made French macarons? Here are helpful resources to get you started:
- How to Make French Macarons Video Class
- How to Make Macarons: A Detailed, Illustrated Step-by-Step Recipe
- A Macaron Troubleshooting Guide: Useful Tips and Advice to Master the French Delicacy
- My “All About French Macarons” Page
Makes ABOUT 56 SHELLS, OR 28 ASSEMBLED MACARONS.
These Salted Caramel Pecan Macarons, inspired by pastry master Pierre Hermé, perfectly balance sweet and salty to create a truly memorable bite.
Return the egg whites to room temperature at least an hour before making the macarons.
For the macaron shells: In the bowl of a food processor, add the powdered sugar, almond flour, and ground pecans, and process until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated, 30 seconds to a minute. Sift mixture to make sure no lumps or bigger bits of nuts are left.
Whisk the egg whites on medium/high speed until frothy, a minute or two, then slowly pour in the granulated sugar. Keep on beating until the egg whites are stiff, dense and creamy. If using, mix in brown gel food coloring until you reach the shade you’re looking for.
Delicately fold in the nuts/sugar mixture in 2 or 3 additions. Slide your spatula all the way to the bottom of the bowl and comes back up several times to make sure no pockets of dry ingredients remain and the color is evenly blended.
Prepare the baking sheet by lining them with parchment paper. Slide macaron templates under the parchment paper, if using.
Transfer the macaron batter in a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch [1.25-cm] round tip. Pipe 1½-inch [3.8-cm] rounds of batter, evenly spaced but still close to one another as they will not expand much.
Carefully slide the macaron templates off the baking sheets, if you used them. Using a fine mesh sieve, lightly sprinkle the shells with shimmer dust, if using. Let the shells rest on the baking sheets for 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C) with a rack set to the middle position. Bake the macarons for 18 to 20 minutes, until the macaron shells are firm on their feet.
Let the shells cool completely to room temperature before assembling them, about an hour.
For the salted caramel filling: In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, add the sugar and water and melt the sugar completely over medium heat. Once the sugar is melted and smooth, increase the heat to high and boil the sugar, without stirring but gently swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture is a nice golden caramel color. Remove from the heat. Gradually whisk in the butter, being very careful when adding the cubes so the boiling sugar doesn't splash on your hands. Pour the heavy cream into the caramel mixture in a small stream, whisking continually.
Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan and return to medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture reaches 226°F (108°C). Pour into a shallow heatproof dish and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the filling, and refrigerate until completely cold, at least 2 hours. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a size 2 round tip and set aside until ready to assemble the macarons.
To assemble the macarons: Pair same sized shells together and set side by side on a work surface. Pipe some filling over half of the shells. Close the macarons, gently pressing the second shells over the filling.
Store the assembled macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate for one night before indulging.
Always bring the macarons back to room temperature before serving.
Shells: Marie Asselin
Buttercream: Adapted from Pierre Hermé
It’s Tiny Sweets Week!
Check out the other holiday-inspired bite-sized recipes in this series: