Ram Fam Macarons
Updated: Oct 27, 2020
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Happy National College Colors day!! Yes, this is a thing. It's a day where you show your college team spirit. I decided to make macarons in my alma mater's colors. I graduated from Angelo State University three years ago (has it really been that long?). Blue and gold are great colors that are easy to find and use.
I tried something different when it came to coloring the macarons themselves. I used butterfly pea flower powder. I've been wanting to try a more natural way to color foods for a long time and this seemed like a great option. You can find the powder I used here: https://amzn.to/3dOKh2q
You can still use gel food coloring if you can't find this powder. I used gel food coloring for the buttercream because I couldn't find a yellow powder I liked that didn't seem like it could change the flavor.
Even though it's not technically Fall yet, I chose a Fall flavor. Well actually, I put a poll up on my Instagram page (@kelsey.s_kitchen) and you guys voted for caramel apple over chai. So these are Salted Caramel Apple Macarons. The shells themselves aren't flavored so you can use this recipe to make a basic shell and flavor it with whatever buttercream you want. Macarons are very tricky and this is the first time I've gotten them pretty much spot on. I'll share with you how I did it so let's get started.
First, separate your eggs. Reserve the egg yolks for another use if you want. Leave the egg whites out while you get everything else going. A lot of macaron recipes call for aged egg whites but, you don't have to leave them out for days or even all night. Mine were out for a few hours. Next, take the mixing bowl you plan to use for your egg whites and put a little white vinegar in it. This will make sure any fat residue that could ruin your meringue is gone.
The first thing we're going to work on is the caramel sauce for the buttercream. Start by melting your butter in a pan. Once it's melted add in your sugar, brown sugar, and bourbon. You can omit the bourbon if you want but it's only for flavor purposes because the alcohol will be cooked out. After the sugar dissolves, add in the heavy cream and sea salt or if you can find it Fleur de Sel works great too. Cook on medium while whisking constantly for about 4-5 minutes. Then take it off the heat and put it in a container such as a mason jar. Let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. It should look like the last picture once it's cooled.
Prepare a baking sheet with either a silicon macaron mat like I'll be using or take a sheet of parchment paper and draw small circles on it. Place the parchment paper, on the opposite side of the one you drew directly on, on the baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray.
Next take the powdered sugar, almond flour, and butterfly pea flower powder and sift them together. They should look like the first picture when sifted and combined. The sifting is really important to get a smooth macaron so don't skip this step. Now we can take a towel and wipe the vinegar all over the bowl. Use a clean towel to make sure the vinegar has been cleaned out and the bowl is dry. Pour the egg whites into the bowl and add in some cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is an agent that will help stabilize the egg white to form the meringue. Whip the egg whites starting on low and gradually increasing the speed. You'll know the egg whites are fully whipped when they look like the third picture. It'll have stiff peaks that won't move and if you hold the bowl upside down for five seconds the contents stay in the bowl. Gradually add in the powdered sugar mixture. Use a spreader spatula to fold the mixture together. Take the spatula and rotate it in the mixture gently. This will start to combine the two. Repeat until combined.
Take the mixture and put it into a piping bag with a small round tip. Take a tall glass and put the piping bag inside it. Pull it over the top of the glass. This makes filling the piping bag so much easier. Fill the bag with the macaron batter. Pipe out the mixture using the circles as a guide. If the batter starts to spread, the egg whites weren't whipped enough and the cookies won't form. This has been my mistake time and time again. It should keep its shape if done right. Let the macarons rest for about 20-40 minutes. This will create a skin on top of them which we want. If you have a fan on your oven, turn it on and place your macarons there. It'll help them to dry. When the skin has formed, turn on the oven to 270°F and place them inside. Bake for 5-6 minutes, take them out, rotate them and bake for another 5-6 minutes.
For the buttercream start by mixing together the shortening, softened butter, and caramel until combined. Add in the apple butter and gel food coloring, mix for 1 minute on medium. Gradually add in the powdered sugar. Once all the powdered sugar is in, mix on low for 2 minutes. Add in the sea salt or Fleur de Sel and gradually increase speed to high. Mix for 3 minutes or until fluffy. At any time during this, you can add more color if needed.
To assemble fill a piping bag with the caramel apple buttercream using the cup trick from earlier. Take half the macarons and pipe a circle onto them. In the middle add a little bit of the leftover caramel. Top with the other half of the macaron and you're done.