When a classic American snack and French pastry are combined, the result is sweet deliciousness.
For the macaron shells:
300 grams ground almonds
300 grams pure icing sugar (without corn flour added to it)
110 grams liquefied egg whites (see below)
+ 300 grams caster sugar
75 grams water
110 grams liquefied egg whites
300 grams (aprox) crushed popcorn (any flavour is fine)
Soft caramel candies
3 drop Americolor food gel
1 batch fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting
3 tablespoons salted caramel sauce
Let's get Cooking...
Add the icing sugar and almond meal into a food processor and process until well combined. 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 yellow food gel and vanilla extract 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. Fold everything together 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 3.5 centimeters (1.38 inches) in diameter, spacing them 2 centimeters apart on (flat) baking trays lined with baking parchment. Sprinkle with crushed popcorn.
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.
To prepare frosting add caramel sauce to frosting and mix until well combined.
Use a Wilton #32 French star tip to frost frosting in a swirl. I squashed the caramel candies a little with my hand and used a small piping tip to cut little round shapes. Alternatively you can just kneed the candy a little to soften it and roll little balls, then flatten them slightly. Pop that in the centre of the macaron and sandwich with another macaron.