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November 14, 2011

Mac-lovin' Part Two: Pistachio with Salted Caramel

Now that I know I can make you, sweet sweet macarons, I never want to stop.

On Sunday I made some raspberry numbers and filled them with leftover lemon curd, raspberry jam and Nutella. They were such a hit at work that I decided to make even more last night.

I've learned some good lessons since I was a novice mac-er way back on Saturday, and I thought I'd share them, along with some pictures of the process I neglected to snap the first time around and  clearer, numbered directions. Oh and also: I'm more than happy to share the bounty in keeping with my goal to avoid the Marriage 15, so if you live in the Twin Cities and would like to be a member of Neenuh's Test Kitchen, give me a hoot and/or holler.

Star-Crossed-Roommate-of-Yore took me to Trader Joe's after work, where I purchased almond meal, a small bag of unsalted, shelled pistachios and a jar of salted caramel sauce. Eventually I'd like to make my own caramel, but Manda convinced me to only experiment on one treat at a time.

1. Grind a 1/2 cup of pistachios along with 2/3 cup almond meal and 1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar in your own Little Food Processor That Could and set aside. Having the pre-ground almond meal was way easier and better than grinding my own. Highly recommended.

2. Whip three egg whites and a pinch of salt until they are just getting stiff, and then add 3 Tbs ultrafine sugar one tsp at a time, beating well after each addition. The whites are ready when they hold a stiff peak, as above. Look at the fine point on my peak, you guys. LOOK AT IT! Pride.

3. I added eight drops of green food coloring and three drops of yellow to make a minty green, and then stirred it up in a frenzy to make sure the color was evenly incorporated. Whipped egg whites make an interesting noise when you stir them in a frenzy with a spatula. Highly recommended.

4. Add in your almond meal mixture from step one and fold in with a metal spoon. It may take about a minute to get it all mixed in.

It should look like this when it's ready; all molteny.

5. Pour your batter into a piping bag or, if you don't have one, place a baggie in a cup with the ends folded over and pour it in there. Seal the top of your baggie and cut a small corner in the tip.

6. Pipe out your macs evenly on a lined baking sheet. I like making minis, because A. it yields much more happiness in the world, B. they're perfectly bite-sized and C. they're really frakking cute.

7. Let the macs rest for up to an hour to dry, until they're not wet, sticky or tacky when tested with a finger. Last night was the first time I was patient enough to follow this step. They do get there. Preheat your oven to 325 F.

If you want to sprinkle anything onto your macs, now is the time. I tried to be all fancy and I bought some smoked sea salt to put on these guys. Turns out smoked sea salt smells (and probably tastes) like fire. Not in a good way. So instead I sprinkled a tiny bit of kosher salt on about half of them. It really brings out the flavor of the pistachios and the caramel.

8. Bake them for about 10 minutes, turning the baking sheet once midway. Let them cool on the baking sheet. This is where impatience has also gotten the best of me in the past. Giving them time to cool completely ups the chance you're going to be able to get the whole cookie off the pan without leaving any sticky middles behind.

9. Spread the inside of one shell with caramel and then sandwich together with a shell of a similar size. My caramel sauce was really runny, so I put these guys in the freezer to set for a little bit before moving them to the fridge to sleep.

I learned yesterday when I brought my raspberry ones to work that if you let them sit out they're going to get very crumbly. Keeping them in the fridge seems to make them chewier.

10. Share, if you're so inclined. My coworkers are going to love me today.

What flavor should I try next?


  1. You can never go wrong with chocolate...I say try chocomacarons next!

    This is awesome. I can't wait to try the recipe out. Have to admit I've always been a bit intimidated by macs, but shucks, you made it look easy. Bravo!

    Lots of fat kisses.

  2. look at you go!!

    if it is possible for you to save one of these for me and deliver it to my mouth via anna weggs...i would be forever grateful and satiated.

  3. I'm thinking you should try a mint version, and something alcoholic in the spirit of the season--rum? Cognac? Frangelico? Kahlua?

  4. I second Emily's suggestion - chocolate! Or coffee.

    And I am very impressed. Very nice pictures and description! When I bought fancy macarons in Dijon, the information that came along with them said to keep them in the fridge and let them warm to room temperature before eating, so I think you've got the right idea there in keeping them chewy :)

  5. I'm totally inspired!! How about hazelnut!!

  6. what about speculoos macs for christmas? :-)