We go behind the scenes at Bouchon Bakery to get a step-by-step guide on how to make their salted caramel macarons.
The giant salted caramel macarons at Bouchon Bakery are iconic. Two perfect meringue cookies and a lush center of butter caramel... could there be a finer afternoon snack? We stopped by Bouchon Bakery’s Rockefeller Center location for a step-by-step demo with Pastry Chef Alessandra Altieri—aka Chef Ali—who kindly shared a few tips along the way. Let’s begin! One Rockefeller Plaza, 212-782-3890
Part 1 - Make the Macaron Shells
The macaron shells are made by combining two components:
1.Italian meringue (egg whites, liquid sugar, and white). Italian meringue is different from a French meringue in that liquid sugar (instead of dry sugar) is used. This results in a smoother, more stable macaron shell.
After the Italian meringue and almond paste are folded together evenly, pipe the batter (use a pastry tip to maintain shape) onto parchment paper. To ensure that the shells are the same size, trace stencil circles on a separate piece of parchment and tuck it under the layer that you pipe on. Give the pan a gentle tap on the counter to help the meringue settle and remove any bubbles.
Part 2 - Make the Filling
The butter caramel filling is essentially caramelized sugar deglazed with cream and finished with fleur de sel. The butter is added at the very end—make sure the butter is very cold so that it combines with the caramel (instead of just melting into the caramel).
It’s both salty and sweet with a supple texture and deep, almost smoky flavor. It wouldn’t hurt to make a double batch and save the extra to smother on toast or swirl in ice cream.
Part 3 - Assemble!
Match up baked and cooled macaron shells of similar size…
...pipe the butter caramel onto one half… and gently sandwich together with a twist.
3 1⁄2 each egg whites
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
Salted Caramel Ganache
500g (2 cups) cream (40%)
4g fleur de sel
150g (3/4 cup) sugar
400g (14 tablespoons) butter (cold and diced)
You’ll need a Thermapen of other candy thermometer, a pastry bag with a 1⁄2-inch plain tip, and a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch plain tip.
Baking in a convection oven is preferable; the tops of macarons baked in a standard oven often develop small speckles, which can affect the texture (though not the flavor).
For the Almond Paste: First combine almond flour and powdered sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the raw egg white. Mix well. Add the caramel paste / syrup.
For the Meringue: Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine the sugar and the water in a small pan and cook over medium-high heat. Once the sugar reaches 230-degrees F, start whipping the egg whites with a pinch of sugar. When the sugar syrup is 248-degrees F, pour gently over the whipped egg whites. Whip for an additional 5 minutes.
For the Macarons: Fold enough of the meringue into the almond paste so that the batter gently settles without spreading too much.
Using a pastry bag, pipe macarons onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prior to piping, use a pencil to trace the size you want on the opposite side of the parchment paper for guidance and consistency, if desired.
Gently tap the bottom of the baking sheet to smooth the top of the macarons. Bake in a 350-degrees F convection oven for 8 to 9 minutes.
After cooling completely, sandwich two macarons with salted caramel ganache.
For the Salted Caramel Ganache: In a small pot, bring cream, glucose, and salt to a simmer. Turn off heat and set to the side.
In a medium size pot with tall sides, make a dry caramel -- over high heat, start by sprinkling about 1/4th of the sugar into the pot. Allow the sugar to fully melt, once it does, add in the same amount of sugar as the first increment. Stir to help melt and dissolve. Continue this process till all of the sugar is in the pot.
Cook the sugar to a dark amber, the sugar should begin to foam when ready. Turn off the heat. Slowly and carefully whisk in the hot cream mixture in small increments. Bring whole mixture back to a boil and cook until mixture reaches 103c. Remove caramel from heat, allow to come to room temperature and whisk in cold butter. Allow to sit overnight, covered and at room temperature before using.