We are in the thick of it, y’all! And by “it” I mean spooky season. (I’m sure you’re tired of me mentioning it, but I am trying to make the most of it this year because I feel like I’ve really missed out on seasons these last few years.)
Anyway, I’m still on a Hocus Pocus kick, and decided to make three different types of macarons this weekend, representing each of the Sanderson sisters - again. This time I’ve represented them via their dress colors (much like I did with our wines in the short video from last week’s post): green, maroon, and purple.
I’ll start with purple, not only since it is my favorite color but because it was the easiest to make. I made the purple macaron a blackberry preserves filled macaron. I feel like I don’t show enough appreciation for blackberries; I include them in desserts when I am using raw berries, but I never think about using them as a filling. I’m sure glad I did though, because when I taste tested the blackberry filling for this macaron, it was a moment of pure delight!
Next was the maroon macaron (reminder: those two words don't rhyme). I had a harder time coming up with the filling for this one because I kept trying to make the filling maroon, too, and that was difficult. I really only came up with a sangria filling for the maroon color and truthfully, I didn’t want to make a boozy mac for this trio, so I kept brainstorming. Finally I came up with a filling that had a bit of the maroon color in theory, but in execution it doesn’t at all: tart cherry ganache.
This filling was SO easy to make that I’m going to give you the exact recipe I used to make it (NOTE: I only made a half batch of macarons per color, so if you plan to make a full batch you might want to increase the quantities for this recipe.)
Are you ready? It’s only 4 ingredients!
Tart Cherry Ganache
75 grams heavy cream
100 grams dark chocolate couverture (I used Callebaut Belgian Dark Couverture)
3 grams vanilla extract
10 dried tart cherries
Heat the heavy cream on MED heat in a small pot on the stove.
Place the couverture and vanilla in a heat proof bowl.
Dice the cherries and add them to the bowl.
When the heavy cream starts to simmer (there should be small bubbles around the edges), pour over the chocolate mixture and let it sit for 10 to 15 seconds.
Whisk together to melt chocolate and combine all ingredients.
Let cool before piping into macarons.
And that’s it! It’s so easy and delicious, and I can’t believe it took me so long to come up with the idea for it! But I’m glad I did because the chocolate and tart cherry mixture is utterly divine on its own, but put it in a macaron and it is incredible!
Now, the flavor for green was the easiest to come up with because I’ve been dreaming about trying this flavor out for a long time: caramel apple.
When I was in pastry school I was a whiz at making caramel. I loved making it, and I was good at it. (I still am, but when I made my caramel batch this time, I definitely set off the smoke detectors.)
Disclaimer: No caramels were burned during the creation of this dessert. My smoke detectors are just bored so they go off for everything.
I've always thought about making a salted caramel macaron, but this was a new way to use caramel and I've been trying to figure out the best way to do it. Before I explain my thought process, I do have a confession... I can’t stand apple pie. We all know that I’m not really a pie fan in general, and it’s because of the lack of flavor and texture in the pie crust (but hand me a tart and I’m as happy as a clam!)
But apple pie is different because in addition to not liking the crust, I also can’t stand the filling. (Which is a strong opinion to have for someone who literally used to eat an apple a day.) The reason I can’t stand the filling for apple pie is because of the texture of the apples. Apples and cinnamon and butter and sugar all sound delicious and enticing on the whole, but when you cook apples down they become so mushy that I came to the realization early on in my life that I can’t stand to have them in my mouth and subsequently have shunned all dishes with cooked apples, regardless of how delicious they might be.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest (and you probably hate me a little 🤷🏻), you’ll see why I had to get creative with this caramel apple macaron filling. My knee jerk reaction to this caramel apple macaron idea was to finely dice apples, cook them down in butter, cinnamon, and sugar, then pipe a dam of caramel and fill it with the apple mixture to create the flavor profile. But for aforementioned reasons, I really didn’t want to serve my macaron that way.
So I got creative! I found a delicious dried apple snack in the grocery store and thought about the many times I’ve used dried fruits in ganaches (like the tart cherry ganache!) and figured if I can use dried fruits to flavor a ganache, why can’t I use it to flavor a caramel?!
And that’s exactly what I did. I spun those dried apple slices around in my spice grinder for a bit and created this delicious apple dust for the center of my caramel apple macarons. My salted caramel sauce is a very strong flavor so I needed to use a lot of the apple dust to get the flavor to come through (I even sprinkled some on top of the macarons, too), which made it the perfect fall treat to round out my Sanderson sisters macarons trio.
Happy eating, y’all!
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