Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Peanut caramel and nougat (aka 'snickers') macarons


Here is my recipe for peanut caramel and nougat (aka 'snickers') macarons. Now before you recoil at the thought of making both caramel AND nougat from scratch, know that a) making caramel and nougat from scratch is actually quite fun, b) surplus peanut caramel makes a great ice cream topping and extra nougat, coated in dark chocolate, makes the perfect after dinner treat, and c) there is always the option of buying ready made nougat and caramel! I would recommend buying the caramel as you can get very good shop bought caramel, but I would suggest making the nougat from scratch - often shop bought nougat is a bit dry and hard. For this recipe the nougat should be soft and pliable.


The ingredients
(makes approximately 30 3.5 cm shells)

For the shells you will need:

- 70 g ground almonds
- 50 g icing sugar
- 52 g egg whites (aged for at least 24 hours)
- 52 g caster sugar
- 1/8 tsp gel or powder food colouring
- 1/2 tsp cornflour
- 10 g cocoa powder

For the peanut caramel you will need:

- 200 g granulated sugar
- 100 ml double cream
- 4 tbsp water
- 100 g roasted salted peanuts, finely chopped

For the nougat you will need:

- 200 g granulated sugar
- 50  ml clear honey
- 25 ml liquid glucose
- 1 large egg white
- a pinch of salt
- 63 ml water

 French meringue macaron recipe

For a detailed and illustrated step-by-step guide to making my macaron shells, please see my french meringue macaron recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C
  2. Grind the almonds in a food processor with the icing sugar, cocoa powder and cornflour
  3. Beat the egg whites with an electric whisk and gradually add in the caster sugar. Once all the sugar has been incorporated, continue to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Then whisk in the powder or gel food colouring
  4. Fold in half of the almond mixture until fully incorporated then fold in the final half
  5. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and pipe out onto trays lined with baking paper or silicone baking mats. Firmly tap the trays on the countertop to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Quickly pop these with a cocktail stick
  6. Allow the macarons to rest until they are dry to the touch
  7. Bake the macarons at 150C for about 20-30 minutes or until you can break one open and the interior is no longer wet
  8. After baking allow the macarons to get quite cool before filling

Peanut caramel recipe

  1. Place the double cream in a heat proof bowl
  2. Weigh the sugar and water into a stainless steel saucepan, do not stir
  3. Cook the sugar over a medium heat, keep an eye on the caramel as it cooks and have a pastry brush and a ramekin of water ready to brush away any sugar crystals that cling to the slide of the pan, if these sugar crystals remain the whole lot may crystallise and become a grainy mess
  4. When the caramel has turned a dark straw colour whisk it into the double cream - this will cause the double cream to bubble and rise up in the bowl - whisk thoroughly to ensure the no bits of hard unmixed caramel remain at the bottom of the bowl
  5. Allow the caramel to set over night
  6. Lastly, stir through the finely chopped salted peanuts

Nougat recipe

  1. Line a 17 cm square tin with baking paper and line the base with rice paper and have a bowl containing cold water ready
  2. Place the sugar, honey, liquid glucose and water in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved
  3. Put a sugar thermometer into the pan and bring the mixture to the boil
  4. When the temperature of the sugar mixture reaches 125 C whisk the egg white with an electric whisk or a freestanding mixer until stuff peaks form
  5. Continue to cook the sugar mixture until it reaches 149 C, at this point turn of the heat and plunge the pan into the bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process
  6. With the whisk still going, carefully pour the caramel into the egg whites - do not let the syrup touch the beaters as it may splash you
  7. Whisk on moderate speed until all the syrup is incorporated
  8. At this point the egg whites will be a beige colour - the dark brown of the caramel mixed with the white of the egg white. Continue whisking the mixture until the nougat is light and fluffy and off-white in colour,
  9. Working quickly, pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place another square of rice paper on top
  10. Allow to set over night before cutting into baton.
  11. Leftover nougat coated in chocolate is seriously yummy!

Assembling the macarons

  1. Pair like sized macaron shells together and lay out, bottoms up on a board
  2. Brush the underside of each macaron shell with a little bit of water - this will ensure that the macarons mature in a timely manner - the nougat and caramel have a very low moisture content
  3. Pipe the peanut caramel onto the base of the macaron, and top with a slice of the nougat
  4. Allow the macarons to mature for 24 hours before serving