Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Macarons

So, I wasn’t going to post this as a recipe, because you know – nothing new here; move along, folks…
But I got asked how I made these dark chocolate and salted caramel macarons a couple of times today, when I served them for tea.

It’s my standard macaron recipe; and the salted caramel I often use for secret centres in cupcakes. It’s handy to have a jar of it sitting in the fridge – it keeps for weeks and weeks.

Salted Caramel 

1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup fresh cream
Sea salt crystals.

Place the sugar and water in a medium sized heavy-bottomed saucepan.
Stir over medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
Brush the side of the saucepan with a damp brush often to remove any sugar crystals clinging there.

Bring the mixture to the boil. Leave to boil on medium-high heat until it is a rich amber colour. Don’t stir – just swirl the saucepan occasionally. (Watch it carefully – once the colour starts to change it can rapidly go beyond “amber” , the sugar will burn and the caramel will be bitter).  

Once the sugar has turned amber, add the butter and stir until it has melted completely. 
(The mixture will froth up dramatically!)
Remove from the heat, wait a few seconds then add the cream. The mixture will froth up again.
Mix until smooth.
Grind in the sea salt – how much depends on personal taste. 

Allow to cool. Store in a jar in the fridge until needed. 

When you assemble the macarons, pair up like-sized shells. Pipe a ring of dark-chocolate ganache*  on one of each pair. (*100g dark chocolate and 50ml cream is more than enough for this) 

Then fill the salted caramel in the middle of the ring – if you don’t make a “dam wall” with the ganache, the caramel oozes out. I learned that the hard way!
The ganache is not only a handy barrier, it is also a great flavour companion to the salted caramel. 
And if you’re wondering how I achieved that gorgeous caramel colour  that the macarons have. Well, just colour them yellow to begin with and leave them in the oven a little too long. They’ll bronze right up 🙈
But if you don’t want to run the risk of burning your precious macaron shells, a touch of brown colouring in your batter should do the trick. 
Happy baking!