Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spiced Chai Latte and Salted Caramel Macarons

Spiced Chai Latte and Salted Caramel Macarons (01) by MeetaK 

"I do not want to wake up!" I say to myself as I realize I am on the very verge of awakening. I snuggle deeper into the thick warm covers, wrapping them tightly around my head and ears. It's cold. No. It's more than that. It's freezing, hec it's like bloody Antarctica in our bedroom.

We sleep with the windows open. No matter what the weather is like outside, the windows in our bedroom are always tilted to let in fresh air. Hale, sleet, heat wave, snow storm or Arctic cold - we leave the windows open. I think the only time the windows are shut is when the temp outside reaches -20 degrees C and inside, our bedroom is a cozy 7 C!!

If it was up to me I'd shut the windows maybe a little more often - at say 0 degrees or when it's hailing outside. But I do not have much to say in this matter. You see I share the room and my bed with Nature Boy!

Tom is the type of man who goes camping with his friends when the landscape is covered in snow, he will bathe in his birthday suit in a freezing river (I have pictures to prove it) and goes jogging when it is cold and wet! I could go on with the list but I think you get the point - Nature Boy in all his purity.

Spiced Chai Latte and Salted Caramel Macarons (03) by MeetaK

But there are two worlds colliding when he meets me in the bedroom. I am a warm blooded gal and really warm up at temperatures around the 20 degrees C. So, at 8.5 degrees, the current temperature our bedroom has, my bedtime apparel features flirty flannel pajamas, enticing woolen socks and a provocative fleece sweater. I then bury myself in a thick winter duvet with an extra blanket thrown over the top.

Of course Nature Boy is wearing boxer shorts and a long-armed T-shirt. Mind you, the long armed T-shirt is only being worn because the short armed T-shirts are in the laundry basket.
Nature Boy even dares to look perplexed at the gear I am wearing. What happened to that sexy little lace nightie I was wearing in the summer?

Hey Nature Boy, if I have to make a compromise and sleep with open windows in the freezing cold, you have to make the compromise and share your bed with Flirty Flannel Girl!

It's no surprise I am turning to warming ingredients in the kitchen now. For this mac-a-month session of Mac Attack I flavored the macarons with a warming spiced chai latte mix from the Drink Me Chai range I brought back with me from London and made a thick salted caramel to fill them. The combination was explosive and hot! The recipe is "new" and comes from the Ottolenghi cookbook also a bring-back pressie from London.

Spiced Chai Latte and Salted Caramel Macarons (04) by MeetaK

Note: If you are making macarons for the first time please read my comprehensive collection of macaron tips. All the way from the prep work to removing macarons from the baking paper, you’ll find valuable tips and tricks for perfect macaron making.

Spiced Chai Latte and Salted Caramel Macarons

Printable version of recipe here

Ingredients

For the macaron shells

Adapted from Ottolenghi - The Cookbook

110g icing sugar
60g almonds, very finely ground
60g egg whites, (about 2 eggs) aged for either 5 days in the fridge, then for 24 hours at room temperature or a little over 24 hours on the countertop
40g castor sugar
12g spiced chai powder*, see note


For the salted caramel
200g sugar
300 ml whipping cream
140g + 30g salted butter


For the macaron shells

  1. Prepare your baking tray and baking sheets with a stencil of circles. Draw circles on some baking paper using a (mathematical) compass about 2 cm in diameter. Then place some white parchment paper on the baking tray and flip the baking paper back around.

  2. In a large mixing bowl mix the egg whites with an electric hand beater (alternatively you can use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment) until it is thick and frothy. Gradually add the granulated sugar, whisking all the while, until the mixture turns into a thick glossy meringue. The consistency of the macaron batter should be similar to hair mousse or shaving foam. Make sure the meringue is not over-beaten or else it will be too dry.

  3. In a food processor pulse together icing sugar and almonds until the nuts are finely ground and powdery. Sift the mixture 2 or 3 times to make sure there are no lumps.

  4. Place the dry ingredients into a bowl and add the spiced chai powder. Add the meringue in three portions, giving it a quick fold using the macronnage technique described in my macaron tips section. Fold a few times to break the air. Continue until you get a smooth and supple mixture, thick in consistency so that when you lift the spatula it flows back in thick ribbons. Test a small amount on a plate – should the tops fall back and flatten by themselves then it is ready, if not give it a few more folds. 

  5. Fill a piping bag with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (2 cm in diameter) on your prepared baking paper. Leave the macarons to rest and dry for about 30.

  6. In the meantime preheat the the oven to 170 degrees C (see verdict below). When the macarons are ready bake the shells for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Use a flat offset spatula to gently remove the shells from the baking paper and allow to cool further on a rack.


* Note: If you are unable to find a spiced chai powder mix why not make your own. You'll find a great recipe here.


For the salted caramel

  1. In a saucepan, melt sugar carefully without stirring and only swirling the pan occasionally. Allow the sugar to turn a gorgeous dark amber color. Remove from heat.

  2. Add 30g butter, then pour the cream. At this stage the mixture will bubble, spit and spatter furiously so take care. It will seize up and harden but place the saucepan back on the heat and cook until the mixture turns fluid again.

  3. Cook the mixture until it reaches approx. 110 degrees C on a candy thermometer.

  4. Transfer the salted caramel into a bowl and allow to cool. To avoid a skin developing on the top, cover with plastic wrap.

  5. With an electric whisk, beat the remaining butter for approx. 10 minutes. Add the caramel in two additions, beating to incorporate it into the butter.

  6. Store in air-tight jars if not using straight away.


Assembling the macarons

Using two spoons or a piping bag place/pipe small dollops of the salted caramel filling on one of the shells and gently cover with another shell. Do not press. Continue to do this until you have used up all of the filling and shells.


Storing Macarons
If you are not going to be using them right away you can store the shells in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.

They freeze well too but it is recommended to freeze them unfilled. To fill them take the shells out of the freezer 48 hours prior to serving and without defrosting fill them. This way the flavors will be allowed to blend as they thaw.

 


Verdict

Spiced Chai Latte and Salted Caramel Macarons (02) by MeetaK

The recipe itself came together very easily and with absolutely no hassle. I had the macaron mixture ready and piped within minutes. My only critique point was due to the fact that they were baked in the oven at 170 degrees C for 12 minutes they were a tad dryer in comparison to the previous macarons I made. Those macarons were baked at a lower, 140 degrees C, for 12-15 minutes resulting in a nice moist inner pastry with a crispy outer shell. Although I liked the overall texture of these macarons I think they should have been taken out of the oven maybe at 10 minutes. The recipe is fantastic and really works for me so I will be using it often, playing around with the oven temperatures to get the perfect bite.

As always Soeren adored the macarons. He literally gobbles them up and as I found that they were disappearing too fast I seriously had to put a lock to the jar to save a few for my girlfriend B. I took a few with me to lunch yesterday, where I met B. at our fave French Bistro run by my French friend, E. Both indulged in the macarons delicately and were seriously smitten with the flavor combination and loved the spicy aroma. E. however, agreed with me that the slightly dryer consistency might have been due to the higher temperature.

Make sure you check out the MacTweets blog for a collection of deliciously flavored macarons.

Enjoy your weekend and see you all next week!
Hugs!

More macarons from WFLH:

Lebkuchen Spice Macarons with Quince Jam and Candied Ginger Saffron Macarons with Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache Pistachio and Lemon Cream Macarons

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

55 comments :

  1. You made my day by writting a post like this. While reading and now while writting the comment I have this huge grin, really I am grinning from East to West that big is my grinn.
    Atleast fleecy flirty girl have the nature boy ;-) to cuddle up.
    So I guess the enxt pic we can expect is the nature boy in .....
    Beautiful and delicous Mac.
    But for once i thin i might leave the shells and just lick up that delicous filling.

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  2. What a lovely flavor! your macarons must be divine!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. You guys are too cute! This sounds like a fairy tale of sorts.. hehe and the macarons? so, so perfect. I'm going to try making them over the weekend!

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  4. I definitely cannot survive sleeping with windows slightly open. With it closed, I'm already freezing in bed. U see, my hub is my hot water bottle - during winter, I literally glue myself to him for warmth. LOL!

    Love your chai latter macs with caramel fillings. Simply yummy!

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  5. I am not quite as extreme as Nature Boy - BUT... our bedroom window is also tilted open 365 days of the year. Must sleep with fresh air. And I do love me my flannel pj's ! ha ha !

    But what I reeeeaaaaally love is the look of these macarons, fabulous ! Another batch, mastered. Macaron perfection beautifully photographed, as always. I'm just totally jealous of Soeren and B and all your macaron tasters...! :)

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  6. These look so amazing! I simply adore salted caramel.

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  7. Meeta, I'm wiping tears of laughter off my cheeks because you just described B & I exactly - he *loves* his open window, he's nature boy and I'm flirty flannel girl!

    As for your macarons - well, what a perfect flavour combination. I was toying with the idea of making some drink me chai macs too, as I drink that stuff every day and love it, thanks to you! Perfect and gorgeous macs my love xxx

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  9. MAN!!!!! Your man is CRAAAAZZZZYYYY!!!! Windows open in Winter? What the salted Caramel? Did he lose his Macaroons????? ;P

    You keep your Flannel girl. Macarons looks wonderful, great photography as usual.
    Chai Latte is what me wants right now. It's warm 53F here today and yes, I opened the door after a month to let the fresh air in. (I just heard the nature boy swoon with a thud right about now! Hahaha!)

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  10. Ha ha, very funny! And the macarons look absolutely perfect, would like to try the caramel filling.

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  11. Stunning....love salted caramel anything Meeta. Your props rock...you really have changed the face of food porn for me. As for your winter chill.....what can I say, stick to the flannels. Love

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  12. Hey Meeta

    Found your site through Taste Spotting -- and boy am I glad that I did! You have such a beautiful site here, great food & GORGEOUS PICTURES!! After reading this post, I think I am finally ready to take on the challenge of making Macaroons -- hopefully they will turn out as beautiful as yours :) Thanks for sharing and it's nice to meet you!

    Joy

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  13. 7c?! I've slept in warmer bivuoacs than that! There must be a whole lot of cuddling going on under that duvet to keep warm!!

    Beautiful macs and I love that presentation box.

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  14. I too like to have the bedroom as cold as possible..:) Although I would probably also draw the line at the freezing point (in the bedroom that is..lol) I just love love your macarons, but.... since I am on a diet of sorts I figured it would be best not to tempt myself too much this month so I have skipped the mac attack... I feel a little sad when I see those beauties smiling at me... Wonderful again Meeta!

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  15. Gorgeous! These macarons look like they taste amazing! :)

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  16. Meeta
    I am in awe of your talent both as a baker and a photographer! Fantastic!
    By the way, I am doing a giveaway of organic goodies I brought back from Lebanon this week; to win, you just leave a comment on the post intitled Kamal Mouzawak
    Cheers!

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  17. I'm feeling relieved I don't have a Nature Boy of my own... mine lets me have the window closed and, very rarely, at the moment, the heating on overnight!
    And I have a hot water bottle too!

    The macarons look PERFECT!

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  18. Oh, you are hilarious! :-) "Flirty flannels" - you're a doll. :-)

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  19. these look great. as a novice macaron maker, can i ask how u store them once filled - in the fridge or room temperature and for how long can you keep them. note that i come from warmer and much warmer country, TIA HElen

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  20. Stunning!! am gonna try the new recipe next month!!! :)

    btw do you have the conversions on cups/Tablespoons?

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  21. Guess I'm nature Girl...I always sleep with windows open no matter how cold or rainy...but heck, in N. California we don't get below 0 F. weather :)
    Love the macarons, especially the salted caramel filling. The baking timing can be tricky. Made some for a baby shower that were perfect, then some a week later that were too undercooked...I think humidity in the air can make a difference, too. Lovely photos Meeta!

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  22. I want to scream every time I see these lovely macarons on your site...I know I will have to face my fear some time. I am petrified of trying to make macarons, but they are just one of the most beautiful confectioneries to me...Amazing as always!!

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  23. Now now dahling...you are really spicing things up with this povocative post! I want to see the 'pictures' to prove it!! LOL...love your beautiful macarons Meeta. Grand flavours & BEE-YOO-TI-FUL photography! Gorgeous work my lovely Ottolenghi sistah!!

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  24. Delicious.Divine Macarons.
    Er, I too love to jog when its cold and wet,thgh have given up now.

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  25. This must be the funniest post you've ever written and I have images of Nature Man and Princess Meeta floating before my very eyes! But what a perfect match! Love the gorgeous macs and the flavors may be your best combo yet!

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  26. This was a fun post to read :) My husband is like Tom too, in that he likes the freezing cold weather. My solution is to have an electric blanket with individual heat controls, so that my side is toasty warm and his has ice on the inside :D

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  27. These macarons have such a unique falvour combination. Honestly you cannot find/buy such great stuff anywhere. You have tempted me to finally try making these and join the macaron bandwagon :) and love your instructions too.

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  28. Love the post! Flirty Flannel Girl indeed!! Brings back memories of my post at the DT where you were wanted to wear overalls - remember?!! LOL! These Macs look absolutely stunning and the flavours are delightful too. maybe some pics of the macs on your summer lingerie may help set the mood??!! Sorry, sorry... I'm still thinking of Flirty Flannel Girl!!

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  29. Yes indeed this made me laugh. You're married to a German dear, that's pretty much exactly what I've come to expect from every German I've ever roomed with. I wish I could have a couple of those macarons and fleecy flirty girl to have a laugh with right now.

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  30. Those macarons look fantastic, so perfectly circular. I'm seeing more and more posts about making macarons. I think I'll have to give it a go.

    My culinary skills are more in the region of big punchy savouries such as tagines and stews. Trying out macarons will be a quite different experience for one to whom baking starts and ends with bread.

    Thanks for posting the recipe, it's giving me inspiration as well as a little confidence that it might not be a total disaster...

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  31. YUM!! these, i need to make. i love that your girlfriends know how to critique a cookie!

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  32. Thats funny!! I am going to make your macarons soon. I had soem in Paris recently and am totally in love with them!

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  33. You are on a macaron roll!! These look as gorgeous as all the others you've been dishing up lately.

    Your post made me laugh - you've described a bedroom situation a LOT of us girls can relate too ;-) No matter how ice-cold it is - my husband cannot sleep if his legs or feet are covered - weird weird man!! But thanks to you I have a new name for myself now - "flirty flannel girl" (so far its been "lump of flannel and blanket"). Love it!!

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  34. Lovely pics Meeta, i am so thrilled with these mac favs....as much as i disliked those store bought macs...i am loving yours that much more...definitely worth a try....will write in how it goes...good creativity with two unique flavours :) good post to read.....

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  35. Oh look at my Macaron-Making-Meeta! You rock baby!

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  36. I live in New York and it is fairly cold these days, but I need to sleep with the bedroom window open 365 days a year. I feel like I am suffocating if I don't! And believe it or not, even if I am fast asleep I sense exactly when my husband closes the window and jump right out of bed and open it back up!!

    I have been seeing macarons on so many sites lately ... never ventured to amke them myself but would love to soem time. You make them seem so easy! Lovely flavors here.

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  37. If I'm ever brave enough to attempt macarons (which I'm fairly certain I never will be), this is the recipe I'll try. Love the idea of salted caramel.

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  38. I know what it's like to have a hubby who likes to sleep in colder temperatures and I...and then having to wrap myself up to compensate! Of course, in my case we are talking about the temp of the a/c and not actual winter! My goodness! Keep your flannels girl! :)

    I love the sound of the flavor combination you've got here Meeta! Now if only I was brave enough to attempt macarons...

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  39. BTW I've given you an award. It'll be up shortly on my blog. Thanks for brightening my day!

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  40. admirations to all Mac. bakers. I loveyour picture Meeta. Lovely colours and very "stimmig" somehow.
    I recall you mention Madhur Jaffreys book in ur blog sometime. what do u think of the recipes in there? satisfied with the book? Would love your feedback on this one.
    :)
    Shy

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  41. The names you two give each other have me in hysterics! Nonetheless, I'm sure you all enjoyed your beautiful "spicy" macs...they look superb Meeta!

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  42. Oh, they're beautiful. My caramel filling didn't turn out so well - it was too slippery. I will try again though, because oh, so delicious...

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  43. sorry for the late response - thank you all for your comments and feedback! yup we are a riot tom and i - i guarantee that! glad you liked the post and these macarons. i am having a great time reading your thoughts on this!

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  44. hey, flirty flannel & fleece girl!! Had to laugh at the temperature difference in your house - same in ours. My toes are blue and Nick is kicking off the blankets... Go figure! i LOVE these macarons - the consistency of the salted caramel had me weak at the knees. Pierre Herme is quaking in his boots!

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  45. Meeta, I am right there with you, hate the cold. My mom use to sleep with the windows open - CRAZY! Us ... the heat is blasting, probably too much, actually. I love the warm flavors that you used in your macs, very yummy! As always they are simply beautiful!!

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  46. Meeta I am a fan of ur writing style! ofcourse everyone loves ur food...but i just like the way u write things....seems like all of us can imagine and u take us through ur story! its really brilliant n i m sure everyone would agree when i say very few people can do it!

    hugs,
    Veda

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  47. I'm laughing out loud right now! Your Flirty Flannel Girl almost killed me! :) I'd love to sleep with windows open but my "bat boy" has very sensitive hearing and every tiny noise interrupts his sleep.
    I have to check your macaron tips for my next mac attempt.

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  48. now, this is the best flavor for macarons. ever.

    mmmmm...

    I ADORE chai

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  49. Now I can save me a plane ticket to Paris... Beautiful.

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  50. Hi Meeta, Love love your blog! And this recipe is going to be my favourite!

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  51. how many does this recipe make??!

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  52. Wow Chai Macarons, what a delicious idea.
    I wanna give these a go for my Chai loving sister.
    What do you suggest I change in the recipe if I were to use Chai flavoured syrup instead of the powder?

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  53. I'm mid-attempt at this recipe, just wondering, is it really 2 cm diameter, or do you mean 2 cm radius (ie. 4 cm diameter)?

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  54. Thank you soo much for sharing this recipe! I've been testing out many salted caramel fillings and have been very disappointed. Yours is the BEST one! It's creamy, not too sweet, and delicious! I'm extremely happy that I don't have to search any longer. Now that I've got the filling down, I'll just have to continue to perfect the macaron shells. Hopefully I can get larger feet next time!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta