Salted Butter Popcorn Macarons

Feb 10th
popmac3

Five posts in, and not a single sign of a macaron – I thought for post number six it was about time I got a recipe in.

I had intended on keeping things fairly healthy from now on… wedding is in just 6 months!

I then considered how ‘healthy’ my previous primal chocolate tart post was, and then considered how strange it is to have a blog named Macnifique with no actual macarons in sight.

So, to make myself feel better, and to allow you guys the pleasure, here you are!

I did have to consider which route to go down with these macs. Pierre Herme really is the master, and working from one of his recipes is an obvious (but incredibly good) choice.

Instead I decided to go crazy, down the Adriano Zumbo route with these. Making use of one of the many books I received for my birthday!

For those of you who’ve never heard of Zumbo, and are thinking: What does some kinda fitness regime have to do with macarons!?, then this is for you:

Adriano Zumbo is an incredibly creative, talented and very well respected Australian pastry chef. His macarons are renowned for being unusual, colourful, involving some wacky flavour combinations, and being totally delicious!

His Patisserie holds a ‘Zumberon day’ every year, selling ONLY macarons for that one single day – with an average total of around 65 different flavours! Now that is a reason to visit Oz in itself!

[Note to self: Find out when the next Zumberon day is!]

His book, Zumbo was on my wishlist for quite some time, and very generously my soon-to-be in-laws bought me a copy for my birthday! It was the first present I opened on my birthday, and I spent a good 25-30mins looking through the book before opening any other presents! This is impressive! Believe me!

This book doesn’t only contain macaron recipes, there is an abundance of quirky and wacky desserts, pastries, chocolates and cakes – which I fully intend on attacking in the not too distant future, but for now, I had to pick one recipe – one macaron recipe to be precise.

I decided on the ‘salted butter popcorn’ macarons because:
a) who doesn’t love a sweet and salty combo
b) It was fun and quirky and the idea of crushed popcorn on the outer-shell just excited me for some reason AND…
c) It didn’t require me buying/searching for too many weird and wonderful ingredients. (I’m on a budget here folks!)

So, I attacked the recipe head-on.

I feel I should stress just how enjoyable it was to make macarons again, stirring in every ounce of love I feel for them!

I spent a few months last year churning out batches of macs and it just turned from a labour of love, into well… something I no-longer enjoyed.

I think the break from mac’ baking allowed me to fall back in love with them, reminding me both how delicious they are, and how enjoyable the art of making them is. So, I can assure you there will be plenty more macarons appearing on here!

I used the Zumbo recipe in its entirety, and followed all of his instructions – I think because it felt like so long since I’d made macs, I wanted to be 100% sure I was doing it right. It paid off, because they came out beautifully. The only thing I need to work on is piping them out more uniformly. I still tend to get a few 3 and 5cm macs but a fair average of around 4cm, which works out nicely, just not good enough for the obsessive, compulsive perfectionist in me!

Salted Butter Popcorn Macarons
by Adriano Zumbo from Zumbo

Makes: 50    Time: a few hours – this is an art people!

For the macaron shells:
300g ground almonds
300g icing sugar
110g egg whites (at room temp)
300g caster sugar
75g water
2g dried egg white powder
110g egg whites (at room temp)

  • combine your ground almonds and icing sugar, work through a fine sieve, removing all the large pieces of almond
  • place one measure of egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixer, with whisk attachment and the caster sugar and water into a pan over low heat.
  • once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up. once the syrup reaches around 100C/210F throw the egg white powder into the mixer bowl, and beat egg whites until frothy by the time they have reached this stage, your sugar syrup should have reached 118C/244F 
  • turn your mixer onto high, and slowly pour the boiling sugar in a steady stream down the side of the bowl, avoiding the syrup directly hitting the whisk.
  • let the meringue continue on high speed until the mixture has cooled down – about 8 mins,
  • take your second measure of egg whites, and add it to your almond and icing sugar and combine
  • add your meringue to the almond mix in three stages, and work your mixture until it loosens up enough to slowly drip from your spatula (this is the tricky part, you don’t want to over work the mix, but if you under-work it, you’ll end up with lumps and bumps on your macs… no good!) This is just one of those techniques which you need to get a feel for
  • transfer the mix to a piping bag fitted with a 13mm plain round nozzle
  • pipe mixture onto lined baking sheets (I prefer to use silicone/coated mats)
  • pipe 4cm rounds, leaving room for spreading, and once the whole tray is piped, sharply hit the tray on the table to let he mix spread and level-out
  • leave the piped mix to form a crust for about 30mins. While waiting pre-heat oven to 135C/275F
  • when ready, bake for 16mins, turning the trays around after 10mins
  • leave the shells to cool before removing from the sheets, and pairing them up in prep for the popcorn and the filling!

For decorating the macarons:
1 bag microwavable popcorn plain or butter flavoured (I went for buttered)

Melted, unsalted butter (I ended up using about 50g)

  • cook popcorn according to instructions, place about half into a food processor and process until desired size
  • brush cooled, melted butter onto the tops of each macaron shell, and dip into the popcorn crumbs, leave to set in fridge.

Salted Buttercream
100g caster sugar

38g water
75g lightly beaten whole egg
45g egg yolk
200g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
3g sea salt flakes (I used Maldon)

  • place caster sugar and water into a pan, heat on low until sugar has dissolved. turn up to high and heat up to 121C/250F
  • place egg and yolks into your stand mixer with whisk attachment, and mix at medium speed for 2mins
  • when sugar is at 121C, pour gently down the side of the mixer bowl, and whisk mixture on high speed until the temp drops to around 50C/122F
  • while still mixing, slowly add cubes of butter, one at a time, and mix further until you are sure the lumps of butter have completely worked through the butter cream. Fold in the sea salt
  • transfer to a piping bag with a 9mm nozzle, and pipe buttercream onto half of shells, then gently stick the other half of the shells on top. Place assembled macs onto a tray and leave to set in the fridge
  • Bring to room temp, serve and devour!

Yeah… LONG recipe! One which I thoroughly enjoyed working through.

This really is one for the dedicated!

Let me tell you one thing. These macarons are YUM!! A perfect sweet/salty combination that balances fun factor with refinement.

Who knew popcorn could be so classy?

As you can see above, I decided to play around a little with the macs, leaving a few shells bare and coating the edges of the buttercream filling in the popcorn crumbs :)