With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to come up with a macaron recipe that was not only delicious, but also fun and festive. That’s when the idea for these black macarons shaped like pots of gold came to me. I love the contrast of the black macaron shells with the shimmering gold sprinkles – it really makes them look like little treasures! I chose to use salted caramel as the filling for these St. Patrick’s Day macarons not only because it’s absolutely delicious, but also because its golden hue ties in perfectly with the pot of gold theme. I love how the caramel’s warm, amber colour adds to the overall look and feel of these macarons – it really helps to bring the whole concept together. And of course, the slightly salty flavor of the caramel pairs beautifully with the sweet, almond-flavored macaron shells, creating a truly irresistible bite. These babies are the perfect St Patrick’s Day treat!
Now, let me be clear: if you’re looking for a blog post that covers every possible issue that could come up when making macarons, with helpful tips and tricks to make sure yours come out perfect every time, this is not that post. I’m still learning all that myself to be honest. This is more of a “hey, look what I made!” kind of post, with some basic instructions and a few notes about what worked for me. Think of it like a proud mom showing off her kid’s art project – I’m not an expert, but I think it turned out pretty darn cute!
I use the French method – one of the two most popular techniques used to make these delicate and delicious treats (the other being the Italian method). The French method involves whisking egg whites with sugar until stiff peaks form, then folding in almond flour and powdered sugar. The resulting mixture, called macaronage, is piped onto baking sheets and left to rest before being baked. The French method is known for producing macarons with a smooth, shiny surface and a slightly chewy texture, while still being light and airy. It can be a bit tricky to master, but with practice and patience, it’s definitely doable!
One of the things I love about the French method is that it produces macarons with a really delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture. The almond flour and egg whites are combined in just the right way to create a perfectly balanced cookie that’s not too sweet, but still has a lovely, nutty flavour. Plus, I find that the French method gives me a bit more control over the final product than some of the other methods I’ve tried. By adjusting the macaronage (the mixing and folding of the ingredients), I can create macarons with just the right amount of chewiness and a crisp exterior. It’s definitely a bit finicky, but for me, it’s worth it to get that perfect macaron!
Arguably the best part of making macarons is how versatile they are when it comes to flavourings and fillings. Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, you can experiment with all kinds of different ingredients to create your own unique macaron creations. When it comes to fillings, the possibilities are practically endless. You can go with a classic buttercream, or get more adventurous with ganache, fruit curd, or even Nutella! It’s so much fun to play around with different flavour combinations and see what works (and what doesn’t lol).
When it comes to colouring macaron shells, it’s important to avoid using oil-based food colouring, as this can have a negative impact on the texture of the macaron batter, particularly the egg whites. Oil-based food colouring can cause the egg whites to completely liquefy, rather than whipping up as they should. Instead, gel or powder food colouring is the way to go. For this recipe, I used a combination of gel food colouring and black cocoa to achieve the deep black colour that I was after.
To make the “pot of gold”, I piped the macaron shells into little pot shapes and then dipped the rims of the “pots” in gold sprinkles. To finish them off, I piped small pot handles out of chocolate and placed them on top of the filling.
Just a note: the recipe for the salted caramel sauce that I used is not my own – it is Sally’s! Here is the link: Sally’s Homemade Salted Caramel Recipe. The salted caramel buttercream is my classic American buttercream recipe (linked here), the salted caramel sauce added for flavour.
That’s it that’s all folks! My first ever macaron recipe. You can bet there will be many many more, as I am absolutely loving these little sandwiches right now!
Here’s a short video showing some of the key steps:
Salted Caramel Pot of Gold Macarons
- 100 grams egg whites aged for 24-48 hours
- 52 grams granulated sugar
- 80 grams almond flour
- 160 grams powdered sugar icing sugar
- 10 grams black cocoa powder
- Gel or powder food coloring as needed
Filling & Decor
- Homemade salted caramel buttercream
- Homemade salted caramel sauce
- Gold sprinkles
- Melting chocolate
- Sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar, and black cocoa powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk the egg whites until foamy.
- Gradually add the granulated sugar and food colouring to the egg whites while continuing to whisk, until you achieve stiff peaks.
- Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture, using a spatula. Be careful not to over-mix.
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.
- Pipe the batter onto the prepared baking sheet in small circles, with a line on top to create the shape of the pot of gold. Space them evenly apart.
- Tap the baking sheet gently on the counter to release any air bubbles.
- Let the macarons rest at room temperature for 30-45 minutes, until a skin forms on the surface.
- Preheat the oven to 285°F (140°C).
- Bake the macarons for 20-22 minutes, until they are fully set.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the macarons cool completely before removing them from the parchment paper or silicone mat.
- To decorate the macarons, melt some chocolate in a microwave or using a double boiler.
- Using a piping bag or a spoon, pipe or spread a small amount of melted chocolate around the rim of each macaron shell.
- Dip the chocolate-coated rim into gold sprinkles, gently pressing the sprinkles into the chocolate.
- To create pot handles, pipe small handles out of melted chocolate onto parchment paper or a silicone mat. Allow to set.
- To assemble the macarons, pair up the shells of similar size and shape.
- Pipe a small amount of salted caramel buttercream around the edge of one half of each pair to create a dam.
- Fill the centre of each macaron with salted caramel sauce.
- Gently sandwich the two halves together to create a finished macaron.
- To add the pot handles, gently press the handle into the buttercream.
- Serve and enjoy!