These Butterscotch, Salted Caramel, and Toffee Macarons are filled with butterscotch buttercream, salted caramel, and topped with toffee bits sandwiched between two French macaron shells.
Common problems when making macaron shells
There are a number of reasons why these delicate little cookies could come out less than perfect. Here are some of the most common macaron shell issues to keep in mind during this process!
SHELLS ARE NOT PERFECT CIRCLES
Make sure to hold your piping bag pointed directly perpendicular to the parchment paper that you will be piping onto. If your batter is piped at an angle, the macaron shells will likely spread unevenly leaving you with shells that are not identical.
It's tricky to make macarons in the midst of an incredibly humid day. High humidity prevents your shells from drying during their resting period, which is an essential part of the process. To combat this, place your shells near your oven while preheating - this has helped me during those days where it takes quite some time for the shells to dry.
The rest period that I mentioned above? This is going to help you create the feet that a macaron is known for. The dried tops of the shells trap in the heat at the base of your macaron and push the edges upward, creating the feet we know and love. Take the time to dry the tops of your shells otherwise, you won't get a distinguished macaron foot.
There's a number of reasons as to why this could be happening. We talked about how dried shells push the heat through the bottom of the macaron - when those shells are not dry, there is no barrier to prevent the air from exploding through the tops, causing cracks. Cracked tops could also be due to over-mixing your french meringue and potentially your batter as well, so make sure to be extra gentle during the mix!
Make sure that you are taking the time to properly sift and mix the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture into your meringue. If there are chunky, unsifted dry bits in your batter that have not been mixed well, the tops of your shells will be quite bumpy and uneven. Make sure to also lightly tap your just-piped shells to release any air bubbles as well to prevent those bumps.
If you find that your macaron shells are hollow, know that this could be due to many reasons. First, you may have over-mixed your meringue - the egg whites and sugar should not have been mixed for such a long duration of time. In addition, the heat from your oven could have been set too high - make sure to utilize an oven thermometer to ensure that you are not baking your shells at a higher temperature than 315 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, make sure your macaron shells do not rest for too long - the shells should be dry within 20-45 minutes.
For more tips on making homemade foolproof macarons, check out my complete guide here!
How to make Butterscotch Buttercream
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.
- Add approximately half of the powdered sugar and beat again. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the powdered sugar. Continue beating for about a minute, scraping the sides as needed, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Finally, add the vanilla paste and butterscotch chocolate chips and continue beating until the frosting is thick and fluffy. Spread across the top of your cake, top with sprinkles, and enjoy!
Making the Caramel Filling
In this recipe, we're adding caramel into the center of the butterscotch buttercream as pictured above! The process of making homemade caramel is incredibly simple with only a few steps... here's how it's made!
- Pour the sugar into a saucepan, and over medium-high heat allow the sugar to slowly melt and eventually shift in color to a deep amber-brown color. Make sure you continue to stir the sugar every minute or so in order to prevent it from burning!
- Add the cream and butter to the sugar - expect the ingredients to bubble and foam for about 30 seconds or so. Then, over low heat, continue to melt down any large bits of caramel. Do this until the mixture is completely fluid and smooth before removing it from heat.
- Pour caramel into a glass container and allow to cool completely before piping onto macaron shells. You can also use this caramel to make my Rosemary Salted Caramel Macarons as well!
Topping with toffee
The final addition to the filling of our macarons is the toffee! I purchased a bag of Heath Toffee bits to sprinkle onto the top of the butterscotch buttercream and caramel filling.
Tips & Tricks for Making Macarons
Want to make sure that you have perfectly circular macarons? Use a template! Before I pipe my macaron batter, I like to draw identical circles onto a piece of parchment paper that I will then flip over before piping. You can use a cookie cutter, small lid, salt shaker – anything that is about 1 inch in diameter that you can then trace onto your parchment.
After renting various apartments throughout the west coast, I have experienced my fair share of…let’s say quirky ovens. Without an oven thermometer, I would not have known that a couple of my ovens were running 50 degrees hotter than what I had actually set my oven temperature to. If you don’t have an over thermometer already, I would highly recommend grabbing one to make these delicate macarons. Here’s the one I use!
Since macarons require such precise measurements, I would encourage those that do not own a kitchen scale to invest in one! Here’s a link to the scale I used throughout pastry school, and to this day. When working with pastry and confection recipes such as macarons, even a slight over-measurement of say, egg whites, will alter and potentially ruin your recipe. Macarons only require four ingredients – if one of those ingredients is not measured correctly, your odds for macaron success are considerably decreased.3
The French term “Mise En Place” means to set up your working space in preparation for an activity. With macarons, it’s extremely important to make sure that set yourself up for success before starting. The meringue and batter you will be making are quite sensitive – if you take too much time in-between each step, you won’t see quality results. Take that extra bit of prep to measure your ingredients and prepare the tools you need before starting these macarons.
How to store macarons
Technically, allowing your completed macarons to sit overnight in the fridge allows for the best texture for consuming! If you have the patience, place your macarons in the fridge overnight and enjoy the following day. Macaron shells can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for a month and still taste as good as new! Take the frozen macarons out of the freezer and let them sit for 10-15 minutes. Then before enjoying, In the fridge, filled macarons should be stored in an airtight container for no more than 3 days.
Here are some other Macaron Recipes to try!
- Black Sesame Apricot Macarons
- Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Macarons
- White Chocolate Hibiscus Macarons
As always, I love seeing your creations and hearing from you! If you try this recipe, please leave a review or share your creation with me on social media! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest - for more delicious recipes sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter!
Butterscotch, Salted Caramel, and Toffee Macarons
- Food Processor
- Fine Mesh Strainer
- Mixer with Whisk & Paddle Attachment
- Parchment Paper
- Baking Tray
- Piping Bags & Piping Tips
- French Star Tip
- 76 g (⅓ cup + 1 teaspoon ) Granulated Sugar
- 90 ml (About 3 egg whites ) Room Temperature Egg Whites
- 80 g (¾ Cup + 1 Tbsp) Almond Flour, Blanched
- 150 g (1 ¼ Cup ) Powdered Sugar
- Gel Food Coloring , optional
- 250 g (1 ¼ cups) Granulated Sugar
- 200 g (¾ cups) Heavy Cream
- 37 g (3 tablespoon) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 3 g Sea Salt
- 115 g (½ cups) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 120 g (1 cups) Powdered Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste, or vanilla extract
- 87 g (⅓ cups) Butterscotch Chocolate Chips, melted
- 50 g Heath Toffeee Bits
- Line each baking sheet with your prepared parchment templates and prepare your piping bags along with your piping tips. I like to use a small, round piping tips for piping.
- Pour your egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer and start whisking on medium speed. Once they start to foam, slowly add your sugar and bring up your speed to medium for about three to four minutes.76 g Granulated Sugar, 90 ml Room Temperature Egg Whites
- While your meringue is whisking away, grind together your measured powdered sugar and almond flour using a food processor for one minute. Sift these dry ingredients into a large bowl with a fine sieve and set aside.80 g Almond Flour, 150 g Powdered Sugar
- Your meringue is complete when it holds stiff peaks - add desired food coloring and gently whisk for a few additional seconds to incorporate,Gel Food Coloring
- Now it’s time for the ever so important Macaronage! This is the act of mixing your dry ingredients into your french meringue and folding these ingredients enough to allow for the perfect desired consistency. To start, pour your dry mixture onto the meringue and slowly start to fold with a spatula. While rotating the bowl, continue to fold ingredients together. Press mixture on the side of your bowl until the mixture of the batter flows off your spatula rather slowly and smoothly. You should see that the batter will drip off the spatula back into the bowl, and rest on top for a moment. Then, the batter from your spatula will slowly sink back into the mixture. One too many folds and your batter could be over mixed leading to it being impossible to work with, so be careful not to overmix!
- Pour your macaron batter into your prepared piping bag and pipe in circles onto your templated parchment paper. In order to get rid of any air bubbles within your piped shells and to even out your tops, tap your baking sheet firmly on a flat surface. You can always use a toothpick to gently pop any extra air bubbles that you see hovering on top of your shells.
- Allow the shells to rest for approximately 30 minutes. Once the top of your shells are dry to the touch they are ready to bake!
- Place your macarons in your oven that has been preheated to 310 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 9 minutes, then rotate the baking tray and bake for an additional 2 minutes.
- You will know that your macarons are ready to remove from the oven when you gently touch the upper shell, and it barely moves, while the developed foot of the macaron stays set to the parchment paper. Remove from the oven to cool completely before removing shells from the parchment paper.
- Pour the sugar into a saucepan, and over medium-high heat allow the sugar to slowly melt and eventually shift in color to a deep amber-brown color. Make sure you continue to stir the sugar every minute or so in order to prevent it from burning!250 g Granulated Sugar
- Add the cream and butter to the sugar – expect the ingredients to bubble and foam for about 30 seconds or so. Then, over low heat, continue to melt down any large bits of caramel. Do this until the mixture is completely fluid and smooth before removing it from heat and adding salt.200 g Heavy Cream, 37 g Unsalted Butter, 3 g Sea Salt
- Pour caramel into a glass container and allow it to cool completely before assembling.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.115 g Unsalted Butter
- Add approximately half of the powdered sugar and beat again. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the powdered sugar. Continue beating for about a minute, scraping the sides as needed, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.120 g Powdered Sugar
- Finally, add the vanilla paste and butterscotch chocolate chips and continue beating until the frosting is thick and fluffy. Spread across the top of your cake, top with sprinkles, and enjoy!1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste, 87 g Butterscotch Chocolate Chips
- Once cooled, the shells will peel easily off of your parchment paper. Find each shell’s matching half and pipe approximately two teaspoons of buttercream to the bottom shell, using the french star tip. Then, pipe a bit of the salted caramel into the center of the buttercream before adding toffee bits on top and adding a macaron shell on top!50 g Heath Toffeee Bits
- Mise en place - Macarons are time-sensitive! Prepare your mise en place (meaning to set up your working space in preparation for an activity) before you get started so your ingredients and equipment are ready to go.
- Use a piping template - A foolproof way of making perfect macaron shells every time is to trace identical 1-inch diameter circles onto the parchment paper to use as your piping template.
- Use an oven thermometer - Baking the shells at the right temperature is important, so I highly recommend using an oven thermometer.
- Weigh the ingredients - While macarons only use 4 ingredients, if one isn’t measured correctly, your odds of macaron success are considerably lower. I highly recommend investing in a kitchen scale so everything is precise!
- Storing your macarons - Technically, allowing your completed macarons to sit overnight in the fridge allows for the best texture for consuming! If you have the patience, place your macarons in the fridge overnight and enjoy the following day. Macaron shells can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for a month and still taste as good as new! Take the frozen macarons out of the freezer and let them sit for 10-15 minutes before enjoying, In the fridge, filled macarons should be stored in an airtight container for no more than 3 days.
- Practice makes perfect - It’s no secret that making macarons can be tricky. Just keep practicing and experimenting with different macaron flavors, and you’ll be a pro in no time!