Hello friends! Today we are baking Balsamic Caramel and Strawberry macarons!
Have you ever tried making caramel sauce with balsamic vinegar? If not, come with me. You won’t regret this!
This post is a partnership with Secolari, a company that produces artisan olive oils and vinegar. Their products are truly exceptional, and I invite you to check them out! They have a phenomenal selection of olive oils, vinegars, salts, seasonings, spreads, which are high quality, and produced naturally by non-industrialized methods. It’s really worth it checking them out!
I have used Secolari Finest Traditional 18 Years Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena to make this recipe.
Anyway, let’s get to it! How to make this delicious and scrumptious Balsamic Caramel so we can then make the filling for these gourmet macarons, which is a Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
This Balsamic Caramel recipe is super easy. You can check out on the video in this page how to make it, or follow the picture tutorial below.
How to make Balsamic Caramel Sauce
We will start with 5 simple ingredients: brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, heavy cream, butter, and salt.
In 6 simple steps you can make this quick and easy balsamic caramel sauce! Check it out!
- Mix brown sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, keep simmering for 3-4 minutes until mixture thickens and reduces.
- Add heavy cream and keep simmering for another 2-4 minutes, until mixture is thick, and coating the back of a spoon.
- Add butter.
- Add salt, and mix until salt and butter are incorporated.
- Remove sauce from the pan and let it cool down all the way before using.
This balsamic caramel sauce was unlike any caramel sauce I’ve ever had before. It was so so so delicious I just wanted to eat it with a spoon. If you are a fan of caramel sauce, I highly recommend you give this a try.
After the Balsamic Caramel has cooled down, you can make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
Have you ever made Swiss Meringue Buttercream before?
It’s the type of frosting that pleases people who don’t like overly sweet frosting. It also has a very light texture, it’s like eating a mildly sweet buttery cloud.
How to make Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
You can see the dedicated post for the Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream here.
The method isn’t very complicated as long as you follow some simple steps. Actually, the Swiss method is what I also use to make the macaron shells for these Balsamic Caramel and Strawberry Macarons, and all my other macarons.
The Swiss method entails melting the sugar and egg whites over a double boiler, and then whipping the syrup to stiff peaks.
So let’s first break down the process of making the Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
- Whisk the sugar and whites over a double boiler.
- When mixture reaches 140 F, which is a safe temperature for the eggs to be consumed, remove it and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Start whipping on low speed, and increase speed to high.
- Whip for about 5 minutes until it reaches stiff peaks.
- Once the syrup reaches stiff peaks, start adding butter a little at a time, while whipping non-stop.
- Frosting will become very creamy, fluffy, and buttery, and that’s when you know you’ve made your Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
So, like I said, I also use the Swiss method to make the macaron shells, , but in this case, you only whisk the sugar and egg whites over a double boiler until the sugar melts, for about 1 minute. You don’t actually have to whisk the syrup until it reaches 140 F, since the macarons will bake later. After melting the sugar with the egg whites, you transfer the syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer, and whip to stiff peaks before adding the dry ingredients (almond flour and powdered sugar) to do the macaronage.
After your Swiss Meringue Buttercream is ready, add 1/4 cup of the balsamic caramel to it, and whip it until combined.
The Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue buttercream will look like this. And that’s exactly what dreams are made of.
Place the filling in a piping bag, and get ready to fill your macarons.
Pipe a circle around the edges of the macaron, leaving some room in the middle to fill with strawberry jam.
You can use a piping bag, or simply a small spoon.
This is by far one of my favorite combos of macarons I’ve ever made! I am a caramel enthusiast. And absolutely love it in any shape or form.
Here are some of my macaron recipes that feature caramel:
- Caramel Popcorn Macarons
- Salted Caramel Macarons
- Vegan Salted Caramel Macarons
- Dulce de Leche Macarons
- Dulce de Leche Pecan Macarons
And here are some other caramel desserts you might like:
- Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Pie
- Grape Cake
- Salted Caramel Whoopie Pies
- Cashew Caramel Apple Cake
- Cashew Caramel Babka
- Salted Caramel Stout Cake
- Caramel Cashew Cupcakes
- Dulce de Leche Bars
- Dulce de Leche Snickerdoodles
If you are looking for any macaron tips, you can check any of my macaron posts, I have a ton of macaron recipes, tutorials, videos, tips and tricks all over my Macaron Section on my blog! Make sure to check them out in case you are trying to master your macaron game.
Do you like baking macarons? What did you think about these Balsamic Caramel and Strawberry Macarons? Let me know in the comments, and also you can always message me on instagram, or send me an email if you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, requests. I am very open and responsive!
Have a fabulous day! Thank you for all the support and for being with me on this super incredible macaron baking journey!
Balsamic Caramel Strawberry Macarons
white granulated sugar
- A few drops of red food coloring
a few of pink food coloring, and just a touch of teal
light brown sugar
100 grams, 3.5 oz
I used Secolari (59 ml)
14 grams, 0.5 oz
Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
large egg whites
40 grams, 1.4 oz
100 grams, 3.5 oz
141 grams, 5 oz
strawberries fresh or frozen
283 grams 10 oz
you can use granulated sugar or other sweetener instead
Before you start, get all of the ingredients ready. Prepare a large piping bag, fitted with a large round tip.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
Measure out all of the ingredients.
Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together. Set aside.
Place the egg whites and granulated sugar in a heat proof bowl or in a double boiler. Over a pan of simmering water, whisk the whites and sugar until frothy and sugar completely melted. It will take a couple minutes. You can test by touching the mixture between your fingers, and if you feel any sugar granules just keep whisking mixture over the water bath.
- Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the simmering water.
- Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer.
With the whisk attachment, start whisking mixture on low for about 30 seconds, then gradually start increasing speed to medium. Whisk on medium for one to two minutes, until the mixture is white and starting to become fluffy. Raise the speed to high for a few minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Best way to check this is to keep your eye on the whites. Once they get glossy and you start seeing streaks formed by the whisk, it might be time to stop.
Pour the powdered sugar and almond flour into stiff whites.
- Start folding gently forming a letter J with a spatula. Add the food coloring at this point, if using.
It’s time to stop folding when the batter is glossy and has a thick and flowing consistency. There are several ways to test this.
First, pick up some batter with the spatula and try to draw a figure 8 with the batter that is dripping off the spatula. If you can form several 8 figures without the batter breaking up, that’s one indication that it might be ready.
Then, grab a teaspoon of batter and spoon onto the parchment paper or silicon mat.
If the batter stays stiff and doesn’t spread out a bit, start folding a little bit more, about 3 folds.
- Test again.
Once the batter spreads out a bit and starts to look glossy on the parchment paper, transfer the mixture to the piping bag.
- You don’t want your batter to be too runny either. So be careful not to overmix. It’s always best to undermix and test several times until the proper consistency has been achieved.
- Once you’ve piped as many circles as you could, bang the trays against the counter a few times each. This will release air bubbles that are in the batter and prevent your macaron shells from cracking.
Let the trays sit for a while so the shells will dry out a little bit. I usually leave about 20-40 minutes, depending on how humid the day is. You’ll know they’re ready when you gently touch the surface of a macaron and it seems dry.
- Pre-heat the oven to 325F.
- Bake one tray at a time.
Bake for 5 minutes and rotate the tray.
Bake for 5 more minutes, check if it needs to be rotated again. You will know if it needs to be rotated again depending on how the macarons are baking. Take a look at them, if one side seems taller than the other, maybe you have to rotate the tray again.
Bake for a total of 15 to 20 minutes.
When baked, the macarons will have a deeper color and formed feet. If you try to move a macaron, it shouldn’t feel jiggly. If the macaron is still jiggly, keep baking.
- Remove from the oven and bake the other tray.
- Let the macarons cool down before proceeding with the filling.
- Place brown sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil.
- Let mixture simmer over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until thickened and reduced.
- Add heavy cream.
- Be aware that the mixture will probably splash once you do this.
- Bring it back to a boil, and simmer again over medium heat for another 2-4 minutes, until thick.
- Add butter and salt. Mix to combine, until butter is melted.
- Remove and transfer to a bowl. Let it cool down completely before adding to the Swiss meringue buttercream.
Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Remove butter from the fridge about 30 minutes before you start to make this. We are looking for the perfect butter temperature and consistency. It shouldn’t be hard cold, and it shouldn’t be so soft that is almost melting.
- Put whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl.
- Place bowl on top of a small pot with simmering water.
Whisk whites and sugar until they temp 140 F. Basically you are looking to melt the sugar granules, and also make it so the egg white is in a safe temperature to be consumed.
- Once you achieve that temperature, transfer the syrup to your mixer bowl.
Whip with the whisk attachment for about 2 minutes at medium speed, until the mixture looks white, and thicker. At this point, raise speed to high and continue to whip until fluffy and doubled in size. Meringue should have stiff peaks. It can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to obtain stiff peaks.
- Test every so often, so you don’t over whip it.
- Start adding the butter that should be slightly softened.
- Cut butter into very thin pats. Starts doing one by one with mixer running on medium-high.
- Wait for one butter pat to be incorporated before adding the next one.
- This whole process could take about 15 minutes. Add vanilla extract.
- Once butter is all incorporated add 1/4 cup of the Balsamic Caramel Sauce to the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. The caramel sauce should be at room temperature.
- You might have leftover buttercream from the macarons. I wouldn’t advise halving the formula. Simply store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer, for up to 2 months. Remember to package it really well in sealed air tight containers, or zip loc bags, before freezing.
- To use it again, simply let it thaw until it comes to room temperature and beat it briefly to make it creamy again before using.
Mix strawberries, maple syrup (or sweetener) and lemon juice in a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Use the spoon to break up the strawberries as you stir.
- Mix cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl.
- Once strawberries have boiled and reduced a bit, add cornstarch and water to the pan.
- Bring back to a boil, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened.
- Let jam cool. Cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
- You may process the jam in a small food processor to make it smooth if you want to, which will help with filling the macarons, since you will only need a tiny bit for each macaron, and you don’t want to have huge chunks of strawberries in there.
- Pipe a ring of Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream around the edges of the bottom shells.
- Spoon some strawberry jam in the middle.
- Top with another shell.
- Drizzle some caramel on top.
- Top with salt if desired.
- Store macarons in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- I don’t usually recommend freezing macarons with jam fillings, because they can become soggy. But if you choose to freeze them, do so in an air tight container for 1-2 months.
*This recipe will make more caramel than what you need for the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. You can store any leftovers for up to 1 month in the fridge, and up to 3 months in the freezer.
Food coloring: Make sure to use gel food coloring. If you are a beginner macaron baker, I recommend going easy on the food coloring, as it can alter your batter a lot, and it can take extra mixing time, especially if you continue to add the food coloring as you do the macaronage.
Scale: Please use a scale when measuring the ingredients for accuracy. Macaron amount: it will vary greatly depending on how big you pipe the shells, and on how runny or thick the batter is.
Baking time/temperature: Baking time and temperature will vary according to your own oven. I recommend experimenting with your oven to find out the best time, temperature, position of the baking tray.
Oven thermometer: Make sure to have an oven thermometer to bake macarons. It’s one of the most important things about making macarons. Home ovens aren’t accurate at all at telling the temperature, and even a slight 5 degree difference can make or break your whole batch.
Tray rotation: Lots of bakers don’t have to rotate the trays 180 degrees in the oven every 5 minutes, but I do have to with my oven, or I will get lopsided macarons. Please adjust this according to your oven.