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How to make salted caramel macaron filling. Unlike salted caramel sauce, this recipe is thicker to make it easy to fill macarons.
Recipe and excerpt from my book, Teatime in Paris: A Walk Through Easy French Pâtisserie Recipes. With thanks to my publishers, Waverley Books for permission to publish on the website.

Why is it that salt added to caramel is so agonisingly addictive? As a result, this must be the most popular macaron flavour – confirmed by the Parisian pâtisseries in my Top 20 Best Macarons in Paris.

pan of salted caramel filling in front of macaron shells ready for filling

Where Did Salted Caramel Come From?

Salted caramel is surprisingly recent: caramel au beurre salé, or salted butter caramel, was invented in the 1970s by Henri Le Roux in Quiberon, where salted butter is added to most Brittany specialities.

Now, thankfully we can taste the geniune thing in Le Roux’s chocolate shop or caramélier in his shops like Rue de Bourbon le Château or in rue Saint-Dominique, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

Now we see salted caramel so often around France – it’s incredibly popular that it’s hard to believe it’s a recent French creation. You’ll see it as a popular topping on crêpes at stalls around Paris.

How to Make Salted Caramel Macaron Filling

The method for making the salted caramel is much the same in my recipe for the first stage of a French Crème Caramel.  I even have the method explained and demonstrated here on video for making caramel.

However, if you’re worried about making caramel, no worries. Just follow this easier scientific approach in this recipe for salted caramel sauce, inspired by food scientist, Raphaël Haumont. It works a dream!

First and foremost, measure your ingredients exactly. This makes the difference between a runny caramel that’s difficult to work with and a thicker, creamy caramel that works easily to pipe out as a filling for your macarons.

As a result, I urge you to make macarons using measurements in grams with a digital kitchen scale. It takes the math out of baking and most importantly, it means continued successful baking as it’s far more precise than using cups. Hence why exceptionally, I do not give approximate cup measures but only ounces as a guide.

Caramel sauce only requires 3 basic ingredients: sugar, butter, cream. For salted caramel, we add the salt or use salted butter.

For making salted caramel as a macaron filling, however, I add gelatine and some mascarpone to thicken the sauce.

melting sugar in a saucepan over heat to dissolve the sugar and caramelise

  • First make the caramel by dissolving the sugar over a medium to high heat in a saucepan. Don’t touch the caramel.
  • It will turn into a caramel within a few minutes so keep your eye on it. Just shake the pan to dissolve all of the sugar into the caramel.

ingredients for salted caramel: sugar, butter, cream and salt

  • Turn down the heat then add the butter and the warmed cream. Stir constantly together until the caramel becomes beautifully smooth.
  • Take off the heat and add the gelatine, squeezed of excess water and stir into the caramel.

adding salt to a saucepan of caramel

  • Leave on the counter to cool for about 15 minutes then add the salt (fleur de sel) and mascarpone.
  • Stir or whisk together using a hand whisk then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

adding mascarpone cream to caramel to thicken

  • 30 minutes later, the filling is thick enough. Transfer to a piping bag and squeeze out on to each macaron shell pair.

piping out a caramel cream filling on to macaron shellsnormally the left hand support the bottom of the piping bag – I just needed my hand to take the photo!

  • Sandwich each pair of macarons together with the filling then quickly transfer to a pastry box or biscuit tin and chill in the fridge for 24 hours.

sandwiching salted caramel macaron together

Can I Use Salted Butter Instead of Unsalted for Macarons?

The short answer is yes, you can use salted butter in the caramel filling and omit the salt (fleur de sel) in the recipe. However, it’s on condition that it’s good quality French butter, ideally from Brittany or Normandy. A good quality brand that’s easy to find outside of France is President. Look for the label “demi-sel“.

See more on my baking chat’s glossary of UK/French/USA baking terms.

On the other hand, I say on condition you can find good quality French butter.  As it’s not always easy to find, I prefer using unsalted butter in the recipe and adding salt.

As a result, it’s easier to control the dosage. Don’t forget to taste your filling by adding just a little salt at first and add more as necessary.  There’s nothing worse than too much salt and ruining the flavour of the whole batch in one go!

Can I make Caramel Without the Salt?

Of course you can.  What’s more, without salt added in the filling, it’s easier to add other flavours to the caramel such as orange, lemon or lime (add zest), coffee or vanilla, for example – even jasmine tea goes well too.

However, the most intriguing and classic taste with caramel is with the salt.

We usually add French fleur de sel (flower salt) from the Guérande – equivalents outside of France which work well are Maldon salt flakes or Celtic sea salt.

This salt just gives the characteristic taste of Brittany. It’s not for nothing that salted caramel as a macaron filling makes this one of the most popular flavours from the best macarons in Paris.

batch of garnished salted caramel macarons on a baking tray

Salted caramel macarons from my book, Teatime in Paris

How Long Can My Macarons Keep?

Don’t forget that once the macarons are filled to store them in a box and keep in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating.  Otherwise the macarons will be too dry. By waiting at least a day, this gives the filling time to permeate into the shells, making them typically delicious macarons with a fondant inside and slightly crispy exterior.

Your macarons can keep stored in the fridge for about 5 days or can be frozen for up to 2 months.

pan of salted caramel filling in front of macaron shells ready for filling
5 from 1 vote

Salted Caramel Macaron Filling

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Resting Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course : teatime
Cuisine : French
Keyword : salted caramel macaron filling
Servings : 35 macarons (75 shells)
Calories : 50kcal

Description

Recipe from Salted Caramel Macarons in Teatime in Paris by Jill Colonna. Step-by-step detailed instructions are in my books for making the macaron shells, along with all the baking tips. The macaron recipe makes 70 shells (35 macarons) using the French meringue technique.

Ingredients

Macaron Shells

  • 120 g (4½oz) ground almonds/fine almond flour
  • 180 g (6oz) icing sugar/confectioner's sugar
  • 100 g (3½oz) egg whites organic (2-3 days old, at room temperature)
  • 65 g (2½oz) caster/superfine sugar
  • pinch caramel powdered colouring (brown/yellow)

Salted Caramel Filling

  • 100 g (4oz) whipping/heavy cream warmed
  • 1 2g sheet gelatine
  • 100 g (3.5oz) sugar
  • 60 g (2.5oz) unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp sea salt (fleur de sel)
  • 150 g (5.5oz) mascarpone

Instructions

To make the Macaron Shells

  • Follow the basic macaron recipe on pages 146-50 in Teatime in Paris and add powdered caramel colouring to the French meringue.

To make the salted caramel filling

  • Soak the gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes.
  • Warm the cream in a separate pan or a few seconds in the microwave.
  • Measure out the sugar in a small saucepan. Put on medium to high heat, without stirring, until a golden, syrupy caramel forms. Shake the pan to dissolve all the sugar when it starts to change colour. Be careful that it doesn't colour too much (i.e. it can burn quickly - and there's nothing worse than bitter burnt caramel, so keep your eye on it!). This should take no more than 10 minutes in total.
    Turn down the heat and add the butter and warmed cream together.
  • Take off the heat and stir the caramel with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the gelatine (squeezed of excess water) and stir. Leave to cool on the counter for 15 minutes.
  • Add the salt and whisk in the mascarpone vigorously (or use an electric whisk) until smooth.
  • Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the caramel cream to a piping bag, pipe on the filling to each macaron couple, topping off with the other macaron shell to assemble.

Notes

Leave to Rest: Transfer the macarons to a pastry box or airtight container and store in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to do its magic. Please do not even try macarons in the first 24 hours otherwise they will be dry. The best macarons need patience and at least a day's rest in the fridge!
Excerpt from Teatime in Paris: A Walk Through Easy French Pâtisserie Recipes. For more detailed instructions to make the macaron shells, see the basic macaron recipe in the book. For many more macaron recipes, see my first book, Mad About Macarons.

Have you made this recipe?

I’d love to know how it turned out. Please let me know by leaving a rated review below. It means so much to have your support.
On Instagram? Share a photo and tag @JillColonna and hashtag it #madaboutmacarons. À bientôt!

This post was first published 9 November 2015 but is now completely updated with the filling recipe from my book, Teatime in Paris, with thanks to Waverley Books and with completely new images.

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17 responses to “Salted Caramel Macaron Filling”

  1. hi Jill,
    can you suggest something else i can use instead of marscapone pretty please?

    • Hi Sev,
      Pretty meaning quickly? You sent this at 04:18 so I was sleeping. Mascarpone is particular as it has 75% fat so really wouldn’t recommend anything else as it’s really best in this recipe to thicken up the caramel. Even crème fraîche is good but will be too runny in the end. Whipped ricotta could work but haven’t tried it. I have many other recipes for free here that don’t use mascarpone… help yourself.

  2. 5 stars
    I made these twice last month but couldn’t leave a comment here so hope this works this time. I loved this filling. First time I didn’t wait long enough and so they weren’t set as much but next time it worked so much better. These are now our new family favorites. Thanks so much Jill!

    • Thrilled to hear you tried them, Jenny. We love them too. Yes, it’s tempting to hurry along certain steps but it’s worth waiting a few more minutes for the filling to chill before piping onto the shells. Enjoy x

  3. Hmm, every time I have made a caramel filling for my ‘macs’ the filling turns out too gooey and runs out over the edge. I’ll have to try your recipe, which contains gelatine and mascarpone. These two ingredients may give more body to my filling!

    • I had that problem too years ago – that’s why I came up with my own filling! Let me know how you get on, Fran x

  4. That caramel filling alone is enough to get me to make a batch of macarons! YUM! I sip on tea all day long, but I think I need to start incorporating it into my cooking! xo

    • Thanks Liz. I’m thinking of adding it to more dishes too – especially sauces.

  5. 5 stars
    Hmmm…looks like some people are missing the point here! Your tea-infused macaron filling and macarons look absolutely PERFECT and I’m sure they taste even better, NO MATTER WHAT DAY OF THE YEAR IT IS! You never cease to amaze me with your gorgeous creations and your macarons are truly a work of art. That caramel tart has me yearning for it since I first saw it, too! Lovely work, Jill! You are such a talented cook, I just hope you realize it yourself. xx

  6. 5 stars
    That does it. You had me at the caramel even on its own. I may be French but I need your new book since loved Mad About Macarons before it.

    • Thank you so much Jean-Pierre. If you love caramel there’s also a caramel Religieuse recipe in the last chapter x

  7. A Huge fuss is made over these Teodor teas! Whats up. i must be missing out. Is that a stuffed crab above? Looks yummy

    • And quite rightly since ever I discovered their teas, it opened up a new world, Carol – especially with their green teas. You need to taste their Absolu Oolong!

    • Well, that proves why I don’t follow international days, just like I said, Maria. Too difficult to keep up with it all. More important is discovering the genius of adding good tea to recipes.

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