week 8. green apple macs x salted caramel buttercream

using my base recipe, I subbed out cocoa powder for the equivalent amount of ground up, freeze-dried apples to flavor it.

these turned out pretty great. only a few cracked on top. I'd still like to figure out the right baking method to get better feet on the shells.

ingredients | shells

mixture a:
freeze-dried apple                      
-finely ground                                              37g

almond TPT*                                                300g
powdered sugar                                        38g

egg whites                                                      73g      
food coloring                                               4 drops

mixture b:
egg whites                                                      73g
salt                                                                       0.5g
water                                                                  50g
sugar                                                                  188g
light corn syrup                                          10g

* TPT means equal parts powdered sugar and another ingredient, in this case it’s almond flour, and you will use 150g of each to equal the 300g.

method | shells

bring all ingredients to room temperature.

from “mixture a,” sift together the apple powder, almond TPT, and powdered sugar into a large bowl and set aside. (it’s important to sift to make sure everything is very fine).

from “mixture b” whisk the egg whites and salt in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment set to 4 and leave it there while you make a syrup.

make a syrup from “mixture b.” first add the water, then the sugar, then the corn syrup into a small saucepan. pour the sugar in very slowly so that it all gets incorporated into the water, being very careful not to get any on the sides of the saucepan or your syrup can crystallize. do not stir!! stirring can also cause crystallization. just let it do its thing.

heat this syrup on medium until it boils and reaches 248°F. really, don’t stir it!

tip: you can take the chill off the eggs if you hold the bowl over the heating saucepan for a few seconds while swirling it around or stirring it.

turn up the standing mixer to 8 to create soft peaks while the syrup is still heating up to the right temperature.

to create the meringue, slowly pour the hot syrup along the side of the bowl into the mixing egg whites and let it mix until it’s stiff, but still shiny.

take the egg whites from “mixture a,” plus a spatula full of the meringue and mix it into the sifted almond, apple powder, powdered sugar mixture that you made earlier. fold this together with a spatula until you form a thick paste. this is where I added the 4 drops of food coloring.

fold the rest of the meringue into that paste until it becomes glossy and slightly runny. (you’ll know when it’s done when the batter slowly falls off your spatula like a thick ribbon and settles into itself in the bowl after a few seconds. you don’t want it to be any runnier than that because you don’t want the mixture to spread once it’s piped).

scoop batter into a pastry bag fitted with about a 10mm piping tip, and pipe quarter sized bulbs onto parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a sheet pan.

tip: if a little nub from where you released the piping bag doesn’t settle into itself, you can use a small paintbrush to tap it down.

tap the bottom of the pan a couple times to prevent any air bubbles while baking.

bake on your oven’s convection setting at 280° for 15 minutes. for the first 5 minutes with the oven door closed, and the remaining 11 minutes with a wooden spoon propping the oven door open a bit (I added 1 minute to my usual 10 minute baking time to accommodate the extra wetness of the food coloring).

let cool completely before filling.

ingredients | salted caramel buttercream

unsalted butter                                        6 tbsp
powdered sugar                                       1   1/4 cup

salted caramel sauce*                        1/4 cup

* I made my own caramel sauce (below), but you can just use store-bought.

unsalted butter                                        6 tbsp
sugar                                                                1 cup

heavy cream                                                1/2 cup
pink himalayan salt                                 1 tsp

method | salted caramel buttercream

skip this step if you bought pre-made caramel sauce.

bring butter and cream to room temperature.

heat the sugar in a sauce pan over medium-high heat.

once it starts to get melty, begin whisking until it turns completely into liquid.

stop whisking and just swirl the pan around until you start to see a little bit of amber color. don't let it get past that point, or you will burn the caramel.

remove from heat and add the butter. whisk until smooth.

then add the cream and whisk until smooth.

pour into a separate bowl and let cool for 10-ish minutes.


for the buttercream, bring butter to room temperature.

use a hand mixer or paddle attachment on a standing mixer, set on medium-high, to cream the butter until light and creamy.

add the powdered sugar and mix on low until totally incorporated.

add the caramel sauce and mix on high until light and fluffy.

I refrigerate this for 10 minutes to stiffen it up before piping.

pipe bulbs of buttercream to fill your mac sandwiches.

refrigerate these guys when you're done. they actually taste better after a day of refrigeration than they do right after baking.

tip: the sizes of all of your shells will tend to be slightly different, so make sure you buddy up your shells to similarly sized partners so that the entire cookie is a consistent size.