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Autumn is ripe for the picking so to speak. The first few frosts of fall signals the best time to hand pick apples if you are inclined. Those chilly nights help to sweeten the local apple crops. And we all have our favorites, with around seven thousand varieties around the world there is an apple for everyone.
I wanted to make a welcome to fall apple treat, nothing fancy, and yes, I also wanted the house to smell great, apples baking in the oven and with this cake recipe, cinnamon too.
A basic apple cake just didn’t sound that interesting even if it tasted good, so I decided to pair it with some salted caramel. How can you go wrong with such a classic match made in heaven? A simply, so good combination perfect for lifting up the chilly weather ahead.
Cinnamon Apple Cake Recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup brown sugar, packed
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup buttermilk
2 cups diced apple, peeled
Buttermilk [for brushing]
Cinnamon Sugar [mix together 4 teaspoons granular sugar & 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon]
Preheat oven to 350°F
preparing the cake pans:
1. Cut eight 9-inch circles of parchment and line cake rings.
*note: The cake rings used were 3.25”x2.” I used cans that once held water chestnuts! If you do not have any and want to use a different pan, this recipe will fill a 9”x9” pan or a standard bread pan.
preparation of the batter:
1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, sea salt, nutmeg and black pepper.
2. Cream together brown sugar and butter until light, approximately 3-5 minutes.
3. Beat in one egg at a time until thoroughly incorporated.
4. Gently stir in half of the flour followed by half of the buttermilk until combined.
5. Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk.
6. Fold in diced apples.
7. Fill each parchment lined round two-thirds full.
8. Brush tops with buttermilk and sprinkle the full amount of cinnamon sugar evenly over each cake.
9. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.
Makes 8 mini cakes.
Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe
1 cup granular sugar
¼ cup water
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
½ cup heavy cream
¾ teaspoon fleur de sel [-or- sea salt]
preparing the caramel:
1. Combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
2. Use a skewer to swirl the sugar so it colors evenly.
3. Cook until sugar has is amber in color and turn off heat.
4. Toss in butter bits and then the heated cream [mixture will violently bubble.]
5. Whisk until smooth and has cooled.
6. Stir in fleur de sel.
Makes 1 ½ cups.
To Serve: Remove the cake rings and parchment paper and serve with salted caramel sauce over.
This macaron recipe has been my favorite one to make thus far and with the perfect French macaron baking weather we have been having, why skip out on making some. Overcast skies with a little humidity they turned out perfect. Serving these with a cup of tea is a very nice way to end a weekend.
Salted Caramel French Macarons
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons almond meal
3 large eggs, room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
6 Tablespoons granular sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
small amount brown color paste
1 teaspoon cocoa powder, for dusting
¾ cup salted caramel sauce**
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Sift confectioner’s sugar and almond meal together using a fine mesh sieve. I prefer to sift these ingredients separately and then measure out what is needed for the recipe. Set this aside.
Separate the eggs, setting asides the yolks for another recipe. A good rule of thumb is to leave the eggs at room temperature overnight to cure the egg whites.
Beat the egg whites until frothy, add in the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
Add sugar gradually and continue to whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Just before you reach this point, add the vanilla extract and colorant.
Fold in confectioner’s sugar and almond meal mixture into egg whites in two parts. Once all of the dry ingredients are incorporated continue to fold until the batter flows like magma when you lift the spatula. I feel that this is important, due to the fact that you want the macaron cookies to smooth out once they are on the parchment. I usually fold the mixture sixty times before the consistency is where I like it, anything beyond this point the macarons will be papery and crack in the oven.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a quarter inch round tip with batter. To pipe a nicely shaped disk, start with the pastry bag vertical to the parchment, tip side down. The tip of the bag should be a quarter inch from the paper. Squeeze the batter onto the center of the circle drawing and the batter will flow towards the edge. Just as the batter reaches this point stop squeezing the bag and drag the tip in a circular motion towards the edge of the disk. This will help eliminate the peak of batter in the middle of the cookie. Repeat with the remaining circles. A word of caution, since we folded the batter to flow like magma, the batter will start flowing out of the pastry bag as soon as you turn the bag tip side down. So work quickly and with precision. It will take a few tries to be confident in this step.
To help the batter smooth out, just tap the bottom of the template. Now slide to parchment onto the sheet pan and lightly dust the tops of the macarons with cocoa powder for some added pizzazz.
Allow the meringue to rest for fifteen to twenty minutes. This will allow a skin to form on the macaron which will give you that signature French macaron skirt, how fancy!
Reduce the temperature of the oven to 325ºF and bake the macarons for 10 minutes. Allow the macarons to cool for a few minutes on the pan before transferring them to a cooling rack. Raise the heat of the oven back to 375ºF. Once the oven is back up to temp, repeat with the reaming cookies. Remember to drop the oven temperature to 325ºF each time you bake more macarons.
*note: If you plan on making countless dozens, you may need to reduce the baking time as the oven’s metal framework holds more heat overtime. Making eight dozen cookies, the last three batches get a baking time of nine minutes. You will notice cookies getting brown edges, that’s bad.
Place a three-quarters teaspoon of salted caramel on half of the macarons and gently press together with the other halves. This recipe will make approximately two dozen macarons. Something that I like to do when filling macs is to gently hold the cookie upside down in my palm and press in the bottom. This will give you more room for filling.
**note: If you plan to use my salted caramel sauce recipe for filling these cookies, reducing the cream to approximately 1/4 cup will give a firmer consistency so the caramel will not spread out.
I hope you have enjoyed this post of another French macaron recipe. If you or someone who loves salted caramel, my advice, make plenty.