I will confess that this recipe doesn't taste exactly like a Snickers bar ... but it's still mighty tasty. You can do a few variations on this, like make a chocolate macaron cookie, sprinkle peanuts on top, add a little peanut butter to your ganache. The sky's the limit!
Peanutty Caramel Macarons [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Macarons:
- Liquid from one 15 ounce can of chickpeas (aquafaba), chickpeas saved for another use
- 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup vegan powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla-infused bourbon), plus more as needed
For the Chocolate Ganache:
- 2 tablespoons organic non-hydrogenated shortening
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cup vegan powdered sugar
- A few tablespoons almond milk, as needed
- Caramel sauce
- Crushed peanuts
To Make the Macarons:
- In a small saucepan, bring your chickpea liquid to a boil. When it boils, lower the heat slightly and allow it to simmer/reduce for 10 solid minutes – set a timer! This boiling liquid will smell weird, FYI. You want it to reduce to about 1/3 cup.
- While that's reducing, combine the almond flour and powdered sugar in the food processor. Pulse to combine and run it for a minute or two.
- Transfer the powdery mix to the sifter and sift. Some macaron recipes I've used say to sift three times. I only sifted this recipe once. Discard any large chunks that won't go through the sifter.
- Measure out your cane sugar. Set it aside.
- Once your chickpea liquid has reduced, pour it into your stand mixer bowl and attach your whisk. Turn the mixer on to a medium-high setting (about a 5-6 setting) and whisk for two solid minutes – set a timer! The mixture should get frothy and foamy.
- Add your cane sugar. Beat the mixture on high for five minutes – again, set a timer! This is the stage where the true magic happens. It's amazing to watch! When you're finished, the mixture should look like a meringue with stiff, glossy peaks. After, add your teaspoon of vanilla and beat on high for one more minute.
- When your meringue is done, fold in the sifted mixture in thirds. (Pour one-third in and fold. Repeat.) At this stage, I found that my batter was a little dry. I added another teaspoon or two of vanilla to the batter. You want it to be a thick, firm batter, but you also want it to be a little shiny. Someone likened it to lava flowing slowly down a mountain, but I'm not sure what sense that makes. This is the stage that you just have to get the knack for. This is why macaron-making is challenging!
- Load the batter into your piping bag with a spatula. Snip a hole, about a half-inch from the end of the bag. If you hold the bag upright at a 90 degree angle, the batter should drip out slowly, most likely in small blobs. If it's runny, you have a problem. If it's stiff and not moving without help, you have a different problem! This takes finesse.
- Pipe cookies the size of a quarter/half dollar onto prepared Silpat mats or parchment paper. One thing I will recommend – doubling your baking sheets. I've read this in numerous macaron-making articles. It keeps the bottoms from burning. Repeat piping the batter until you run out of batter – or room.
- When you're done piping, smack the cookie sheets on the counter a few times. You want to get the macarons to smooth out and release any air bubbles inside. Whack them – don't be afraid to hurt them. My macarons started with small peaks but once I smacked them a few times, the tops became smoother. That's how you know the batter is good.
- Allow the macarons to dry on the counter for 45 minutes to one hour. They should be dry to the lightest touch – don't poke them, haha.
- As the drying time winds down, preheat the oven to 205° F.
- Bake the macarons for 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes have elapsed, turn the oven off and let the cookies sit in the closed oven for 15 minutes. After those 15 minutes have elapsed, open the oven door and let them cool for another 15 minutes before removing them from the oven.
To Make the Chocolate Ganache:
- Combine the first four ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and use a spatula to combine. If you need a little more liquid to get the icing together, add a little almond milk to the mix, about a tablespoon at a time. It will look (and taste) like fudgy, chocolaty goodness.
- Using another piping bag, gently pipe the icing onto one side of a macaron, creating a well in the middle for some caramel. Grab another macaron of similar size and place it next to the piped one. If you have some ganache leftover, save it in the freezer for another use!
- Drizzle your prepared caramel sauce into each hollow of the ganache. Sprinkle each drizzle with crushed peanuts (and roll the macarons in the peanuts as well).
You can store these in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. I like to let mine sit out for 10-15 minutes before eating them.