Rich and flavorful walnuts replace the traditional almonds in these French macarons, with a deep, chocolate-y flavor, and a buttery salted caramel filling!  These delicious little pastries are almost a cross between a cookie and a candy, and they’re sure to be your new favorite treat!  (Naturally gluten-free.)  Scroll all the way to the bottom of the post for a fabulous giveaway!

The best macarons I've made yet!  Loved the walnut in the shells, and the buttery salted caramel balances out the sweetness.

Good morning, my dears!

I’m so sorry I missed our usual Friday morning chat.  I was so busy putting together a video for a potential client, that before I knew it, it was Saturday.  But I figured I’d make it up to you this week by posting three fabulous recipes for Brunch Week!

What is Brunch Week you may ask?  Well, it’s only the most incredible blogger event ever to happen for the last three Mother’s Day weeks in a row.  I will let Terri and Shaina, the organizers of the event, fill you in:

Welcome to the third annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Shaina from Take A Bite Out Of Boca. We are so excited to have you join us this year!  Celebrate Brunch with us this week as we prepare for Mother’s Day. 30 Bloggers from around the country will showcase their best brunch dishes, from cocktails to casseroles, breakfast breads, sandwiches and salads – there is something for everyone! Our amazing Sponsors have donated some great prizes for the #BrunchWeek giveaway. Thank you so much, Sponsors, for your generosity. We have an incredible giveaway below and we’d love if you would take a moment to read about them all and what you can possibly win!

So, this week you can look forward to a dessert recipe, a breakfast recipe, and a cocktail recipe from moi, as well as about a bazillion other great brunch ideas from all the other bloggers that are participating in this fun event.  🙂

The best macarons I've made yet!  Loved the walnut in the shells, and the buttery salted caramel balances out the sweetness.

California Walnuts was one of the Brunch Week sponsors, and so they inspired these little treats.  The rich walnut flavor really comes through in the cocoa-infused macaron shells.  It’s definitely something different and a lot more flavorful than the typical almond macaron.

Dixie Crystals was also involved with this event, so for the filling I ended up going with my favorite salted caramel sauce.  It’s made with just a handful of basic ingredients (sugar being key), and it comes together in about 10 minutes.  Also, it’s about the richest, butteriest, most decadent thing you’ll ever put in your mouth 😉

The best macarons I've made yet!  Loved the walnut in the shells, and the buttery salted caramel balances out the sweetness.

Chocolate Walnut Macarons with Salted Caramel

Rich and flavorful walnuts replace the traditional almonds in these French macarons, with a deep, chocolate-y flavor, and a buttery salted caramel filling! These delicious little pastries are almost a cross between a cookie and a candy, and they're sure to be your new favorite treat! (Naturally gluten-free.)


Serves 3-4 dozen sandwiches     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 100 grams walnuts, ground finely in the food processor
  • 150 grams powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 egg whites, preferably at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 55 grams superfine sugar (granulated sugar may be substituted)
  • salted caramel

Instructions

    1. Sift the ground walnuts, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder together.  (Re-process and re-sift, if necessary.)
    2. Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl, and add the cream of tartar.  Whip the egg whites, on medium-high speed, until fluffy.  Slowly add in the superfine sugar, while whipping.  When all the superfine sugar has been added, turn the speed up to high and continue to whip until stiff.
    3. Add the ground walnut/powdered sugar/cocoa mixture, all at once, and fold until the mixture drops from the spatula in one long ribbon.  Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.
    4. Pipe the batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets, in 1 1/2-inch circles.  Set them out to dry for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a thin, dry membrane has formed on the surface of the macarons.
    5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place the macarons in the hot oven.  Turn the oven temperature down to 300 degrees F, and bake for 18 minutes (do not brown).  Allow the macarons to cool completely on the baking sheets.
    6. Sandwich the macarons with salted caramel sauce.

by

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 506kcal Calories from fat 200
% Daily Value
Total Fat 22g 34%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Sodium 47mg 2%
Carbohydrate 75g 25%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 68g
Protein 9g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g

The best macarons I've made yet!  Loved the walnut in the shells, and the buttery salted caramel balances out the sweetness.

My husband and 8 year-old both agreed that these were probably the best macarons I’ve made to date, and I couldn’t help but agree.  You just can’t go wrong with chocolate, nuts, and caramel.  It’s a classic flavor combo for a reason!

Now I’d love to keep on blabbing all day about macarons, but I’ve got a lot of info to cover in this here post and I don’t want to bore you to tears.  So, I’m going to keep things short and sweet, and get right to the giveaway!

But first, a word from our sponsors (haha!):

BrunchWeek 2015 Logo

Prize #1: Bob’s Red Mill is giving one winner a Pie Plate, Gluten-Free Oats, Gluten-Free Pie Crust Mix, Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and a Bob’s Red Mill Flour Sack Towel.

Collage Bobs Red Mill

About Bob’s Red Mill: Trust, honesty and integrity. The three principles their business is built on. Their packaging is a great example of this commitment: clear bags that let you see the high quality of every one of their products. By producing the very best in whole grain foods, they are able to fulfill their commitment to help look after more and more people through better nutrition.
Prize #2: Cabot Cheese is giving one winner a Gift Box with a selection of Cabot Cheeses as well as a Cheese Board and Knife.

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About Cabot Cheese: Cabot blends state-of-the-art facilities and a savvy entrepreneurial spirit, with the timeless values a personal commitment to quality that comes from being 100% owned by their farm families. Cabot is a cooperative owned and operated by their members, dairy farmers and their families throughout New England and Upstate New York. Cabot products include Cheese, Yogurt, Dips, Butter and Whipped Cream.
Prize #3: Dixie Crystals is giving one winner a Wilton Master Tip Decorating Kit along with a 4lb bag of Granulated Sugar, 2lb bag of Powdered Sugar and 2lb bag of Light Brown Sugar.

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About Dixie Crystals: Since 1917, Dixie Crystals® has been the South’s choice for high-quality sugar and sweeteners. Our pure cane sugar products are all natural, non-GMO and provide consistently delicious results.

Prize #4: California Walnuts is giving one winner a Classic Series 4.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer in white.

Collage CA Walnut

About California Walnuts: The California Walnut Board was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. The board is funded by mandatory assessment of the handers and the California Walnut Commission, established in 1987 is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. More than 99% of the walnuts in U.S. are grown in the fertile soils of California’s Central Valley. Internationally, California walnuts supply three-quarters of the world’s walnut trade. Sustainability is important to the California walnut industry. The California Walnut Board has supported sustainable growing practices through its production research program for over 20 years.
Prize #5: Le Creuset is giving one winner a set of their new Revolution® Bi-Material Utensils. The pliable combination of flexible silicone and rigid glass-filled nylon allows Revolution cooking utensils to conform to the edges of pots and pans, making it easy to stir, scoop and serve your favorite chili recipe to family and friends.

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About Le Creuset: Respect for tradition and authenticity has been Le Creuset’s guiding principle since 1925, yet our innovative designs and exceptional quality ensure that we remain relevant today. The Le Creuset signature color, Flame, was born in this first piece. With their new ability to pigment the enamel glaze, Desaegher and Aubecq modeled their first color after the intense orange hue of molten cast iron inside a cauldron (“creuset” in French). We still manufacture our cast iron in the original foundry, with each piece passing through the hands of 15 skilled artisans to ensure flawless perfection. With the consistent qualities of authenticity, originality and innovation, Le Creuset maintains a connection to both heritage and modernity.
Prize #6: KitchenAid is giving one winner a Maximum Extraction Juicer. The KitchenAid® Maximum Extraction Juicer (slow juicer) gives you more juice with less prep work, featuring a patented two-stage blade and auger system and wide chute. This juicer also comes with 3 pulp screens for low pulp, high pulp and sauces. Perfect for hard, soft or leafy fruits and vegetables.

Collage KitchenAid

About KitchenAid: In 1919 our iconic Stand Mixer was born. And from that stemmed an entire kitchen of high-performance appliances-all created with the same attention to detail, quality craftsmanship, versatile technology and timeless design. As the only appliance brand that only makes things for the kitchen, we continue to keep pushing the limits with our products so you can keep doing the same with everything you create. So, here’s to you, your kitchen and the delicious world that surrounds us all.

Prize #7: Nielsen-Massey is giving one winner 2-oz bottles of their entire line of flavor extracts: Pure Almond Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract, Rose Water and Orange Blossom Water

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About Nielsen-Massey: Nielsen-Massey has been crafting world-class vanillas and flavors since 1907. It is still a family owned business today and focuses on quality and its customers. Nielsen-Massey uses a cold extraction process for making its vanillas, which preserves more than 300 distinctive flavor compounds present in vanilla beans. Nielsen-Massey product can be purchased at Williams-Sonoma and all of their products are gluten-free, allergen-free, GMO-free and Kosher. Nielsen-Massey also has a line of organic vanillas available as well.

Prize #8: Pacari Premium Organic Chocolate is giving one winner a gift box which includes: 8 bars (3 Single Region Bars, 1 Raw 70% (multi-award winner), 4 Andean Flavors Collection Bars (Salt and Nibs, Lemongrass (award winner), Merken and Andean Blueberry, 2 chocolate covered boxes: 1 Banana and 1 Goldenberries (award winner), and Dry Cacao Beans.

Collage Pacari

About Pacari Chocolate: Pacari Chocolate is a line of premium organic chocolate and is the first single-origin organic chocolate entirely made in Ecuador. We carefully select the finest ingredients and work in small batches in order to bring you an unforgettable chocolate experience. All of the ingredients are 100% organic and produced according to fair and equitable standards. Each of our single-region, raw and specialty chocolate products is crafted to maintain the complex flavor profile of the Arriba Nacional cacao bean. We partner directly with over 3000 small-scale cacao growers to preserve their traditional way of farming, thereby safeguarding the biodiversity of cacao in Ecuador. We undertake a number or sustainability programs for the benefit of the cacao-growing communities with which we work. The founders and owners are a young couple that around 10 years ago started with a vision of making the best organic chocolate at the source of the best cacao in the world and paying the farmers that grow it twice market prices.

Prize #9: Stonyfield Organic is giving one winner a Shirt, $40 in coupons, Cookbook, Mason Jar and Measuring Cups.

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About Stonyfield Organic: Back in 1983, our co-founders Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg were running a nonprofit organic farming school on a small New Hampshire farm. They were on a mission to help family farms survive, keep food and food production healthy, and help protect the environment. They began selling yogurt made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The yogurt was a hit and Samuel and Gary realized that a successful organic company could make a bigger difference for family farms, people and the planet than their school could. Today, our organic yogurts, smoothies, soy yogurts, frozen yogurts, milk and cream are sold in supermarkets, natural food stores and colleges across the country. And we make all of it without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics or GMOs. We’re still located right here in New Hampshire—about 30 miles east of the old farm—but now our organic ingredient purchases support a huge network of food producers made up of hundreds of organic family farms, thousands of organic cows, and over 200,000 organic acres. We’ve also pioneered planet-friendly business practices—from offsetting our yogurt works’ emissions, to making yogurt cups from plants instead of petroleum, to making our own renewable energy, and much more. Our old organic farming school is just a memory. But the thought and passion that started it in the first place have only grown stronger, and we’ve never stopped working for healthy food, healthy people and a healthy planet.
Prize #10: Woot Froot is giving one winner a Cuisinart Griddle Panini and Sandwich Maker, a Hamilton Beach Smoothie Blender and fresh Woot Froot. Peaches, pears, nectarines and grapes are the perfect addition to almost any meal to help jazz up your routine dishes and flavors—whether it’s in a pear, ham and grilled cheese Panini, nectarine margarita or grilled peaches or just a plain old snack. But to get you cooking these kitchen appliances will help you get a head start on your dinner menus! We’ll even throw in some Woot Froot packages too! #WootWoot

Collage Woot Froot

About Woot Froot: The story of Woot Froot began 25 years ago, when owner Kim Gaarde (Mama Woot) was growing and selling nearly every variety of peach and nectarine to places near and far. But that all changed when 10 years ago, she wondered why no one had started selling fresh cut peaches and nectarines. After many years of research, trial and error – not to mention naysayers, Woot Froot freshly sliced peaches and nectarines was finally created! Over 500 varieties of peaches were tested for flavor and texture to ensure that you received that “bite right flavor”! In fact, many people believe the softness equates ripeness.  Not true at all. We have a special formula that is just the right firmness and brix (sugar) to get great consistent flavor without getting puree in a bag. Woot Froot is a woman-owned, family business. Along with peaches and nectarines, Woot Froot also offers freshly sliced pears and de-stemmed red grapes year round!  Peaches and nectarines are available June – October while in season. Woot Froot sliced peaches and nectarines will stay ready to eat for a whopping 21 days in your fridge! And even better, they use all natural ingredients and preservatives to ensure that your fruit stays flavorful and fresh from day 1 to day 18.

Prize #11: Grimmway Farms, Cal-Organic and True Juice is giving one winner a Ninja Professional Blender with food processor and single serve blender, assortment of True Organic Juice Blends, and a package of Grimmway Carrots and Cal-Organic veggies. Grimmway carrots and Cal-Organic veggies are enjoyed fresh and whole, or as part of a delicious smoothie – which is why we thought you’d love the Ninja blender to help you make some! Don’t trust your own culinary skills to make your own juices and smoothies?! We decided to throw in some of our own True Juices for you to try as well!

Collage Grimmway Cal-Organic True Juice

About Grimmway Farms, Cal-Organic & True Juice: The story of Grimmway began in 1968, when brothers Rod and Bob Grimm set up a roadside produce stand and planted the seed that would blossom into today’s Grimmway Farms. Grimmway Farms began growing carrots back in 1971! Today, Grimmway Farms has become the largest grower, producer and shipper of carrots in the world! Not only does Grimmway Farms play a part in every meal—breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks—but they also play an essential part in the health of growing children and active adults. Bringing Grimmway home to your family means bringing home the best in produce and the best for their health! Join Grimmway’s Twitter parties and conversations by following the hashtag #JustCrunchEm! Sustainability is in our DNA. From using all parts of the carrot, having a full organic line and using our own veggies to make juice, we believe taking care of the environment is part of taking care of you. Cal-Organic Farms is a large part of our farm where we grow over 40 fruits and veggies from kale and potatoes to blueberries and watermelons. True Juice is just that – juice that’s truly organic, sustainably grown, and delicious with products from our own farms. Although the flavor names might be hard to pronounce, they’re full of simple ingredients – like Bananaberry Crush with strawberries, kiwi, banana, beets, carrots and apples! Try all of our great flavors – BananaBerry Crush, Pure Carrot, Wild Berry Blend, Bunched Greens, Blended Blue and Tropical Mango.

Prize #12: Vidalia Onions is giving one winner an OXO SoftWorks Handheld Mandoline Slicer, Vidalia Sweet Onion Cookers, Vollrath 8″ Stainless Steel Non-stick Fry Pan, Weber Style Grill Vegetable Basket and fresh Vidalia Onions. Since Vidalia onions are such a versatile item to cook with, we thought setting you up with a few appliances to help explore different cooking styles would be a perfect way to introduce you to Vidalia onions! Slice them, dice them, cook them, sauté them or grill them – any way is delicious! We’ll even throw in a bag of Vidalia’s for you to get cooking with!

Collage Vidalia Onions

About Vidalia Onions: Vidalia onions are unique to a very small region. In fact, they only grow in 13 counties in Georgia! Vidalia onions were discovered back in 1930’s, and just like back then, they are still planted, transplanted and harvested all by hand! Vidalia onions are grown during the winter months, and are only available in stores between April and September, making them a true seasonal specialty! In 1990, Vidalia onions became the official state vegetable of Georgia! Vidalia onions are a great source of Vitamin C, and are also fat free, cholesterol free and sodium free! In order to grow great tasting Vidalias, and to give them their characteristic sweetness, they must be grown in a sandy soil mixture that is low in sulfur (sulfur in soil is what gives onions their hotness). Each year, approximately 5-million, 40-pound boxes are shipped out around the country. Now that’s a lot of onions!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up only. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Twelve winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Blueberry Sangria from Love and Confections.
Spring-Infused Lemon Drop from Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
Bloody Margarita from The Suburban Soapbox

 BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Caramelized Onion, Swiss Chard, Mushroom and Alpine Cheddar Croissant Strata from Taste Cook Sip.
Crab Cake Eggs Benedict from The Redhead Baker.
Fried Eggs with Kale and Mushrooms from Hip Foodie Mom.
Chimichurri Breakfast Sandwich from Healthy Delicious.
Asparagus, Brie and Smoked Salmon Omelet from girlichef.
Braised Leeks with Poached Eggs from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner.

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Savory Pancetta and Cheddar Waffles from The Little Ferraro Kitchen.
Avocado Toast Bar from Sarcastic Cooking.
Mocha Nut Granola from greens & chocolate.
Chocolate Hazelnut Croissants with Bourbon Sauce from {i love} my disorganized life.
Berry Cacao Nib Scone Cakes from The Spiffy Cookie
Spiced Pear Oatmeal from Making Miracles.
Overnight Cinnamon Bread French Toast from That Skinny Chick Can Bake.
Nutty Chocolatey Oatmeal Muffins from A Day in the Life on the Farm.
Vanilla Orange Scones from Sew You Think You Can Cook.
Sour Cream and Dark Chocolate Oat Bread from Bread Booze Bacon.
Cherry Vanilla Almond Granola from Cupcakes & Kale Chips.
Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins from My Catholic Kitchen.
Macadamia Nut Crusted French Toast with Spiced Pineapple Syrup from Cooking in Stilettos.
Maple Cinnamon Scones from Pink Cake Plate

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Breakfast Wraps from Big Bear’s Wife.
Brunch Charcuterie Cheese Board from Quarter Life (Crisis) Cuisine.

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Whipped Yogurt and Ricotta with Figs and Honey from Take A Bite Out of Boca.
Gluten Free Swiss Chard and Mushroom Galette from It Bakes Me Happy.

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Mini Creamsicle Bundt Cake with Vanilla Bean Glaze from It’s Yummi.
Lemon Bars from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.
Chocolate Walnut Macarons with Salted Caramel from Baking a Moment.

Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Bob’s Red Mill, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, California Walnuts, Dixie Crystals, Grimmway Farms/Cal-Organic/True Juice, KitchenAid, Le Creuset, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Pacari Chocolate, Stonyfield Organic, Vidalia Onions, and Woot Froot for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.
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