Do you feel that salted caramel is getting a little too much of the spotlight at the moment? Are you looking for a sweet and salty pairing that won't over-tax your sweet tooth? How about a revamping of the same old tune, and try a crunchy peanut variation on a perennial favourite?
Preheat the oven to 155'C.
Toast the chopped peanuts until they are golden and fragrant. Leave to cool down completely.
Sift the ground almonds and the icing sugar together.
Whisk the egg whites until white and fluffy and then add the caster sugar to the egg whites and continue whisking until you have stiff, glossy peaks.
Fold the ground almonds and icing sugar into the meringue mixture.
Cut and fold the mixture with a spatula until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth, shiny and has reached the ribbon stage.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag.
Pipe 2cm circles in straight lines across a baking sheet lined with a silicon paper. Leave a 1 cm gap between each macaroon shell. Drop the tray of macaroons onto the work surface from about 30 cm to remove any large air bubbles.
Sprinkle the toasted, chopped peanuts onto the macaroon shells.
Allow the macaroons to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes or until the macaroon shells are no longer sticky to touch.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. If you are baking lots of macaroons you may need to keep the oven door slightly ajar (with a spoon or paper) to prevent steam building up in the oven. After 15 minutes, check the macaroons are cooked by gently lifting a macaroon at the edge of a tray. If the test macaroon does not stick, allow the tray of macaroons to finish cooking on the tray as it cools.
Allow the macaroons to cool completely before filling.
In a dry, heavy-bottomed pan, melt the sugar until you have a medium-coloured caramel.
Add the double cream and stir until incorporated.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the crunchy peanut butter.
Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once the caramel is cool, whisk until the mixture is glossy and smooth. Pour into a tray and refrigerate the caramel until set.
If the caramel remains a little too runny to fill the macaroon shells, whisk vigorously until it thickens somewhat.
Spoon the caramel into a piping bag and then pipe on to the centre of half of the macaroon shells. Top with a second macaroon shell and twist gently to spread the mixture to the edges.
«Super markets and health food shop sell all sorts of different nut butters, try one that strikes your fancy if you are not too keen on peanut butter.»