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Millionaire Macarons

These decadent millionaire macarons are filled with thick layers of buttery caramel and dark chocolate ganache, and topped with a crispy shortbread crumble.

image of millionaire macarons stacked together in a tray to show their caramel and chocolate filling

Making These Millionaire Macarons with the French Method

There are a few different ways macarons are made. French macarons are considered easier to make while the Italian and Swiss methods use a few more steps but are more structurally sound.

French macarons also require less equipment. While I love Italian macarons, I like to keep things simple and use the French method for this recipe.

But do keep in mind that we will be filling these with Swiss meringue! While it’s okay to use French meringue to make the shells because they are baked in the oven, we need to heat up the egg whites that will be used in the filling to make them safe to eat.

image of millionaire macarons stacked together in a tray to show their caramel and chocolate filling

Equipment You’ll Need to Make These Millionaire Macarons

I’ve made quite a few batches of macarons, and they definitely turn out best when the ingredients are weighed, and the macarons are baked on a silpat mat.

These are the tools I like to use when I make these macarons:

How to Make These Millionaire Macarons: Step-by-Step Process

While the recipe below is quite detailed, I find visual cues to be super helpful! Below are some photos of the process to help guide you through this recipe.

Or if you’d like to see a long-form video on how to make macarons, check out this video about how I make my French macaron recipe.

Step 1: Make the Caramel

I recommend tackling the caramel filling first so that it has time to cool down and thicken before we fill the macarons.

Heat the sweetened condensed milk, butter, brown sugar, light corn syrup, and fine salt over medium heat in a heavy saucepan.  

image of ingredients being whisked together over a stove top to make a thick caramel topping

Stir frequently and let the mixture just begin to bubble (if you have and are using a candy thermometer, cook until the mixture hits 212 F/ 100 C).

It will start bubbling up on the sides of the pan first. Once this happens, turn the heat down to low to let the caramel simmer.

image of thick caramel being cooked down on a stovetop while being stirred with a whisk

Continue to stir frequently until the mixture thickens and becomes a medium caramel color (about 5-7 minutes).  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour into a separate container, then set aside to cool to room temperature. If you make this in advance, cover the bowl and store it at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for up to a week.

This is what my caramel looks like once it cools to room temperature.

image of thick caramel filling cooled before being added to millionaire shortbread cookies

If you refrigerate the caramel, heat it in the microwave in short 15-second intervals until it reaches room temperature and is a more workable consistency.

Step 2: Make the Chocolate Ganache

Next, we tackle the chocolate ganache filling. Add the heavy cream into a medium-sized bowl and heat it until it just begins to bubble. This can be done in either the microwave (this takes me about 45-60 seconds in my microwave) or a double boiler.

Then pour in the dark chocolate and let the mixture sit for a minute.

image of spreadable dark chocolate ganache being mixed together

After a minute the chocolate should be softened. Stir the mixture until the cream and chocolate are combined and the mixture is smooth.

If any bits of chocolate aren’t fully melted, heat the mixture again for 15 seconds and stir until smooth.

Then mix in the unsalted butter, corn syrup, and fine salt.

image of dark chocolate ganache that's been melted down and is ready to be set aside to cool

Cover with plastic wrap placed flush against the top of the ganache to prevent it from forming a skin, then set aside to cool to room temperature.

image of dark chocolate ganache being covered with plastic wrap before being set aside to cool

If you need to make this topping in advance, it can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to a month.

The ganache should thicken and be scoopable once it reaches room temperature.

image of scoopable chocolate ganache filling

Step 3: Make the Shortbread Cookie Filling and Crumble

Before we bake the macarons, I like to make the shortbread crumble.

Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Set aside.

Use a pastry cutter or electric mixer to combine the butter, flour, powdered sugar, and fine salt.

The dough might look a little crumbly at first, but as you keep mixing it should come together and form a soft dough.

image of small batch shortbread cookie dough that's been mixed together in a glass bowl

If you want each macaron to have a shortbread cookie inside the filling, roll about 1/2 of the dough into a long, thin log that is about 1/2 inch or 1.25 cm in diameter and about 6 inches or 15 cm long.

Chill the dough for 15 minutes, or until it’s firm to the touch. Use a sharp knife to cut 24 discs that are about 1/2 cm or 1/4 inch thick.

The goal is to make discs that are small enough to fit inside a ring of ganache piped onto a macaron shell.

image of mini shortbread cookies on baking mat ready to be baked

Place the small cookie dough discs about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes, just before the edges start to brown.

Divide the remaining dough into 6 balls that are similar in size. If you don’t want to fill each macaron with shortbread discs, skip step 3 and divide the dough into 12 similar-sized cookie dough balls.

Flatten each ball out with your fingers so that they’re roughly 1 cm thick and place them about 1 inch apart on the remaining lined baking sheet. Place the pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the freezer and prick each cookie with a fork a few times, then bake the cookies for 9-12 minutes.

Rotate the pan halfway through to help them bake evenly. Place the pans on a wire rack and let the cookies cool fully on the pan.

image of baked shortbread cookies that are cooling on the pan before being transferred to a wire cooling rack

Then crumble the larger cookies into small pieces with your fingers to garnish the macarons and set aside. 

Turn the oven down to 315 F / 157 C once you’re done baking the shortbread to prepare it for the macarons.

Step 4: Make the French Macaron Batter

The last component to make is the macaron shells. Whisk the room-temperature egg whites on a medium-low speed until the surface is covered in small bubbles.

image of egg whites that have been whipped to make small bubbles on the top before adding in the sugar to make french meringue

Add in a pinch of cream of tartar and continue to mix until the whisk begins to leave tracks. This is called the soft peak stage.

Gradually add the granulated sugar and mix on a medium speed for 30 seconds. Then increase the mixing speed to a medium-high speed (KitchenAid 6 or 8).

Mix until stiff peaks form like in the photo below. Keep an eye on your mixer to avoid over-mixing the meringue.

image of meringue that's shiny and has reached stiff peak stage for making macarons

Then sift the superfine almond flour and powdered sugar into the meringue.

image of dry ingredients being sifted into meringue to make macaron batter

Use a rubber spatula to break up any big clumps and press them through the sieve.

image of dry ingredients being pushed through a sieve to make macaron shells

I also like to add in a small squirt of yellow gel food coloring at this point, but it’s optional! Then fold the ingredients together with a rubber spatula.

Use a circular motion that sweeps around the edge of the bowl and then pulls through the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is getting mixed together.

image of light yellow macaron batter being folded together with a rubber spatula in glass bowl

Don’t forget to scrape off the inside of the spatula intermittently. Sometimes meringue can get stuck there and not get mixed in properly.

Fold until a thick ribbon of batter runs off the spatula when it is lifted.

image of light yellow French macaron batter flowing off a spatula in thick ribbons

You should be able to draw a couple of figure 8s with the batter running off your spatula in a continuous stream once it is the right consistency.

image of light yellow macaron batter that's been mixed the perfect amount and can be used to draw a few figure 8's

If the stream of batter breaks before you’re able to do this, you may need to stir it a bit more.

Step 5: Pipe & Rest the Macaron Shells

Fill a large piping bag with macaron batter and pipe 1 1/4-inch rounds onto 2 Silpat-lined baking sheets. Space them about 1 inch apart.

image of light yellow French macaron shells being piped onto a Silpat mat

Firmly bang or drop your pans on the counter a few times.

This brings any trapped air bubbles to the surface, which can then be popped with a toothpick or scribe.

image of a bubble being popped in a French macaron shell with a scribe

Popping these little bubbles can help you avoid hollow or cracked shells.

Let the macarons rest for about 30 minutes, or until they form a skin. On rainy days this can take up to an hour where I live!

They should be mostly dry to the touch and look matte once they’re ready to be baked.

image of rested French macaron shells that have formed a skin and look matte

While the shells rest, preheat the oven (if you haven’t already done so after making the shortbread).

Step 6: Bake the Macaron Shells

Bake one tray of macarons at a time and place the tray in the middle rack of your oven.

Rotate the pan halfway through to help them bake evenly.  I like to place a foil tent over the macarons when I rotate them for the second half of the baking process to prevent them from browning.

image of baked, light yellow French macaron shells that are cooling on a Silpat mat and that have perfect feet

Let the macarons cool fully on the pan, then gently remove them from the Silpat mat.

If they’re properly baked, they should peel off the mat cleanly and have a shiny bottom.

image of a macaron shell that's been properly baked and flipped over to show it's shiny bottom

Step 7: Assemble the Millionaire Macarons

Place the room-temperature ganache in a piping bag fit with a small round piping tip (like a Wilton 10), and place the caramel in a separate bag with a medium-sized round tip. Seal the top of both bags with rubber bands or clips.

Both should be thick enough to scoop into the piping bag and hold their shape.

Pair up the macaron shells, then pipe a ring of dark chocolate ganache on one macaron shell. Place a shortbread disc inside the ganache ring, then set aside.

Pipe a dollop of caramel onto the other shell, then gently press the shells together to create a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining shells.

image of a millionaire macaron being held up to show its caramel and chocolate ganache filling

If desired, drizzle melted chocolate over each macaron and top it with a sprinkle of shortbread crumble and a little piece of edible gold leaf.

Place the finished macarons in the fridge in an airtight container to mature overnight. When you’re ready to eat them, take them out of the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes, then enjoy!

image of a caramel and chocolate macaron that's been bitten into

Troubleshooting These Millionaire Macarons

While I’d love to think everyone’s first batch of these macarons will turn out perfectly, I’ve learned that’s not how things always go.

Macarons are incredibly temperamental, and it might take a few tries to get them just right. If you run into any issues, check out my macaron troubleshooting guide!

Choosing the Right Filling for These Macarons

While we put tons of energy into the shell of a macaron, almost all the flavor in a macaron comes from its filling.

The shell gives macarons an incredible texture, but the filling is what determines its flavor.

I think this combination of thick caramel, dark chocolate ganache, and crumbled shortbread tastes just like my millionaire bars!

image of millionaire macarons stacked together in a tray to show their caramel and chocolate filling

If you like a sweeter filling, you can swap out the chocolate ganache for chocolate buttercream.

Recipe Yield

This recipe makes about 48 large macaron shells, which can be used to make 24 macarons.

You can double or halve this recipe as needed.

The yield and bake time will vary based on the size of the macarons you pipe. I piped these shells with a diameter of 1 1/4 inches.

image of millionaire macarons stacked together in a tray to show their caramel and chocolate filling

Tips for Making the Best Millionaire Macarons

  • Carefully read through the directions before making these macarons. There are quite a few steps and it’s good to know your game plan before you start!
  • Feel free to break up this recipe and make it in stages to make it more manageable. The ganache and caramel can be made in advance, along with the shortbread cookie dough.
  • Use good quality dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa) to make the ganache, it will give it the best flavor and texture.
  • If you’re short on time, you can skip making the shortbread from scratch and crumble up store-bought cookies.
  • Wipe your mixing bowl, whisk, and baking mats with lemon juice or vinegar to remove any traces of grease before making the meringue for the macarons. It will help your egg whites whip up better!
  • Separate your eggs and age them if possible. Do not use egg whites from a carton.
  • Measure the ingredients in grams with a kitchen scale. You really need to be precise with this recipe.
  • Use a macaron mat or print out a template to help you pipe consistently sized macarons.
  • Bang your pans on your counter after piping your macarons. This helps release any air bubbles that may be trapped and prevent cracked or hollow shells.
  • Rest the macarons for 30 minutes before they’re baked to allow them to develop a skin.
  • Let the filled macarons mature in the fridge overnight! This softens them (in a good way) and allows the flavors to develop.
  • If your macarons don’t turn out, check out my macaron troubleshooting guide.
image of millionaire macarons stacked together in a tray to show their caramel and chocolate filling

Making These Millionaire Macarons in Advance & Storage Tips

These macarons need to mature for a few hours or overnight in the fridge before being eaten. This gives them time to develop the best texture and taste.

The ganache and caramel can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container or tightly covered with plastic wrap.

The shortbread cookie dough can also be made a few days in advance and stored in the fridge, or baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

You can also refrigerate filled macarons for up to 5 days in an airtight container or freeze filled macarons for up to a month.

Unfilled macaron shells can be frozen for up to a month in an airtight container.

image of a millionaire macaron being held up to show its caramel and chocolate ganache filling

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this recipe for millionaire macarons, I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a rating and comment below.

Tag me @chelsweets and use #chelsweets on social media so that I can see your amazing creations!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 24 macarons

Millionaire Macarons

image of millionaire macarons stacked together in a tray to show their caramel and chocolate filling

These decadent millionaire macarons are filled with thick layers of buttery caramel and dark chocolate ganache, and topped with a crispy shortbread crumble.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 19 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 9 minutes

Ingredients

Caramel Filling

  • 2/3 cup (half a 14 oz. can) sweetened condensed milk (200g)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (50g)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (56g)
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup (30g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)

Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (180g)
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp dark chocolate chips (180g)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature (45g)
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup - optional (20g)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt (2g)

Shortbread Cookie Filling and Crumble

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (56g)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (62g)
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar (16g)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt (2g)

French Macarons

Garnish

Recommend Equipment

Instructions

Caramel Filling

  1. I recommend tackling the caramel filling first (it can be made up to a week in advance)! Heat 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 2 Tbsp light corn syrup, and 1/2 tsp fine salt over medium heat in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Stir frequently and cook the mixture until it just begins to bubble (if you have and are using a candy thermometer, cook until the mixture hits 212 F/ 100 C). It will start bubbling up on the sides of the pan first. Once this happens, turn the heat down to low to let the caramel simmer.
  3. Continue to stir frequently until the mixture thickens and becomes a medium caramel color (this usually takes me about 5-7 minutes).  Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  4. Pour into a separate container, then set aside to cool to room temperature. If any of the butter separates or floats on top of the caramel, gently stir it into the caramel as it cools. The mixture will come together once it reaches room temperature.
  5. If you make this in advance, cover the bowl and store it at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for up to a week. If you refrigerate the caramel, heat it in the microwave in short 10-second intervals until it reaches room temperature and is a more workable consistency.

Chocolate Ganache Macaron Filling

  1. Next, we tackle the chocolate ganache filling. It can also be made up to a week in advance. Heat 3/4 cup of heavy cream in a heatproof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds, until it's just beginning to bubble.
  2. Gently pour 1 cup + 1 Tbsp of dark chocolate chips into the heavy cream. Make sure the chips are fully covered with cream. Let the mixture sit for 1 minute. If you want to use milk chocolate to make the ganache, use 1/3 cup (80g) of heavy cream and 1 1/3 cups (240g) of milk chocolate.
  3. Stir slowly until the cream and chocolate are combined and the mixture is smooth. If any bits of chocolate aren't fully melted, heat the mixture again for 15 seconds and stir until smooth.
  4. Mix in 3 Tbsp of unsalted butter, 1 Tbsp of corn syrup, and 1/4 tsp fine salt until combined. Press a piece of plastic wrap flush against the ganache to prevent a skin from forming. Set the bowl aside to let the ganache come to room temperature and thicken.

Shortbread Cookie Filling and Crumble

  1. Before we bake the macarons, I like to make the shortbread filling and crumble. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Set aside.
  2. Use a pastry cutter or electric mixer to combine 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup flour, 2 Tbsp powdered sugar, and 1/4 tsp fine salt. The mixture might look a bit crumbly at first, but it will eventually form a soft dough once it's fully mixed. If the mixture isn't coming together, you may want to heat it in the microwave for a couple of seconds (literally 2-3 seconds, you don't want to melt the butter!) to help soften the butter.
  3. If you want each macaron to have a shortbread cookie inside the filling, roll half of the dough into a long, thin log that is about 1/2 inch or 1.25 cm in diameter and about 6 inches or 15 cm long. Chill the dough for 15 minutes, or until it's firm to the touch. Then use a sharp knife to cut 24 discs that are about 1/2 cm or 1/4 inch thick. The goal is to make discs that are small enough to fit inside a ring of ganache piped onto each macaron shell. Place the cookie dough discs about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet and prick each cookie a couple of times with a fork. Then bake for 7-10 minutes, just before the edges start to brown.
  4. Divide the remaining dough into 6 balls that are similar in size. If you don't want to fill each macaron with shortbread discs, skip step 3 and divide the dough into 12 similar-sized cookie dough balls. Flatten each ball out with your fingers so that they're roughly 1 cm thick and place them about 1 inch apart on the remaining lined baking sheet. Place the pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the freezer and prick each cookie with a fork a few times, then bake the cookies for 9-12 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through to help them bake evenly. Place the pans on a wire rack and let the cookies cool fully on the pan. Then crumble the larger cookies into small pieces with your fingers to garnish the macarons and set aside. Turn the oven down to 315 F / 157 C once you're done baking the shortbread to prepare it for the macarons.

French Macaron Shells

  1. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats. Set aside.
  2. Pour 110g of aged egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk and mix on medium speed until the surface of the egg whites is covered in small bubbles. Add in a pinch of cream of tartar and continue to mix until it reaches the soft peak stage where you can see the whisk leaving faint tracks in the egg whites.
  3. Gradually add 110g of granulated sugar into the eggs and mix on a medium speed for 30 seconds. Increase the mixing speed to a medium-high speed. Keep mixing until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  4. Sift 140g superfine almond flour and 126g powdered sugar into the meringue, then fold the ingredients together with a rubber spatula. If you want to color the shells like I did, add a small drop of yellow gel food coloring at this stage. Use a circular motion that sweeps around the edge of the bowl and then pull through the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is getting mixed together.
  5. Fold until a thick ribbon of batter runs off the spatula when it is lifted. You should be able to draw a couple of figure 8s with the batter running off your spatula when it is the right consistency. If the stream of batter breaks before you're able to do this, you may need to stir it a bit more.
  6. Pour the batter into a large piping bag fitted with a medium-sized round piping tip and pipe 1 1/4-inch rounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
  7. Pipe one pan at a time and bang the pan firmly on the counter a few times to release air bubbles, then pop any remaining air bubbles that come to the surface with a toothpick or scribe.
  8. Let the macarons rest for 30 minutes, or until they develop a skin. The macarons should look matte once the skin has formed. While the macarons rest, preheat the oven to 315 F / 157 C (if you haven't already done so after baking the shortbread).
  9. Bake one tray of macarons at a time on the middle rack of your oven for 17-21 minutes and rotate the pan halfway through to help them bake evenly. I like to place a foil tent over the macarons when I rotate them for the second half of the baking process to prevent them from browning.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven and let the macarons cool on the pan (about 15 minutes), then gently remove them from the Silpat mat.

Assembling These Millionaire Macarons

  1. Place the room-temperature ganache in a piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip (like a Wilton 10), and place the caramel in a separate bag with a medium-sized round tip. Seal the top of both bags with rubber bands or clips. Both should be thick enough to scoop into the piping bag and hold their shape.
  2. Pair up the macaron shells, then pipe a ring of dark chocolate ganache on one macaron shell. Place a shortbread disc inside the ganache ring, then set aside. Pipe a dollop of caramel onto the other shell, then gently press the shells together to create a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining shells.
  3. If desired, drizzle melted chocolate over each macaron and top it with a sprinkle of shortbread crumble and a little piece of edible gold leaf.
  4. Place the finished macarons in the fridge in an airtight container to mature overnight. When you're ready to eat them, take them out of the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes, then enjoy!

Notes

Recipe Yield:

This recipe makes about 48 macaron shells, which can be used to make 24 macarons. You can double or triple this recipe to make more macarons if needed.

The yield and bake time can vary based on how large you pipe your shells. I piped these shells with a diameter of 1 1/4 inches, so they're about the size of a standard macaron.

Tips for Making the Best Millionaire Macarons

  • Use good quality dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa) to make the ganache, it will give it the best flavor and texture.
  • Feel free to break up this recipe and make it in stages to make it more manageable! The ganache and caramel can be made in advance, along with the shortbread cookie dough/cookies.
  • If you're short on time, you can skip making the shortbread from scratch and crumble up store-bought cookies.
  • Measure your ingredients in grams with a kitchen scale! You really need to be precise with this recipe. Your macarons will turn out best if the ingredients are weighed.
  • Separate your own eggs and age them if possible! Do not use egg whites from a carton.
  • Carefully read through the directions before making these macarons. There are quite a few steps and it's good to know your game plan before you start!
  • Use a macaron mat or print out a template to help you pipe consistently sized macarons.
  • Bang your pans on your counter after piping your macarons. This helps release any air bubbles that may be trapped and prevent cracked or hollow shells.
  • Rest the macarons for 30 minutes before they're baked to allow them to develop a skin.
  • Let the filled macarons mature in the fridge overnight! This softens them (in a good way) and allows the flavors to develop.
  • If your macarons don't turn out, please check out my macaron troubleshooting guide for help!

Making These Millionaire Macarons in Advance & Storage Tips

These macarons need to mature for a few hours or overnight in the fridge before being eaten. This gives them time to develop the best texture and taste.

The ganache and caramel can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container or tightly covered with plastic wrap.

The shortbread cookie dough can also be made a few days in advance and stored in the fridge, or baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

You can also refrigerate filled macarons for up to 5 days in an airtight container or freeze filled macarons for up to a month.

Unfilled macaron shells can be frozen for up to a month in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 205Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 54mgSodium 124mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 1gSugar 19gProtein 3g

Lori

Wednesday 19th of June 2024

Can’t wait to try these. At the beginning of your post it’s talked about filling with Swiss meringue?

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