Popcorn is one of my very favorite snack foods.  I love a lazy evening after the kids are in bed, watching a movie with Ben and a big bowl of popcorn between us.  Unfortunately, Ben does not share my love of popcorn because of its affinity for sticking in your throat, teeth, etc.  As a result I don’t end up making it nearly as often as I would like, and when I do make it, I end up eating most of it by myself (that part is not so bad, I guess).  As soon as Courtney’s visit was official, we began planning what we would bake together.  The only thing she said we absolutely had to make was some kind of French macarons, since she had never made them before.  When I asked her what flavor she wanted to try, she mentioned this salted popcorn macaron with caramel filling.  It combines three of my favorite things into one awesome dessert, so of course I was immediately sold on the idea.

Unfortunately despite all the batches of macarons I’ve made before, our first attempt was a flop.  I’m still not entirely sure what went wrong, but for the second round we used a different base recipe with a few minor changes and had success!  The key to these is to make sure the popcorn you use is nice and salty to balance out the sweetness of the cookie shell and the caramel.   They really do taste just like the popcorn…it’s more than just a garnish!  We opted to add popcorn to all of the macaron shells.  It definitely helped the popcorn flavor come through, but on the other hand it did make filling the cookies a bit messier.  Since they did not have a flat bottom to rest on, they were uneven and some of the caramel dripped out of the sides.  This could be remedied by either making half the shells without popcorn or filling them with something a bit more solid like a caramel buttercream.  However, I don’t think I would change a thing next time I make them.  They were a bit messy, yes, but the flavor was awesome and I found these totally irresistible.

Note: The measurements for the macaron shells are listed by weight.  A kitchen scale is necessary for making macarons.  Attempting to make these by volume measure would likely be a waste of time and ingredients, so volume measurements are not provided.


For the macarons:
110 grams almonds (blanched or slivered)
200 grams confectioners’ sugar
90 grams egg whites, aged at room temperature for 24 hours or 3-5 days in the refrigerator
25 grams granulated sugar
¾ cup buttered and salted popcorn, pulsed or chopped into fine chunks

For the caramel filling:
½ cup sugar
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
¼ cup water
6 tbsp. heavy cream
Pinch of fleur de sel


  • 01

    To make the macarons, pulse the almonds and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor until finely ground and well blended.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy.  Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until a smooth, shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms.  Add the ground almond mixture to the bowl with the meringue and quickly but gently fold together using a wide rubber spatula until no streaks remain.  You want to achieve a thick batter that ribbons or flows from the spatula when lifted.

  • 02

    Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain wide round tip.  Pipe into small rounds on the prepared baking sheets (each round should be about 1-1½ inches in diameter), spaced about 1 inch apart.  Sprinkle the rounds lightly with the chopped popcorn pieces (leave half plain if you want them to lie flat).  Let sit at room temperature for about an hour to develop a hard shell.

  • 03

    Preheat the oven to 280˚F.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on size.  Transfer the pans to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before moving the cookies.

  • 04

    To make the caramel filling, combine the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat without stirring until the sugar begins to melt and turn golden at the edges.  Continue cooking, swirling the pan to cover evenly, until the sugar turns golden amber.  Carefully pour the cream down the side of the pan in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly until combined.  Stir in the fleur de sel.  Transfer the caramel to a bowl and let cool.  It will thicken as it cools.

  • 05

    Once the cookies are totally cooled, match them up by size.  Pipe a small dollop of caramel on the flat side of one cookie of each pair.  Sandwich together with the remaining cookie, pushing the caramel to the edges.  Store in an airtight container.


  • These sound FANTASTIC! I absolutely LOVE salted popcorn – it’s far better than sweet! But I also love salted caramels so this sounds like a BRILLIANT combination!

    I’m excited to give these a go!

    I’m often too scared to try something to radical with macaron flavours as the mixture can be quite tricky to begin with without adding extras! I’ll let you know how these go :)

  • How yummy are these?! haha loooove this!

  • SUCH a cool recipe!!!

  • Ellen

    Gorgeous picture! These look amazing.


  • These are fantastic! So creative and really gorgeous.

  • these sound sooo good…not sure they would turn out for me though cause i can never seem to follow a recipe exactly :-) …but i will try one day…

  • These look amazing! I love macarons. I still haven’t had the nerve to make them myself. Looking at this makes me really want to try it out!

  • These are almost to beautiful to eat. Almost! I love popcorn too – what a fantastic way to enjoy it!

  • I think macarons are by far the CUTEST new dessert fad. I’m a little intimidated to make them because I’m a bit anxious that they won’t be as cute as I expect. But this recipe? Mmmm. WANT NOW.

  • Those sound amazing! Can’t wait to try them. I just made my first macarons last weekend. Thanks for all your inspiring recipes Annie, I would have never tried to make macarons had it not been for you. I am thrilled I can make them at home because I had them everyday we were in Paris on vacation this summer ;)

  • OHYUM! These look AMAZING! Popcorn, salted carmel, and macrons are three of my most favorite things as well!! I’ve never tried macrons, but I have my siplats and a bag of almond flous sitting anxiously in my kitchen to be used!
    I love you recipes, I’ve tried several of them and am always happy! Can’t wait to try these!

  • I reeeeally need to get a kitchen scale so I can attempt macarons! Love this flavor idea!!

  • Ooooh goodness. These sound ridiculously delicious! We’re still working up the courage to try to make macarons…!

  • Mmm . . . these look divine! I can almost smell that heavenly buttered popcorn through the computer screen. . .

  • I do that too: eating a bag of popcorn by myself. I feel piggy for doing it, but hey, I don’t want food to go to waste.. :)

  • That’s probably the funnest macaron flavor I’ve ever seen!

  • nicole bosack

    these look delicious! i’ve only attempted macarons once & they were a failure… time to try again! btw, i have that placemat :)

  • True

    Annie those look great! They are so creative I need to try these sometime :D

  • Lauren

    I don’t think I have ever left a comment on your blog before (which I adore), but wow. 3 words I will not be able to forget. popcorn, caramel & macaroon. thanks for posting. I now know what my 1st mac. recipe will net.

  • you’ve done it again, Annie! Bravo to you and Courtney! :D

  • jill

    looks fantastic! My friend and I are making your pistachio and vanilla bean ones tonight! Is heavy cream the same as whipping cream?

  • I’m so intimidated by macarons but I’m bookmarking this to try after I get a few regular batches under my belt. Yum!

  • Annie

    For all intents and purposes, yes. I think there may be a very minor difference but they are the same thing.

  • Creative!

  • My husband would really like these!! I’m not a popcorn fan either, so he would get most of them! :)

  • I love popcorn and I love macarons. Definitely one to bookmark, so thanks for sharing.

  • These look awesome! I’ve had popcorn on the brain recently and am making a toffee popcorn cake today…but am sure I’ll have enough left over to have a go at these macarons…yum!

  • Those are genius! And oh, so lovely. My husband won’t eat popcorn either–that freak. More for me, right?

  • Patti T,

    Not sure my last post went through. These are such amazing flavors to combine. I sure wish I had a kitchen scale, I just might have to buy one. I have been enjoying your blog for a couple of months now and enjoy each and every one of your posts. Thanks for sharing your creative ideas with us.

  • What a marvelous idea! Love those flavors and your presentation is adorable!

  • Mariah

    You say popcorn but don’t mention what kind. Did you use microwave, pop it in an air popper, or do it over the stove with some oil and butter?


  • Annie

    You can use any kind you like. I popped it in my Whirley Pop. As I mention in the post, you should flavor it as you want the macarons flavored.

  • Annie

    Crazy men! We should get together, gorge ourselves on popcorn, and curse. Haha!

  • This is the most original macaron I’ve ever seen! Love salted popcorn and I’m so curious about this combination.

  • Leigh

    What a fabulous cookie! But I loooove your necklace! Would you mind sharing where you got it? I adore owls – they are all over my kitchen :)

  • Annie

    Courtney is wearing the necklace, not me, so you might want to ask on her blog :)

  • Oh. My. Goodness. I don’t even know what to say about these, except that it’s taking every bit of self control I have not to go to the kitchen (at 9:30pm) and make them. Bookmarking!

  • Camel R.

    These look amazing! Can’t wait to try them out :)

  • These look WONDERFUL. Your recipes blow my mind!

  • How interesting! I haven’t seen a combination of flavors for macarons like this before! Love it! When I get enough courage to try my hand at making macarons, this is the recipe I’ll go to!

    By the way, your photos are gorgeous!! :)

    Thanks for sharing!


  • Wow, these look beautiful. I love your blog.

  • ever since i went to paris with my mom a few years ago and had my first macaroon at the famed laduree, i have been obsessed!! like you, i LOVE popcorn… my mom is a master popcorn maker! you put popcorn and caramel together and i am in heaven! i have never made macaroons before, but i think i may have to try with these, they sound too good to resist!

  • Annie, these look absolutely delicious! You are definitely a very talented and creative cook/baker. What wilton tip do you use when you place the batter on the cookie sheet?

  • Alison K.

    My friend and I made these this past weekend, and they are even better than we could have imagined! We had never attempted macarons of any kind before, but both LOVE popcorn and had been wanting to try these. Your instructions were super helpful, and they turned out beautifully! This salted caramel is now on my short list of the most amazing flavors, and it was so easy to do.

  • Annie

    So glad you tried them and that they turned out well for you!

  • Annie

    Just any plain round tip should be fine. I use a variety of the ones I own.

  • Olive!

    just made these and made a buttercream with the caramel, they are awesome! you two are geniuses :) i love you.