Ok, I know I’m a healthy food blogger….but sometimes every now and again, its so tempting to make recipes that you can just follow and KNOW they are going to be a crowd pleaser, instead of the odd person saying erhh you’ve really used chickpeas in these brownies? Or you’ve put no sugar in a desert!
So, I decided to try my hand at making the delightfully delicate Macaron recipe. I have to admit I nearly threw a tantrum in the kitchen, when first time round they completely failed, but the end result (and full day in the kitchen!) was well worth it, and ticked another one off my recipe to do list. However, I think I may be a little addicted, I’ve just spent a small fortune on food coloring gel and icing bags as I plan my next Macaron session.
So, the aim of this post is to make sure you don’t create the same mistakes as I made first time round.
1. Follow the recipe, don’t try and use any alternative ingredients and measure to the exact amount!
2. Use food colouring gel, the liquid can change the consistency and ultimately fail your texture.
3. Timing is key, make sure you don’t over whisk the eggs and keep an eye on them in the oven.
4. Use clean bowls! As in, dont let there be any liquid in the bottom if its still drying etc as the smallest amount can change the consistency.
5. And finally…be CONFIDENT! It can be a tricky recipe, prepare your kitchen as there are a lot of tools / bowls etc involved. So make sure your surfaces are clear and you’re ready to have fun and get a bit messy!
The second time round I used Lorraine Pascals recipe, as well as watching her video to make sure each stage was correct. These are the perfect treat to take round as a gift for dinner parties, if like mine you’ll probably be lucky enough to demolish them with the host as they won’t be able resist saving them!
Preheat the oven to 170/C/325F/Gas 3 and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Put the icing sugar, ground almonds and 40g/1½oz egg whites together in a large bowl and mix to a paste.
Put the water and caster sugar in a small pan and heat gently to melt the sugar, then turn up the heat and boil until the mixture starts to go syrupy and thickens – I don’t use a thermometer but if you prefer to use one, it should read 115C/239F at this stage.
Whisk the remaining 50g/2oz egg whites in a small bowl until medium-stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl, then pour in the sugar syrup, whisking until the mixture becomes stiff and shiny. For coloured macaroons, add a few drops of food colouring. Tip this meringue mixture into the almond paste mixture and stir gently until the becomes stiff and shiny again.
Spoon into the piping bag. Pipe a little mixture under each corner of the baking paper to stop it sliding around. With the bag held vertically, pipe 4cm/1½in flat circles onto the lined tray, about 2cm/¾in apart, twisting the bag after each one. The mixture should be quite loose to give a smooth finish. The piping will leave a small ‘tip’ on each circle so, when they’re all piped, give the tray 2–3 slams on a flat surface to flatten them. At this stage, sprinkle with desiccated coconut if you want.
Leave to stand for 30 minutes to form a skin then bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes with the door slightly ajar until firm. Remove from the oven, lift the paper off the baking tray and leave the macaroons to cool on the paper.
When cool, sandwich the macaroons together with whipped cream. They can be kept for a couple of days, if they hang around that long!
Check out the video too.