My daughter and I made some macaroons at the weekend. These certainly aren’t going to win any prizes for the prettiest macaroons, but as macaroons are notoriously tricky, and as this was our first attempt, I hope you can forgive us a few imperfections!
WHAT YOU NEED
175g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
125g ground almonds
3 large egg whites (best to separate the eggs 24 hours before and leave the whites in a tub in the fridge, as this helps the elasticity. Then bring them to room temperature before using)
75g caster sugar (super-fine sugar)
Pinch of salt
Flavourings and colourings as desired
For the filling:
150g softened butter
75g icing sugar
Flavourings and colourings as desired
WHAT YOU DO:
1. Process the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor until fine, then sift it into a bowl. Take a moment to admire the lovely action shot my daughter has taken here of me sifting…
2) Whisk the egg whites with the pinch of salt in a separate bowl until it forms soft peaks, and then gradually whisk in the caster sugar.
3) Stir in your flavours and colours. You will have to use your own judgement as to type and quantity. We separated the mixture into three bowls. We added a few drops of natural food colouring and half a teaspoon of flavour essence in each one. The first was green and peppermint, the second was pink and strawberry, the third was yellow and lemon.
4) Cut and fold half of the almond/icing sugar mix into the eggs, then work in the other half (obviously if you have more than one bowl of egg mixture like we did, then divide it up accordingly).
5) Pipe circles of the mixture on to a baking sheet covered with baking paper. This is where it went wrong for us. We knew that the recipe should yield 20 macaroons, but we didn’t click that this meant we needed to pipe 40 circles so as to end up with 20 when they are sandwiched. This complicated mathematical calculation eluded us. Consequently our macaroons ended up twice as big as they should (you should aim for approx 3cm across and then you should have 40 of them).
6) Give the baking sheet a sharp tap on the work surface, and then leave them to stand for about 20 mins until a slight skin has formed on the outside of them. While they are standing, pre-heat the oven to 160°C (320F), or 140°C (280F) if fan oven, or gas mark 3.
7) Bake for 15 mins. Because ours were twice the size they were meant to be (and we still hadn’t realised), we took them out after 15 mins and could tell they weren’t done, but as we hadn’t made them before, we weren’t exactly sure how they should look when they are done, so we did them a bit longer but probably not long enough as they ended up too chewy. But when you do think they’re done, leave them to cool for a few mins on the sheet and then they should come off fairly easily with a spatula.
8) Make the filling by beating the softened butter with the icing sugar and add in the same flavourings and colourings that you added into the macaroon mixture. We did the quantity by sight and taste, I would advise going more powerful with the flavouring in the filling than in the macaroon. I also found the ratio of butter to icing sugar to be quite high in this filling, maybe that’s the way with macaroons, I don’t know. Fill and sandwich the macaroons. Ideally place them in an airtight container in the fridge for 24 hours before serving.
On Sunday morning, while I had a nice lay in bed catching up on my blog reading, my kids made some strawberry cupcakes, so we popped a few cupcakes and a few macaroons into a box and took them to a friend’s house where we were going for lunch…
The macaroon recipe we followed was basically this one, but with some bits of info gleaned elsewhere incorporated in. If you search online there are many different suggestions for flavour combinations, and different kinds of fillings, and I’m certainly going to experiment more with these.
Have you made macaroons before? Any tips?