First things first.. It’s NOT a macaroon!! It’s a macaron… I don’t think I’m the only one whose eyes roll when they see it spelt/described wrong. I know, I know, no biggie, but still you gotta get it right!
I do love a Macaron or two though… I love them fresh and I love it when you have one where it’s baked perfectly; crisp on the outside, soft but a tiny bit chewy in the middle. No hollowness or huge air bubbles, and the perfect layer of filling – not too much… or not too little. My favourite macarons are from ‘Ange du Sucre’, I wrote a blog post on my last visit there which you can find here. Another reason for loving them is that they are completely gluten free. They are also easy to colour and the possibilities are endless for what you can flavour them with. So long as you can follow the technique correctly you won’t fail! That’s the tricky part!
So, after trying endless recipes, going a bit ‘off-piste’ trying to create my own recipe (virtually impossible) I tried this fab one sourced from Jen’s Just Desserts and loved it. I’ve adjusted slightly and converted it from cups to grams too to make it a little more familiar, but it’s the best recipe/technique I’ve come across. I think Jen is pretty famous for her ‘macaronage’ skills! So I felt that after using it so many times it was only fair to share the secret – not really a secret, but you know what I mean.
The last time I baked these was for a friends baby shower. I made mini macaron’s which were pink and raspberry flavoured. They were delicious & the first things to be all eaten up!
This recipe will bake around 25 standard sized macarons. When I made mini-ones I got around 40.
1) 100g of finely ground almond flour
2) 130g of icing sugar
3) 2 large egg whites (at room temp)
4) 1 pinch of cream of tartar
5) 35g caster sugar
1) 2 baking sheets covered with baking parchment paper
2) 2 bowls – 1 large mixing bowl & a 2nd bowl OR your stand mixer bowl
4) hand blender or stand mixer
6) disposable piping bag and 1cm nozzle (if you don’t have a nozzle just snip a 1cm ‘ish’ small hole)
7) your chosen flavours & food colourings
1) Sift your 130g of icing sugar and 100g of ground almond flour together in your first large bowl. If you have any large bits of almond flour that wont sieve through, get rid of them. You don’t want these in your mixture. Set aside.
2) In your stand mixer bowl (or 2nd bowl if you are using a hand mixer) whisk up (on medium speed) your egg whites until they start to foam and then add your pinch of tartar. Then carry on whisking until you reach soft peak stage.
3) Turn your mixer down to low and sprinkle in your 35g of caster sugar. Once this is added turn your mixer up to high and whisk until you reach the stiff peaks stage. In my Kenwood this takes around 3.5 minutes.
4) Now turn off your mixer and slowly sprinkle in your sieved almond flour and icing sugar mix from your first bowl into the stiff peaks egg whites
5) DON’T MIX IN THE MIXER – take your bowl out and get your spatula ready to fold in the mixture. It will take between 40-50 folds, I nearly always do 50. If you want to colour your macarons you need to add your colouring before the 1st fold. If you want to add flavouring then you need to add at fold 25 – yes you actually do really need to count these folds, its really important to not over mix or under mix. You don’t want the mixture to be too runny (over mixed) nor do you want it too clumpy (under mixed).
6) When ready you can fill your piping bag with the mixture and get ready to pipe on your trays. TIP: I do this freehand and can get them pretty much all the same size, but when I first started I used to draw around a circle cutter with pencil, then turn the paper over and use the pencil marks as a guide.
7) Before piping quickly turn on your oven and preheat to 190 degrees Celsius. You’ll be using the lowest shelf you have so make sure it’s clear and ready.
8) Now pipe your macarons and when done tap your baking sheet on your worktop around 3/4 times to get the air bubbles out. Leave on the side for 30 minutes until the tops are dry to the touch and have a kind of skin on them. Reduce the temperature of your oven down to 165 degrees Celsius and put your baking sheet on the bottom shelf and bake for 5 minutes. This is where the ‘feet’ start to form – very satisfying to watch! Open the door and quickly turn around the macarons for a further 5 minutes.
9) Once the second 5 minutes is up you can remove from the oven and leave to cool. I leave to cool for around 30 minutes then they will just peel straight off the paper. I then move them on to a cooling rack ready to fill. You can fill with anything really but my preference is ganache. Buttercream and jam also work really well. If not eating straight away you can store these in the an airtight container in the fridge but remember to bring back to room temperature before eating. I’ve also found that they taste so much nicer the day after baking! Not sure why, but they just do 🙂