As I am typing this I am still in utter shock that I have managed to make these. I have been trying to make Macarons for over a year, and have failed, really rather miserably each and every time.
Firstly, let me explain about my love for Macarons. These sweet, almond flavoured little delights are one of my favourite things to eat, and have been for lots of years. This was made even better by my honeymoon in Paris, nealry four years where I think I pretty much grazed on these little delicacies constantly, from every patisserie I passed. Literally. You would think I would have made myself sick of them, but no.
Also, they are so pretty. Delicate, dainty, beautifully coloured, some I have had have been decorated in such a fancy manner they are like edible art. Not that I had a problem eating them!
Now, these were by no means perfect, not at all. But then again, I am not a patisserie chef. I am a home baker. But they were super tasty, light and delicate.
If shape is something you have a concern about, I have a Macaron mat in my store, which helps to keep them in the correct shape. I have customers of mine who use these and sell their macarons, and they keep them so uniform in size.
What I used was a baking mat, which I had pre drew some circles on the underside of to try and follow. They came out in different sizes, which I think was more down to my piping than anything else. You can use baking parchment also.
This recipe is not tricky, but it is finnicky. If it does not work, please do not give up. And don’t throw them away! Sprinkle them on ice cream and enjoy them. They will still taste great, and I do not condone waste of any food!
You will need a few things. A food processor, and an electric whisk of some sort. I am lucky and have been able to purchase a freestanding electric whisk, but I know not everyone has those. A handheld electric whisk will work just as well, but an electric whisk is needed for this.
125g Raspberry Ripple Icing Sugar (you can change this for normal icing sugar, or another flavour)
125g ground almonds
100g egg whites (approx 3 large eggs, but I used the 3 Chicks liquid egg whites for ease)
110g caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
To start, you need to get your ground almonds as fine as you possible can. Put your icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor, and put on low speed for 2-3 minutes. This will help to make those almonds super fine. Once you have done this, you need to pass this mixture through a sieve. Twice. Just to get out all those bigger bits.
Once you have done this, mix half the egg whites into this to make a thick paste.
Now put your sugar and water in a pan and gently heat this to melt the sugar, then boil for a brief moment to get this syrupy. You do not need to use one, but if you want to use a sugar thermometer, this should read 115 degrees. Now turn this off and leave to cool slightly.
With the remaining egg whites, whisk until you get stiff peaks (you can hold the bowl over your head). Once you have this, while still whisking, slowly pour in the sugar syrup, and continue to whisk for another 5-7 minutes. If you want to colour your mixture, do this now. Use a colour paste as opposed to liquid food colouring. The ones in store are perfect for this, and you would use the smallest amount. I used a tiny bit of the pink and the colour came out a bit brighter than candy floss. This mixture should be thick, and shiny. Now you need to put your meringue mixture into the almond paste, and very gently, fold the mixture together until it is all combined and falls off your spatula like ribbons.
If using baking parchment, but a few blobs in the corners and stick them down to the baking tray. Now you need to get this mixture into a piping bag. Using an elastic band, tie about 1-2cms away from the tip of the piping bag. If you do not do this, and fill your piping bag, the mixture will come out before you have filled the bag, and will be messy!
Once your mixture is in the bag, and you are in position over the baking tray/macaron mat, remove the elastic band, snip of the tip of the piping bag where the elastic band was (otherwise the hole will be far to small) and pipe straight down to get circles, approx 2cms apart.
Once you have done your piping, tap your baking tray a few times to get the air out, and leave for between 30-40 minutes, to form a skin. To check this, simply lightly touch the macarons and no residue should be left on your finger. If it is wet outside, they will need longer (macarons do not like wet!)
Now, these need to go into a preheated oven 160 degrees/ 140 degrees Fan / Gas Mark 3, for 15-20 minutes, with the oven door slightly ajar.
Once out of the oven, leave to cool for a few minutes, and then using a palette knife, or cake slice, or something along those lines, lift them off the paper, and then back down. If the centre of the macaron is still on the baking parchment when you pull this off, pop them back in the oven for another minute or so. They are simply a little underdone.
Once fully cooled, you can fill these with cream, jam, buttercream, anything you desire. I used a quick buttercream, 50g butter, 100g raspberry ripple icing sugar and mixed together and coloured, then piped these on and pressed another macaron on top. You can of course, use any icing sugar, but the flavoured ones work so well with macarons.
Now, pour yourself a drink, put your feet up, and enjoy these mini mouthfuls of heaven!