I know this is a bit (a lot) of a blogger cliche, but ever trying these little mouthfuls of heaven in Pairs a few years ago I've been wanting to try my hand at making my own, but always read the recipes and shied away. Bundles of recipes warned that they would be super tricky to make and the number of steps and instructions sent my head into a tizz! However I decided to have another look this weekend after spotting a kit in Sainsburys and nearly buying it. I resisted temptation though and thought I would give making my own a shot. I had a quick search on Google and read a handful of recipes, before stumbling upon this one, which is written by a baker's apprentice and seemed to be the easiest I have seen. I picked up all the ingredients I needed, and off I trotted to the kitchen!
To make around 12 - 16 macaroons (dependent on size), you will need:
- 100 grams of egg whites (the submitter of the recipe streeses to weigh them out for the perfect consistency!)
- 50 grams white sugar
- 200 grams caster sugar
- 110 grams ground almonds
Plus any food colourings or fillings you desire!
I decided to make three variations of macaroon, one chocolate with toffee filling for which I added a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the recipe, and used a jar of toffee sauce that I picked up at the supermarket. I also made lemon, which consisted of yellow food colouring and half a lemon squeezed into the batter, then lemon curd to fill the macarons with, and finally raspberry, with pink food colouring and a raspberry jam centre. Yummy!
1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat. (I didn't have one of these so used baking parchment paper instead which worked just fine)
2. Beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until whites are foamy; beat in white sugar and continue beating until egg whites are glossy, fluffy and hold soft peaks. Sift confectioners' sugar and ground almonds into a separate bowl and quickly fold the mixture into the egg whites, about 30 strokes.
3. Spoon a small amount of batter into a plastic bag with a small corner cut off, and pipe a test disk of batter, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto prepared baking sheet. If the disk of batter holds a peak instead of flattening immediately, gently fold the batter a few more times and retest.
4. When batter is mixed enough to flatten immediately into an even disk, spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet in rounds, leaving space between the disks. Let the piped cookies stand out at room temperature until they form a hard skin on top, about 1 hour. ( I found that around 20 minutes was adequate enough!)
5. Preheat oven to 285 degrees F (140 degrees C).
6. Bake cookies until set but not browned, about 10 minutes; let cookies cool completely before filling.
I found I had to adapt this method a little to get mine right, and if I made them again there are things I would definitely change again. First off I would say that mine came out too big, because I was a little too generous with the piping. I didn't have a piping bag so just used a plastic food bag with a corner snipped off, so maybe that had something do do with it. Be mindful that the size of circle you pipe is about half the size of what it will actually be. Once you have piped the batter on to the flat baking sheet it will spread quite a bit meaning they are bigger than you think.
I also had to drastically change the cooking time. The first batch I did had to go straight in the bin as they were severely under cooked inside. Looks can be deceiving with these bad boys! Although they may be firm on top they may not always be cooked in the middle. The 10 minutes suggested was nowhere near long enough, and so for the next three batches I was waiting for at least 30 mins for them to cook. Again, maybe my fault for making them pretty big, but they are only thin so it shouldn't really take so long! Patience is a virtue though, my friends. They were definitely worth the wait. A quick tip from me to check if they are cooked, if you try to pull one off the tray and it is sticky and gooey at the base when you lift it, it needs longer. You should be able to lift it fairly easily and see a flat base underneath. Oh, and another tip, be very gentle when handling them, especially when filling them as they are incredibly delicate and can crack and crumble easily under pressure!
Overall, despite a couple of hiccups along the way, I'm really impressed that I actually managed to make these, and once you get it right you'll find they are easy peasy to make. I whipped up three batches of batter in no time. It's just a pain that they took so long to cook! Next time I will be investing in a piping bag and making them A LOT smaller as these are just edging a little too far over to the big side. I think the most successful were the chocolate ones as they all had the most uniform shape and the best texture. This might b something to do with the fact that the mixture was made a touch dryer with the addition of cocoa powder so they held their shape better....who knows?!
Will you be making Macaroons? Have you got a fool proof recipe?
Find the full recipe here.