Macarons is one of those things I have always wanted to make but always been afraid to as they are notoriously tricky! I looked at various recipes, flicked through all my recipe books and watched videos online and thought right I am going to give it a go. My photos you will see 2 batches done on the same day. The ones that turned out well and the ones that didn’t but with a small adjustment 2nd batch worked.
What you will need:
100g (3 1/2 oz) icing sugar
75g (2 1/2 oz) ground almonds
2 large egg whites at room temperature
75g (2 1/2 oz) caster sugar
food colouring (I used pink gel)
For the filling
125g icing sugar
50g of room temp butter
2 tbsp of lemon juice (more if you prefer it a bit more tart)
lemon zest (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 150c, 300F, gas mark 2
- Line to baking sheets with parchment paper. If you want before hand you can draw 3cm circles leaving 1 inch between each. 10 per sheet. I didn’t I attempted piping free hand as wanted to practice my piping
- Sieve the almonds and icing sugar into a bowl leaving any bigger bits of almonds in the sieve. You can also if you want a really fine mix whizz them up in a food processor but sieve works fine and what I used
- Separate the egg whites into a different bowl or your electric mixers bowl making sure no egg yolk gets in at all as this will stop the egg whites setting. Set your mixer on medium/high and mix until stiff
5. Add the caster sugar one spoonful at a time until the egg whites have a stiff peak and have a lovely glossy shine. Now you can add your colouring of choice and mix again
6. Now fold in the almond mixture one spoonful at a time with a spatula. To fold you don’t beat it or stir it hard you cut through it, then fold over, cut and fold. Do this till you have used all the almond mix and you have a well combined batter. This is where it could all go wrong. If you mix to far the macarons won’t work and if you don’t mix enough they will end up more like cracked meringues (see pic below). It should be a ribbon type texture.
7. Transfer the mix to a piping bag and snip off the end. If you’ve already marked out circles put piping bag in the centre and press till the mix reaches the end of the circles. Don’t move the piping bag, just keep in centre and the mixture will flow out to the edge. If piping without the markings as I attempted do the same until you 10 even sized circles on each baking tray. Now holding tight tap the baking tray hard against the kitchen surface until you see air bubbles popping in the macarons. I do it around 10 times. Then set aside and leave the mix to dry out for 40 minutes
8. Put one tray at a time in the oven so they aren’t fighting for space and get a level bake. Bake for 15 – 18 mins in the middle of the oven then remove and leave on the tray to cool for 10 mins, very important as they will break if trying to remove now. You are looking for a top with no raised bits or cracks and the edges to have be nice and rough. Add the 2nd batch and repeat. When cooled move with a pallet knife and add to a cooling rack so until cold.
9. I chose a lemon buttercream but they work with so many flavours, raspberry, chocolate, lavender etc. Add the sieved icing sugar, softened butter and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to a bowl and mix well till a pale colour with no lumps. If you prefer it a bit more tart use a little more juice and add some lemon zest
10. Put a blob of buttercream in the centre of one half of the macaron and sandwich with another pressing down gently until the mix reaches the edges. Repeat till all used. The macarons will have a soft chewy centre and a crisp outside.
P.S I don’t usually do a PS but remember I said my first batch went wrong? I didn’t leave it to set long enough. I left the first batch just 20 mins and didn’t hit them hard enough against the side. The ones above I left for 45 mins and hit them hard against my side to make sure all the air bubbles out. I also reduced cooking time to 14 mins. Here’s the ones done out of the same mix as the ones above but with a few simple adjustments all turned out ok. Not bad for my first ever attempt at macarons