Sweet and delicious French Macarons are nothing to be scared of. Follow my handy tips for Successful Macarons
I’m a big fan of macarons. I’ve eaten quite a few in my time and I’ve ALWAYS wanted to make them, but I constantly hear about how tricky they are and quite honestly that has always scared me.
This weekend was a bank holiday so I had an extra day to play with, I had some limes that needed to be used and some eggs, so I decided the fates were clearly yelling Macarons at me and I had to answer.
I read everyone’s “foolproof” recipes and scoured the internet for tales of what went wrong, then armed with all this advice I hit the kitchen.
I really wasn’t expecting them to work, particularly as I have an ancient oven that makes up its own temperature, but they did and here’s how I did it xxx
- 3 egg whites (some people say you must weigh these, I found this to not be an issue)
- 50g caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 200g icing sugar
- 120g ground almonds
- food colouring paste (not liquid) of your choice
- Put the egg whites into a clean dry bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until frothy and thick (exactly as you would when making a meringue)
- Then add the salt, cream of tartar and a spoonful of caster sugar and whisk again until it forms stiff peaks
- Continue to add all the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking in between so that you keep it looking like the picture above. Macarons are simply meringues with almonds in them but you need to good strong base!
- At this point you can add your colouring but make it nice and strong because it will fade when you add the dry ingredients and again when you bake them a bit.
- In another bowl combine your icing sugar and ground almonds. Then pass this mixture through a sieve to get all the bigger lumps of almond out. I was left with quite a lot and was concerned this would somehow ruin my finished macaron. It didn’t!
- Add your almond mixture to your meringue mix and fold to combine. Do not over mix! You do not want this to collapse and become really runny as you’ll need to pipe it, but you do need it to be fully combined. I stopped when it was dropping off my spoon rather than at the “ribbon” stage and it still worked
- Line two baking sheets with baking paper. I always use a bit of the mixture underneath the paper to stick it down
- Pop a 2cm round nozzle into a piping bag and fill with your mixture
- Pipe small rounds of mixture (mine were around the size of a 4 pint milk bottle lid) leaving space in between each one. Don’t worry about making them flat as they’ll flatten out and spread a bit on the next step. In fact I piped dollop shapes really
- Now you’re going to pick your trays and drop them back down on the table a few times. As you do this you’ll see them level out and air bubbles come to the surface and pop. They’ll also spread out a bit, go flat and look like they’ll never rise in the oven in a million years
- Now put your trays somewhere out of the way and forget about them for 30 mins. Have a coffee maybe? Watch an episode of Neighbours? Whatever you like to do really. This is such an important stage. What’s happening here is a kind of skin is forming over the surface and that means that when they’re in the oven they’ll grow up rather than out. Yay !!!!
- Pre heat your oven to 150 C
- Place your first tray in the oven and bake of 15-20 mins until they look done and you can lift them off the paper easily. This is where everyone’s oven is different and mine is very old and volatile. I would watch your macarons towards the end of your baking stage. I actually took mine out before they came off the paper easily as they were browning, but as they cooled the underneath cooked more and they ended up just how I wanted them
- Once your first tray is done pop in your second tray to bake. I personally wouldn’t try to bake them all at once.
- When they’re all done leave to cool completely and then lift them off their trays.
- Then comes the fun part of paring them up, filling them and eating any that “accidentally” crack
You can go for pretty much anything from buttercreams to ganache to curds and jams. Go crazy.
I filled mine with lime curd and lemon buttercream because they’re so sweet I think you really need that sharpness in the middle
So go forth and make Macarons. I had so much fun and the feeling of joy when I saw they’d actually worked was incredible. I’ve already been out to buy more ground almonds and have two more flavour combinations in my head ready to be made.
I possibly have a problem, but what a fabulous problem to have !