Macaroons are tricky little things. They take a lot of time and patience to create and even then, they might decide not to come out right. I have spent a lot of time making them, and eaten a lot of not great macaroons, but practise makes perfect and hopefully, this recipe should help you make perfect macaroons most times. This recipe makes one batch of one colour/flavour macaroons. Once you are comfortable with the recipe you can divide the whisked meringue mixture into two bowls and add different colourings and flavours.
Darker coloured greaseproof paper.
2 medium bowls, one preferably copper.
A metal spoon
A food mixer, handheld or free-standing.
A piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle, and a serrated nozzle for the filling.
For the macaroons:
125g/4.5oz ground almonds
175g/6oz icing sugar
3 large free range egg whites
A pinch of salt
75g/2.5oz caster sugar
Food colouring and flavouring of your choice.
For the filling:
150g/5oz soft, room temperature butter
50g/2oz icing sugar
Food colouring and flavouring of your choice.
One of the most important things you need to know before you start is how your oven works. This may sound obvious but no two ovens are the same. Yours may run hotter than the temperature dial says, or colder. It may take ages to warm up or no time at all. Macaroons will react to your oven accordingly so you need to really know what temperature you are baking them at. The easiest thing to do is buy an oven thermometer so you really know. Kitchen Craft Oven Thermometer is not too expensive and they are helpful for making sure other things are cooked too! Or, you can observe how your oven cooks meals the week before you start your macaroon making and adjust accordingly.
Line two baking sheets with dark coloured greaseproof paper. If you cannot find any darker greaseproof paper, you can use the lighter one, but I have found my macaroons bake better on the darker coloured paper. Make sure there is no fat on the baking sheets if you have used them for cooking other things. Any trace of fat will destroy the meringue mixture and you will be left with sad little flat biscuits instead.
If you have a copper bowl, put the egg whites into it with a pinch of salt. If you don’t have a copper bowl, a medium sized plastic bowl is fine. Copper is better because of the chemical reaction that occurs with the egg whites and if you want to invest in one, Mauviel Beating Bowl is a great bowl. They aren’t cheap, but they are worth it and will last for a long time if properly cared for. I’m not quite sure what happens, but your egg whites have a better texture. Whichever bowl you use, make sure there is no trace of fat in the bowl as again, you will get flat little biscuits. A good way to make sure is to wipe a cut lemon around the inside of the bowl and then dry.
Begin to whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then gradually add the caster sugar whilst still mixing. You will begin to see the mixture thicken and become shiny. Keep whisking but be careful not to overwhisk the mixture.
Pre heat your oven now if you need to. It should be at 160′C for normal, 140′C for fan ovens or Gas Mark 3.
You can add your food colouring and flavouring at this point. Make sure you choose a colouring and flavour which doesn’t have any fat in it as this will destroy the mixture you have just carefully made!
Carefully begin to add the almond and icing sugar mixture, folding it in with a metal spoon. Add this a bit at a time. You may not need to use all the mixture as it depends on the size of your eggs. The mixture should not be too sloppy or too powdery as either way it will not pipe properly.
Spoon the mixture into the piping bag. Pipe small equal amounts onto your lined baking trays. Make sure you leave a big enough gap between each macaroon as they will spread a litle. You may have a little blob on the top of each macaroon. Smooth this over gently with your (clean – no fat!) finger or the back of a teaspoon.
Tap the baking sheets on the counter top as this helps the macaroons settle and create the ‘foot’. Leave them to sit for at least an hour, longer if you can. You can decorate the macaroons at this point if you wish with edible glitter or sprinkles.
Bake in the oven (160′C for normal, 140′C for fan ovens or Gas Mark 3) for 15 minutes. I know in my oven that they need to be baked for 16 minutes and trial and error will help you work out the exact time for your oven.
Once the macaroons are done – crisp on the outside, with a little foot to the bottom – take them out of the oven and let them cool. While they are cooling you can make the filling.
Mix the softened butter, icing sugar, flavouring and colouring together.
When the macaroons are cool, pipe a circle of filling onto a macaroon and sandwich another to the other side. Repeat until all the macaroons are partnered up.
Now, you can try one. Just to make sure.