This post is for Miss F – HAPPY BIRTHDAY xx
For the last few weekends, I have been making a batch of macarons in an attempt to master what I consider to be the holy grail of baking. I’m not much of a sweets cook, and so I have given myself the goal of cooking perfect macarons. I must say, there have been a lot of failed attempts – I think I’ve made about 12 or so batches, each with their own problems – and a lot of wasted cookies. But I feel I am improving and will eventually get there. The photo above shows my latest batch filled with white chocolate ganache. While there are still a few lumps evident, I think I’m nearly there. With macarons, it’s not so much about the recipe (which are all about the same) but about the technique: achieving the right consistency in the batter is paramount. So here is the recipe I’ve been using.
110g almond meal
200g icing sugar
90g egg whites
red food colouring (or use whatever colour you like)
30g caster sugar
250g good-quality white chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup cream
- Preheat the oven to 150C.
- Trace 3-4cm circles 3cm apart onto 2 pieces of baking paper that fit onto 2 baking trays. Turn the paper over and place onto the baking trays. Set aside.
- In a food processor, wizz together the almond meal and icing sugar until very fine. Sift into a bowl and set aside.
- Place egg whites in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium for 5 seconds until they become more watery. Alternatively, you can leave the egg whites in the fridge for a few days to achieve the right consistency.
- Using a electric beater, beat the egg whites until you achieve soft peaks. Add your desired amount of food colouring and caster sugar and beat until incorporated.
- Tip egg whites into almond mixture and using a spatula, gently combine until the mixture flows in a thick ribbon. It should not be stiff: drizzle the mixture from the spatular into the bowl. The ribbon should disappear within 30 seconds.
- Transfer mixture to a piping bag and pipe circles onto the baking paper using the traced circles as a guide.
- Place trays somewhere cool and leave uncovered for an hour to form a skin. This is what gives the macarons their “feet”, or the little bubbles at the base that help them rise. They are ready when they are no longer sticky to the touch.
- Place trays in the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool on the trays before peeling off from the baking paper.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the white chocolate and the cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute before removing and stirring. Repeat until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Transfer ganache to a piping bag and allow to cool slightly, about 5 minutes, until the mixture has thickened a little. This will stop it running everywhere.
- Pipe ganache onto half the shells. Sandwich with another shell and leave to set.
- Keep in an air-tight in a cool place for up to a week.
Makes approx. 20