Well I did it…..I finally finally finally made Macarons! Those tricky little things! After round 1 I was ready to give them up for good! (I don’t like failing!) But round 2 was a success! Yaaaay!
I used this recipe and technique from Delicious Magazine because it looked pretty easy, surely it wouldn’t go wrong! I don’t have a sugar thermometer so needed a recipe that didn’t involve precisely making a sugar syrup at a certain temperature.
But I was wrong….round 1 produced flat pancake like macarons, that cracked on the top and spread on the baking tray. Fail!
I realised that I had overmixed the mix by adding the flavours and colours at the very end and then mixing them in. By adding the flavours and colours directly to the whisked egg whites made a much better macaron! I was making 3 different types of macaron so I weighed the egg whites before whisking them so once whisked I could weigh them out into 3 equal portions.
So here is my success with Macarons. For the Cappuccino version (other flavours to come later!):
175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large egg whites (approx 110g)
75g caster sugar
Put the icing sugar and the ground almonds into a food processor and blitz to a fine mixture. Sift into a bowl and discard any lumps left in the seive.
In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks. At this stage add the caster sugar and continue to whisk until they form stiff peaks and the mix is thick and glossy. This is done much easier with an electric whisk than a hand whisk. You can test when the egg whites are whisked enough by briefly holding the bowl upside down (over your head if you dare), the eggs should stay in the bowl. If you are making different flavour macarons then at this point divide the meringue among different bowls.
I then added half a teaspoon vanilla essence to the egg whites and mixed this in. Now it is time to add the sieved almonds and sugar. Gently fold half the mixture into the meringue and mix well, but make sure you don’t overmix. Use a flexible spatula to do this mixing. Once it is all combined add the second half of the mixture and mix until it is shiny and all combined. The mixture shouldn’t be too runny, it should be able to hold its shape and have lots of air still in it, a ribbon like consistency as it falls from the spatula.
Fill a piping bag with the macaron mixture. The piping bag should be fitted with a plain round nozzle, or you can just chop the end off the piping bag about 1cm from the tip.
Pipe the mixture onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, into circles of about 3-4cm diameter. I made a template on the computer with circles of 4cm diameter that I put under the greaseproof paper and slid it out once I had finished. Once you have piped your macarons you need to tap / drop the baking trays straight onto a hard surface, this is so the macarons have a nice ‘foot’ when they are baked.
Leave the macarons for 30 minutes at room temperature to form a skin. This is very important so that they don’t crack during baking. You should be able to lightly touch the macarons without getting it on your finger. Now dust the macarons with a little cocoa powder to give them that cappuccino look.
Bake in a preheated oven at 160 for about 10-15 minutes, but keep an eye on them. You don’t want them to discolour but they are ready when they can be lifted off the baking paper. Remove from the oven and cool.
To make the filling:
I made two fillings, chocolate ganache for the very centre and a coffee buttercream to surround it.
For the chocolate ganache (you only need a tiny bit): Use equal amounts of chocolate and double cream (Use 100g chocolate and 100g cream and you can freeze any that might be left).
Heat the cream gently in a pan and then add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted. This should be made in advance so that you can leave the ganache in the fridge for a few hours to set.
For the coffee buttercream:
140g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar
coffee granules and hot water
Beat the butter until it is soft and then beat in the icing sugar half at a time. Add 1-2 tsp of coffee granules (you can change this depending on how strong you want your icing) to a cup and add a tiny amount of boiling water. Mix to make a paste. Add to the buttericing and mix well.
Put the set ganache into a piping bag and the coffee buttercream into another. Pair up the macarons into matching pairs and pipe once half of each pair with a little ganache and a ring of buttercream. Sandwich together and you are done! Well done!
Good luck with your own Macarons!
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