This week has been about macarons.  It wasn’t meant to be, but I had tonnes of bookkeeping to do for both my business and my husband’s so I spent a lot of time not doing admin and baking instead!  I remember having some gorgeous homemade macarons (not macaroons as I have learned) at a garden party a couple of years ago and the hostess had described them as a bit of a faff to make which put me off.  However, this fantastic recipe from sortedfood.com appeared on an Ocado email, it looked easy enough and I even had all the ingredients in stock.  I googled a useful piping guide for the little circles which you can find here
macaron-piping-guide
 

Just print it out and put it under your baking parchment or grease proof paper to make sure your circles are even. Make sure you remember to take it out once you’ve piped them.

The children absolutely adore these, which is useful as they’ve really had enough of cake.  It’s got to the point when they ignore the cake dome full of candy-coloured cupcakes or leopard print mocha cake and go for the fruit bowl (which I’m not complaining about!) – but, I’ve made three batches of these this week as presents, for our monthly girlie poker night and as a gluten and dairy free treat for a little girl with food intolerances and all the ‘spares’ keep disappearing… You can flavour them with pretty much anything – I’ve tried lemon, filled with lemon curd, raspberry and rose with seedless raspberry jam filling, chocolate orange with dark chocolate ganache centres, orange blossom and Buck’s Fizz curd (my personal favourite!), mocha (coffee macarons with chocolate ganache centres) and lemon sandwiched with lemon marmalade as a dairy-free treat.  The possibilities are endless.

macaron-closeup
Macarons

Makes 48

Ingredients:
3 eggs whites (either separate eggs or use Two Chicks egg white to save hassle.  You can use the yolks for custard or lemon tart!)

75g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
175g icing sugar
2 drops assorted food colouring (I use gel colours from Wilton or Sugarflair but Dr Oetker do a great range of gel colours now which are available in supermarkets)
3 drops assorted flavourings i.e. vanilla, lemon, rose, coffee, almond, peppermint, orange blossom, orange, chocolate (I use Star Kay White from Lakeland or Nielsen Massey and for coffee, dissolved some espresso powder in a tiny bit of boiling water and let it cool before using)


Method:

  • Whisk the egg whites in a mixer with a balloon whisk attachment or use a hand-held electric whisk.  Once thick and glossy, add the caster sugar and whisk again until stiff (around 5 minutes).
  • Sieve the almonds and icing sugar into the egg white and fold in, keeping as much air as possible.  A switched to the paddle attachment on my KitchenAid and mixed until just combined.
  • Divide the mixture between three bowls and add your choice of colour and flavour to each.
  • Put each flavour into a separate disposable piping bag (you can use a freezer bag and cut the corner off)
  • Line 4 baking trays with the piping guide and then a layer of grease proof paper or baking parchment.  You can also trace around a 3cm round cutter onto the greasproof paper with a pencil to make a piping guide – just turn the paper over before piping.
  • Pipe 3 cm circles leaving a small gap between each macaron.  Leave to ‘rest’ for 15 minutes to allow a slight skin to form.
  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.
  • Pick up the tray and drop it onto a flat surface from a small height which allows the ‘feet’ associated with macarons to form.
  • Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool completely before peeling gently off the paper.
  • Sandwich together with a filling of your choice – lemon curd, jam, Nutella, ganache, orange curd – be creative!