Poor old macarons; they get such bad press about being difficult to make. Sure, they aren't the easiest but you just need to bear a few points in mind and you will be creating the perfect macaron every time.
This recipe is based on one from my lovely step-daughter Lucy. She is an amazing baker and is particularly proud of her macarons. There are a few extra tips added to help a beginner on the way, but essentially she has it nailed in this recipe.
To create even-sized macarons, it is best to either create a template on greaseproof paper or buy a specially designed silicon macaron mat. My favorite mat comes from Lakeland in the UK.
- 1 cup/100 grams powders sugar
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 cup/100 grams almonds (ground)
- 2 medium egg whites
- 1 pinch salt (small pinch)
- 1/4 cup/55 grams caster sugar
- For the Filling:
- 55 grams/1 ounce chocolate
- 2 teaspoons double cream (slightly warmed)
- Preheat the oven to 365F/180C/Gas 4. (Reduce this temperature to 160C if using a fan oven)
- Sieve the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. If the ground almonds seem a little thick or lumpy then whizz for a few seconds in a food processor, then sieve into the same bowl and carefully mix together.
- In a separate bowl whisk the egg white and salt until they form soft peaks. Add the caster / fine sugar and continue to whisk until the whites are very thick and glossy. Gently fold in the icing sugar, chocolate and almond mix.
- Fill a piping bag with the mixture with a 1/3" nozzle. Place the silicon mat (see note in the introduction) or paper template onto a baking sheet. Pipe small blobs onto the sheet remembering that less is more at this stage because the mixture will settle and form into the allotted spaces.
- Gently tap the baking sheet a few times on the work surface to help the macaron mixture to settle and to break any air bubbles, then leave to dry for 20 minutes.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven until the macarons feel firm and come away from the silicon sheet easily. You may want to open the oven door slightly once or twice during the cooking time to allow any steam to escape.
- Cool completely on the sheet while you make the filling.
- Break the chocolate into small pieces and add to a heatproof bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. When melted add the cream and stir until the mixture becomes smooth and easily spreadable.
- Place approx 1/2 a tsp of the filling to the flat side of one macaroon and sandwich together with another then twist ever so slightly to create a bond. Continue with the remaining macaroons.
- The macarons can be eaten immediately but will benefit from being refrigerated for 24 hours (that's if you can resist them for that long).
Perfect for an afternoon tea!