So I wasn't planning on blogging this recipe. It was Saturday morning and I really needed something as a break from revision, a little project to take my mind off exam stress! So what better way to relax than tackle the enigma that is macarons!
I'm at my happiest when I'm baking with the radio on full blast and creating a mess. So when these macarons actually turned out looking OK and tasting delicious, I decided I'd share them with you.
Macarons are the avoided in baking- they conjure up pictures of nightmares, cracked shells, and faded colours, but they are really not as hard as everyone thinks they are.
If you type into google macaron recipes, there are endless troubleshooting articles suggesting all the different techniques of tackling macaron problems in order to achieve your perfect macarons! But really, as long as you follow the basic principles, your macarons should turn out ok. By all means, go ahead and follow different techniques, but these simple steps seem to have worked for me and don't involve hours letting the macaroons sit or any fancy equipment. As I'd left my piping bag up in Edinburgh, I even used a plastic sandwich bag to pipe my macarons so don't fret if you don't have a piping bag at home.
I'd made macarons once before and although they tasted fine and had a good consistency, the colour had faded during baking and they were a disappointing light brown colour rather than a pink. These on the other hand turned out beautifully bright pink.
As it wasn't planning on blogging the recipe, I didn't take any photos of the individual stages but as long as you follow the steps and weigh out your ingredients properly then you should have perfect macarons!
You can of course flavour and colour the macarons with whatever you fancy, here are some gorgeous ones: http://www.bobbetteandbelle.com/mac_instore.html but my favourite is raspberry as I love the tang of raspberry jam sandwiched in between the sticky, sugary meringue-like biscuits.
100g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
2 medium eggs
55g caster sugar (I used granulated as I didn't have any caster sugar, but granulated is slightly harder to dissolve, hence why some of the sugar hasn't dissolved on the top of my macarons)
Red food colouring
1. Sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar into a food processor. Then blitz on full power for a few minutes until very fine and throughly mixed together.
2. Then sieve the mixture once again into a large mixing bowl.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until they form soft peaks. The gradually add in the sugar, continuing to whisk until you have a stiff and glossy mixture.
4. Then add in your food colouring. I added in 2 tsp of red food colouring to achieve this bright pink but you can add in as much as you wish depending on how dark you want to the colour to be.
5. Then add half of the meringue mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well with a spoon until you have a paste. Then carefully fold this paste into the rest of the meringue mixture using a large metal spoon, being careful not to knock the air out of the meringue mix.
6. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a medium sized round nozzle. I didn't have a piping bag with me and so filled a plastic sandwich bag, snipping a little corner off to pipe the mixture.
7. Prepare two baking trays, lining them with baking paper. Use a little spoonful of the mixture in each corner of the trays underneath the baking paper to stick it down. Then pipe the macarons in even circles onto the two baking trays. Once you have piped both trays, give the trays a tap on the work surface to get rid of any air bubbles in the macarons.
8. Preheat your oven to 140 degrees C (fan.) Then leave the macarons to stand for 15-30 minutes on the countertop for a skin to form on the top of the macarons. Then bake for around 15 minutes. When baked, the macarons should be firm on top and underneath but with a slightly squidgy and soft inside.
9. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking trays before peeling off. To fill, spoon a large teaspoonful of good quality raspberry jam into the middle of one macaron half. Then sandwich with another half.
10. Store the macarons in a container in the fridge. Some people argue that macarons are at their best when they have had chance to mature in the fridge for a few hours. Personally I'm too impatient!