Macarons… they’ve become a serious obsession now.
I blame Lolita brands for this obsession. If they didn’t keep including them in prints or in sweets deco maybe I could forget about how melt-in-your-mouth-delicious they are… maybe I could ignore the fact that they are incredibly pretty… and maybe I could stop thinking about how I desperately want one for breakfast today with a cup of tea…
And so it goes on until one day I got so frustrated I decided to make them myself. I suppose that’s in keeping with the spirit of this blog ^_^
I searched and searched for a recipe. Many were too complicated with things like measuring the temperatures in the room and comparing the humidity to get the correct amounts for different parts of the world!? Macarons are apparently the most fickle of all deserts.
Finally just as I was about to give up a friend sent me a link to Not Quite Nigella’s Recipe. It seemed easy enough but I wasn’t too keen on the idea of pistachio as I wanted James to actually eat them too. I kept searching until I found the Tasted By Two version. Seemed easy enough… and so the experimenting began! After maybe 10 batches I have modified the recipe for our kitchen/temperature/humidity/what ever other ridiculous things macarons are scared of. I am not a baking purist, I just did what worked! These techniques might not work for you but I assure you that my result was freaking awesome :D
So here is everything I’ve learned about macarons and my modified version of the Tasted By Two Recipe:
What you need:
Ingredients for chocolate macarons with chocolate filling-
For the outside bit:
- 65 grams Almond Meal
- 80 grams Icing Sugar
- 40 grams Caster Sugar
- 1 table spoon Cocoa Powder
- 50 grams Egg White at room temperature
- Oil spray
- Pinch of salt
For the filling:
- Cooking chocolate
- Thickened cream
- Icing sugar
- Aluminum foil
- Mixing bowls
- Electric beater
- Baking trays
- Spoon etc
- Piping bag/Small plastic bag
Gather everything together :D
Line your trays with aluminum foil. Yes in the photo I’m using baking paper… and you know what, it sucked. Every recipe I found said to use baking paper but EVERY batch that I did using baking paper failed miserably. So what I ended up using for the successful batches was aluminum foil *very* lightly sprayed with olive oil. I’ll talk more about the failed batches and how to avoid that later!
Measure out your almond meal. Having the correct weights is very important so be quite careful. Now about the almond meal… many recipes I found said that you should crush the meal even further in a food processor to make it extra fine. I don’t have a food processor so I used it straight from the pack. No problems so far.
This is how fine it was:
Do the same with your icing sugar and sift them into your bowl. Make sure there are no lumps.
Then mix them together very well and make sure the consistency is even.
Now weigh your castor sugar.
And your egg whites. Egg whites are another highly debated point of this recipe. Some say you should leave them out over night, some say leave them for a week. I made macarons with eggs right after cracking them, over night and week old… and they were all exactly the same in my opinion. I really don’t think it makes a difference. Just make sure they aren’t too cold or else they won’t froth well.
Put your egg whites into a mixing bowl.
Add a pinch of salt to them
Now using your electric mixer beat them until they become slightly frothy.
When they look like this you should start adding the castor sugar a little bit at a time…
… until it looks like this :D The eggs should be light fluffy and peaky.
Now this part is quite fun! You should take your mixed up icing/almond and add 1/2 of it to the egg mixture.
Mix it up carefully, don’t be over zealous otherwise it will end up like cake. Once the first half is mixed in, add the rest and repeat.
According to a lot of recipes it should form ribbons off your spoon when you’re done. XD
Now mix in your spoon of cocoa
Ok time to get ready to pipe them. You can use a proper piping bag but if you’re not keen on cleaning one you can just use a plastic bag and throw it away after ^_^
Put your mixture into the bag!
And tie a knot into the top of it.
Now cut off the corner with a pair of scissors and pipe circles onto your tray.
Apparently some people will actually draw circles onto the baking paper to make sure they are completely perfectly shaped… I don’t really think that is necessary. If I wanted perfection I would go and buy them, I like he idea of mine being a little individual ^_^
Ok! So we’ve done the hard part! You should take your tray and bang it on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Then leave the macarons on the counter for 1 hour to settle. While they are settling let’s talk about some other variations!
James doesn’t like chocolate much either so he asked for some blueberry flavored ones.
I used tinned blueberries, crushed them and added to the mixture just before piping.
This is easy enough, you just need to add slightly more of the dry ingredients to counter the wet of the blueberries. If you’ve made a couple of batches you should be able to roughly guess at what the correct consistency should be.
My absolute FAVORITE flavor is green tea with pistachio filling. OMG this is seriously awesome. All you need to do is add 1/2 a teaspoon of matcha powder to the mixture instead of your chocolate powder. I’m using one from Tea2 but any will work.
They all look so pretty!
When you come back to the macarons the icing should have formed a very slight shell, you should be able to touch the top without getting your finger wet. Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius. When the oven is ready you can put in the tray and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes you should be able to see the little crinkly bottom feet, if not something has gone wrong! Cook for another 4 minutes and then allow them to cool on the bench.
This is a picture of the first time I tried to make them, they weren’t very pretty but you can see the little crinkly feet I’m talking about…
Leave the macarons to cool while we make the filling.Basically all that is involved in that is melting chocolate in the microwave, adding a little cream, butter and a little icing sugar so it doesn’t go solid again. Very delicious. Be sure to taste it along the way ;)
The pistachio variation on this is basically crushed pistachios with butter and icing sugar to make a delicious paste:
Now it’s time to remove the macarons from the tray and turn them over… the bottoms should look like this:
Below is a good example of failed bottoms. The reason this didn’t work is because they weren’t cooked long enough so the insides were liquidy. They stuck to the (stupid) baking paper and collapsed when being removed. Still tasted good though.
Take a half and spread some filling on, pop another half on top and you’re done :D
And here are the delicious green tea ones:
So there you have it! No longer will I be a slave to sweets deco and brand prints! Next time I crave macarons I’ll bloody well make some! :D Mine may not be the prettiest ever made but they tasted damn good and nobody complained so I’m happy!
Hope you all enjoyed the adventure as much as I enjoyed eating all of the failed and successful batches of macarons!