Since sampling some delicious macaroons (ok, I'm switching to the English spelling!) on my trip to Paris in July, I have been meaning to try and make them myself. I was a little hesitant, having heard and read numerous horror stories from friends and websites, about how tricky it is to make these delicious little buggers, however, following my recent success at creating a scrumptious red velvet cake for my birthday earlier in the week, I decided to put my baking skills to the test.
Now I am no expert when it comes to baking, but with two very successful birthday cakes under my belt this year, I am beginning to think that there's not much to it - you follow a recipe (and your instincts) and hey presto you have something delicious to eat.
So, I put on my apron and got started. The macaroon-making process does not involve many ingredients - here's the recipe I followed:
150g icing sugar
100g ground almonds
3 medium egg whites
50g caster sugar
First you combine the almonds and icing sugar together and then sift so that you end up with a fine powder-like consistency. Next, whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl (add a pinch of salt) slowly adding the caster sugar until the mixture thickens to form soft peaks. This meringue mixture can then be divided into separate bowls if you wish to make different flavours and/or colours (if so, then add the food colouring and flavouring at this point) before using a spatula to fold the almond and icing sugar mixture into the meringue by adding half first, and folding, and then adding the remainder.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag - or as I did, a plastic freezer bag! - and pipe the macaroon mixture into small rounds onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Give the tray a sharp tap on the counter and leave to stand for 10 minutes before baking for 15 minutes at 140°C. A tip which really helped me to remove the cooked macaroons from the baking paper is to pour a tiny bit of water between the tray and the paper after you remove it from the oven, as the moisture will help the macaroon lift without sticking.
For the filling, I used nutella to fill half of them, and I made a buttery filling for the other half by mixing butter, icing sugar, cinnamon and strawberry jam.
Mine came out pretty well for a first try - they were not perfect, but they tasted really yummy, light, fluffy and chewy. I found the hardest part was trying to make them a uniform shape and size....which they weren't! Mine also did not have as smooth a surface as the shop-bought ones. I suppose this takes practice though, and possibly a proper piping bag.
So if you fancy making macaroons, but are a little wary, I would say...give it a go!