Ok….so what’s all the hype about? I’ve always heard that macarons are really difficult to make so I’ve never tried to make them. So after having egg white left over from making the creme brulee I thought why not? So I took on the challenge, rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in!
200g fine icing sugar
112g ground almonds
3 large egg whites (100g)
35g caster sugar
1/2 t powdered ginger
2t cocoa powder
Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds into a big bowl (big bowls are good as icing sugar dust gets bloody everywhere!) Now add the ginger and cocoa to this mix and whisk it together til it’s all evenly distributed.
Push to one side and get a decent size bowl and make sure it’s grease free….I have a medium sized glass bowl I use all the time when making meringues…got it from Morrison’s for about £2! For this amount of egg white I use a hand mixer, if I was doing more egg whites then I’d use my stand mixer.
Whip these up and when they are foamy slowly add the caster sugar and then whip these guys up until they are thick and glossy and loverly! They are done when you can hold the bowl over your head and if you don’t end up with an egg white hair conditioning treatment then they are done
Now comes the deciding factor in how they turn out….gently fold the egg white into the dry mix. Turn the bowl and lift the spatula through and keep repeating until it’s thoroughly and evenly mixed.DO NOT be tempted to use a mixer…this needs to be done with a spatula or you’ll beat the air out of the whites. To tell when it’s ready….it should roll off the spoon and flow like molten lava. If you drop some onto a plate and jiggle it it will flatten down. If you don’t get flat then you’ll have to fold some more. Now draw some circles on some white paper in the diameter you want your macaron. Ours were about 4 cm. Then get your baking tray, put your template on the tray and put some baking parchment over it.
Get a piping bag and either use a plain nozzle with about a 1 cm hole tip or do what I did and just cut the piping bag and don’t use a nozzle. Fill your piping bag, now be careful as this will start to flow out right away….my tip here is fold the end over so nothing can escape, then when you pick up the piping bag the mix will start to flow and you have a bit of hang time before it’s everywhere!
Now you need to work fairly quickly…hold the bag over the centre of the circle and gently squeeze….when it’s nearly at the edges of the template, pull up and move on to the next one…keep going until the bag is empty. I got enough to make about 12 full ones…24 discs in total. Give the tray a gentle jiggle and put to one side. Get the oven heating up to 140 c and go make a brew and grab a magazine, catch up on Facebook, have a shower…..do whatever ya like for about 30 minutes until there is a kind of shell on top of the macaron. When you have the shell then you can pop them into the oven….make sure you take the paper template out…very carefully! Don’t let this go into the oven. Carefully pop the trays into the oven.
In about 10 minutes open the oven and turn the trays around and then give it about another 10 minutes and check for doneness, if you gently touch the top and they jiggle…if the top and bottom move independantly then they aren’t ready. Pop them back in and give them a couple of minutes more.
When they are done take them out of the oven and immediately take them off the hot trays and slide the parchment onto the counter. If you leave them on the trays then they will keep cooking. Now as much as you want to poke prod and sample them they must be left to cool completely! Use a metal spatula and very carefully take them off the parchment.
Now for the fun part…preparing the filling and making the sandwiches. I used a dark chocolate ganache for the filling for this one.
100 g dark chocolate…if you can get the Montezuma Chocolate with Ginger get that one as it’s yummy!
100 ml double cream
Heat up the double cream and while it’s heating up break up the chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl. Sample a bit of course When the cream is very hot but not boiling…take off the heat and pour over the chocolate pieces and mix thoroughly until completely smooth. Let cool until a nice creamy consistency and it’s cool enough to spread on the macarons.
Now pair up your macarons so they are all ready to go. Take a teaspoon or put in a piping bag if you can be bothered and put the ganache on one cookie and top with the other cookie and GENTLY squish together and voila…a macaron…repeat until all done…and leftovers are cooks perks for testing of course!
Dust with cocoa if you fancy!