My adventures in trying to make the perfect macaron!
This weekend was my one year blog-versary! I decided to mark the occasion my attempting to master a bake that has failed me before; the macaron.
I tried them about a year ago with disastrous results! They were just lumpy almond biscuits, with no foot, or shiny top, and since then I have been to scared to try again.
Last time I tried the Italian meringue method and since they were such a disaster, I decided to try the french method, which at first glance seemed much simpler, so I was hopeful for good results!
I did a LOT of googling before I started, and read through loads of french macaron recipes. I found that most of the recipes contained the same amounts and instructions, and settled on this recipe, as it had good reviews.
My first attempt was almost right, I managed to get quite a good foot on each biscuit, and there were no cracks, so they did look quite like a proper macaron, but unfortunately the tops were very lumpy, and not shiny at all, so I knew I wasn’t quite there!
I had another google for macaron trouble shooting, and decided that my problems were probably due to either under-mixing the batter, or not having almonds that were finely ground enough.
During the first batch, I only just mixed the almond and sugar mixture into the egg whites because I was scared of knocking out all the air, but I soon realised that you actually need to mix the batter for little longer until it runs off the spoon and leaves a ‘ribbon’ trace.
So, for my second batch of macarons, I gave the ground almonds an extra blitz in the food processor to get a finer grind, and I made sure I mixed the batter until it formed ‘ribbons’.
I noticed when I piped the mixture onto the macaron sheet, that it flattened out much more smoothly, and looked a lot more glossy, so I was hopeful that they would turn out better!
And I was right be be hopeful because the second batch turned out really well, with nice smooth shiny tops, and a foot! so now I know how to make proper macarons!
I will give the recipe for the chocolate and coffee macarons which worked!
Ingredients: Makes 14 Mocha Macarons
- 100g egg whites (3 eggs)
- 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar
- 40g granulated sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- 200g icing sugar
- 30g cocoa powder
- 150ml double cream
- 1tbsp espresso powder
- 1tbsp icing sugar
Take the eggs out of the fridge a few hours before use and leave to warm up to room temperature.
Line a baking tray with either a silicone macaron mat, or a sheet of baking paper with templates drawn on.
Place the almonds in a food processor and blitz a few times to mix into a finer powder.
Sift the ground almonds, cocoa powder and caster sugar into a large bowl and set aside.
In a separate clean bowl, whisk up the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the caster sugar, and whisk to form stiff glossy peaks.
Fold the almond mixture into the egg whites bit at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue to mix until the mixture loosens up a little, and the batter runs off the back of the spoon ‘like lava’ or forms a ‘ribbon’ like trace when it runs back into the bowl.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a medium sized circular nozzle.
Pipe dollops of mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Pat down any peaks on the macarons with a wet finger. Tap the baking tray hard on your work surface a few times to remove and large air bubbles.
Then leave the macarons to set for 45mins-1 hour before baking – this step is very important as the macarons need to form a skin before they are baked. You can check to see if they are ready by lightly touching them, they should be tacky and not stick to your fingers.
Preheat the oven to 140C.
Once ready, bake the macarons in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until they have puffed up and (hopefully!) formed feet.
Leave to cool completely before removing from the baking tray.
Meanwhile make the filing: dissolve the espresso powder in a few tbsp of hot water. Whip up the double cream until it forms stiff peaks, then fold in the coffee mixture and 1 tbsp of icing sugar.
Spoon the filling mixture into a clean piping bad with a small circular nozzle, and pipe a circle of cream onto one macaron, place another on top, and squeeze gently to spread out the filling.
Serve and enjoy!