Macaron Love

My close friends will know that I’m a little bit obsesssed with French Macarons. Light and chewy in the middle, a bit size treat and fat free which I constantly remind myself of. That means I can have more right?! Next week I’ll be visiting London for my Masters graduation and will definitely make a stop at Laduree for a box of treats, I can’t wait.

Periodically, I’ll bake a batch to share with others, but many don’t even make the construction stage and jump right off the baking sheet and into my mouth. These almond meringue sandwiches are a real delight, so it only seems right to share a recipe for Strawberry and Vanilla Macarons.

I’ve adapted it from a Marcus Wareing recipe and one from a Love Food book called ‘Macaroons’.

Ingredients

75g Ground Almonds (gives the chewy and slightly nutty flavour)

115g Icing Sugar

2 Large Egg Whites (room temperature)

50g Caster Sugar

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Food colouring (your choice)

Good quality Strawberry Jam (for filling)

Makes 16

  • Place ground almonds and icing sugar into a food processor and blend for 15 seconds. Sift mixture into a bowl.
  • Line a baking sheet with baking paper. I have this nifty silicone macaron mat which my sister gave me for Christmas from the wonderful Squires Kitchen. It makes piping the rounds much easier later on.

  • Whisk egg whites until holding soft peaks. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar to make a firm glossy meringue. (Hold above your head to test!) Whisk in the vanilla extract. (Sadly my life is without a Kitchen Aid, but my good old Kenwood handmixer does the job).
  • Using a spatula (I love the silicone ones), fold in the almond mixture into the meringue, one third at a time.

  • When dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, add a splash of food colouring and continue to cut and fold the mixture until it becomes shiny, with a thick ribbon-like consistency. I need to invest in some good food colouring pastes, as the cheap stuff doesn’t produce a nice vibrant colour for macarons once baked.

  • Pour the mixture into a piping bag. My tip is to place the piping bag (I’ve used a disposable today for ease) into a glass and fold the top over. It’s much easier to fill this way and keeps it sturdy.

  • Pipe small rounds onto the baking sheet. If you don’t have a silicone mat, you can mark circles in pencil on the sheet with a round cookie cutter or similar.
  • In hindsight, I would have tried to have keep my piping ‘flatter’ so as to produce a smooth macaron after baking.

  • Tap the baking sheet firmly on the work surface to remove air bubbles. Leave macarons at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees / Gas Mark 3.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, cool for 10 minutes and carefully peel of baking paper. Don’t be tempted to pull them off before they have cooled as they will stick to the baking paper!

  • I used Bonne Maman strawberry jam to sandwich pairs together, as I think it’s the best you can buy in the supermarket and the jars are super cute for vases and craft projects afterwards!

  • Enjoy with a cup of herbal tea. I put some on my favourite childhood plate (Bunnykins – anyone remember?) & they didn’t stay there long!

Unfilled macarons will keep in an air-tight container for 3-4 days or can be frozen for up to 1 month. They are best eaten at room temperature an hour or so after filling.

What flavours would you try when making macarons? I like rosewater and lavender tones and pistachio is a perfect flavour. Let me know if you try them and what flavours you explore.

Lastly, how cute are these patisserie boxes from Lakeland?

Claire x