Believe and you can achieve …. ok well follow the rules and you can achieve where macarons are concerned! I had never tried to make macarons until about six months ago, they were quite a disaster and so I decided that was that and I gave up! Not the attitude I know but that was my decision at the time. Then I ate an actual macaron whilst in Paris for my birthday back in Feb and oh my!! That was it, I had to learn how to make these bad boys, I googled recipes and there are hundreds all claiming to be the best, foolproof recipe and promising marvellous macs from your first attempt. I chose one at random and set about following the instructions, by some miracle I produced a wonderful array of macarons that looked like the real deal although they were somewhat varied in shape and size!
I didn’t make any more after that as I’ve been busy with cakes and horses but a month ago I decided to have another go, these were less than marvellous so I figured it must have been beginners luck! Ten batches later and I’ve worked out where I’d been going wrong and which steps you really mustn’t miss out. So I’ll share with you the recipe and method I now use to produce (almost) perfect macs every time!
To make approx 20 macarons shells (10 finished macs) you will need:
- 1 medium egg white (separate 12-24 hours before you’re going to use, cling wrap and leave out of the fridge)
- 25g caster sugar
- 50g ground almonds (you can use pistachios or hazelnuts here too)
- 50g icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp flavouring if required
- Colouring if required
Here’s the method, remember NO short cuts allowed!
- Sieve the almonds and icing sugar together, the finer the better for a smooth macaron
- In a super duper clean bowl whisk the egg whites until frothy, while still whisking slowly add the caster sugar
- Whisk until stiff peaks form, add the colouring and flavouring then whisk further until completely combined
- Now add half the sieved mixture to the bowl and fold with a spatula until well mixed, now add the remaining and continue to fold
- You want to fold the mixture until well combined and you’ve knocked enough air out to be able to draw a figure of eight with the mixture falling your spatula … without it breaking (this consistency is really important!)
- Now fit a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle and fill with the mixture
- Pipe equal sized rounds onto baking paper (I printed a macaron template from the internet and placed under my baking paper so they are as identical as possible)
- Bang the baking tray on a flat surface a few times to remove air bubbles, you need to hit it fairly hard
- The macarons now need to dry, this takes 10-60 minutes depending on conditions but please be patient, this is essential if you want an even bake with good ‘feet’
- While they’re drying turn on your oven, 140c for fan or 160c without
- Once you can lightly press your macarons without having any goop sticking to your finger they’re ready to bake
- Pop them in the oven for 7 minutes, open the door to let out any moisture and then close again for the final 7 minutes (I turn my tray around at the halfway mark as it’s a little uneven in my oven!)
- Take them out and very carefully try to wiggle a few macs, they shouldn’t move at all on their feet if they’re cooked
- Leave them on the paper to cool completely (and I mean completely!) before trying to remove otherwise you’ll have a broken mess and we wouldn’t want that after all your hard work!
- Once cooled I fill with a buttercream (approx 30g butter and 60g icing sugar) flavoured and coloured to match your shells
So there it is! Be brave and have a go, take no shortcuts and I’m confident you will make beautiful macarons too 😀 Don’t forget to share a photo when you’ve made your own xx
EDIT: For reasons I can’t understand mine have started coming out lopsided on my greaseproof paper 😦 However, I bought Lakelands magic mats and they work a dream on there. I’ve also dropped the temp about 10 degrees and cook a fraction longer, it just keeps the rise a little more steady.
Also, until you’ve made a few batches I suggest omitting the flavouring from the shells and only put it in the filling. Adding liquid to meringue can cause problems so I think it’s best to make them without to begin with.