Tuesday, 1 January 2013
I have finally manned up and had an attempt at making macaroons! They were made for part of my best friend, Jasmine's, Chritsmas present and didn't turn out so badly. I did look at a couple of articles on making macaroons before I started making them which helped an awful lot!
I used the French method to make them which seemed to work for me. Maybe one day I will also try the other method to compare which is easier and has better results though. The French method takes a little less technical work but you do have to let the macaroons rest for between half an hour to an hour before popping them in the oven.
I did read that it is better to have one or two day old eggs so you can do this by separating the egg whites and storing them in the coldest part of the kitchen (usually this is the back of the fridge). When I made them I didn't have time to 'age' the eggs so in order to imitate this effect a good tip is to separate the eggs and microwave them on medium/high for 10-20 seconds.
Here is the basic recipe for the standard macaroon:
3 egg white (or 100g weighed)
50g granulated sugar
200g powdered sugar
110g ground almonds
Whisk the egg whites and granulated sugar together until you get stiff peaks. If you the eggs slide around the bowl when you try and turn the bowl upside down then you should keep whisking. Once the eggs start defying gravity then stop whisking! Now sift the icing sugar and almonds together. I used already ground almonds but if you want to be fresher then feel free to measure out 110g of almonds and put them in a processor with the powdered sugar and grind it all up to a powder and then sift it in a bowl. Next is a crucial stage; mixing the egg whites into the almonds and sugar. Once you over mix this mixture it can be a disaster! At first you should incorporate the mixture with fast strokes because you do need to break down the mix but after about 20-30 strokes start to slow down so that you can get a feel of how the mix feels. You should be aiming for a smooth mix and if you put a small amount on a plate the top should flatten itself. If there is still a peak then keep mixing but go slower because it is better to under than over mix.
If you are wanting to add colour or flavours to the mix you should add them right after you start to incorporate and break up the mixture as this means it gets fully incorporated without needing to over mix. Powdered flavours and colours work best as adding extra liquids might make the mix weird! I added liquid lemon flavour but I only added a little bit so I don't think it affected the mixture too much.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe circles on greaseproof paper on a baking tray, making them about 1.5in in diameter. A good idea is to draw out the circles before hand so you can get them the right size although keep in mind that this mixtures spreads, something that I obviously did not think about!
Once the macaroons are piped you need to let them rest for about an hour in order to rest and this helps create the 'feet' you see in macaroons. You know when they are done resting when you are able to touch the top of the macaroon and it is not sticky because it has created a 'skin'. Once you achieve this pop them in a preheated oven at 300 Farenheit or 148 celsius. They will be cooked in about 10-12 minutes, depending on the size you make them. Once they are cooked leave them to cool before filling them.
The filling that I made for these was a buttercream, with some lemon flavouring, as Jasmine wanted something lemony! You can be quite creative with the fillings with buttercreams, ganaches, jams and spreads!
Since I haven't actually eaten a proper macaroon I don't know how mines compared to the French proper ones but I would for sure recommend making them because they are very yummy! =D