We’ve all seen these little gems in shop windows and wanted to try one. They are beautiful and colourful to look at and make the ideal gift for a sweet-toothed friend. And with cooking time no longer than an hour, anyone can do it!
Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron was created in 1791 in a convent near Cormery. In 1792, macarons began to gain fame when two Carmelite nuns, seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution, baked and sold the macaron cookies in order to pay for their housing. These nuns became known as the “Macaron Sisters”. In these early stages, macarons were served without special flavors or fillings.
Ingredients for 20 macarons
175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large free-range egg whites
75g caster sugar
Approx. 20ml of water
For the filling
150g butter, softened
75g icing sugar
1-2 large free-range egg whites
Approx. 40ml water
You will need a food processor to achieve the best results! And a thermometer if you want to be precise!
- Place half the egg whites, in a mixing bowl with all the ground almonds and icing sugar and mix until you have a very smooth paste.
- Clean the mixer and whisk the remaining egg whites on a low speed.
- Place about 50g of caster sugar and water in a hot pan and dissolve to make a sugar syrup.
- When it reaches high temperature (over 100 degrees), increase the mixer speed and add the remaining egg and caster sugar to stabilise the meringue.
- Once the mixture is close to 120 degrees, reduce the mixer to a medium speed and VERY SLOWLY & STEADILY pour the syrup into the mixer, careful not to touch the hot mixture.
- Once the syrup has been added, increase to a high setting for one minute. If you’re adding food colouring, reduce the speed to low afterwards and allow it to fold into the mixture.
- Turn off the mixer and allow the mixture to cool until it has the rough consistency and viscosity of ketchup!
- Fold one third of the meringue into the almond mixture and mix well. Repeat this two more times until all the mixture has been used. The mixture should be VERY VERY smooth.
- For consistency and best results, place the mixture into a piping bag. If you don’t have one handy, you can make one using baking parchment and a few staples!
- Lay a baking tray with parchment and pipe the mixture into relatively flat circles around 4cm in diameter. Don’t make them too thick as they will rise slightly in the oven.
- Leave to rest on baking parchment for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 130 degrees and place them inside for around 15 minutes. If you want to start the decorating process early, you can always add some tiny crumbs of chocolate on top so they melt into the mixture in the oven. The choice is yours! Just be careful as the more toppings you add at this stage, the more unstable the macaron.
- Allow your macarons to cool before decorating and constructing your sandwich.
- For the buttercream, mix egg whites on a medium speed.
- Melt the caster sugar once again in a pan with water.
- When the sugar syrup in piping hot as before, pour in a SLOW AND STEADY STREAM. Fold in on a high speed for a minute and then stop to cool.
- When its ketchup consistency, add the soft butter in small amounts, whisking each time until fluffy and smooth. If you want to colour the butter cream, do so now and whisk gently.
- Place a small amount in the centre, between two macaron shells and press together gently to evenly spread the mixture.