So I have been away for a while... to be more specific, that was 2 weeks. I know. Apparently my school work keeps on pilling up and I simply didn't have the time to bake. But now I am back (unfortunately for a short while) with a little how-to on making French macarons! I won't go into all of the details on how to make a perfect batch of macarons but I will show you how to make them step by step. Since these delicate treats can be pretty tricky to make, I suggest you go to this website by Food Nouveau which I refer to when my macarons are cracked, have not developed feet or are just not looking like macarons should.
Let's get started on some macaron-making!
You'll need the following ingredients:
From the cookbook, Macarons: Chic and Delicious French Treats
Makes about 20 filled macarons
200 grams (1 and 1/2 cups) icing/confectioners'/powdered sugar
100 grams (2/3 cup) ground almonds
3 large egg whites (put the egg whites in a microwave for 10 seconds to speed up the aging process)
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of sugar
Start by sifting the icing sugar and ground almonds together.
And mix them together well. Alternatively, you could do this in a food processor.
Then whisk the egg whites together with the salt using an electric mixer in a clean mixing bowl.
Keep whisking until it just holds a stiff peak. Try not to overwhisk or this can affect the outcome of the macarons.
Slowly add the sugar to the egg whites, a teaspoonful at a time until incorporated and becomes thick, white and glossy. Try turning the bowl upside down on top of your head to see if it stays in the bowl. If it doesn't and is still runny, continue whisking until it forms stiff peaks.
Then add any food colouring paste to the meringue mixture. I added a combination of two colours, Americolor super red and Americolor deep pink to create a kind of girly look. Mix thorougly to ensure that the colour is evenly blended.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the icing sugar and ground almonds mixture into the egg whites a little at a time until combined.
Now your mixture should look smooth and drop from the spatula like molten mass.
Fill the piping bag with the macaron mixture using a 1 cm wide tip (I just used a plain coupler). Pipe evenly sized rounds on 2 baking trays lined with baking/parchment paper about 5 cm/2 inches across. Also make sure to leave some space in between the macarons otherwise they will stick together after piping. If you want to be sure that every macaron shell is the same size, you could use a round cookie cutter as a guide by drawing circles on the baking paper and flipping it over to pipe on the other side. I piped the macarons myself without a guide but instead tried counting 2-3 seconds for each one. It didn't always work but at least all the macaron shells looked similar in size....
Tap the bottom of the baking trays once on a work surface to remove any large air bubbles. Do this sharply but don't be too harsh. You don't want the macarons to end up losing their shape. Smooth any peaks on the tops of the macarons with a wet finger. Let the macarons set and form a dry shell for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour, until they are not sticky or wet when tested with your finger.
When they are ready, bake the trays in a preheated oven of 170 degrees C (325 degrees F) for about 10 minutes. The tops of the macaron shells should be crisp and the bottoms dry. They should also peel off the baking paper easily but if they stick, put them in the oven again for another 5 minutes. Leave them to cool completely before filling and serving.
Here are my baked macarons and yes, there are some problems with it. Firstly, I overbaked them a little which gave them a tanned colour so make sure the oven is not too hot and don't let them bake in the oven for too long. Secondly, the tops of some macaron shells were cracked. Probably because they have not set long enough to form a dry shell unlike the other ones. Thirdly, there were some shells that stuck together because I piped the shells too close to each other. As I have said before, leave some space in between the shells when piping as they do expand a bit. Try not to make the mistakes I did!
They didn't come out as perfect macarons but they did form feet/crown and were delicious when filled with a home-made vanilla custard. Practice is the key to success! They may be a little tricky to perfect, but when made these treats are certainly rewarding. They are also so versatile and can be matched or combined with different flavours, fillings and colours to suit your theme or preference. Scattering the macarons with sprinkles, other edible decorations or liquid food colouring can add a touch of sparkle to your macarons and turn them into special little treats.
Click here to see the post featuring these macarons from this tutorial.