Ever since being introduced to these tasty little bad-boys by my (far more cultured) friend Genevieve, I've been in love with them. With my first encounter with them being along a rain soaked Ladurée on the Champs Elysees- my view on them has always been slightly romanticised (not that I'm complaining) and I've always been a little scared about trying them out for myself.
However- fear not, having received some pretty awesome recipe books for Christmas (my favourite being GBBO's 'Learn to Bake'), I was able to work out a simple recipe to create a pretty impressive little treat (ignoring the fact mine look a little like whoopie pies...) anyway- the show must go on...
You will need:
- An electric whisk (or a REAL fast arm)
-2 large egg whites
- a good pinch of salt
- 60g caster sugar
- 65g ground almonds
- 80g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence (or you could try other flavours) OR cocoa powder
- Pink food colouring
For the filling:
- 150g white chocolate
- 110g unsalted butter
- 200g icing sugar
- Pink food colouring
1. Add the salt to the egg whites and whisk until the whites are well, white. It will go foamy at first, but should eventually stand up in soft peaks (ooh technical).
2.Add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time- whisking in between. By this point the soft peaks should be stiff and able to stand up alone.
3. Sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar in to the mixture, trying to keep it as smooth as possible- eventually adding the food colouring. Gently fold the mixture together using a wooden/large spoon, in order to not lose any of the air that's been whisked in until you have a smooth and equal coloured mixture.
4. Draw 20 5cm circles (or as many as you'd like- providing it's an equal number- I used a small lid as a template) across a baking sheet- before turning the sheet template over. Use two spoons to dollop the mixture onto the circles gently, trying to keep them as 'shapely' as possible.
5. Bang down the baking sheet onto a worktop to get rid of any air bubbles and leave to stand for 30 minutes so the macarons can form a 'skin'. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and eventually bake for 15-20 minutes until they feel firm to touch. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
6. While they cool- it's filling time! I chose to make a basic butter cream with added white chocolate- fail safe! Mix the soft butter with icing sugar until they form a well blended mixture. Melt the chocolate (either in a microwave or over boiling water on the hob) and blend with the butter mixture. Allow to cool and spread into the middle of your macarons, sandwiching them together- perfect!