Macarons; what works for me
Macarons are something I enjoy eating especially the freshly baked ones at Laduree.
I decided to try to make some myself and after about 5 attempts I think I have figured out what works for me. I personally feel that everyone has their own touch on these..following a recipe may not work for you because of several factors including oven, mixture and room temperature.
Here is a collage of my first few attempts. You can see they are oddly shaped or brown or even very hollow.
I have found a recipe that works for me. The sugar content seems slightly less compared to the others one I have seen (not that it matters).
Recipe for 16 Macarons
• 90 grams of sieved ground almond
• 80 grams of sieved icing sugar
• 70 grams of sieved granulated sugar
• 66 grams egg whites (about 2 medium eggs)
- Beat egg white until foamy (just under 2 minutes)
- Add in granulated sugar a bit at a time and beat until the mixture forms soft peaks (around 13 minutes). Start at a low-speed then increase. The mixture should just start to get stiff (so you can turn the bowl over and it wont fall out).
- Add in the gel colour you want and beat the mixture for a minute or until blended.
- Mix the almond and icing sugar together in bowl then slowly fold with into the mixture above. Don’t overmix this bit – just combine the two using the “Figure of 8″ method until the are blended in. Try not to have more than 50 fold.
- Transfer the mixture into a piping bag
- Pipe the mixture onto greaseproof paper on baking tray. I have tried using the silicone trays but they don’t work for me. The best method I have found is draw circles onto a paper then put this under the greaseproof paper that you will be piping onto (see collage above). Once piped slide it out. The circles should be less than 3cm wide.
- Tap the tray gently to get rid of any air bubbles and flatten the macarons slightly
- Let the macarons dry at room temperature for about 1 hour
- Place in preheated oven at 150 degrees for 14 minutes then leave them in the oven for a minute before taking them out. I have found doing this makes them less sticky.
Butter cream is the one filling I use most the time. Measuring one portion of soft whipped butter to two portions of icing sugar along with a bit of milk and vanilla essence gives me a nice texture. (Beat 100g whipped butter to 200g icing sugar then add a tablespoon of milk and couple of drops of essence). Beating the butter first apparently gives you a whiter butter cream ( something I picked up from Great British Bake Off a few years ago).
On a recent batch I made for Diwali, I put a few chopped pistachios in the buttercream. I also added cardamom seeds powder to give it that lovely mithai (Indian sweet) taste.
You can garnish the macarons after you pipe them.
To decorate the macarons after they are cooked, you can either use royal icing or use alcohol (vodka) with a bit of gel food colouring. With the second method, you just need a bit of vodka to thin the colouring. Once you start painting the macaron you will notice that the decoration dries quickly and leaves a great finish. The alcohol evaporates too.
Having two colours:
You can have two colours in the same batch. I split the meringue mixture, added the colours, beat the mixtures separately (step 3), then folded this into the equally divided almond & icing sugar.
My macarons are still not perfect. I need to work on them being fuller and having a smoother top (maybe with having finer ground almonds?). If you have any tips do let me know.