Classic French: Macarons

Food

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I learned many things while baking these French treats. The first, and possibly most important, is that they are spelt ‘macaron,’ rather than ‘macaroon.’ They are, according to Wikipedia, different things. These are macarons.

I pinned this recipe months and months ago, but had really been putting off trying it – it looked fiddly, there was meringue, it involved piping – but the Classic French challenge spurred me on. This month’s challenge is the macaron.

Classic French is a baking challenge originated by Blue Kitchen Bakes. This month it is hosted by A Kick At The Pantry Door.

The original recipe by Felicity Cloake can be found here. I filled mine simply with whipped cream, because I wanted a colour contrast between the filling and shell.

I followed the instructions to the letter – I even opened the oven door half way through cooking time to let out the steam – and I thought they worked really well. I couldn’t tell you if it makes a difference to grind the almonds first, but Felicity thought so. The piping was much easier than I thought it would be – in fact, the hardest thing about macarons is keeping them in the fridge for 24 hours. I can confirm however, that it does make a difference.

Ingredients

  • 65g ground almonds
  • 85g icing sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 75g egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 100ml whipping cream

Method

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment, preferably one with circles drawn onto the other side to aid your piping.
  2. Put the almonds in a food processor or spice grinder and blitz for a couple of minutes to make them finer. Add the icing sugar and cocoa and repeat.
  3. Sift the almond mixture into a bowl.
  4. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt. When it is holding together, add the caster sugar. Continue to whisk until stiff.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients, and then beat the mixture vigorously until it’s of a consistency which falls off the spatula.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the piping bag and carefully pipe on to the  using a 1cm nozzle. Pick the baking tray up and drop it on to the work surface a couple of times, then leave to rest for about 30 minutes until the macarons feel dry to the touch: they should not be sticky. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  7. Bake the macarons for 17 minutes until firm, opening the oven door briefly a couple of times during cooking to let off any steam. Once you’re sure they’re cooked, slide the baking parchment off the tray immediately to stop the macarons cooking.
  8. Cool completely on the paper, then carefully peel off: if they’re cooked, they should come away easily.
  9. When cool, whip the cream. Match up equally-sized macarons, and then, using a small palette knife or spoon, sandwich them together with whipped cream. Refrigerate for 24 hours, then serve at room temperature.

By Naomi

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