Inspired by all those lovely Pinterest images, I decided to try my hand at macarons. Notoriously tricky to bake, I have to admit my first batch isn’t perfect. I wished that the colour had been darker and a sweeter filling would have been more to my taste. Whilst the process wasn’t as intricate as I had thought it would be, there are a few lessons I learned and tips that I can share.
Ingredients for macaron:
- 100 g Almond meal, sifted
- 120 g Icing Sugar
- Pinch of Cream of Tartar
- 2 egg whites
- 50 g Castor Sugar
- 2 ml food colouring
Ingredients for filling:
- 125 g Cream Cheese
- 50 g Icing Sugar
- 3 Strawberries, macerated
1. Prepare your baking tray by lining it with baking paper and spray it with non-stick spray.
2. Sift together the almond meal and icing sugar, at least twice.
TIP: Don’t force any almond meal through the sift, rather leave larger pieces behind. I forced some pieces through which should’ve been left out and it does make a big difference in the texture. Rather use less almond meal than larger pieces.
3. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then add the Cream of Tartar and castor sugar.
4. Beat until hard peaks form and then gently fold in the almond meal and icing sugar mixture as well as your flavouring and colourant.
TIP: Colour it darker than you normally would as it loses a lot of the colour in the baking process.
5. Pipe out a few round shaped macaron shells on your prepared tray. Try spacing it equally and to stick to one size.
TIP: Using baking paper with a grid print is a easy way to space your macarons and to match their size. Flatten any ends created by the piping process with a spoon as it might not fall flat on its own.
6. Give the baking tray a gentle whack on the kitchen counter underneath all rows of macarons.
REASON: Whacking it releases any trapped air through a small bubble that pops. Failing to do this might result in the cracking of your shells.
7. Set the oven to 160C and leave the macarons outside whilst the oven preheats, for about half an hour.
REASON: Leaving the shells out to harden allows your macarons to create those “feat” on the bottom, whilst the shell should be smooth.
8. Bake for 6 min on one side and turn around before baking for another 6 min on the other side.
REASON: Most ovens are warmer at the back than near the door. Remember that you want it to be crispy on the outside but slightly moist on the inside.
9. Place on wire rack to cool before filling it.
10. Mix together the icing, cream cheese and strawberries. Spread equally on half of the macaron shells and top with a second shell.
TIP: Pair macaron shells beforehand as it is easier to find a matching size before the filling is added.
Other flavour combinations I think would be great:
- Coffee flavoured shells filled with caramel
- Lavender flavoured shells filled with buttercream icing
- Lemon flavoured shells with lemon curd filling
- Orange flavoured shells with dark chocolate filling