Saves writing a post each time and boring people who don't want to know about an earl grey and orange buttercream macaron!!
Starting off with a tried and tested recipe that if you follow it to the letter it will work. I am living proof!
I have used Bravetarts receipe over and over again and it never lets me down. Until I found it I had one disaster after another.
The only thing I've done is half the ingredients as I have a very tiny cooker!
So you will need
A baking tray
A piping bag with a round piping thingy
A baking sheet
A whisk/mixer of some sort - I have a kitchen aid
A food processor - for grinding up the almonds as small as they'll go
a silicone spatula
57g ground almonds. If you can't find ground ones you can grind them yourself, but they need to be very fine.
115g icing sugar
72g egg whites ( using this recipe it doesn't matter if they are freshly laid this morning - it will work)
36g caster sugar ( if you don't have caster you can use granulated, but whizz it in a blender a wee bit first to make it finer)
This makes around 20 on the small side macarons
So, here's what I do.
Get out the food processor and process the ground almonds and the icing sugar together. Then sieve them into a large bowl. There may be some bits left in the sieve - just grind them till they all go through.
In the bowl of the mixer put the egg whites, salt, AND the caster sugar in together (yes! at the same time)
turn the mixer to medium (4 on a Kitchen Aid). Whip for 3 minutes. They will not seem especially foamy at this point.
Increase the speed to medium-high (7 on a Kitchen Aid) and whip another 3 minutes, then crank the speed to 8 and go another 3 minutes.
At this point, turn the mixer off and add in any extracts/flavour/colour and whip for a final minute on the highest speed, (and to evenly distribute the colour/flavour). I highly recommend not adding any flavour or colour if it’s your first time.But you can if you want!
At the end of this minute, you should have a very stiff, dry meringue.
( this means the meringue should stick in the balloon whisk!) tap it on the side of the bowl to get it back in with the rest.
If it doesn't clump in the whisk, go for another minute, or until it does.
I know this might seem like overkill but IT WORKS!
It should look like this
Add the dry ingredients, all at once, into the egg whites. Fold in with a plastic/silicone spatula. After about 25 folds it will be clumpy. After about another 15 folds it will be about right. You don't have to be super careful, because you actually want to deflate the mixture. The consistency is very important. You're looking for something like molten lava. If you hold the spatula up the mixture should slowly run off it and incorporate slowly back into the original mixture. You can check it one fold at a time.
Next, you need to transfer the mixture into a piping bag.
Pipe the mixture into circles a little bit smaller than you want as it will spread. Remember to leave enough room between the macarons for this
Bang the baking sheet on the counter a couple of times, turn then bang another couple of times. This is super important as it gets rid of air bubbles.
Now, here's where I don't follow Bravetart's recipe. I let them sit for about half an hour, so that when I touch them they feel dry, almost like a very thin skin has formed. While you're waiting for this to happen you can preheat your oven to 140. This works for me - you may need to experiment a wee bit.
Set timer for 7 minutes, turn tray then set timer for another 7 minutes. If you touch a macaron and it moves slightly on the baking sheet it's not ready - try another minute.
These are the times that work for my oven. You might have a bit of trial and error!
You need to let them cool for a few minutes ( on the baking sheet) then take them off. It might be easier with a metal spatula.
Now that you've mastered the technique there are endless fillings, colours and flavours you can try.
Raspberry and Marscapone
I thought these were terribly grown up!
Lemon Butter Cream
Plain shells, with a lemon butter cream filling.
These were lovely!
For the butter cream.
100g Icing sugar
lemon juice ( enough to make it smooth)
Play these amounts by ear depending on how many macarons you need to fill.
Earl Grey flavoured Macarons with orange butter cream filling.
Follow the recipe for the shells, but for those amounts add one teabag of earl grey tea to the sieved almond and icing sugar mixture. I didn't grind my tea up at all as it was in fairly small leaves, but if you have large leaves you can grind it a bit to make it finer.
Then just carry on as normal.
For the butter cream, the same recipe as before but orange juice ( from an orange!) rather than lemon juice.
I don't think these look as good as the other, but the texture is still right and the flavour is really subtle, but lovely!
I did everything the same as I normally do, except I used different baking paper. The mixture looked fine, it piped well, but once it came to the cooking stage, nothing was going right. I put them in for the usual amount of time and they were colouring - going a wee bit brown - so I turned them as usual and put the temperature down a tiny bit.
You can see how some of them went brown...
And kept cooking them...and kept cooking them... and kept cooking them!
They just didn't want to get ready. Eventually they were in for almost 20 minutes I just took them out! They are still not properly ready, so getting them off the parchment paper is very tricky. I used a butter knife!
They taste good - but I know they don't look right.
So much for thinking I've mastered macarons! That'll teach me!
But they're ok enough to fill, so since I wasn't super happy with them I just bunged in some Nutella! And, wow - it works!
The funny thing is, that if these had been my first attempt, I would have been really happy, but because these are rubbish compared to what I've been making now, I'm really disappointed.
I was down in Auckland and bought some of those amazing fruit powders you can get and strawberry was one of them.
I made the macaron shells as usual but added 2 teaspoons of the strawberry powder to the mix. It wasn't really enough as you couldn't taste it that much.
These shells were the worst disaster ever!
Nothing is going right.
I've racked my brain to think what I could be doing differently and the ONLY thing I can think of is that for the last batches that have been awful, I'm using different ground almonds from a different shop. Could this be it?
I don't know, but tomorrow I'm going back to my original shop and shall see if that makes a difference.
These ones don't even have proper 'feet'
For the filling I made usual butter cream but added a lot of strawberry powder. They may look awful, but they taste amazing!
Earl Grey with raspberry