Macarons Made Easy!

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The French really know their stuff.

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Cheese, patisserie, you name it, they have it down.

Unfortunately French cooking and especially French baking seems to scare people a little. It’s all too fancy and complicated, or at least it may seem that way.

Well today I would like to blow this dated conception out of the water (or should I say out of the channel?) and prove that even delicate French treats are nowhere near as finicky or difficult as they may seem!

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Obviously I’m not implying that you’ll be whipping up Paris Brest, Tarts au Citron or copious Croquembouches just yet but I can certainly help you overcome your fear of the delicious little treat that is the macaron. More specifically, a lovely array of little marbled raspberry macarons sandwiched with tangy raspberry curd.

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Not to be confused with the Lee’s coconut macaroon bars us Brits are used to, French macarons are delightfully crisp and chewy meringues made with ground almonds and sandwiched with a creamy filling. The chewy centre is to die for and there is no denying that these are a light and wonderful indulgence, however we usually have to pay an arm, a leg and several vital organs just to buy some from a French patisserie!

So, save yourself paying £7 just to taste four little macarons and make a whole batch for yourself with ingredients you will mostly have in your cupboards anyway by following this new recipe of mine!

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This recipe makes 26 little raspberry macaron sandwiches, you can make larger macarons if you like but you may only get 18-20 in that case.

First, look out a large spotlessly clean bowl (you will need either a hand-held electric whisk or a food mixer for this one, I wouldn’t recommend making these by hand!).

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Plop your 3 egg whites into the bowl and whisk them on high speed until they hold stiff peaks.

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Once holding stiff peaks, add a small amount of the food colouring and continue whisking on high speed adding your caster sugar one spoonful at a time until the whites are glossy and holding peaks again.

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Sift the icing sugar into the bowl, followed by the ground almonds and another few drops of food colouring. By adding a second lot of colouring now, you can get a nice marbled effect of your macaron shells!

Use a metal spoon or spatula to very gently fold the sugar and almonds into the meringue until just combined, the volume will decrease naturally but try not to knock out too much air.

If you don’t like the darker ribbons of colour, you can mix until they blend in but I quite like the homemade finish it gives them.

Next, line two baking trays with greaseproof paper, look out a piping bag and fill it with your meringue mixture.

Snip the end off the piping bag and pipe 52 little circles of pink meringue equally along your baking tray, leaving a little space between each to allow for spreading. If you can’t quite get 52, at least make sure you have an even number so that you don’t end up with an array of perfect macarons and one lonely little halfling!

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Once you’ve used up all your mixture, gently tap the trays against your work surface to allow any air bubbles in the macarons to escape.

Now leave them to rest for 30-60 minutes and go make yourself some lunch, this resting time helps give them their distinctive crispy top.

Preheat your oven. Once at the right temperature, pop one of the trays in to bake for 12-15 minutes until the macarons are crisp on top and have risen slightly.

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When the first batch have baked, place the tray of macarons on a wire rack and allow them to cool completely, now bake the second batch in the same way.

Once baked and completely cooled, you can sandwich these babies up! Please do make sure they’re totally cool before you try to lift them from the greaseproof paper, I’ve destroyed many a sticky-based warm macaroon by disobeying this…

Gently lift the shells from the greaseproof paper and look out your filling. Raspberry jam would work wonderfully in these but we had a jar of this lush raspberry curd from one of my favourite preserve companies – The Cherry Tree, who also make great jams and chutneys – in our cupboard and I just had to use it!

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Simply spread a little filling onto the flat side of one shell…

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Then pop another shell on top! Easy peasy!

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Now just repeat this until you have a collection of gorgeous little treats that look like they were much more complicated to whip up than they really were.

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The final step? Eat them of course! Feel free to share or whatever but these macarons are ideal for keeping all to yourself to snack (read as gorge) on during the day, trying to convince yourself that you have much more class and spare cash than you really do…

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Bon appetit!

Macarons Made Easy!

Macarons Made Easy!

Perfectly crisp and sweet little French raspberry macarons made simple!

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 115g ground almonds
  • 220g icing sugar
  • Red or pink food colouring (preferably paste rather than liquid)
  • Raspberry flavouring/extract (optional)
  • A jar of raspberry curd or good raspberry jam

Instructions

  1. Place your 3 egg whites into a large clean bowl and whisk them on high speed until they hold stiff peaks.
  2. Once holding stiff peaks, add a small amount of the food colouring and continue whisking on high speed adding your caster sugar one spoonful at a time until the whites are glossy and holding peaks again.
  3. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl, followed by the ground almonds and another few drops of food colouring.
  4. Use a metal spoon or spatula to very gently fold the sugar and almonds into the meringue until just combined, the volume will decrease naturally but try not to knock out too much air.
  5. Next, line two baking trays with greaseproof paper, look out a piping bag and fill it with your meringue mixture.
  6. Snip the end off the piping bag and pipe 50-52 little circles of pink meringue equally along your baking tray, leaving a little space between each to allow for spreading.
  7. Once you’ve used up all your mixture, gently tap the bottom of the trays against your work surface to allow any air bubbles in the macarons to escape.
  8. Now leave them to rest for 30-60 minutes, this resting time helps give them their distinctive crispy top.
  9. Preheat your oven – 170 degrees for conventional ovens or 150 degrees for fan ovens.
  10. Once at the right temperature, pop one of the trays in to bake for 12-15 minutes until the macarons are crisp on top and have risen slightly.
  11. When the first batch have baked, place the tray of macarons on a wire rack and allow them to cool completely, now bake the second batch in the same way.
  12. Once baked and completely cooled, you can sandwich the macarons.
  13. Gently lift the shells from the greaseproof paper and look out your filling.
  14. Simply spread the flat side of one shell with a little filling and sandwich it with another shell.
  15. Continue to spread and sandwich until you have a complete batch of macarons.
  16. Enjoy!

*You can easily change the flavour of these macarons to whatever you like!

http://maverickbaking.com/macarons-made-easy/

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