I always thought that macaroons would be really difficult to make, require a lot of patience and be really time consuming.
With the current popularity of this delicious, dainty, French treat, I decided to have a go. Using recipes from the Roux brothers, Laduree, and Ottolenghi; with my assistant, Robin, from Wendlebury, I set about perfecting a recipe that worked for me. Like many things I found that the process was much simpler than I had imagined, they were fun to make and not really that time consuming.
The recipe below is for a straight forward chocolate macaroon, I have experimented with a few different flavours, all chocolate based. You will find the variations at the end of the recipe, along with suggestions for other flavours. Have a go and enjoy these luxurious French delights.
This recipe makes 18 – 20 macaroons. If you make more then you will need to adjust the cooking time (less) and if you make less the cooking time will be slightly longer. It is really important to weigh your ingredients accurately.
70g egg white (approx whites from 2 large eggs)
50g caster sugar
110g icing sugar (I use organic icing sugar which has no added ingredeints, so it is a bit lumpy)
60g ground almonds
20g cocoa ( I use Green and Blacks, the quality is fantastic)
70g dark chocolate (I used Green and Blacks dark cooking chocolate)
15g slightly salted butter
70ml double cream
1 tsp water (you can substitute this with brandy or rum)
- Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3.
- Prepare two baking trays by cutting some baking parchment to fit on the bottom of the trays (you are going to bake the macaroons on the tray bottoms – upside down.
- Make the macaroons first, combine the icing sugar and ground almonds.
- If you have a coffee grinder, grind them (in 3 or 4 batches).
- Add the cocoa and sieve these 3 ingredients into a bowl.
- Combine the egg whites and sugar in a clean, dry and grease-free bowl and whisk together (best with a hand held whisk) until they are stiff and hold a soft peak.
- Add 2 Tbs of the dry mixture to the egg whites. Combine well, but gently.
- Add the remainder of the dry mixture and fold in gently until completely combined.
- Place the mixture in a piping bag with a plain nozzle (or a stiff plastic bag which you will cut a corner off to pipe through).
- Use a little of the mixture to fix the baking parchment to the trays.
- Pipe little round blobs onto the baking trays. Pipe 36 – 40. They will spread a little so leave room around each blob. Make sure they are all the same size.
- If they have little peaks on the top, gently flatten with a palette knife.
- Leave the blobs (uncooked macaroons) on the side for 15 – 30 minutes. They need to set a little. If you don’t “rest” them for a while, the surface may become bubbly or split.
- While they are resting, make the ganache. Gently melt the chocolate (don’t let it get too hot). When melted, stir in the remainder of the ingredients – set aside to cool.
- Place the set macaroons in the oven. They will take between 9 and 12 minutes to cook. It is important not to over cook them. They are cooked when gently risen, slightly cracked at the bottom and when gently lifted almost come off the baking parchment.
- Remove from the oven as soon as they are cooked and gently slide the macaroons on the baking parchment onto a cooling rack (this is why you cooked them on the bottom of the tray) – you want them to stop cooking as soon as they come out of the oven.
- Leave the macaroons to cool and then very gently ease them off the baking parchment.
- When completely cool, spread a little ganache onto the bottom of a macaroon disc and press two discs together.
- These will keep in the fridge for a week. Remove from the fridge for 1 to 2 hours before eating – best at room temperature. They are best left for at least 6 hours before eating (if you can resist them!).
Variations I have tried:
- Add some ground cardomon (about 1/2 tsp to the macaroon mix), substitute 2 Tbs of very strong coffee to the ganache (leave out the water and some of the cream).
- Add some raspberry essence to the ganache mixture.
- Add very finely zest from 1 lime to the macaroon mixture, and then add 1 small red chilli, very finely diced to the ganache mixture.
Variations I would like to try:
- Substitute the ground almonds with ground hazelnuts, and add some orange zest to the ganache.
- Make a plain (non chocolate macaroon) and flavour it with raspberry, fill with raspberry butter-cream.
- Make a plain macaroon, add some poppy seeds. Fill with orange butter-cream.
- Flavour a plain macaroon with rosewater and fill with butter-cream with ground pistachio……..