My husband said I am stubborn! I say I am tenacious. When I want to do something, some inexplicable force from Darth Vader possesses me and it becomes a mission. I will not give up until I am completely satisfied with the result. Always in a good way though (that’s my version). This character trait hasn’t got me in any trouble so far so it’s here to stay…
My first attempt of macaron-making was not a total disaster (depending on who’s telling the story). The taste was good (although I slightly suspect that my willing ‘guinea pigs’ were being nice in providing their feedbacks) however, the shells were although colourful, they magically ended up in different odd shapes and sizes.
The second attempt was an Adriano Zumbo packet mix. Again, the taste was delicious but I think I beat the life out of the meringue mix and the mix became a little runny and it wouldn’t stay within the small round shaped pattern on the baking sheet. Consequently after baking, shells were looking emaciated and unhealthy as if they belong to a Giorgio Armani fashion show runway.
The third attempt was almost perfect and I am absolutely ecstatic. The mission is almost accomplished. The macarons look perfect and the imperfection is hidden behind the scene. (I can almost pretend that all went well). I was only able to use 90% of the shells because whilst baking, some shells cracked due to the air from hollow piping. I have decided to make it a Tiffany-blue colour using the same recipe as my first attempt but I have included the lessons learned from the previous first and second attempts.
Here are the pictures of my third time lucky:
Meringue Mix – Perfect Texture
Tiffany Macaron (and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg)
Here’s the recipe I used (again):
175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large free-range egg whites
75g caster sugar
For the filling:
150g butter, softened
100g icing sugar
2 tbsp of fine dessicated coconut (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3. Whizz the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor to a very fine mixture, then sift into a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar until thick and glossy. (At this point you can stir in flavour extract, such as peppermint or lemon, and corresponding colouring such as blue or yellow, to your meringue mixture, depending on what kind of macaroons you want – see chef’s tip. Or divide the meringue among different bowls if you want to make more than one colour.)
3. Fold half the almond and icing sugar mixture into the meringue and mix well. Add the remaining half, making sure you use a spatula to cut and fold the mixture until it is shiny and has a thick, ribbon-like consistency as it falls from the spatula. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle.
4. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Pipe small rounds of the macaroon mixture, about 3cm across, onto the baking sheets. Give the baking sheets a sharp tap on the work surface to ensure a good ‘foot’. Leave to stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to form a slight skin. This is important – you should be able to touch them lightly without any mixture sticking to your finger. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
5. Meanwhile, make the filling/s (unless making chocolate macaroons – see chef’s tip). In a bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the icing sugar. (You can now add flavouring or nuts, and colour.) Use to sandwich pairs of macaroons together.