My fascination with macarons means that I have at least 6 cookbooks dedicated to making them, constant stalking of Adriano Zumbo to see what new macarons he's got in store and of course, a sizeable appetite for eating them. For awhile, I've been planning to do the course at Baroque Patisserie but after many unsuccessful attempts at booking myself a place, I ended up giving it a go at home and you know what, it actually wasn't too bad. Never has my fascination with 'feet' been so great that I actually squealed in delight watching the feet form on my macarons whilst they baked in the oven!
Start with 200g icing sugar and 100g ground almonds and blend thoroughly for 30 seconds in a food processer. For chocolate flavoured macarons, add in 2 tbsp of cocoa powder and blend.
In a large bowl, place 120g egg whites (approx. 3 eggs) and add a pinch of salt. Using a handheld electric beater, beat until they will only just hold a stiff peak. Continue to wish at medium speed whilst adding 40g caster sugar a little bit at a time. Keep in mind that the mixture should be thick, white and glossy. Add a little red food colouring paste to boost the colour of the final macaron.
Using a large metal spoon, fold the ground sugar, cocoa and almond mixture into the egg whites. The mixture should be thoroughly incorporated and smooth.
Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe evenly sized rounds onto a baking sheet. Tap the bottom of the baking sheets sharply once on the work surface to expel any large air bubbles. Leave to rest for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour until they have set and formed a dry shell. They should not be sticky to the touch. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
Whilst the piped macarons were resting, I made my peanut butter filling. To make the filling, put 75g skinned and unsalted peanuts in a roasting pan and toast in the oven for minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 2-3 minutes before finely chopping in the food processor.
Add in 1 tbsp icing sugar, 3tbsp condensed milk, 2 tbsp unsalted butter and a pinch of salt and pulse again until the mixture turns to peanut butter.
Bake the macarons for 10 minutes. Recipe recommends that you do this one tray at a time (as the bottom of the oven is oven hotter than the middle of the oven). I take risks and look, my macarons have feet!
After 10 minutes, you should leave the macarons to cool on the tray. On the RHS is a macaron disc which I hurriedly pulled off the sheet as soon as it came out of the oven. With 5 minutes rest, the macarons actually come off the sheets much easier (see the one on the LHS).
Once the macaron shells have cooled, fill with your choice of filling.
I had mine with peanut butter and jam. The peanut butter recipe could've done with a bit of tweaking - ending up being a little hard and chewy.
I guess not bad for my first proper go at making macarons! I'm very much in love with macaron feet as bizarre as it sounds. I've learnt my lesson to sift every ingredient that I use - the main problem I had was clumps in the batter which meant I was trying to pull these out once they were piped (hence why you see the uneven surfaces on my macarons). Admittedly it's a lot of work to make a small batch of these little things but very worthwhile and satisfying throughout and at the end!