There are two ways to make macaroons, the first ceated a rough shell and the other a shiny finish on the shells; this is the shiny shelled version. Macaroon making is labor of love & takes a lot of patience; this is a little warning to those about to embark on the journey. I have made them many times & often had them split, do not be discouraged, follow every step with precise accuracy and you should be fine!
For the macaroons
125g icing sugar, sieved
125g ground almonds
2x 1 large egg white or 50g ( these will be used at different times)
110g caster sugar
Food colouring paste ( you can get this at Squires Kitchen Craft, WARNING: do not use supermarket bought food colouring as it will cause shells to split)
Selection of jam, lemon curd, Nutella etc for fillings ( its nice to match the colours you choose for your shells)
In a food blender wiz up the icing sugar & almonds, leave on for longer than you think, about 1 minuite or until both are reduced to a fine dust. Sieve this mixture into a large bowl; throw away any grainy bits of almond left in sieve.
To this mixture add one of the egg whites and stir into a paste, then add the desired amount of food colouring paste. Mix so colour is even and place bowl to the side.
You must multi task at this stage. In a saucepan, place the sugar & a dash of water, simply to dampen it. Place your thermometer in the mixture and turn on the hob to a medium to high heat.
On the worktop, put an egg white into a medium bowl, and whisk with a hand mixer at a medium speed. Watch the thermometer on the hob, as soon as the temperature reaches 105°C turn the speed up on the hand whisk to maximum. Stop whisking when the sugar syrup reaches 115°C, the egg whites should be light and fluffy and easily form peaks. With the hand whisk on slowly pour the hot mixture into the egg whites and keep mixing for a few minutes until cool, a thick marshmallow liquid will form.
Time to line two baking trays with parchment & macaroon pattern paper. We make pattern paper to keep the macaroons at equal sizes when piping them. Take a sheet of A4 paper & draw around an egg cup or espresso cup, something that’s around 3cms wide, try to fit at least 12 per page, you will need two of these patterns per batch. Lay this pattern paper on your baking sheets then add a sheet of baking parchment over the top, cut to exact size & dab a bit of your mix in each of the four corners to fix down flat.
Using a silicone spatula gently fold the marshmallow liquid into the almond paste. Again make sure the colour is even, try not to overwork.
Spoon this mix into a piping bag, use a 1cm round nozzle. Following your pattern pipe onto the baking trays, just hold the bag still and squeeze until circle has been filled.
Now this is the most important bit…. LEAVE YOUR MACAROONS TO DRY! I know it sounds weird but this is the make or break bit. Leave them for at least 30 minutes, they must get thick so as not to break when in the oven, if you don’t leave them all that work will go to waist! You can tell they are dry enough when you run your finger over them and the mixture does not come away.
Bake them one sheet at a time in the oven at 170°C or 325°F for 15 -17 minutes. Once baked allow to cool fully before carefully removing shells from parchment.
Fill with lovely fillings & serve on a pretty dish!