I've decided to make lots of home-made gifts this Christmas and thought that macaroons would look pretty stacked in cellophane bags and tied with ribbon. So I did a trial batch a couple of weeks ago in case the recipe was rubbish - so hopefully they'll turn out well when I make them the week before Christmas!
I looked for days trying to find the perfect macaroon recipe, some seem harder than others, some you have to leave for a day in the fridge etc etc so in the end I found one in a new cookbook - Home Bake by Eric Lanlard (which is so totally brilliant as well as pretty) and they turned out really well! The recipe was also incredibly easy, don't be scared! I coloured them pink using food colouring (see note in recipe) and filled half with chocolate buttercream and the others with jam to see what would be best. I've now decided for the Christmas ones, I will do 2 types - some chocolate with chocolate buttercream and some pink with jam for colour variation in the bags. Although I'm not sure how long they'll keep, I might have to make them on Christmas Eve! - Also stay tuned for the Chocolate and Pistachio Fudge I'm making for pressies too!
Anyway, the recipe is as follows -
(Makes 28 double macaroons)
100g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
90g egg whites (from 3 large eggs)
100g caster sugar
(For Chocolate macaroons add 15g pure cocoa powder, sifted)
Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar together in a bowl to produce a fine powder (I had to put them in a processor)
In a large bowl, using an electric hand whisk, whisk the wgg whites at full speed until they start to thicken then very slowly add the sugar until they form stiff peaks.
Fold the almond mixture into the egg white, along with your chosen flavouring and/or colouring (note - to make them pink, add more colouring than you think as it pales when cooking. I've heard the food colouring paste is best but I couldn't find it in Waitrose or Sainsburys so just added pink food colouring liquid), using a large metal spoon. You will get a stiff, shiny and smooth mixture.
Using a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain tube, pipe 3cm discs onto a baking paper lined baking sheet. Leave for 5-10mins so they can dry out a little, while preheating the oven to 150c (fan 130).
Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15mins.
As soon as they come out the oven, lift the baking paper and pour a bit of cold water in between the sheet and paper. The steam will help to remove them easily. Cool on a wire rack.
Once cooled, sandwich the mcaroons together with jam/buttercream/ganache/lemon curd etc!