I love making macarons. They are beautiful, tasty and you can fill them with an infinite variety of ganaches and fillings. Since teaching how to make them at my Kitchen Complements cookery classes, I have found a great fail-safe recipe, which I am giving you today. For ideas to fill these, you can choose from my raspberry and rose or my dark chocolate ganaches. Maybe you prefer the salted butter caramel filling or for a tangy taste, lemon curd would get your preference. If none of these tickle your fancy, then why not a beautiful white chocolate and olive oil emulsion infused with vanilla seeds?
Please refer to my previous post on macarons shells for some tips on how to make successful macarons before making the recipe.
Source: Macarons inratables for the shells and A 2 mains Cap délice for the ganache
Makes about 100 shells
160g ground almond
160g icing sugar
140g egg whites
180g caster sugar
Food colouring of your choice (preferably in powder or gel form to avoid changing the texture of the mixture)
200g white chocolate
75g single cream
85g Extra virgin olive oil (choose a very good quality olive oil with a mild taste)
1/2 vanilla pod
- Line the baking trays with baking paper or silicone sheet (you need 4 baking trays)
- Take out all the ingredients (egg whites a few hours in advance) and tools needed: silicone spatula, piping bag + round nozzle, pastry scraper, scale and a big bowl.
- Mix together the ground almond and the icing sugar in the food processor (Thermomix: 5 sec/speed 6). Don’t overheat the powder though! Alternatively, sieve the mixture. Tip out and reserve in the big bowl.
- Beat the egg whites until they start to foam and there’s no more liquid at the bottom of the bowl, and then add 1/2 of the sugar. Continue whisking until the whites start to firm up and form soft peaks Add the other 1/2 of sugar. Continue whisking until the sugar is totally dissolved (taste a little bit to check) and add the food colouring (quantity is up to you but add a small amount at a time until you’re satisfied with the result).
Stop whisking at this stage and add the ground almond and icing sugar.
- Now use a silicone spatula to fold in the almond mixture. Cut in the middle of the bowl with the spatula and turn the bowl a 1/4 to the left (if you’re left-handed, then to the right) while lifting the mixture. Once the almond/sugar is roughly mixed in, change the spatula motion to a fold and then scrape gently the top of the mixture. Continue doing this until all the almond is mixed in. Now you don’t have to be too delicate here as you want the mixture to be well mixed and it should form a ribbon when pouring it from a height.
- As soon as this is done, put the mixture in a piping bag with a round nozzle (about 1 cm wide). Evacuate any air out of the opening of the piping bag using your hand or pastry scraper and push the mixture towards the nozzle to remove air bubbles.
- Hold the piping bag firmly in your hand as shown in the picture and move to your ready lined baking tray
With the nozzle about 1 cm away from the tray (at a 45 degree angle) pipe out a small amount of the macaron mixture (about a walnut size). You should have 25 to 30 shells per tray.
- Continue piping a line of macarons well spaced (they will spread out while resting). Tap the tray firmly against the workbench to remove any air bubble trapped.
- Let the macarons rest for up to 1 hour at room temperature. Check it is dry by slightly touching one macaron: it shouldn’t stick to the finger.
- Preheat your oven at 150C (even less if your oven tends to overheat).
- Add the tray with the macarons and cook for about 10 minutes (again, check them through the window to make sure they don’t get yellow). You don’t need to use 2 tray in this recipe as it is fail-safe and the feet will form with just one tray.
- To see if they are cooked, slightly move the top with your finger. If it moves away from the feet, it’s not done. If both stay together, they are cooked.
- When they’re cooked, leave them out for a few minutes before carefully lifting them out with a thin spatula.
- Ganache: heat the olive oil with the seeds of the vanilla pod 5 min/70C/speed 2. Leave to cool completely (you can leave the pod in the oil and remove when cool). Tip out and reserve.
- Melt the white chocolate and the cream in the TM bowl 5 min/50C/speed 2.
- Add the olive oil and mix 1 min/speed 3.
- Place in a piping bag and leave to cool in the fridge for 20 minutes before piping into your macarons shells.
- Store the macarons in an air-tight container in the fridge for at least 1 day before eating (I know it’s torture but they are much, much better after a day or 2 as the flavours will have developed!). They also freeze very well…
- Tip: to make the golden shimmer look on the shells, I have sprayed them with an edible shimmer bronze spray (I used gold shimmer for the paler ones), available in specialised shops. Place them in a cardboard box before spraying to avoid redecorating your kitchen!
At the moment, I spend most of my time in the kitchen practicing for my cookery classes. Since I’ll be doing a Macarons class in May, I got a head-start practicing these because they can be quite finicky and I also need to make sure I can do those in less than 2 hours! I have already given you the recipe for chocolate, lemon and salted butter caramel ganache, here is one using fruits: raspberry and rose ganache. It’s absolutely delicious with a slight hint of rose going through it, which marries very well with the raspberry.
For the macarons, follow the recipe here or here.
50g white chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
30g single cream
70g raspberry puréed and sieved
1 or 2 drops of rosewater
Single cream (weight depending on the ganache weight)
- Boil the cream, then add 1/3 at a time onto the white chocolate while mixing vigorously with a wooden spoon, a bit like making mayonnaise. The mixture must be shiny and smooth.
- Add the rosewater (careful, less is more with rosewater!) and raspberry coulis, mix well but try not to add air into the mixture.
- Leave to cool in the fridge for a few hours.
- Weigh the ganache and add half its weight in single cream. Whip together until it thickens and forms soft peaks.
- Fill the macarons and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating (I know, the torture of it!).
I posted a recipe of macarons on this site before with a step by step. This recipe is a bit different because we are doing an Italian meringue instead of a French one. An Italian meringue is a meringue cooked with a sugar syrup at 118C. The French meringue is simply a meringue beaten with caster sugar until glossy. When using Italian meringue, you also have to add unbeaten egg whites to mix with the ground almond/icing sugar. I find the meringues made that way have a better shape but the sugar content is far higher! Also, I have learned not to fiddle with different colours with any batch of macaroons as there is a high risk of over-beating the mixture and ending up with flat macaroons as I sadly experienced during my month certificate. Just add the colour to the meringue while whisking and you’ll avoid that pitfall! Please refer to the step by step with pictures as the process is the same for any macarons after the meringue is made and ready to mix. I will give you the classic way to make macaroons (without Thermomix) and the Thermomix version. Just remember to have everything ready before starting (including the trays and all the bits and bobs you will need along the way) as once you start, you have to look after these babies without any interruption (they are very demanding little buggers!)
For the macarons:
100g egg whites (about 3 egg whites left at room temperature)
300g ground almonds
300g icing sugar
125g egg whites (to mix with the “tant pour tant”: mix of ground almond/icing sugar)
300g caster sugar
Food colouring of your choice in powder form
For the Chocolate Ganache
400g dark chocolate (either in callets or ground with your Thermomix)
250g single cream
1 tbsp of any flavouring you like: coffee essence, Kalhua, rum…)
(Lemon macarons are made with a Lemon Curd filling)
- Make sure you have everything out before starting the macaroons: a spatula, a stand mixer or hand whisk if not using Thermomix, a saucepan, a 1g precision scale, a piping bag with a large round nozzle, at least 2 trays (4 is better). If using 4 trays, place 2 on a grid at the 2 lower shelves of your oven. No need to preheat just yet. If using 2, just place one in the oven (lowest shelf). You will need to have the trays that are not in the oven lined with either greaseproof paper or silicone sheet. Have a large bowl and a sieve ready also. A food thermometer is also useful if making the sugar syrup (no need if using Thermomix!).
- For the non Thermomix Method: sieve the weighed ground almonds and icing sugar together into a large bowl. Mix with 125g of egg whites and set aside.
- Whisk the 100g of egg whites until fluffy and white.
- Meanwhile, place the water and 300 caster sugar in a saucepan and stir a little before bringing to the boil (make sure there is no sugar stuck on the side of the pan). While boiling, check that no sugar was spat on the side, if it happens, use a brush dipped in cold water and brush the sugar back down. This step is necessary to ensure there is no cristallisation.
- When the sugar syrup has reached 118C or more (it’s ok if it’s a little higher but do not let your syrup colour!), pour slowly on the beaten egg whites while whisking at low speed until the whole syrup is used. Continue whisking at high speed to cool down the meringue (touch the side of the bowl and you will see it is quite hot to start with). The cooling down can take a while, so if using a hand mixer, you will end up with a very muscley arm 😉 Stop when it is below 25C. Add your colouring while whisking the meringue until you’re happy with the intensity (the colour always goes paler after it’s cooked).
- Now, it’s time for the macaronage: use a third of the meringue to loosen up the ground almond/egg white mixture. At this stage, you can mix quite vigorously.
- Next, add the rest of the meringue and fold it gently using a spatula with the almond mixture. You should make a round movement starting at the center of the bowl, then dragging the spatula along the side of the bowl to lift the mixture up and back down again. Turn the bowl after each folding motion.
- When the mixture is ready, it should form a ribbon when you pour some from your spatula (see step by step).
- Place in piping bag with nozzle in, remove any air pockets by smoothing with the edge of your hand).
- Pipe the mixture at a slight angle and with your nozzle almost touching the greaseproof paper/silicone sheet. Make your rounds smaller than you want them as they will spread a little. Make sure you leave enough space between each macaron.
- Lift the tray and tap it strongly against your worktop a couple of times to burst any air bubbles.
- Let them dry for 30 min to an hour (they should not be sticky when touched with your finger).
- While they are drying, preheat your oven at 150C for light coloured macarons to 170C for dark ones. I used a fan oven so I am not sure of the temperatures if using a conventional oven (gas ovens are absolute no-no for making macaroons!).
- Place cold trays on the trays you have placed in the oven before starting (the doubling of trays will help the feet forming) and bake for 11 min for small macarons at 150C (8 min at 170C) and 15 min for bigger macarons (12 min at 170C).
- Let them cool down before lifting them up with a hard spatula.
- You can store them in a plastic container with a lid for up to a week.
- To make the chocolate ganache: boil the cream in a saucepan. Add the flavouring, stir and pour over the chocolate. Mix until it’s all melted (you might need to reheat gently if some of the chocolate is not melting and the mixture is cold). Place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and spread it with a spatula. Cling film and leave to cool 30 min at room temperature. Place in a piping bag (no need of a nozzle) and pipe on one macaron shell and place another shell on top and press slightly. Leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating to soften the macarons).
Macarons with chocolate ganache
- Thermomix version: sieve ground almonds and icing sugar (you can make your own icing sugar with Thermomix by mixing granulated sugar 20sec/speed 10). Mix with the 125g of egg whites.
- Only use 150g of the sugar needed to make the syrup. With Thermomix, we don’t need to make a syrup as you can whisk your whites while heating at the same time. You’re gaining lots of time and effort!
- Place 150g of granulated sugar in the TM bowl and turn it into icing sugar (see step 1).
- Tip out and reserve.
- Place the butterfly whick in the TM bowl and measure 100g egg whites.
- Whisk for 5 min/speed 3/70C with measuring cup OFF and when it starts foaming, pour a little bit of the icing sugar.
- Continue adding more icing sugar, about 20/30g at a time until all absorbed.
- If the 5 minutes are not over, turn off the speed and press the ON/OFF button to clear the temperature setting. Continue whisking at speed 3 with no temperature until the light under the 37C is off.
- Proceed as in the classic recipe above from step 6.
Macarons with lemon curd filling
Macaroons are a little high maintenance in that when you’re making them, you should devote all your attention to them and not disperse yourself on other tasks. That said, they are definitely within reach of everyone as long as you organise well before starting. Make sure you have all the ingredients and tools on the worktop (including the baking trays) so that when the mixture is done, it is not sitting there waiting. One more word of caution, if you are going to do a lot of patisserie, I would advise getting a very precise scale (1 g precision) as measurements are far more important than for other types of cooking.
To succeed in making macaroons, it is important that you follow the advice below.
- Use “aged” egg whites, i.e. egg whites that have been separated at least 3 days in advance and kept in a hermetique box (like a tupperware or any clean plastic box with a lid). Don’t worry about the freshness of the egg whites as they will be cooked. If you are not going to make macaroons within the next 3 weeks, then I would advise to freeze them (they freeze very well).It is better to let the egg whites reach room temperature before starting. This, along with the above point, is to liquify the whites so they get really firm when beaten.
- Make sure you either sieve the ground almond/icing sugar mixture or you mix it in a food processor. This is to remove any lump.
- Macaroons need to be piped on the baking tray (lined with either a silicone sheet or baking paper) at least one hour before baking them. This is to allow for a crust to form on top and will ensure the top of the macaroon is nice and smooth. Also, tap the tray on a table/worktop once to remove any bubble that would have formed while piping.
- Use 2 trays stacked on each other when baking the macaroons. Leave one in the oven while preheating and slide the other with the piped macaroons on top. This will form the “colerette” (the crown that is so typical of macaroons).
- Finally, know your oven. Especially if you’re going to use light colour for your macaroons, make sure the oven temperature is not too high. This would discolour the macaroons and you would end up with yellowish macaroons!
Update: I have realised that the proportions given for the ground almond and icing sugar were wrong so I have modified accordingly.
200 120g ground almond
200 220g icing sugar (you can make it in Thermomix)
90g egg whites
Food colouring of your choice (preferably in powder form to avoid changing the structure of the mixture)
For the Ganache :
150g Butter caramel
- Prepare the ganache in advance to allow it to cool down.
- Line the baking trays with baking paper or silicone sheet (you need 2 baking trays + 2 that will stay empty for cooking)
- Take out all the ingredients (egg whites a few hours in advance) and tools needed: silicone spatula, piping bag + round nozzle, scale and a big bowl
- You can make your own icing sugar in the Thermomix by mixing the 200g of sugar at speed 10 for 1 minute.
- Mix together the ground almond and the icing sugar in the Thermomix (20 sec, speed 6) or a food processor (not a blender) to remove any lump. Don’t overheat the powder though! Tip out and reserve in the big bowl.
- Clean the Thermomix bowl and dry thoroughly. Put the egg whites in the TM bowl and put in the butterfly whisk
- Leaving the measuring cup off, whisk on speed 3.5 (don’t set any time)
- When the whites start to foam, add 1/3 of the sugar through the hole. Continue whisking until the sugar is absorbed then add the second 1/3 of sugar. When the egg whites start to firm up, add the last 1/3 of sugar. Continue whisking until the egg whites are really firm and add the food colouring (quantity is up to you but add a small amount at a time until you’re satisfied with the result).
- Stop whisking at this stage and carefully remove the whites from the bowl with the spatula into the bowl where the ground almond and icing sugar mixture is sitting.
- Now use a silicone spatula to fold in the almond mixture. Cut in the middle of the bowl with the spatula and turn the bowl a 1/4 to the left (if you’re right-handed, to the right otherwise). Continue doing this until all the almond is mixed in. Now you don’t have to be too delicate here as you want the mixture to be well mixed and it should form a ribbon when pouring it from a height.
- As soon as this is done, put the mixture in a piping bag with a round nozzle (about 1 cm wide). Evacuate any air out of the opening of the piping bag using your hand and push the mixture towards the nozzle to remove air bubbles.
- Hold the piping bag firmly in your hand as shown in the picture and move to your ready lined baking tray
- With the nozzle about 0.5 cm away from the tray (at a 45 degree angle) pipe out a small amount of the macaroon mixture (about a walnut size).
- Continue piping a line of macaroons well spaced (they will spread out while resting). See picture to see how to arrange them on the baking tray.
- Let the macaroons rest for 1 hour at room temperature
- Preheat your oven at 150C (even less if your oven tends to oevrheat) with an empty baking tray in it. It’s important to do that (as mentioned in the points above) so the crown is formed while they cook.
- Add the tray with the macaroons on top of the empty tray and cook for about 10 minutes (again, check them through the window to make sure they don’t get yellow)
- When they’re cooked, leave them out for a few minutes before carefully lifting them out with a thin spatula. Don’t worry if they look a bit too soft underneath.
- Fill them with your ganache and store in an air-tight container in the fridge for at least 2 days before eating (I know it’s torture but they are much, much better after 2 days as the flavours will have developed!). They also freeze very well…