Impress your friends and family by whipping up a batch of delicious Raspberry Ripple and White Chocolate macarons using this very simple 10-step macaron recipe!
If you've tried and failed before, do not despair. Yes, macarons are temperamental creatures and sensitive to the elements. Macaron batter loves air and hates moisture. Sound like goobledy-gook? Let me explain!
Why does macaron batter love air and how does this recipe ensure optimal air is incorporated into the batter?
As there are no raising agents used in authentic French macarons, such as baking powder or bicarbonate of soda, macaron recipes need air incorporated during crucial steps to help the cookies rise when baked. These crucial steps are:
1. Grinding almond meal and icing sugar till very fine so that heavy 'grains' don't weigh down the mix
2. Sifting the ground almond meal and icing sugar to fluff up with air
3. Whisking egg whites to a fluffy airy meringue
4. Controlled folding technique to make a uniform batter using the meringue and almond-icing-sugar mix while preserving air
Why does macaron batter hate moisture and how does one eliminate moisture?
Moisture, quite simply put, weighs the macaron batter down and 'flattens' the batter, making it difficult to bake and rise evenly and to achieve pretty 'feet', the all-important and iconic frill along the edge of the cookie which is also a definitive feature of the French macaron. While there are no ways to eliminate moisture on the whole there are certain measures that help to control it:
1. Ageing egg whites: stale or old albumen has less moisture than fresh. Separate your egg whites a day in advance and leave at room temperature covered lightly with cling film
2. Avoid liquid food colouring and use gel paste colours to add colour to the batter
3. Depending on the season, turning the heating or an air-conditioning unit on will reduce atmospheric moisture. Alternatively, domestic dehumidifiers also help drawing out moisture
4. If it's a particularly wet and dank day with humidity off the charts, say 85%+, consider baking gluten free cupcakes instead!
Keeping these two fundamentals in mind and a digital thermometer in hand, you'll feel a lot more confident following this fool-proof macaron recipe, and also super pleased with how delicious they are:
For 40 macarons you'll need the following:
150g ground almonds
150g icing sugar
150g granulated sugar
110g egg whites
1g red gel paste colouring
Raspberry and White Chocolate Ganache
60g fresh raspberries, pureed
200g white chocolate, chopped
1. Line 3 heavy-based baking trays with baking parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar together into a mixing bowl.
3. Measure half of the egg white in a small bowl and mix in the red food colouring. Pour it over the almond-icing sugar mixture.
4. Whisk the remaining egg white using an electric mixer on medium speed.
5. Simultaneously, bring the water and granulated sugar to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Check that the syrup reaches 118 degrees Celsius with a confectionary thermometer before pouring it slowly into the mixer bowl while continuing to whisk the egg whites. The meringue is ready when it has stiff peaks and the mixer bowl is just warm to the touch.
6. Using a spatula, fold the meringue in gently with the almond-icing sugar mix. Aim to reach a smooth cake batter-like consistency within 30 to 40 folds. Prepare a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle and carefully fill in the batter.
7. Pipe the batter slowly into ‘£2 coin’ sized discs spaced an inch apart, onto the parchment lined trays. Tap the trays 2-3 times on the work surface to remove any trapped air bubbles and let rest for 20 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
8. Melt the white chocolate slowly in a bain-marie over medium heat and mix the raspberry puree in. Set aside till it cools to room temperature then place it in the fridge to chill.
9. Put the trays in the oven to bake for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, bring the trays out of the oven and transfer the sheets onto a cooling wire rack. When completely cooled, peel the meringue cookies off the paper and pair them up to size.
10. Fill a piping bag with the ganache, pipe onto half the shells flat side up, then sandwich with their respective halves and chill in the fridge. Et voila! If you can restrain yourself, macarons taste best when chilled for a day and then brought to room temperature before devouring.
Photos: Cal Wootton