While macarons – not macaroons – may not be the easiest treat to make, they really aren’t as bad as they seem to be. You’ll make a batch, put them in a pretty box, and give them to a friend as a beautiful gift.
This is the basic recipe for macarons, and you can make colored macarons by using food coloring paste sparingly, rather than liquid food coloring.
4 large egg whites (or 5 small)
1/3 cup or 70g caster sugar
1 1/2 cups or 230g pure icing sugar . IF you wish to use icing mixture INSTEAD of icing sugar you will need 1 3/4 cups or 275g icing mixture.
1 cup or 120g almond meal
2g salt (tiny pinch)
Food colouring (optional)
This recipe makes approximately 40 shells or 20 filled macarons
Preheat the oven to 150C
Place egg whites and caster sugar in a bowl and mix with electric mixer until stiff enough to turn the bowl upside down without it falling out. Continue to whip for 1-2 more minutes. How long this takes will depend on you mixer. Add gel or powdered food colouring and continue to mix for a further 20 seconds.
Sift the almond meal and icing sugar and salt twice, discarding any almond lumps that are too big to pass through the sieve. Fold into the egg white mixture. It should take roughly 30-50 folds using a rubber spatula. The mixture should be smooth and a very viscous, not runny. Over-mix and your macarons will be flat and have no foot, under mix and they will not be smooth on top.
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip. Then, pipe 1 1/4-inch circles while holding the bag vertically and close to the baking sheet. Tap the baking sheets twice firmly against the counter to remove any air bubbles.
Allow the cookies to sit at room temperature until the tops are not sticky to the touch. This takes about 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on humidity. Bake for about 20 minutes until the cookies are shiny and rise 1/8 inch to form a “foot.”
If your macarons crack, try rapping the trays on the bench harder or more times before cooking.
Flat or lumpy macarons result from under-mixed and over-mixed macaroon mixture. Macarons should not be hollow. This happens when the oven is opened before they are cooked through or the macaroons being taken out of the oven too early. The under-cooked middle drops to the base.