Last year I won a third place ribbon for my chocolate hazelnut French macarons at the Royal Adelaide Show. The recipes for macarons that I have seen on the internet are all very similar in terms of the ingredients used but may use either the French or Italian method. The French method is made by whipping room temperature egg whites with fine sugar. For the Italian method a hot sugar syrup is added to egg whites while beating which cooks the egg whites creating a more stable meringue. I like to use the French method even though it is less stable than the Italian, only because there is one less step in the preparation so requires less time and creates fewer dishes to wash!
Here is my favourite recipe…
You will need:
100g Egg whites
125g Caster sugar/superfine sugar
120g Pure icing sugar
120g Blanched Almond Meal
10g Cocoa (if making chocolate macarons) OR you choice of gel food colouring
Put pure icing sugar and almond meal (and cocoa if using) in a food processor to remove the lumps. Don’t over process! In the bowl of your mixer, place room temperature egg whites and start beating until they become a bit foamy, then slowly stream in caster sugar. Beat until your meringue is thick and shiny. Fold in dry ingredients (and food colouring if using). Now for the tricky bit! You have to mix until when you drop a bit of the mixture it slowly starts to disappear in to the rest of the mixture and doesn’t stay as an obvious blob on the top. Put the macaron mixture in to a piping bag with a 10mm round piping tip or you could cut a 10mm hole off of the tip of a disposable piping bag.
Pipe about 30mm wide circles of mixture on to baking paper leaving space between each one as they will spread a little as they settle. Leave trays in a cool dry place for 45 minutes to an hour until a skin forms and when you touch a macaron it does not stick to you! Place in a preheated oven at 160°C (320°F) and bake for about 13-14 minutes. You should notice little ‘feet’ forming which should be set when your shells are properly baked. Allow to cool on the tray.
Once cooled, you can fill your shells with the filling of your choice. I like to use ganache which you can make using equal quantities of cream and good quality dark chocolate. Put the cream in a saucepan and heat until you see some bubbles coming up, then pour over the finely chopped chocolate and sit for about a minute before whisking together to form a bowl of glossy delicious ganache. Allow it to cool and thicken to a consistency that you can pipe on to one half of your macaron shells and sandwich together.
Note: Store in the fridge (they are best the next day). Unfilled shells store well in the freezer!
The method pictures are from a batch of passionfruit macarons I made.
I wish you macaron success!