Macaroons that are as good as the store brought ones! If not better.
I first learnt to cook macarons in my Year 12 Food and Technology Class. They were raspberry macarons that my Mum still talks about to this day as one of the best things I’ve ever made. Thanks Mum. Then a few years later when I was travelling through Paris and wanting to do a French cooking class, that was also gluten free I discovered a macaron class. It was amazing to learn how to make macarons from the pros, and this is recipe is based on what I learnt that day.
It uses the Italian meringue making method. I’ve found that it achieves consistently good result if you hit all the pressure points. This means heating water and sugar on the stove to an exact temperature and then adding it to softly beaten egg whites, beating consistently the whole time. Similar to what you’d do if you made nougat.
Some things you’ll need:
- A candy thermometer- unfortunately, this recipe isn’t possible without this. As you need to get the sugar syrup to the exact right temperature for the overall texture.
- A piping bag and 1cm piping tip – you can buy piping bag kits at Coles or Woolworths.
- A digital kitchen scales – you need to weigh all the ingredients accurately.
- A stand mixer – you need to have the mixer running when you’re adding the sugar syrup to the egg whites. That’s not possible to do unless you have a spare set of hands.
- Optional – a print of a macaron piping template from google. You can use it to pipe uniform shaped meringues.
Some tips before you start:
- Age the egg whites – this dehydrates them slightly. They lose some of there elasticity and you will get a stiffer meringue. Do this by separating the eggs 24 hours before making, and leave the egg whites covered in a bowl at room temperature.
- The temperature of the sugar syrup – 118 degrees Celsius is the key here. You need this for the overall texture of the final macaron.
- When you’re pouring the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl do it in a slow, steady stream. Some of the sugar may crystallise on the side of the bowl – don’t stress about this. Just try and aim for the side of the egg white mixture and avoid the beater to prevent splattering.
Also a top tip for your left over egg yolks in this recipe – make lemon curd!
I hope you enjoy.
- 125g pure icing sugar
- 125g almond meal
- 100g egg whites (aged*) – in two 50g portions
- 2 drops of orange gel food colouring**
- 1/8 tsp coffee essence
- 125g caster sugar
- 30ml water
- SALTED CARAMEL:
- 100g caster sugar
- 165g thickened cream
- 15g salted butter
- 70g butter, room temperature
- Sea salt flakes – too taste
- Sift almond meal and icing sugar into a medium sized bowl. Use a spoon to push the almond meal through.
- Add 50g of egg whites, the orange food gel and the coffee essence into the almond meal/icing sugar mixture. Don’t mix them just yet.
- Add the other 50g of egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whip attachment. (Make sure the bowl is clean, fat will inhibit the egg whites from forming stiff peaks). Don’t mix yet.
- Put the caster sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Stir once or twice then bring to the boil. When it starts boiling start whipping the egg whites to a soft peak. Bring the syrup to 118 degrees Celsius (using a thermometer). Remove from the heat and let cool to 115 degrees Celsius.
- Keep the mixer running and slowly add the sugar syrup in a thin steady stream. Keep mixing until the meringue is glossy, thick and the mixing bowl cools down. The mixture will be at 50 degrees Celsius.
- Mix a third of the egg white into the almond/icing sugar mixture. Stir to combine well. Then carefully fold through the rest of the whipped egg whites. Be gentle you don’t want to beat out the air. The mixture should resemble magma when finished.
- Put the mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle. Pipe rows onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. You can print a template (heaps online!) to put under the baking paper to help with getting consistent shapes.
- Leave the macarons to stand at room temperature for 45-60 mins. This helps them from a skin. They are ready when the shells are dry to touch and don’t stick to your finger. You can make the salted caramel while you wait.
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Just before baking turn down the oven to 150 degrees Celsius and bake the macrons, one tray at a time for 15 mins. The macaron should peel off the baking paper quite easily.
- Lift the baking paper off the tray and onto a wire cooling rack. Leave until cooled to peel off the macaron shells. It prevents them from breaking and sticking.
- When cool match up the shells by size and pipe filling onto one side. Sandwich the macarons together and store in an airtight container in the fridge. If you can let them chill overnight, the flavour and texture improves after one day in the fridge.
Salted Caramel Filling:
- In a small saucepan heat the cream until it just starts to boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a medium, heavy-based saucepan add 30g of caster sugar. Melt the sugar over medium heat shaking occasionally to help it melt. When it’s melted add another 35g of caster sugar and let it melt. Repeat with remaining sugar.
- When the sugar is caramelised to a dark amber remove from the heat and add 15g of butter. Whisk together. Then add the cream and whisk. Put the saucepan back on medium heat and boil until it reaches 108 degrees Celsius. Whisk or stir occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. Don’t stress if there are some chunks of sugar in the salted caramel to start with these will dissolve.
- Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a bowl. Cover with cling wrap (touching the top of the caramel) to stop a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold before the next step
- Beat the 70g softened butter with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the cooled caramel into two batches until mixed thoroughly. Add a pinch of sea salt flakes (to your taste) and mix through. Cool in the fridge until ready to pipe.
*Aged egg whites – separated and left on the bench for 24-48 hours at room temperature before cooking. ** Use food gel not liquid. The liquid can affect the texture of the shells. I brought mine from Spotlight.