I can’t resist macarons. They’re so tasty and they’re really fun to make! These mix two of my favourite flavours – chocolate and stem ginger. They’re very moreish.
My all time favourite are hazelnut praline macarons – a recipe I got from my friend Clare of the Little Bear Cakery. She taught me everything I know about macarons, and I credit my continuing success with them to her utterly brilliant base recipe below.
For around 20 macarons, you need:
- 90g egg whites
- 105g caster
- 137g ground almonds
- 125g icing sugar
- 7g egg whites (you fold these in after the first lot)
- 120g icing sugar
- 110g soft butter
- 50g cocoa
- 100g crystallised stem ginger
- First of all, weigh out the first batch of egg whites. Be very precise! If you’re using freshly separated eggs you may want to beat the whites with a fork first so you can transfer little bits in an out if needs be. Using a standmixer or an electric whisk, beat the whites until soft and very fluffy – don’t overbeat to the point of being very stiff.
- Turn the speed up to medium high and add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time, gradually until it’s all incorporated. Turn the speed to high and beat until you have soft to stiff peaks. You want a quite stiff mixture but you still want some movement in the mix.
- Sieve together the ground almonds and icing sugar. Don’t worry if not all the almonds go through – just chuck those in on top. You’re sifting to put air into the mix as much as you are getting out lumps.
- Fold the icing sugar and almonds into the egg whites until well combined.
- Weigh out the 7g of egg whites (it will be a tiny amount!) and beat with a fork until frothy. Add to the mix and fold in. This helps create the perfect texture.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a round nozzle. Line two large baking trays or cookie sheets with baking parchment. You can put a small blob of mixture in each corner to stick the paper down.
- Pipe out small macaron blobs. You want to hold the bag still, squeeze, and then move the nozzle away in a flat motion. This helps avoid little peaks. If you end up with peaks, pat them down with a light fingertip.
- Once you’ve piped all the macarons, lift the trays and drop them about 2 feet onto a hard service. Banging them in this way helps knock any large air bubbles out that may make your macarons a funny shape.
- Now leave them for 30 mins to set. After 15 mins, turn your oven on to 150°c. This needs to be very precise – use an oven thermometre if you have one. My shelves are all different temperatures and I could only bake them one tray at a time on one specific shelf. Bake for 10-13 mins until crisp – you should be able to gently tap the top without them breaking or squidging. Cool on a wire rack.
- While they’re cooking, make the filling. Beat the soft butter with the sugar until smooth, then add the cocoa. Use a mini chopper to blitz the ginger until you have a paste. Add the ginger paste to the buttercream. It will give it a bit more of a crunch than normal buttercream.
- When the macarons are cold, carefully take them off the parchment. You may want to use a palette knife.
- Match each half to a partner of equal size and shape. Line them up in pairs.
- Pipe a small amount of filling smoothly across each half, then gently stick its partner to it. Carry on until you’re finished. If you have an odd number, pipe any leftover frosting onto it and stick it in your mouth for chef perk!
- Line an airtight container with a handful of rice and a layer of kitchen roll and carefully place all the macarons inside. The rice helps absorb any moisture and keeps them crisp. Pop in the fridge. They’re best eaten the following day, or according to Clare, they freeze beautifully!
Enjoy with a cup of tea! They make gorgeous gifts too, especially when nestled in tissue paper.