Until very recently, I wasn’t very good at macarons. My few attempts had been either semi successful or total flops. I didn’t have a decent, reliable recipe and my oven (known for having massively different temperatures on each shelf) wasn’t helping things.
My friend Clare, who runs the amazing Little Bear Cakery, has always made the most incredible macarons, so I asked her for a lesson. Clare is a professional pastry chef and she makes the most beautiful cakes. If you’re getting married soon and are looking for a cake, I really recommend checking out her website. She also taught me how to make sugar flowers! More on those in another post, methinks.
She patiently took me through her recipes for macarons, and we made two AMAZING batches. I’ve made them twice since without supervision and I finally feel like I can be relied upon to produce delicious macarons. Huge thanks to Clare for letting me share her recipe on here. You can find more of Clare’s recipes on her blog. She’s SO clever – definitely one of my food idols!!
For around 20 macarons, you need:
- 90g egg whites (I used Two Chicks fresh liquid egg whites but you can use normal eggs if you like – you will need 3 large eggs if you do)
- 105g caster
- 137g ground almonds
- 125g icing sugar
- 7g egg whites (you fold these in after the first lot)
- 150g icing sugar
- 110g soft butter
- 3 tbsp of pure hazelnut butter (available from health food shops, such as Whole Foods and Holland and Barratt – we used Meridian which is very good)
- 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. Add the butter and icing sugar into a mixer and beat until soft and fluffy. Add the nut butter and beat until well combined. Taste. If you want more nuttiness, add more nut butter. Pop into a piping bag with a round nozzle tip – I just washed and reused the one I used for the macarons.
- 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 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! I ate a LOT of leftover frosting last time I made these and it WILL make you feel sick if you eat more than 3 tbsp in one go. Just a friendly warning.
- 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.