Macarons

Having always been fascinated about the art of making macarons, I’m proud to put up this little post as a tutorial for those wanting to try this process out. Just to clarify, I’m not talking about those fairly disappointing and overly sweet coconut confections but about the colourful and extremely flavourful french macarons. A thick and shiny shell, a gooey meringue and a silky ganache are only a few of the important attributes of a perfect macaron. So here are the instructions to making your own:

1. Weigh out your egg whites and place them in a mixer on medium-low speed. Weigh out sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil. When your sugar syrup reaches 100C you can begin mixing your egg whites on full speed.

2. When the molten sugar reaches 117C it can be poured on top of the egg white mixture in order to make what is known as an Italian meringue. Make sure to trickle the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl gently while pouring it on the egg whites so they begin emulsifying and not splitting.

3. In a separate bowl mix equal parts of the finely ground nut of your choice (usually it’s almond) and icing sugar. Add egg unbeaten egg whites in order to obtain a fairly viscous mixture.

4. Once your meringue has cooled to almost room temperature (it needs to be whisked with the mixer for at least 5 minutes to come down in temperature) add 1/3 of it to your nut mixture and mix well. Any colour or flavour you want to add should be combined at this stage. Once the mixture becomes a little more fluid and easier to work with, add the rest of the meringue.

5. Mix continuously with a spatula until the emulsion has become very fluid and shiny. You should see your spatula’s trails in the meringue disappearing very quickly. This is the most crucial part of the macaron making process since it defines the sheen and the overall appearance of the final product. If the mixture is too thick then the macarons won’t flatten as much as they should and any piping mistakes become apparent. If the mixture is too thin, the final product becomes very flat.

6. Begin piping the mixture onto a silicone sheet keeping in mind that they will spread during the drying process so allow for ample room between each macaron. Once all have been piped, allow the trays to dry for approximately 1 hour until their tops are firm to the touch and not sticky at all.

7. Bake on a double tray (very important for the rising of the macaron) in order to form the perfect foot for approximately 12 minutes at 140C. Allow trays to cool and place in the freezer as soon as possible.

8. Prepare your ganache and begin piping it onto macaron halves. Make the cookie sandwich and return to the freezer until right before eating. Allow them to thaw out for around 5-10 minutes to enjoy their true flavours but any longer and the meringues become soggy.

9. Enjoy!

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