Macarons for me are whimsical beings......they choose when to succeed and when to fail! Having tried to conquer them as part of a new year's resolution, I've made them with varying degrees of success. Some tips I've picked up along the way?
#1 – Age is everything! Macs work best when the egg whites are 'aged', so they turn from thick to thin and liquid. Various people leave them overnight on the counter to age/refrigerate them for a few days (always getting them back to room temperature before use). You can also (rather delicately) use the microwave to get them to a similar state in about 10 seconds but you'll need to watch rather carefully. Also, spread and leave the almond meal/flour to 'dry' on the counter for a week or pop in the oven at 150 deg C for 5 minutes to dry!
#2 – Ensure everything is sieved. Sieve the eggs whites before you measure/weigh them. And keep extra on hand in case of emergency (accidents). Sieve the almond meal, and the icing sugar and the chocolate!
#3 – Make it easy to get whole macarons by using a silicone mat/silpat! If you don't have a piping bag, a ziploc snipped at the end works FINE.
#4 – Experts suggest doubling up your baking sheets! So instead of one baking tray, use two! This prevents the bottoms of the macarons from over-baking and over-browning! —Kitchen Butterfly
Test Kitchen Notes
It was great fun to make these macarons. This recipe was clear and easy. I think the main difference from many of the other recipes I've used is the inclusion of a sugar syrup (I think that's what makes it a Swiss meringue?). Everything came out perfectly -- I got feet! The cookies tasted terrific, with the rich Mexican chocolate and a whisper of cinnamon, and the creme was spicy -- in fact, spicy enough, so I didn't add the extra chili seeds as garnish. Two thumbs up. - MrsWheelbarrow —The Editors
Prepare you baking trays by placing one on top the other, before placing the silicone mats/silplats or parchment paper (in case you don't have the other two).
Sieve the almond meal, icing sugar and chocolate together a couple of times
In a mixer, start whip half the egg whites to soft peaks on medium speed.
While the egg whites are whipping, bring the caster sugar and water (to make a syrup) to 117C (or 242F) on a candy thermometer.
Once ready, slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites in the food processor and continue to whip on medium speed until they thick and shiny and are completely cooled (about 10 minutes). This forms the meringue.
Mix the remaining un-whipped egg whites to the sifted almond-icing sugar-cocoa mixture and fold into the meringue in four parts.
Pipe macarons on lined baking sheets, alternating the rows of piped batter.Let your macarons sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, if you can till the tops have dried such that when you touch them, no imprint is left. You can also bake them immediately!
Bake at 140C or 280F for 15-18 minutes. Scream and dance in amazement, when you see the feet. Remember to turn the tray halfway through baking.
When they are ready, let them cool till you can easily remove them off the sheets. If things are getting tricky, use a sharp knife to gently lift them off! For those who use parchment paper, gently lift the parchment sheet (with the macarons) off the tray and dampen the baking tray with water and then set the macaron lined sheet back on the tray. This will help the macs come of easier.
Fill with cream of your choice by placing macaron halves and topping each half with cream. Then place another to create a sandwich and then refrigerate to set (ideally overnight) but if you can't wait......eat straight away!
Chilli Cream filling
Using a whisk, mix the creme fraiche and icing sugar till smooth and loose.
Then add some chili seeds, to the cream mixture, reserving the rest to decorate the edge of each macaron, if desired
For the first 9 years of my life I hated food and really loved sugar till Wimpy (British Fast Food chain) changed my life! These days, all grown up, I've junked junk food and spend my days and nights on a quest - to find and share the sweet, sweet nectar that's food in The #NewNigerianKitchen!
Dreaming, cooking, eating and writing...about and adoring a strong food community that's big and bold enough to embrace the world's diverse cuisines - I'm passionate about celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety.
Why do I love food so? It is forgiving. Make a recipe. Have it go bad....but wake up tomorrow and you can have another go at succeeding! Only with food!