This week I tested out mine and mum’s baking skills with a new challenge: macaroons.
I love baking cakes, and am fairly proud of my carrot cake, chocolate cake and Victoria sponge; but apart from the occasional brownie baking afternoon I don’t really venture into any new baking territory very often.
So I decided to spice things up a little, in an attempt to add to my list of baking beauties. I decided to tackle macaroons, as they’re fairly popular right now in a kitsch sort of way – the cupcakes of 2012, if you will. So here’s the recipe I followed, in case you fancy giving it a try.
It sounds a wee bit complicate but it’s actually not too bad to follow once you’re actually baking.
The macaroons I made ended up looking fairly ‘rustic’, shall we say, but I was pleased with them as a first attempt, and all my friends who I got to taste them were fairly enthusiastic; one of them ate nearly half of all the ones I made, so I must be doing something right.
- 170g icing sugar
- 160g ground almonds
- 120ml egg whites from about 4 medium eggs, separated into 2 equal batches
- 160g granulated sugar
- ½ tsp red food colouring and ½ tsp green food colouring.
For the filling
- Icing sugar
- Sieve the icing sugar and almonds into a large bowl.
- Add the first batch of egg whites to the mixture, until you have a thick paste.
- Tip the second batch of egg whites into a large bowl and have an electric whisk at the ready.
- Place 50ml water and the granulated sugar into a small saucepan on medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup bubbles, at which time start to beat the egg whites on high speed using the whisk.
- Pour the syrup slowly down the side of the mixer bowl, avoiding the moving whisk. Continue to whisk on high until the mixture has cooled slightly and you have a shiny peaked meringue mixture – the bowl should no longer be hot to the touch, but still warm. Add the colouring and whisk the mixture. (I did two batches; one red one green)
- Tip the meringue onto the almond mixture and mix together together.
- Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3-4.
- Line baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag or pour into a food bag and cut the end if you don’t have a piping bag – it works just as well.
- Pipe small amounts (2-3 inches in size) onto the prepared baking sheets.
- Leave to rest for 30 minutes out of the fridge, or until the macaroons have developed a skin.
- Bake the macaroons for 14 minutes or around 8 for a fan oven – keep checking them at 5 minute intervals.
- Immediately slide the parchment onto the work surface and cool for a few minutes before gently peeling the macaroons off the paper.
Voila. You have your macaroons.
Ellis Cameron, Young in Argyll correspondent
Photograph by Ellis Cameron