Learning to make macarons was such a great experience. I've been trying out new flavours sometimes with success sometimes not, but I'm far from admitting defeat....
A few people have asked me for the recipe so here it is, with the tips that I learnt !!
There are lots of things that can go wrong, and there is a lot of trial and error with flavours, oven temp and timings but for me it is all part of the fun of learning what works and what doesn't.
75g aged egg whites
50g fine/caster sugar
135g powdered/icing sugar
90g finely ground almonds / almond flour (sieve the almonds and only use the finer grains)
powdered food colouring (the powdered bit is important !!)
Separate the eggs and age 2/3 days ahead by putting the whites in a bowl in the fridge. Cover the bowl with cling film and pierce the top a few times.
Take the egg whites out of the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Sieve the almonds and icing/powdered sugar together.
Put baking paper over a circular stencil sheet or draw 3.5cm circles on the baking paper, lay out flat on baking sheets.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry and oil free bowl for about a minute and then start slowly adding the fine / caster sugar. Continue whisking until the mixture forms glossy peaks on the whisk. These peaks should stay like peaks when the whisk is turned sideways and shouldn’t droop. Like the first picture - not the second one.
Bake the Macarons at 160C - 180C for about 10 minutes. I know this bit is a little vague but it really depends on the oven you are using. (In my friend's oven it was 180C but in mine at home its 150C with the fan. ) I always bake one sheet at a time as he more things you have in the oven the more difficult it is to get the temperature and timing accurate.
A small foot or ‘pied’ should form on your macaron (if you dried them out properly) and the top should be hard and the macaron shouldn’t move when you press it slightly.
Take the trays out and allow the macarons to cool before sliding the baking paper off the tray.
When they are completely dry you can peal the macarons off the baking paper. This is a better way than plucking them off as it ensures the bottoms stay intact.
Pair the macarons up by side and start filling them with your ganache. Some people like to pipe the filling but I am happier using a small butter knife to spread it as it gives me a bit more control.
They are best eaten the following day but can stay up to a week in a sealed container or up to a month in the freezer.
So Good luck people, have fun with flavours and don't worry, even the disasters taste good, you can always make an Eaton Mess with Ice cream. Let me know how you get along in the comments below.
Add the powdered food colouring to the egg whites and whisk it in so its fully incorporated, this should only take a few seconds, you don’t want to over whisk.
Quickly fold the ground almonds and icing sugar into the egg whites. push the air out of the almonds by spreading the batter around the side of the bowl and removing it again, scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl every time you do this. (around 15 times) This step is called Macronnage. Stop when the mixture is firm enough it drips slowly from the spatula and moves slightly in the bowl.
Transfer the mixture into a piping bag with a plain 8mm nozzle and quickly pipe out the Macarons on the baking paper. Its is best to just put the nozzle into the centre of the circle and allow the mixture to fill the circle.
Bang the sheet onto a work surface a few times to expel any air from the macarons.
Dry the mixture out until it forms a skin on the surface. This can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours in humid conditions.
Chocolate Macarons - you can replace 25g of the icing/powdered sugar with a good quality chocolate powder and omit the food colouring.
Raspberry Ganache Ingredients
70g white chocolate
35g raspberry puree
Simply combine the chocolate and the puree in a bain marie and slowly mix until all the chocolate is melted. Then cool this in the fridge until hardened.
Another thing I decided to do during my time in NYC was to learn how to make pasta. I have a pasta roller and haven't actually used it yet. I have to admit I was a little worried I might be put off by an early failure so thought a cooking class was a great way to be able to learn what the dough was supposed to feel like during the process.
I found Sur La Table online. I have been in their stores before to buy gadgets but hadn't noticed the cooking classes before. They have a full calendar of classes all throughout the day and lots of locations around the US. There was a pasta making class at the Hells Kitchen branch during my second week in NYC so I signed up.
There were only 5 of us in the class and it was very hands-on so we shared out the tasks of chopping vegetables, cooking meat, making pesto and all had lots of practice rolling the pasta. We made loads of pasta, all flat noodles, and three sauces.
The teacher - Lynn - was very patient, answering all our questions, and stepping to help out just before things started to go a bit wrong !!
The best bit of all was getting to eat the fruits of our labour.. fresh pasta is truly amazing and well worth the effort.
I was surprised as how easy it is to make pasta but I know that if I had not done the class I would not of got the texture of the dough right. It needs to be much tougher before the rolling stage than I imagined. I can't wait to get home and get my machine out and give it a try now.
The class costs $69 normally, but luckily I was there when they had a sale so I only paid $33 AND you also get a 10% discount voucher to use in their shop after the class. Its a great way to spend a few hours in NYC and learn a new kitchen skill.
Ganache Macaron - Learning to Make Macarons
I arrived at 10am and was greeted by Paul and Audrey. Their small bakery was already in full swing making hazelnut and chocolate macarons, and I jumped at the chance to taste one.
These were being made for an Estee Lauder company event. Ganache Macarons have produced these delights for lots of big companies and events, and they are very, very good at it!!
These were being made for an Estee Lauder company event. Ganache Macarons have produced these delights for lots of big companies and events, and they are very, very good at it!! I had chosen two flavours that I wanted to make in advance and so a small work station was set up with all the ingredients I needed.
I chose 'Raspberry Ganache' and 'Coffee and Brandy' as my 2 flavours. I figured once I knew how the extra liquid/alcohol would behave I could adapt the Coffee and Brandy recipe to use Lemoncello, Cointreau or Malibu for future experiments. (my family and friends are going to love me even more now) The 'lesson' was with Paul who patiently explained all the process and ingredients to me. Explaining how they only use natural flavours and powdered colours (which gives more vibrant colour to the finished product).
We quickly set to work making the fillings. While these were cooling in the fridge we got started on the most temperamental bit - the Macaron shells. These are fussy little things who don't behave themselves if there is ANY deviation from the recipe (so it is more like rules).
After a short time, which very much depends on the oven, the little treasures were ready to come out.
We let them cool down and then paired them up so both sides are the same. The last step was filling them with the ganache mixture, then we neatly packed them into little boxes that I would be sharing with my husband and friends over the next few days.
They can be kept for up to a week in an airtight box in the fridge, and can also be frozen.
Mine didn't last this long strangely enough !!
The bowl they are whisked in has to be completely clean and dry, the eggs should be aged, when they are whisked they form stiff spikes that don't droop, when you mix in the almond flour and sugar you should do it with 15 (ish) turns of the bowl... That last bit is the only 'ish'.
When they were mixed Paul taught me to pipe them and then we let them rest to form a skin before going into the oven. This skin helps them to form the desired 'feet' at the bottom.
This is probably the step I had rushed in my earlier attempt and one of the list of reasons my Macarons have always failed
Don't be fooled by anyone who tells you that these little bite sized treats are easy to make.
There are lots things that can go wrong with almost every step of the process.... I guess thats why you need to consult a finance expert before you commit to buying a box... well at least in Switzerland you do.
I discovered Ganache Macaron online when looking for cooking classes in London. They were very prompt to answer my emails and 'tweets' and thy had an impressive array of flavour options. I made what my husband would call and 'investment' and booked a private class at their East London bakery.
I absolutely loved this class and would highly recommend it for anyone with a passion for these little treats. Its a great birthday present for a loved one - where of course you will reap the rewards too, and could even be a good company team event. My husband and friends LOVED the Macarons I made during my 3 hours at Macaron Ganache and are all looking forward to me practising with new colours and flavours. These are going to make me very popular indeed !!
Their website can be found by clicking on their name below. If you want to buy you can do so via an online food delivery company as they don't have their own outlet.
Ganache Macaron 402 Railway Arches, Mentmore Terrace, London E8 3PH
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