Deep breath, I decided to make French Macarons for the first time ever today. I’d never even tried them before but they’ve always really intrigued me, so I bought a twelve-pack of mini-macarons from Marks & Spencer and they were the nicest things I’ve ever eaten! So light, crispy but spongy on the inside, and the vanilla ones were my absolute favourite, so I decided to make them for myself. There were also chocolate and raspberry, but I thought that for my first attempt I’d keep it simple, and then maybe next time I’d experiment with different flavours, or even try to make vegan French Macarons, which I’ve heard is a possibility…
I looked up so many different recipes (and videos) to ensure I got them as good as possible, but these were the ones I ended up following; I used the recipe from this website (though I’ve changed a little, like the icing, I thought it would be easier to provide a recipe for a more simple ‘butter’ icing), and I watched this video a few times just for good luck – they were actually easier than I thought to make, just a little complicated and lengthy. I’m so happy that I finally tried them though, I’ve wanted to for absolutely ages, and it’s my birthday coming up in a few weeks, so I’m going to make them again (hopefully even better next time) for all my friends, who are coming over for cakes and cocktails :)
I’m so proud of how they turned out! They were really quite yummy considering it was my first attempt; they didn’t have ‘feet’, and they were a little cracked, but they tasted great, so if you’re thinking about making Macarons, but you’re too nervous, then I say go for it! Put aside a few hours to make them though, they’re really time consuming, so perfect for a rainy day! I also took a few photos that go through the key stages, so you can see what they should look like at certain points.
Also, I didn’t buy enough icing sugar to make the ‘butter’ icing, so mine are filled with chocolate spread, raspberry jam or lemon curd, but I’ve put a recipe for it on anyway :)
For the Macarons
85g of ground almonds
150g of icing sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
65g of caster sugar
One teaspoon of vanilla extract
For the ‘Butter’ Icing
140g of vegan margarine, softened
280g of icing sugar
One to two tablespoons of dairy-free milk (I used almond milk to compliment the ground almond Macaron cookies)
One teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Cut sheets of baking paper to fit two large baking trays.
- Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together thoroughly to make a sort of ‘flour’, then set aside.
- Beat the egg whites with an electric beater until they are foamy. Gradually add the caster sugar to the egg whites and beat on high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about one minute. Add the vanilla and stir lightly. When the meringue is stiff, firm and has a glossy texture, it is done.
- Add half of the sifted ‘flour’ mixture from step two, fold it with a spatula, scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl. Add the rest of the flour and fold it lightly while forming a circle. When it’s all incorporated, you should have a light, sloppy batter.
- Attach a one cm tip to a piping bag. Twist the bag to hold the tip tightly, this prevents the batter from leaking out. Place the piping bag, tip first, inside a deep measuring cup and pour in the batter. Hold it tightly at the top, and squeeze the batter onto the trays to make circles. Make small circles since the batter tends to spread.
- Rap the baking sheet firmly against the counter or other flat surface. This helps the macarons hold their rounded shape and helps the pied, or little “foot,” to form.
- Let dry at room temperature, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes. A slight crust should form on top. If the batter circles do not stick to your finger when you touch them, the drying process is complete.
Baking the macarons
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
- Put one tray on the top shelf, and one on the bottom, and bake for 7 minutes, then swap the trays over and bake for a further 7 to 12 minutes, until they’re a very light golden brown.
- Place baking sheets on wire racks to cool. When the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the baking sheet.
- For the ‘butter’ icing, beat the margarine in a large bowl until soft. Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth, then add the remaining icing sugar with one tablespoon of the almond milk, adding more milk if necessary, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Lastly, mix in the vanilla.
- Pipe a small amount of the icing onto half of the Macaron cookies, then sandwich them together to make traditional French Macarons!
Makes 16 Macarons (i.e. 32 cookies, to make 16 finished Macaron sandwiches)