It’s Mothering Sunday! A time when kids of all ages set about spoiling mum, traditionally by making her breakfast. This post was supposed to be a gorgeous homemade granola, honey yogurt and fruit salad parfait that was going to be served at a surprise brunch for my mum-in-law, but plans can change on you even when you thought you had planned carefully. So rather than a brunch we were now going to be doing a tea. As luck would have it I was working on the Saturday before, so I needed something quick and easy to whip together. So I began the great internet search to something that would take no time to pull together while still having a sock knock off-able effect.
But everywhere I looked, no matter how hard I tried to escape it, there was only one baked good that popped up everywhere. French macarons! They are not easy. They are not quick. They are fiddly, pernickety, impossible to get right little (%&$^)*&s! But they’re soft and colourful and pretty and oh so gorgeously feminine and just so 100% perfect for mother’s day they made everything else look … well … clunky. I knew that despite never attempting them before, I had to give it a shot.
- 130 gm icing sugar
- 110 gm ground almonds
- 105 gm egg white (this sounds ridiculously exact, but with these little (%&$^)*&s, apparently you need to be.)
- 65 gm caster sugar
- red/pink food colouring
- 100 gm white chocolate
- 50ml double cream
- some seedless raspberry jam
For the first time here on Fudgingood, we’re going to talk about hardware. You’re going to need two really heavy flat baking trays, parchment paper, a food processor, a hand or stand mixer, a piping bag and a sieve. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to the exact size of the the trays so it lies completely flat and line each tray with them. I knew there was no WAY I could keep the cookies the same size, so I took a sherry glass and used it to draw twenty circles on each piece of paper.
Start by separating your eggs and measuring out the egg white. Now 105gms is about 3 eggs worth of white. Then let the egg sit on the counter for a good long while until it is at room temperature. This helps them gain more volume when you whip them.
Next combine the ground almonds and the icing sugar in a food processor and whiz for about a minute. You’re aiming for a seriously fine, seriously combined powder. Then you need to sieve the powder into a bowl. . . then you need to do it again. . . and again. . . I said they were pernickety already right?
Now beat your eggs until foamy and then bit by bit add the caster sugar and continue whisking until the eggs reach a soft peak stage. Then add in the food colouring.
Now pour the icing sugar/almond mix on top of the eggs and fold in the mix. The folding bit is important. If you stir you will lose all the puffiness. Then add the batter to a piping bag. Then holding the piping bag horizontal to the tray pipe the batter into the circles. Then bash the trays on the counter top three or four times to rid the batter of air bubble that will cause your precious beauties to crack rather than form beautiful shapely domes.
Now heat the oven to 150°C BUT leave the cookies out on the counter for half an hour to form a skin that will stop them from spreading. After half an hour lower the temperature to 130°C and put the trays into the oven. Put the macarons in the oven to cook while the cools from 150°C to 130°C. Leave them to bake for 15 minutes and then swap the trays around to ensure even cooking and bake to a further 15mins. After half an hour try and lift one of the cookies from the paper. If it’s cooked it will lift easily, if it’s sticks, put it back in the oven for 5 minutes and then test again. Once they’re cooked remove from the oven and let cool before you fill them.
To make the ganache chop the white chocolate finely and put into a bowl, then heat the cream to boiling and pour it over the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to melt for a minute or so and then whisk to combine the two and let the mixture cool. While it ‘s cooling pair each of the macarons by size and add about half a teaspoon of jam to one of them. Then add the cooled ganache to the other half and sandwich together.
So there you have it. It turns out they actually are easy and they’re quick and I will certainly be making them again, because they will leave you SERIOUSLY sockless, but they’re still fiddly little (%&$^)*&s,
Confession Time: Now as you can see from the pic above, the chocolate ganache is sticky and doesn’t really want to play the game, so I filled half the macarons with Chantilly Cream. What I only discovered when cleaning up was that if you mix the ganache with the whipped cream you get a light fluffy piece of heaven to fill your macarons. I HIGHLY recommend trying it when you make your next batch. I’m certainly going to.