So I’ve always wanted to try to bake macaroons, but from everyone I’ve asked they can be a bit challenging. Stupidly I thought that I’d be the exception to this and I’d find them really simple and they’d be perfect…this didn’t happen. I had two attempts at them, the first of which was going perfectly until I added the food colouring (which was water based as I’d read this is best) to the egg whites, which led them to become not only liquid again, removing all the peaks I’d been lovingly creating, but they also turned a weird grey colour. Not lovely pastel pink as I’d been hoping, but an unappetising grey.
So back to the beginning, I started again and thinking it was something to do with the colouring I’d used, I went with a gel-based one instead. And hey-presto! This time they worked! I’ve used a recipe found on the BBC food website, though we’ve found that there are many almost identical recipes so I’m sure others will work just as well.
These are a pale pink in colour (I used purple colouring but after the grey-egg fiasco, I was reluctant to add too much!) but the buttercream filling is a lovely purple colour. I have to say these didn’t last very long at work when I took them in – people love a good macaroon!
- For the macaroons
175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large free-range egg whites
pinch of salt
75g caster sugar
few drops of food colouring
- For the filling
150g butter, at room temperature
75g icing sugar
few drops food colouring
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper (mine made enough for 1 large tray and 2 medium trays).
- For the macaroons, place the icing sugar and ground almonds into a food processor and blend/pulse to a fine, powdery texture.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Gradually add the sugar a little at a time, whisking continuously. Add a few drops of food colouring when all the sugar has been incorporated, and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
- Fold in the almond and icing sugar mixture using a large metal spoon, until the mixture is smooth, shiny and well combined. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a plain 1cm nozzle.
- Pipe small 3-4cm rounds of the mixture onto the prepared trays, leaving a small gap between each one. Smooth the surface of each macaroon if there is a peak. Set aside for 15-30 minutes, or until a ‘skin’ has formed over the surface (the mixture should not stick to your fingers when touched gently).
- Bake the macaroons for 12-15 minutes, or until they are risen slightly and are dry to the touch.
- Remove and set aside for a few minutes, then carefully peel away the greaseproof paper and place the macaroons on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, for the filling, beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth and fluffy. Mix in the food colouring to your preferred shade.
- Fill a piping bag with the buttercream mixture and pipe some onto one side of a macaroon. Top with another macaroon to make a small ‘sandwich’. Repeat with the remaining macaroon shells and filling. (I found it easier to pair them up into similar sizes before sandwich-ing them together, this wouldn’t have been necessary if I had made sure the sizes were all 3-4cm and not got too excited and ended up with a lot of different sizes…)
Enjoy! Let us know if you have any weird and wonderful problems like my grey eggs! I’ve since read that if you’re using an aluminium bowl to whisk the eggs then that can lead them to become grey as the eggs react, but my bowl was stainless steel…so who knows!