After getting quite a few requests for a macaron tutorial, here it is. After many, many batches I have learned what works for me. Here are some tips that I’ve learned along the way:
1. Age the eggs whites. Seriously. You will end up with wafer-thin shells with no feet (the airy edges on a macaron are called feet). Age them in a bowl, lightly covered in your refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. In a hurry? Microwave them for 10 to 15 seconds, being careful not to cook them. You just want to dehydrate them.
2. Practice your piping skills. It will come in handy when it’s time to make identical sized shells. If you’re using baking paper use a stencil to pencil in some perfect circles that can help guide you.
3. Do not over mix or under mix. The batter should have a thick and ribbon-like consistency.
4. Sift. You won’t regret it. It will help you get flat, shiny tops.
Now, let’s begin. You’ll need a few bowls to get all your ingredients in order.
Here are the ingredients for the meringue.
The recipe says, “Mix the ground almonds, icing/powder sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor and process for 15 seconds.” I usually skip that bit and just mix them all in a bowl. It’s up to you if you want to do that extra step. I’ve tried it and the results were the same if I hadn’t.
Sift the mixture into a bowl. Line two baking sheets with baking paper or a Silpat.
Mix the egg whites. When they start getting foamy gradually add in the caster sugar as you’re mixing. Continue mixing until the egg whites look like shaving cream.
Fold in the almond mixture into the meringue one third at a time. When all the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, continue to fold the mixture until it forms a shiny batter with a thick, ribbon-like consistency. Test your batter: spoon out a bit of the batter and place some on the baking sheet. The batter should relax and no peaks should be visible. If you have peaks, fold your batter a few more times. Test again if needed.
Pour the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm/.5 in plain nozzle. You can cut the tip off a baggie and use that if you don’t have a piping bag. I personally use a cool piping gun. It’s resusable and easy to clean. You can get one from Amazon.com, if you’re curious.
Pipe 32 shells. Tap the baking sheet firmly onto a work surface. This allows air bubbles to escape. If you’re after perfect looking shells, take a toothpick to fill in any visible holes. Now leave the shells at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This time will allow for the tops to dry a bit and keep them from rising too much in the oven.
Pre-heat the oven to 160C/325F/ Gas Mark 3. Since all ovens heat differently you might need to do some batches for trial and error. My oven cooks them perfectly at 140C, for 12 minutes. The recipe I use suggests you cook them 10-15 minutes. I find it’s better to overcook them by a minute or so than to undercook them
Now for the ganache.
Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Break up the chocolate into squares and put them into the saucepan. Continue mixing until chocolate has melted and is throughly mixed with the cream. For an extra treat throw in a half teaspoon of ground espresso. Yum! Allow the chocolate to cool for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. I often put it in the fridge and take it out when it’s time to pipe the shells.
Once the chocolate is ready, pipe it and sandwich the shells. Tah-dah!
Hope I’ve made the steps clear. This is just one of many ways you can make macarons. Let me know if you have questions and I’ll be sure to help.