You think they are called Macaroons not Macarons? Let me tell you the distinction:-
Macaron – egg whites and ground almonds, as these are.
Macaroon – egg whites and coconut, as in Jane Austen’s day.
For further info try Macarons versus Macaroons.
Having got that distinction out of the way, people still call them Macaroons in England, and here in Cape Town, but now I am not going to be inundated with comments on how wrong I am!
So I baked these the other day. Yummy! For the quick and easy recipe I followed, try Easy Macaron Recipe.
You start by whisking the egg whites then adding castor sugar a little at a time till it forms stiff peaks. I don’t have an electric whisk, so did this by hand. (Plus side, burn calories to make space to eat the end result!) At this point, you are supposed to be able to turn the bowl upside down and the whisked eggs stay put.
Obviously I wasn’t going to try this over my own head, so called on the services of a willing helper – my dog Little Monkey.
If you wonder why the photo is blurred; the moment LM saw the food she was eager to clean the bowl for me and leapt in the air towards the upturned bowl! I managed to click and move the bowl out of the way just in time!
Don’t worry; I don’t tease my dogs, and she got a little treat in lieu of the contents of the bowl.
I then added the ground almonds and icing sugar and placed dollops on a tray.
After baking, the un-coloured ones looked like this –
They are supposed to be nicely risen, smooth and with little feet (whatever that means!)
So what went wrong with mine?
Meh, you know I really don’t care, because I LOVE sugar!
But if you really want to know, then here –
- The recipe said to sieve the ground almonds and discard any lumps. Well, I duly sieved my ground almonds. I looked in the bowl and I looked in the sieve. Less than half the ground almonds had gone through the sieve, even with judicious squashing with my knuckles and then the back of a spoon! I looked at the 50g of ground almonds refusing to budge and thought, “What the Heck! You are way too expensive to discard!” So I tipped the sieve over and added the unsieved ground almonds too!!
- I don’t have any piping bags and thought about making one out if a Ziploc bag, but since my mixture was basically solid (see above – unsieved ground almonds!) I easily spooned the mixture onto the tray.
- I don’t have a silicon sheet, or baking paper, so stuck my macarons onto aluminium foil.
- It said to either use a silicon template, or trace circles of the correct size onto your baking sheet (See above – not got!). I really don’t care. Once baked I matched up similar sized macarons to each other. As far as I am concerned, they don’t all have to be identical. Where is their individuality?
- I forgot to add the colour! So since I’d already done one tray, I just added a bit of blue food colouring (the only colour I had) to the remaining mixture. This made it very runny, so my blue macrons were twice the size of my ecru ones!
- It said to leave them for 20 to 60 minutes (depending which recipe you read), so they could get that shine on the top. I read afterwards, that you were supposed to leave them at room temperature. But I had stuck my trays in the fridge, because my dog Little Monkey has been eating food off the kitchen counter lately the moment my back is turned and I didn’t want these going the way of my muffins!
- They were so sweet, which is saying something for me (a sugar-addict) that I did not bother to sandwich them together with filling – aka more sugar!
So there you have it.
My Macarons were (Yep, past tense; all eaten!) crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside and delicious. Just goes to show – you do not need fancy equipment or gadgets.