Today I lost my Macaroon-making virginity!
I’d been a little apprehensive about making these. They seemed fiddly and Mum tried an expensive Donna-Hay box mix a while back and whilst they tasted ok, were a complete flop (Quite literally. As in, they were like pancakes made from sugar).
I used a recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly High Tea cook book. Sometimes I’m lazy with following recipes, but not this time! I am obviously NOT a macaron (or macaroon, whatever side of the fence you sit on) expert, but I am fairly sure it’s the kind of recipe that needs to be followed closely to turn out well.
The recipe used egg whites, caster sugar, icing sugar, fresh strawberries, ground almonds, and a little food colouring to give them a nice pink finish.
(This was my favourite part! The pink egg whites looked so beautiful!)
One thing I was confused about was the difference between almond meal and ground almonds. I found almond meal in my cupboard, and after googling, was left confused as to whether it was the same as ground almonds. Since I couldn’t be bothered to ground almonds myself, I used the almond meal and they turned out fine – good texture and taste great. So if you’re wondering the same thing, from my experience I believe they may be the same thing. (Or at least interchangeable).
The oven turned them a little orange, and the pink wasn’t as strong as they appeared in the recipe book. Perhaps they needed more food colouring, though I suspect it is more likely a problem with the oven (i.e. I cooked them too long or my oven just cooked them really badly). Our oven is not the greatest – we got kitchen renovations and our trusty old (but ugly) oven was replaced with a hopeless new (but beautiful!) oven. I have had multiple baking disasters in there – it seems to have a mind of its own. Collapsing cakes are not a fun thing!!!!!!
(Fresh out of the oven – quite orange. Colour definitely settled down after a little while.)
The recipe used jam rather than ganache to sandwich them together. I didn’t want to spend all day making them so that suited me just fine!
Things I learnt:
- Don’t touch them for at least 15 minutes when you bring them out of the oven! I pulled the top off a couple doing this.
- Get a largish (1cm) nozzle for your piping bag – I only had a tiny round one and it turned out ok but meant some of my sizes were a little off and shapes a little odd!
- Watch them in the oven – they cook quickly and sometimes your oven can be hotter than it says. If they start to look like they’re burning (turning brownish at edges) – take them out!
- Leave them to rest for at LEAST half an hour and bang on your bench to tap out air bubbles – One tray I bumped and had to touch up – they didn’t get to rest as long and didn’t turn out as great as the others.
I was really pleased with the end result! For my first time making macaroons, I was quite impressed!