Easy Macarons

Create the perfect homemade macarons every time with this easy recipe. Using the French meringue method, fill with flavour buttercream or chocolate ganache.

Introduction

The best Mother’s Day bake: chocolate macarons sandwiched with a white chocolate and cream filling that is called ganache. They look and taste as if they’ve come from a fancy pastry shop but they are easy if you have an electric mixer. Buy or make a pretty box to present them!

Makes 10 pairs

Ingredients

2 large eggs, at room temperature, the yolks and whites separated*
1 good pinch of salt
60g caster sugar
65g ground almonds
80g icing sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
For the filling:
75g good-quality white chocolate
75ml whipping cream
10g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Instructions

Kit you will need: Large, very clean bowl for mixing; small bowl; hand-held electric mixer; large sieve; large metal spoon; baking sheet, lined with baking paper; 2 medium spoons; wire rack; rolling pin; heatproof bowl; microwave-proof jug or saucepan; wooden spoon; table knife.

You only need the egg whites, so keep the yolks for another recipe. Add the salt to the egg whites and whisk with the electric mixer on full power until the whites are opaque and very thick and will stand up in soft peaks that just flop over a little when the whisk is lifted out.

Whisk in the caster sugar a spoonful at a time. By the time all the sugar has been whisked in, the whites should be able to stand up in stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted out of the bowl. If not, whisk for a further 20 seconds.

Hold the sieve over the bowl and tip the ground almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder into it. Sift them into the bowl over the egg whites by gently shaking the sieve or tapping it with your hand.

Using the edge of the large metal spoon, gently cut down through the whites, folding everything together - take your time and do this gently so you don’t lose any of the air you’ve whisked in - until there are no white streaks in the chocolate meringue mixture.

Draw 20 circles that are 5cm across on the baking paper (use a biscuit cutter or glass to draw around), then turn the paper over on the baking sheet.

Use 2 spoons to dollop the meringue mixture into the circles (one spoon to scoop the mixture and the other to gently scrape it off). Keep the mounds inside the drawn circles.

Lift up the baking sheet, then bang it down on the worktop to get rid of any air bubbles in the mixture. Leave to stand for 30 minutes so the macarons can form a ‘skin’. Preheat the oven to l80°C/350°F/gas 4.

Bake the macarons for 15-20 minutes until they feel firm when gently pressed with a fingertip. Remove the sheet from the oven. Lift the macarons, on the sheet of baking paper, onto the wire rack and leave until cold.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Use the rolling pin to bash up the chocolate into small pieces and put it into the heatproof bowl. Heat the cream either in the jug in the microwave or in the saucepan over low heat until bubbles start to appear around the edge. (If microwaving, check the progress every 10 seconds.) Carefully pour the hot cream over the chocolate.

Leave for 2 minutes, then add the butter and stir gently until smooth and melted. Allow to cool until the mixture is thick enough to spread.

Peel the macarons off the baking paper and sandwich in pairs: use the table knife to spread the filling over the smooth side of one cookie and stick the smooth side of the other cookie onto this. Store in a covered container at room temperature (the macarons taste even better the next day) and eat within 4 days.

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