The method was pretty simple - my main challenge was our little old oven. The temperature gauge cannot be relied on, and as macaroons exude a delicate nature, I thought that temperature was a very important factor. So I popped my oven thermometer in to give me an accurate reading, and it turns out that 250C in our oven is actually only 160C. I'm glad I checked, otherwise I would probably have ended up deflating my macaroons by opening the oven door too early.
The chocolate macaroons were filled with nutella - piping nutella through a tiny star nozzle brought me great satisfaction. There's great pleasure in simple things. I filled the pink macaroons with a strawberry filling consisting of blended fresh strawberries and whipped cream, mixed together.
175g icing (confectioners) sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large free range egg whites
75g caster sugar
for the filling
120g nutella / chocolate spread
100ml double cream
handful of strawberries
1) Preheat oven to 160C / gas mark 3
2) Whizz together the icing sugar and ground almonds until well combined and fine in texture.
3) If making chocolate macaroons, replace 2 tbsp icing sugar with cocoa.
4) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form.
5) Gradually whisk in the caster sugar.
6) Stir in food colouring to the egg mixture - divide mixture into separate bowls if using multiple colours.
7) Fold in half the icing sugar and almond mix using a metal spoon (to keep air in), then fold in second half.
8) Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm round nozzle and pipe 3cm rounds, well spaced out.
9) Leave to sit for 10 - 15mins until a skin has formed on each macaroon
10) Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack
11) Pair up macaroons and sandwich together with a filling of your choice!
Lessons I've learned about macaroon making:
1) Remember to tap the tray to get the air bubbles out to avoid cracking
2) Remember to leave macaroons for 15 mins pre-baking to form a skin on top
3) Add more food colouring than you think you need to - the colour changes during baking