Hello...it's been a while! Yes, I am still alive. Sorry for my lack of blogging recently, but now I have finished uni FOREVER it means I have all the time in the world to blog away to my heart's content. It still hasn't quite sunk in that it's actually over for good this time and I won't be going back. There's secretly still a part of me that thinks after summer I'll be returning to my beloved Bham and I think I'll refuse to accept it until I've actually graduated. So now there's a huge void of emptiness ahead of me, which I'm not quite sure exactly what I'll be filling it with as of yet, but in the meantime I will bake! And of course, one way I celebrated finishing my exams was by baking. I gave macarons a go for the third time last week and ended up with these pretty pink almondy lovelies.
And I have to say, I was very proud of them. I think it's been my most successful attempt so far and some of them even had the infamous 'foot' that macarons should have, which is basically just a technical name for the ruffly edge at the bottom. The texture inside most of them had that light signature fluffiness and I could have eaten the whole lot myself (but I'd promised to make them for a friend, so I restrained!). Sneaking a bit of my housemate's red food colouring was definitely a good idea, because the vivid colours of macarons is part of their attraction in my eyes. Of course, they were not the perfect macarons and there is still a lot of room for improvement though - they stuck horrendously to the greaseproof paper and I had to literally peel them off and they were a bit wider and flatter than I'd intended them to be. I did manage to resurrect my piping bag and disinfect it from the slug trails though (one thing I will not miss about living in a student house!), which made it a lot easier to make them all a similar size. And making the sugar syrup was a better method, because the paste was far smoother. Finally, the chocolate ganache that sandwiched between the two layers was the perfect choice for finishing them off. I mean, put a chocolate ganache in (virtually) anything and it'll instantly make it taste a thousand times better!
So, yes, give them a go! Because practice makes perfect. And one day I will make macarons that look just like all those ones I saw last year in the windows of French patisseries!
Macarons with a chocolate ganache (makes 20 if piped to the correct size!)
Macarons: (adapted from Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook)
100g icing sugar, sifted
100g ground almonds
100g caster sugar
2tbsp cold water
2 large eggs
red food colouring
Ganache: (from The Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home)
125ml double cream
110g dark chocolate, grated
- Begin by making the macarons and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
- Combine the icing sugar and almonds in a bowl and set aside.
- Put the caster sugar and water into a stainless steel pan.
- Heat gently over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to the boil and boil for a few minutes without stirring, until the it becomes a clear, shiny syrup.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
- Put 1 egg white into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until stiff but not dry.
- Slowly pour in the sugar syrup, beating constantly until you have a shiny meringue.
- Add the other egg white to the icing sugar and almonds, mixing to a thick paste with a wooden spoon.
- Stir in a small amount of red colouring (depending on how pink you want your macarons!).
- Add a tablespoon of the meringue to the paste and beat well.
- Carefully fold in the remaining meringue mixture so it is an even pink colour, but be careful not to overmix.
- Fill the piping bag with the mixture and pipe rounds of about 3.5cm diameters onto each baking tray.
- Set aside to dry for about an hour until a skin forms on top.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150 degrees for about 25 minutes until firm and glossy on top.
- Turn the oven off, but leave the macarons in to cool for about an hour.
- Transfer to a cooling rack with a damp palette knife.
- Now make the ganache by heating the cream in a pan until just boiling.
- Pour over the grated chocolate and stir until it has melted completely.
- Set aside to thicken.
- Once the macarons and ganache have cooled, spread about a teaspoon of the ganache onto a macaron and sandwich together.
- Repeat with all of them and enjoy!