Sweet

Vanilla Macaroons

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I can’t say what made me think to make these although I was expecting these to be much more complicated than they were. That said, my piping of the macaroons does need some practice – there were a mixture of sizes! You can get guides or moulds to help but you could just do your own by drawing around something on the underside of the paper. The recipe I used was from The Baking Bible but there are lots of recipes online that you could use.

Ingredients

Macaroons

  • 75g / 2.75oz ground almonds
  • 225g / 4oz icing sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 50g / 1.75oz caster sugar
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

  • 55g / 2oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 115g / 4oz icing sugar

Start by blitzing the ground almonds and icing sugar in the food processor for about 15 seconds then sift the mixture into a bowl. I found that my almonds wouldn’t all sieve through so when I couldn’t sieve anymore, I just poured them in – I assume my sieve is just too fine!

Line two baking trays with baking paper – as I said above it would be a good idea to draw some circles on the underside to use as a guide unless you are a more proficient piper than me!

Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk until they hold soft peaks, a couple of minutes should do. Then gradually whisk in the caster sugar until you have a firm, glossy meringue – you can rick holding it above your head to check! Lastly, whisk in the vanilla extract – I guess you can use different flavours here if you so wish, or add a colouring.

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Using a spatula, fold the almond mixture into the meringue a third at a time. When everything has been incorporated, continue to cut and fold the mixture until you have a shiny batter with a thick, ribbon-like consistency.

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Pour this mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm / 0.5in plain nozzle. I use disposable piping bags so I didn’t use a nozzle, just cut the end off. Pipe 32 small rounds onto the prepared baking trays – I got around 40 out of mine which shows they were not all a uniform size! Tap the baking sheets firmly on the work surface to tap out any air bubbles then leave at room temperature for 30 minutes before preheating the oven to 160C / 325F / Gas 3.

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Bake the macaroons in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes – keep an eye on these as mine only took 12 but my oven is also hotter than one side so I need to watch this! Cool the macaroons for 10 minutes on the tray before carefully peeling them off and cooling completely on a wire rack.

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Now you can start on the filling – beat the butter and vanilla until pale and fluffy before gradually beating in the icing sugar until you have a smooth and creamy filling. Use this to sandwich the macaroons together.

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These were really light and tasty. Mine were also a little soft in the middle so perhaps slightly under-cooked but I actually liked this as I prefer a softer, gooey meringue. I could have easily tucked into these but actually only had a couple as I felt that I didn’t need a lot of them – perhaps I should make more smaller portions in future! These would be lovely to make as a homemade gift for someone – you could try other flavours and colours.

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