Macarons

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Today was a pretty exciting day for me.  As you know, I gave up my job and moved back to Inverness last month.  It was a big change but I’m settling in and starting to enjoy living up north again.  That feeling in my stomach has gone.  That one of constant worry, expectation, fear.  It has been gradual but there is now a sense of relief that I’ve made a big change to my life which will hopefully lead to great things.

Today I took the first step towards those great things.  The feeling in my stomach is now a little bit of anxiety but I think that is normal with any new job.  It is for me anyway!  I’m excited to be working as part of a Pastry Team, albeit for a trial period to begin with, but I’m going to work hard to get the most out of it as possible.

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On the subject of learning, I’ve been trying to master macarons again.  I’ve been hit or miss, the last attempt wasn’t great, but before that I made these delightful chocolate and peanut butter babies.

This time I stuck to a plain macaron mix, filled with different types of ganache, and others with shop bough dulche de leche. They were a success.  So much so that I had to fight with my family to let the rest in the fridge overnight…and to be honest, after a few hours some had been eaten already!  Light, sweet and chewy with a satisfying crunch just as you take a bite.  Perfection.

I know a workman/baker shouldn’t blame their tools, but working in my parents kitchen with all the space and equipment I need makes life so much easier.  And they have a brand new oven so I’m fairly confident the temperatures are accurate.

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I managed to create these pretty little macarons, complete with feet and not sticking to the baking sheet.  A definite success.  A thick baking sheet really helps when making macarons as an even heat transfer is essential for a good rise.

Macarons
makes about 16 sandwiched macarons

I used THIS recipe to make the macaron shells.  As I didn’t change it, I’ll just give you a picture step by step to go along with the recipe.

As always, gather up all your ingredients first.  Make sure your bowl, a metal one is best for egg whites, is completely clean of any grease.  Wiping out with the cut side of a lemon before use will do this perfectly.

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A non essential step, but one that will give a smoother finish is to blitz the icing sugar and almonds in a food processor for about a minute to combine well, remove any lumps and to make the almonds finer.

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Beat the eggs and the sugar until you have stiff peaks.  This should take 3 to 5 minutes ones the sugar has been added.

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Fold in the almond and sugar mix until smooth.  You have to be gentle but firm…I know, how do you do that?!  You want the mixture to be smooth, and some of the air will be knocked out of the egg whites, but stick to a folding motion rather than stirring.

 

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Once piped, wet your finger with cold water and flatten down and peaks.  Hit the base of the tray off the work top a couple of times, this will remove any air bubbles.  Then leave for 30 minutes to form a skin.

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Then fill with ganache, buttercream, nutella, duche de leche….anything really!  Before baking I sprinkled a little cocoa powder on some shells, and cinnamon on others which added a suble flavour to the finished macaron.

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