Macarons are turning in to one of my favourite things to bake. Once you get the technique down they are really quite easy and they always look so adorable and eye-catching! These Neapolitan (it’s ridiculous how often I misspell that word!) Macarons are the epitome of cute food. They would be great for a girlie get together or afternoon tea and the classic Italian flavour work great together.
I was curious about the whole Neapolitan thing so I turned to Google and Wikipedia (…where else?) for some information. Neapolitan mean ‘of or pertaining to Naples’, which makes sense, and it seems that it was brought to the USA by Italian immigrants in the mid 1800s. I must confess I’m not crazy about the traditional ice cream variety but last year I baked a strawberry, vanilla and chocolate layer cake for my second cousins Christening and it really did taste delicious.
I know that macarons can take a bit of mastering but I promise with a few tries you’ll find you get the hang of it. Their crispy, chewy, sweet deliciousness is totally worth it! My plan this week is to come up with some new Easter designs so keep an eye on my Instagram for some sneak peeks!
- 50g ground almonds
- 60g icing sugar
- 50g ground almonds
- 50g icing sugar
- 10g cocoa powder
- 85g egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 1tsp meringue powder (optional)
- 85g caster sugar
- Strawberry jam
- Line two baking trays with baking paper, then set aside.
- In a food processor, blitz together the almonds and icing sugar for the 'strawberry' half for about 30 seconds then tip mixture in to a small bowl and set aside. In the same food processor bowl, blitz the almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder until fine and all one colour. Set aside.
- Clean the bowl and whisk attachment with lemon juice to make sure everything is grease free. Add the egg whites, meringue powder(if using) and salt to the bowl and mix on low until frothy. Turn up the mixer to medium and slowly add the caster sugar. Turn the mixer up to high and whisk until the mixture is white, glossy and forms stiff peaks.
- Remove 85g of the meringue to a large mixing bowl and set aside. Add a few drops of food colour to the remaining meringue and mix until uniform.
- To the white meringue add the chocolate almond mixture all at once and, with a rubber spatula, fold in to the meringue. Don’t worry about being gentle with it, stir quite vigorously to knock out some of the air. The mixture will become slightly glossy again and run smooth from your spatula. Be careful not to over mix, slightly under is better than slightly over. This just takes practice. As a guide, if you drop some of the mixture on to itself it should disappear and become smooth after about 30 seconds.
- Do the same with the pink meringue and the plain almond mix.
- Transfer both mixtures to separate piping bags fitted with a 1cm round tip and pipe 20 macarons per tray. Give the tray a few sharp taps on the worktop to knock out any air bubbles and smooth the top. Allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C (140 degrees C fan)
- Place one tray in to the over and cook for 6 minutes then turn the oven down to 140 degrees C (120 degrees C fan) and bake for a further 8-10 minutes. To test if they’re done, gently wiggle the top of the macaron if it moves leave it for another couple of minutes. Another test it to try and lift a macaron off the baking paper, if it comes away easily it’s done.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray.
- Once cooled pipe an 'O' shape of buttercream on to the chocolate shells. Drop half a teaspoon of jam in to the centre then place a pink shell on top.