In all the European tour of the last few days, these are the most intimidating things to bake.  Typical French.  Despite having now done quite  a lot of baking in my time, I was genuinely terrified of making these, but I set myself the challenge, and despite a mammouth 6 hour shopping trip earlier in the day, I did it, although I suspect it was a bit mad.

Online advice on these is numerous and contradictory, I stuck pretty much to Willow Bird Baking’s advice, with a couple of extra things I picked up on the way. You have to start early, I aged my egg whites for 48 hours out of the fridge, and this recipe does require quite  a lot of equipment that I had hanging around my house, but other, more normal people, may not.

Macarons (WBB)

225 g, 8 oz. icing sugar
190 g, 6.7 oz.  ground almonds
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 room temperature egg whites

Combine icing sugar and almonds.  Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then add the granulated sugar a bit at a time, then whisk into stiff peaks.  Here’s a salutory lesson, sometimes mod cons are highly necessary – I didn’t have the whisk attachments for my hand mixer, so I had to whisk it by hand.  It took an hour.  I have a new found respect for my forebears.  Sift the sugar/almond mixture in to the egg whites, slowly and gently.  Try to keep under 50 strokes when mixing in – although I massively failed to do that and they still turned out ok.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag.  Pipe small circles onto a baking sheet covered with parchment, then leave for half an hour (helps to form a skin).  Hit the bottom of the baking sheet before you put them in to release air bubbles.  Heat the oven to 90 degrees C, or ‘slow’ on a gas oven.  Bake the macarons for five minutes, take out and put the oven up to 190/gas 5.  Bake for 7 minutes, then remove.  Cool on a rack before filling.

A good tip is to wet the back of the baking parchment with a pastry brush if you’re having trouble getting them off, they come off like a dream.

I filled mine with chocolate buttercream, which is 175g icing sugar, 75g butter and a bit of milk and coco powder.

And now collapse.

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