Monday, 20 August 2012

Sun, glorious sun!

I hope you all enjoyed the lovely weekend we had, it was so beautiful and sunny. We ended up in London and enjoyed some drinks on a beautiful rooftop bar by Trafalgar Square.
I had a delicious Pimms and my other half enjoyed a ice cool Rekorderlig Cider.

I spent a tiny part of the weekend making a batch of macaroons, I had some eggs which had to be used up and I decided not to make another cake. Feels like we have had quite a few recently!!

I have tried quite a few recipes since I started making them at the end of last year and I must say I have had many tearful days when batches of them came out of the oven cracked. I had tried it all;
leaving the oven door open, making them on a not so humid day (if those even exist in England...), I blamed the oven temperature, I got a oven thermometer etc. In the end I decided to make a batch of plain ones and voila! I realised that the colouring bought in normal shops didn't work, the liquid ones. So I bought decent Sugarflair paste colours and now it works like a treat. Don't get me wrong, I still get the odd looking macaroon!

I always use the recipe from Delicious Magazine, it just works for me personally.
175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large free-range egg whites
75g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3. Whizz the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor to a very fine mixture, then sift into a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar until thick and glossy. You would normally add the colouring/ flavouring at this point. On this occasion I just added a bag of Tea Forté's Blueberry Merlot, which I had to grind a bit.

Fold half the almond and icing sugar mixture into the meringue and mix well. Add the remaining half, making sure you use a spatula to cut and fold the mixture until it is shiny and has a thick, ribbon-like consistency as it falls from the spatula. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle.
I find that it's easier to fill the bag if you either twist the bottom of the bag, by the nozzle, or clip the same place with a sandwich bag clip. This way you can push the mixture right to the bottom without spillages and then you can untwist or un- clip.

Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Pipe small rounds of the macaroon mixture, about 3cm across, onto the baking sheets. Give the baking sheets a sharp tap on the work surface to ensure a good ‘foot’. Leave to stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to form a slight skin. This is important – you should be able to touch them lightly without any mixture sticking to your finger. Bake for 15 minutes ( I watch mine after 10 minutes because all ovens vary).
Remove from the oven and cool.

My kitchen always looks a bit chaotic after a session of macaroon making!

They came out beautifully with tiny feet, I added some freeze dried strawberries after pipping them.

Finished, yum!
I didn't use a buttercream filling though, I decided to use whipped double cream (150ml) with half a teaspoon of vanilla paste and one tablespoon of golden caster sugar. Because the macaroons are so sweet I like a less sugary filling.

Here are some pictures of my older attempts;

After Eight boxes do come handy even after finishing them off!

I hope you have a great week! Ciao x

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