Happy New Year guys! I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas. I can’t quite believe we say goodbye to yet another year and make way for the new!
Christmas was a really busy time for us, with lots of people to entertain. I had these grand plans to do lots of baking, but unfortunately I was taken out by the flu! I did however have time to make these adorable reindeer cookies. The cutters themselves were bought from one of my favourite places, Lakeland, and they were able to not just perfectly cut little Rudolf’s, but also fill them with mini treats to turn them into little edible piñata cookies.
But moving into the new year is going to be very exciting, with a whole world of new recipes to try. For Christmas I was truly spoilt with baking goodies including a macaroon starter kit. I had been wanting to try and make these for a while, so seemed only fair with the encouragement of my new kit to try and make some for myself.
I didn’t realise how time consuming they can be to make, but had a lot of fun doing so. It’s all about managing time and skill is required for multitasking (something I sometimes struggle with!). I think for my first attempt they turned out pretty well – I even gift wrapped a few and took them to my 2 favourite testers, my mum and her friend!
Ingredients (makes approximately 20 macaroons, 40 halves):
- 170g icing sugar
- 160g ground almonds
- 120ml egg whites – I found that 4 medium eggs did the trick, you will need to then separate these into 2 equal batches
- 160g granulated sugar
- 50ml of water
- 1/2 tsp of your chosen food colouring (I went for a girlie pink!)
For the Chocolatey Filling:
- 120g double cream
- 110g dark or milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 25g unsalted butter at room temperature
You don’t have to just use the chocolate to sandwich the macaroons together. I made a variety of different flavoured macaroons with the help of strawberry and raspberry jam, which were equally as delicious! Why not even try chocolate and a small amount of jam to make chocolate and raspberry macaroons? Can you tell I am rather excited at the possibilities …
- Sieve the icing sugar and ground almonds into a large bowl. Add the first batch of egg whites to the almond mixture and mix to form a thick paste. Then set aside.
- Pour the second batch of egg whites into a heatproof bowl. You will need an electric whisk to hand (I used my trusty KitchenAid – where would I be without it!)
- Then, pour the 50ml of water and granulated sugar into a small saucepan on a medium heat. Bring to the boil and gently cook until the syrup reaches 110C using a sugar thermometer.
- Start to beat the egg whites on a high speed – you will want them to go thick and glossy.
- While the egg whites are being whisked, remember to keep an eye on the syrup as once it has reached 118C, you will need to take it off the heat and gently pour into the meringue mix.
- Continue to whisk the egg white and syrup mixture on a high speed until it has cooled slightly and you have a shiny peaked meringue mix. I found that the bowl was no longer warm after about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the food colouring to the mix and whisk until well combined.
- Tip the meringue mixture onto the almond mixture and gently fold together. It is important not to over-mix the batter – it should fall in a thick ribbon from the spatula.
- Heat the oven to 170C. My Christmas presents included a silicone macaroon mat which helped make sure when piping that all the macaroons are the same size. This is not compulsory though, as I have read lining backing trays with greaseproof paper works just as well, you will just need to be more accurate in piping similar sized halves to them sandwich together.
- Leave to rest for about 30 minutes before piping. Bake the macaroons for 14 mins (this needs to be precise so you could test a macaroon (or two) first – my favourite part). If you are using greaseproof paper, immediately slide the parchment onto the work surface and cool for a few minutes. You can leave the heat mat on the tray to cool, before gently peeling the macaroons off.
To make the Chocolately Filling:
- To make the filling, simply place the cream in a small saucepan and the break the chocolate into a medium bowl. Bring the cream just to the boil and pour over the chocolate, leaving to stand for a few mins before stirring to combine.
- Add the butter and stir until smooth, then leave to set until thickened.
- Place the chocolate mix into a clean piping bag with a smaller nozzle and pipe around the edge of half the macaroon.
Top tips for when making macaroons:
- For best results, use water-based liquid food colouring and avoid any that are oil-based gels as they will change the texture of the macaroons.
- Once finished, the macaroons actually improve with an overnight rest in the fridge.
The chocolate seemed to be a definite winner and I can’t wait to try new flavours. I think there is still a long way to go before they are perfect, so trying them at the beginning of the year seems a good shout! Roll on the next 12 months!
What bakes would you like to try this year?