This is a question that splits chefs time after time. One being an Italian term, one being an British term, with plenty of confusion along the way. Italian term? According to myth, Macarons were created in the 15th century by the chef to Catherine de Medici. She then took this invention with her to the French capital upon marrying the King of France. They do resemble amaretti biscuits quite closely and bear a similar name to macaroni.
main difference is which ‘nuts’ you are using. Almonds for macarons and Coconut
for macaroons. Ok, so coconut isn’t really a nut…
This week, Macarons took centre stage for our 'Sweet & Savoury' masterclass, and we are happy to share one of our recipes with you, to make at home.
250g Caster Sugar
90g Egg Whites
250g Icing Sugar
250g Ground Almonds
30g Cocoa Powder
90g Egg Whites
The equipment you will need is an electric mixer, sugar thermometer, small sauce pan, food processor, sieve, round bottomed bowl, silicone spatula, baking tray with a non stick mat (or greaseproof paper) and a piping bag with piping nozzle.
Firstly, we need to place the first part of the egg whites in the electric mixer and set on a medium speed. Heat the caster sugar and water in a pan to 121ºc, measuring with the sugar thermometer. Slowly trickle the hot sugar syrup into the whisking egg whites and turn up to full power and continue to whisk until cool.
Meanwhile, place the icing sugar, ground almonds and cacao powder into the food processor and pulse at full speed until fully mixed and smooth, then pass through a sieve into the bowl. Mix in the second part of egg whites to form a paste.
When the egg whites have cooled to room temperature, mix ⅓ into the almond sugar paste. Then, using the spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites, and take care not to over work and knock all the air out. Keep folding just until the mix is fully incorporated and you no longer have white or dark brown streaks. Pour the mix into your piping bag with nozzle in place. Pipe small 2cm wide circles onto your non stick baking sheet. Leave for around 1 hour until a skin begins to form on the surface and you’re able to gently touch them without sticking. Then you are ready to cook. You will need your oven set to 150ºc. Cook for 8-14 minutes depending on the strength of your oven. Your macarons will be ready when you can lift them cleanly away from your baking tray.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Fill with the filing of your choice. I recommend a mix of chocolate and cream.
You can store your macarons in the freezer for up to 3 months to a year.