Funny little things these - they seem to be "the" in thing in place of cupcakes in all the foodstores of large department stores I believe. Living in the sticks, well away from the big smoke, to be honest - I've never so much as set eyes on one before.
Still there are plenty of pictures in the food magazines - this month's copy of Delicious being one of them. Macarons / Macaroons are on the cover in bright, lurid colours. There is a somewhat subdued picture and altogether different recipe on their website....
Well - they lured me in. I just HAD to have a go ! To be honest, I was rather pleased with the results. I found the cooking times rather off. The first batch were only half set and were stuck solid in chewy state to the tray liner. The second batch, I cooked considerably longer and they lifted off beautifully from the silicone baking sheet. These were still chewy inside and displayed the characteristic feet.
The recipe produced 36 pieces for me of the started 40 - so I wasn't too far out size wise. There is no way I would have got them all on two baking sheets as stated - I needed 4 to give them ample space. If you want bright, lurid colours - you will need LOTS of food colouring. I didn't want to go too over the top with it - but mine definately faded on cooking.
Recipe - makes 20
175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds ( or 75g almonds + 75g pistacio)
3 large free-range egg whites
75g caster sugar
for the filling
150g butter, softened
75g icing sugar
Preheat oven to 160deg C / 140deg C Fan
Whizz icing sugar and ground almonds to a fine mixture and sieve into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites with pinch of salt to soft peaks. Gradually whisk in caster sugar until thick and glossy. Stir in flavour / colouring as required.
Fold half the almond and icing sugar mixture into meringue and mix well. Add the other half with a spatula - remembering to cut and fold until shiny and has a soft ribbon like consistency as it falls from the spatula.
Spoon into a piping bag fitted with 1cm plain nozzle.
Line baking sheets with paper (or silicone). Pipe small rounds of the mixture about 3cm across onto the baking sheets. Give them a sharp tap on the work surface to ensure a good foot.
Leave to stand at room temperature for 15mins or so to form a slight skin. You should be able to touch them lightly without any mixture sticking to your finger.
Bake for 15mins (in my case 20), remove from oven and cool.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. then beat in icing sugar and any flavour or colouring. Use this to sandwich together your macaron halves
Sarah-Jane, http://www.siliconemoulds.com/ 11th March 2010