I have loved macaroons since I first tried them when my boyfriend brought me back a box from Laduree in Paris. Not only do they taste great but they look beautiful and are very impressive. The range of flavours from traditional chocolate and vanilla to salted caramel and blackcurrent violet all presented beautifully in pale mint green boxes with purple tissue paper. For anyone reading this in London they are four shops in London and I would urge you to go and try their macaroons.
Macaroons have been my nemesis for six months now. Previous attempts have always tasted great but the mixture has been too runny and they have cracked when in the oven and the ganache has never been quite right. Yesterday I decided to have another go. I thought I would try a simple vanilla macaroon with a chocolate ganache. I also tried a different method of making them using an Italian meringue which involves adding a hot sugar syrup to whisked egg whites. The resulting macaroons are not perfect but not one cracked, it is just an issue of shape and uniformity I have to overcome now. Something that I did notice was I used two different trays, one think bottomed and one thin, the ones on the thick bottomed tray cooked much better and had a better base then the others.
Vanilla Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache
Ingredients (makes 20 filled macaroons)
- 6oz/170g icing sugar
- 5¾oz/160g ground almonds
- 4½/110g egg whites (from about 2 large eggs)
- 50ml water
- 5¾oz/160g granulated sugar
- 2tsp vanilla extract
For the ganache
- 200ml double cream
- 7oz/200g dark chocolate, chopped (72% cocoa solids)
- 1oz/20g butter
- Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas mark 2
- Line two heavy based baking trays with grease proof paper
- Place the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor and blend until smooth and well mixed.
- Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form.
- In a pan heat the water and sugar until it reaches 118C.
- Whisk the egg whites again and slowly add the sugar syrup, whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the icing sugar, ground almonds and vanilla extract into the egg whites. Spoon into a piping bag, with a 1cm round nozzle, pipe 4cm rounds onto the baking trays.
- Leave the macaroons to stand for 30 minutes, this allows a skin to form. Then bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes. Once baked leave to cool then carefully peel off the grease proof paper.
- For the ganache heat the double cream until it just boils then take off the heat and add the chocolate and mix until the chocolate has melted. Then stir in the butter.
- Leave to cool and place in a piping bag and pipe onto half of the macaroons and sandwich together with the remaining macaroons.
Enjoy! H x