Delicate almond meringue cookies with a tart raspberry mascarpone filling – if I can make these successfully, so can you!
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What a week this has been! I’m still recovering from the hen party over the weekend, it was a lot of fun but very exhausting and if you follow me on instagram you will already seen the bruises I came back with! I’m also all full of cold, which is never any fun. And my internet has been down for the last 2 days – and won’t be fixed until Friday afternoon 🙁 So I’m writing this post on Thursday on my phone, then I’m gonna use my phone to tether and format it all properly on my computer – that’s the plan anyway, fingers crossed it works! There is an upside to my net being down and that is I got a lot of spring cleaning done!
My averagely bad week fits in well with today’s recipe, the dreaded macarons! Those of you who follow me on instagram will have seen my troubles with them and the countless failed attempts, which is why it makes me extra happy to share successful, yummy raspberry macarons with you today! And the funny thing is, once I figured out where I was going wrong they came together so easily and beautifully, so I’m very happy to share my mistakes and successes with you all!
I’m sure any of you who have attempted macarons before will have read so many rules about how long you have to age egg whites, rest the unbaked cookies, sacrifice a goat to the baking gods, etc, etc – but honestly, once I started worrying less about the rules and more about baking cookies it became a whole lot easier. That’s not to say you can throw caution to the wind and do whatever you like, they are still very delicate and temperamental cookies. I used a recipe from Bravetart and it’s definitely the best one I’ve come across so far, the proof being these cookies were light and chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside, with brilliant feet! And I definitely appreciate their no nonsense approach to macaron baking – it definitely makes them feel less daunting. Which is good, because at the end of the day they’re just another cookie and with some practice you can make them just as well as any other cookie!
I would definitely recommend following her recipe, it makes macarons so much easier and less stressful – there’s no babying meringue (why do you need to baby meringue for macarons but not for other meringue based things, it makes no sense!), no ageing egg whites or stressing out over the temperature, you don’t even need to leave them to rest if you don’t want to (I did for about 15 minutes, mostly because I was waiting for my oven to get to the right temperature). What you want is finely ground almonds combined with icing sugar, folded into stiff meringue and whatever colouring/flavours you wish to add and piped into circles – doesn’t sound scary, right? I tried so many other recipes where I babied the meringue, aged the egg whites, rested the cookies for an hour and what did I end up with? A lot of failed cookies and wasted ingredients! My first time trying this recipe? The macarons you see in these photos! I don’t think Ladurée are gonna be knocking on my door and offering me a job any time soon, but I’m not too modest to say that they look pretty damn good and they tasted wonderful – which equals success in my book!
It took me so long to try and make macarons (I have made them once before, they were really yummy but looked terrible) because I didn’t think I liked them very much – I found them too sweet and way overrated, and I figured why put so much time and effort into baking something I don’t even like? I gave in eventually because a part of me just felt like I needed to be able to make them – and let me tell you, I take back what I said about not liking macarons! I don’t think I gave them a chance before, the cookies by themselves are definitely too sweet for my tastes (which says something, when you look at my blog!) but combined with the right filling they’re balanced out perfectly, and addictively delicious! You may not need to age your egg whites or rest your unbaked macarons, but I definitely would recommend leaving them overnight in the fridge – they’re so much yummier that way! The middle of the cookies melt into the filling so you’re left with a soft and chewy centre with a crisp shell, so good!
The cookies themselves aren’t flavoured with anything but the almonds, I added some pink colouring of course. That’s pretty normal for macarons, to let the filling take on the role of flavour customization, but once I’m a bit more comfortable making them I’m definitely going to experiment with flavours. The filling is made with mascarpone and raspberry preserves and it’s so good, the creamy tartness really balances the sweetness of the shells perfectly and it makes for one delicious macaron – or 36 (give or take, depending on the size) delicious macarons!
- 115g finely ground almonds
- 230g Icing sugar (confectioners, powdered)
- 144g egg whites
- 72g caster sugar (super fine granulated sugar)
- Pink food colouring (optional)
- 250g mascarpone
- 160 raspberry preserves
- Line cookie sheets with non stick parchment paper, draw circles on the parchment paper as a template or slip a printed template underneath. Fit a large piping bag with a plain round tip. Preheat oven to 300F/150C
- Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar together, if you're left with any large pieces of almond run them through the food processor until they can fit through the sieve. You don't want any large pieces in or your macarons won't turn out, a very small amount won't hurt though (up to a teaspoon). Set aside.
- Put the egg whites and caster sugar in the clean bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip on a medium speed for 3 minutes, they'll be somewhat foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 3 minutes - they'll start looking more like meringue by now, but they're not ready yet. Turn the speed up to high and whip for another 3 minutes. Add your colouring (the amount you need depends on the type, I used gel. Gel, paste or powder are best for macarons), whip on high for another minute to evenly distribute the colour. Now you should have a stiff, dry meringue that hold stiff peaks and stays put when you tip the bowl upside down (careful with that test!).
- Add all the almond and sugar mix to the meringue and fold it in using a rubber spatula - scrape along the sides and bottoms as you do to make sure you don't end up with any dry pockets. It should be combined properly after about 30 folds, don't worry about being too gentle (don't crazy either though), you want to knock some of the air out. The texture you're looking for is often described as lava like and that sounds about right, when you pull the spatula our of the mixture it should fall in ribbons over the surface that melt back in after about 20 seconds - if the mixture doesn't incorporate back in it's too thick and could do with a few more folds. If it's too runny then you've over mixed it, better to play it safe and add more folds after testing than go too far!
- Fill your piping bag about half way and pipe circles onto your prepared baking sheets. You may want to use a template here to make sure you're macarons are evenly sized and not way too big, you can either print one off (google image search macaron templates and loads will come up) and place under your parchment paper or draw circles directly on your parchment paper and then flipping it over so it's ink side down (I did the latter). The won't spread very much so you can pipe them fairly close together.
- Once they're all piped out, lift your baking sheet up and bang it down against the counter, this gets rid of any air bubbles which you really don't want, rotate 90 degrees and bang it again.
- At this point you can rest them for 10 minutes or pop them straight in the oven. Bake for 18 minutes, until you can cleanly peel the macaron off the paper.
- Cool completely on the pan, then peel them off the paper ready to be filled.
- To make the filling, beat together the mascarpone and raspberry preserves until creamy and combined.
- Spoon the filling into a piping bag and pipe a mound over the flat side of one of the macaron shells, sandwich with another macaron shell. Repeat until all macarons are filled.
- Place covered in the fridge overnight (not necessary, but makes them much yummier)
- Weighing the egg whites rather than using a set number is definitely recommended, that way you don't have to rely on varying egg sizes - but to give you a guide when ingredient shopping 1 egg white = about 30g
- These will keep in the fridge for up to a week, keep covered.
- You can use pre ground almonds or grind your own. I used ready ground ones.
- The amount of cookies you will end up with depends on the size you make them. Mine were about 1 1/4" across and I got 36 macarons.
- Oven temperature is very important, if you bake a lot I would definitely recommend investing in an oven thermometer, they're inexpensive and you'll be surprised how much ovens can differ in temperature.
Since macarons have such a terrible rep for being difficult and sometimes impossible to make, it definitely makes it that much sweeter when you’re successful! Even though I now know they’re not as tricky as they’re made out to be, I still feel very proud of myself! And if you look through the recipe you’ll see there’s really nothing to be afraid of! If anything’s unclear please just ask, you can also check out BraveTart’s macaron post as it’s very thorough and the answer to your question is most likely there. Please do let me know if something doesn’t make sense though, so I can clear it up for you and in the post!
So, what do you think? Are you going to give them a go? If you do, please let me know how you got on! And if you’re a macaron veteran, I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips/tricks you have! I’m definitely going to be making them again, I just have to decide on flavours!
I’m going to bring these yummy little French cookies along to Fiesta Friday this week, I think finally figuring out the secret to macarons is worthy of a party! Make sure you come join us, everybody is welcome and it’s always a lot of fun. We have a wonderful host, Angie and our awesome co host this week is Anna @ Anna International!
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