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9 Macaroon tips & hacks:

1. Measure all the ingredients accurately. Use an electronic scale where possible.

2. Old eggs work best as their whites have a lower water content.

3. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature.

4. Make sure your almonds are finely ground, otherwise you won’t get enough through the sieve and the proportions will be incorrect.

5. Powdered food colouring works best as liquid colouring can introduce too much moisture.

6. Make sure you scrape your bowl down frequently while folding in the almonds. A mixture that is not properly incorporated can cause the macaroons to rise unevenly.

7. Incorporating the almonds and mixing them to a ribbon stage correctly will determine the “feet” on your macaroons.

8. Always give the baking tray on which you have piped the macaroons a firm tap to dislodge any air bubbles that might have become trapped in the mixture and promote even rising.

9. Make sure your oven temperature is correct. Ovens are different, so if you know your oven tends to be on the hot side, turn it down. One way to ensure the temperature is accurate is to check it with an oven thermometer.

MACAROON RECIPE

[Makes about 15]

50g ground almonds

50g icing sugar

40g egg white

40g castor sugar

powdered food colouring

Measure all the ingredients carefully, then follow the step-by-step instructions below.

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WHITE CHOCOLATE FILLING

100ml cream

200g white chocolate, chopped

Combine the chocolate and cream in a bowl and microwave on a low setting for 1-2 minutes. Stir until smooth.

Place in the fridge until thickened enough to put in a piping bag and pipe onto the macaroons.

Note: The mixture can be flavoured with concentrated extracts like rose, orange blossom or almond.

The cream can also be heated and infused with lavender flowers or Earl Grey teabags before adding the chocolate.

METHOD

STEP 1: Sift the almonds and the icing sugar together in a bowl.

STEP 2: In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to a stiff peak, then gradually add in the castor sugar in a steady stream while beating continuously.

STEP 3: Add the colouring and beat until uniform in colour.

STEP 4: Take one-third of the almond mixture and fold it in the egg white mixture. Use a spatula and make sure it is well blended.

STEP 5: Fold in the next third and mix until blended.

STEP 6: Fold in the last third and mix until the mixture is glossy and forms ribbons. The mixture should have the consistency of lava.

STEP 7: Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. Pipe blobs onto a macaroon mat or a sheet of non-stick baking papers traced with circles the size you want the macaroons to be. Tap the tray firmly to settle any air bubbles.

STEP 8: Allow the tray of macaroons to stand in the open air until a skin forms over the top. This can take from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the weather and ambient temperature.

STEP 9: Bake the macaroons at 160°C for 8-10 minutes. Once the “feet” have formed, turn the temperature down to 130°C to dry them out more. Remove and cool completely.

STEP 10: Pipe filling onto one macaroon and top with another of a matching size. Store in the fridge for 24 hours before using.

– Angela Day, The Star