I have a new favourite way of using up egg whites…Macaroons!
For ages I had filed macaroons away in my ‘too hard’ pile, but watching Martha on this year’s Bake Off whip them up at the drop of a hat as mere decorations on her centre pieces, I started to think they can’t really be all that hard.
And they’re not!
I’ve been playing around with the basic recipe, and have discovered a couple of super helpful tips that have improved my macaroons muchly. (Top tips IN CAPS)
This is the basic recipe for vanilla macaroons:
- 75g ground almonds
- 115g icing sugar
- 2 free range egg whites
- 50g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
This is what you do:
- Line your baking trays. I use a THIN reusable silicon liner. I’ve tried it with the thicker, more rubber-y type ones, and they really don’t work as well. I’ve also tried with greaseproof and it works well, but I prefer the re-usable option. (This is one of my tips I’ve learned!)
- Grind the almonds and icing sugar in a food processor for 10-15 seconds, and then sift through a fine sieve into a bowl. (This seems like a massive pain in the bum but is really not too onerous, I promise)
- Whisk the egg whites until they are holding stiff peaks, and then gradually whisk in the caster sugar. Keep whisking to make until it’s firm and glossy
- Whisk in the vanilla extract
- Use a silicon spatula to fold a third of the almond mixture into the whisked egg white.
Once this is folded in, add the next third, and then the final third. Keep folding quite vigorously until it reaches what is called the ‘RIBBON STAGE’. This is the point at which you hold the spatula up, and a ribbon of mix falls down into the mix, but takes about 30s to disappear back into the mix.
- Scoop the mix into a piping bag (I use the ‘disposable’ ones, but I don’t dispose of them and use them again and again!) fitted with a large plain nozzle (I think the diameter is about 1cm across)
- If you are very precise and neat, you can draw little circles onto your liner (only if you are using greaseproof..!)-I have done this before using a 2p coin as a template, but frankly life is too short. I now just pipe small circles freehand, and then match up the sizes once they’re cooked..!
- Once all your mix is piped, tap the tray firmly on the worktop to get rid of any air bubbles
- LEAVE THE PIPED MACAROONS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE UNTIL A THIN SKIN FORMS ON TOP, and you can touch the tops without it leaving any mix on your finger. This can take anywhere from 10 mins (if you sit them by the log burner..!) to over an hour if your kitchen is cold.
Do resist the temptation to skip this bit-it’s this bit that makes the macaroons have that frilly foo thing when they’ve cooked.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C, and when the macaroons are ready, bake for 10-15 minutes. They are ready when they have a crisp shell and the frilly foot doesn’t wobble! If the bases are still sticky, return them to the oven for a few more minutes with the door ajar
- Allow them to cool, and then peel carefully off the baking trays.
- Fill and scoff!
I’ve experimented with a variety of different fillings, and basically anything goes!
Any kind of buttercream works well with any kind of jam. Chocolate spread is also a good one.
The latest batch I did, I used up the last of the brandy butter from Christmas, and some cherry jam that didn’t quite set properly. They were DELICIOUS!!!
Soooo, don’t be scared. Have a go, and enjoy!
Even if they don’t look patisserie pretty, they are guaranteed to taste goood, AND you get to use up your egg whites 🙂