As Macarons are rather in vogue at the moment, I thought they would be a fun challenge this summer, which doesn’t mean I can bring myself to pull out a French accent to say the name properly. I am sticking with the Scottish naming variation, making foodies shudder I am sure.
While my first attempt didn’t come out looking like the pretty ones at La Belle Miette (macarons are all they sell!) they didn’t look too bad. But then I found Hisako Ogita’s incredibly comprehensive macaron bible – I (heart) Macarons.
While using beakers and multi-page recipes is not really my thing, the macarons came out beautifully, so hats off to Hisako.
However I find that after following the biscuit recipe faithfully, I don’t have the energy to make the fancy cream (and I discovered soy milk does not work in custard crème) so buttercream is all I have to offer at this point.
The recipe below is for Cardamom macarons, but vanilla extract or seeds can be added to the egg mixture after the sugar to make a vanilla version.
Go find a copy of the book if you want to see the beakers, it seems macarons are more science than art!
Cardamom Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream
Adapted from Hisako Ogita’s I (heart) macarons
2/3 cup (85g) ground almonds
1 ½ cups (150g) icing sugar
3 large egg whites at room temperature
5 tablespoons (65g) caster sugar
¾ teaspoon of ground or finely chopped green cardamom seeds
Draw circles (2.5cm across) onto a sheet of baking paper as a guide, put this drawn side down on two stacked baking trays
Sift ground almonds, cardamom and icing sugar together
In a stainless steel bowl beat eggwhites with an electric beater until they are foamy
Gradually add the caster sugar, then beat until stiff, glossy peaks are formed
Add half the dry mixture to the eggs, stir with a spatula, scooping up from the bottom of the bowl
Add the rest of the dry mixture and stir lightly to combine
When mixed, press and spread the batter against the bowl 15 times. You want to scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it over. (I find I need to do this about 18 times, but I might just be a bit light handed) The batter is done when it is firm and drips slowly from the spatula
Use a 1cm circular tip on a pastry bag (or snaplock bag in my case) to pipe small circles onto the baking tray, the idea is not to have little pointy tips, but mine always do
Rap the baking tray firmly on the bench once
Preheat your oven to 190ᵒC with racks in the centre of the oven
Let the batter dry, uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the batter does not stick to your finger when you touch it
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, turning the tray once to cook the macarons evenly. I found mine started turning a bit brown, so I put a piece of tinfoil over the top after about 5 minutes cooking time
Let macarons cool on the tray for a bit before transferring to a wire rack
I don’t follow a recipe when I make buttercream, I just add icing sugar to the butter mixture until I have the consistency I want (there is a reason I didn’t get to the filling section in the book)
100g dark chocolate
Some icing sugar (1-2 cups)
Melt chocolate, either in a double boiler on the stove or carefully in the microwave
Soften butter, add melted chocolate
Add some icing sugar and mix, add more sugar if the mixture is too runny, you want the buttercream to be quite stiff so it doesn’t melt all over the macarons
Pipe or spoon the buttercream onto cooled macarons, to make a tasty meringue sandwich!