I decided to give macarons a go for the first time yesterday :)
I was a little bit worried they wouldn't turn out, as I'd been warned many times about the trickiness of making these gorgeous little cakes... but I decided to step up to the challenge - I love macarons so much! Also I had come across a recipe in one of the Donna Hay magazines for Rosewater Macarons with Coconut Butter Cream that I was just dying to try out :) I mean seriously, yum!
In the end I needn't have worried so much because it actually all went really smoothly! Not sure if it was just beginner's luck - I guess I'll have to make them again :)
Here is the recipe, courtesy of Donna Hay of course:
ROSEWATER MACARONS WITH COCONUT BUTTER CREAM
1 1/4 cups (200g) icing sugar
1 cup (120g) almond meal
1/2 teaspoon rosewater
pink food colouring
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Coconut Butter Cream:125g butter, softened
1/2 cup (80g) icing sugar
1/2 cup (40g) dessicated coconut
To make the coconut butter cream, place the butter in an electric mixer and beat for 6-8 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar and beat for a further 10 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the coconut and beat until combined. Place the mixture in a piping bag and refrigerate until needed.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celcius. Sift the icing sugar and almond meal into a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside. Place the eggwhites, rosewater and a few drops of food colouring in an electric mixer and whisk on high for 30 seconds. Add the caster sugar and whisk for a further 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Fold through the almond meal mixture in 2 batches until smooth. Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle and pipe 4cm rounds onto baking paper. Lightly tap the trays (to remove any air bubbles from the mixture). Allow to stand for 20 minutes or until a 'skin' forms on top of the macarons. Reduce temperature to 130 degrees Celsius and bake macarons for 17-18 minutes or until crisp on the outside and moist in the centre. Allow to cool completely on trays. Pipe the coconut butter cream onto half the cooled macarons and sandwich with remaining macarons. Makes 24.
There were a couple of things I found slightly challenging:
1. The first time I started piping the circles onto the baking paper I found it a bit difficult to make them all the same sizes - some of them turned out a bit too big. By the time I was doing the second batch I had figured it out though! A bit of practice made all the difference :) I also wasn't totally sure what the 'skin' was supposed to look like when it formed. The recipe said to let them sit for about 15 inutes, but I found that they were still quite sticky so I let them sit about 30-45 minutes to be sure.
Here's the second (more even sized) batch piped onto the baking paper waiting for the 'skin' to form:
2. Every oven is a bit different and unfortunately mine is quite old and often lets me down... I found it a little difficult to judge when the macarons were ready. It was a bit of trial and error for me and a couple of them hadn't quite cooked all the way through when I took them out. However I didn't want them to burn and become brown on top or lose that chewiness on the inside. Anyway my recommendation would be to just make a few batches and work out the appropriate time for your oven.
Here they are just out of the oven (I got quite excited at this point because they were looking like REAL MACARONS!):
All filled with the coconut buttercream (you'll notice that my filling is pink, that's because I added s few drops to the butter cream as well as to the macaron mixture):
And here the are all done and ready to be eaten :) They tasted really good too! YUM!