Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sweet Week Part 2

I came home yesterday and was considering my options for a new dessert. Unfortunately Mr T found the secret stash of chocolate and the chocolate tart I planned was off the menu. I still had egg whites left over from the Mandarin Tart  and decided to try my luck on macaroons. 

Really nice Biscuits (not calling them Macaroons)
They look so elegant in the shops all piled up to a tower of decadence, begging you to buy them all and savour them in secret and away from wanting eyes. So I thought it a good idea to try to make them myself....ok, I have failed miserably. Don't get me wrong, the taste was outstanding. The biscuits (I don't dare call them macaroons) were crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, they held their shape and the taste of almonds was subtle and gentle. But - they don't look anything like the lovely cute macaroons. So I am back at the drawing board and see where I went wrong (I assume the oven was too hot). But here is the recipe in case you have some egg white over and want to make some yummy biscuits.

You need:
  • 4 free-range egg whites, at room temperature
  • 80g/3oz caster sugar
  • 220g/8oz icing sugar
  • 120g/4oz ground almonds 
  • few drops yellow food colouring 
 For the macaroons, line 2 large sturdy baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment.

Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, until thick and glossy. Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds into a bowl, add a few drops of food colouring . Fold in a third of the egg whites, then gradually fold in the remainder.

Spoon the macaroon mixture into a piping bag, and pipe rounds about 4cm onto the baking paper, spacing them well apart. (You will need two rounds for each macaroon, so make sure you have an even number.) Set the macaroons aside at room temperature for about 20 minutes, or until a skin forms on top and the mixture doesn't stick to your finger when touched.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C/360F/gas 4.

Bake the macaroons in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the macaroons have risen slightly. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on the baking sheet. When cooled, carefully peel the macaroons away from the baking parchment. If they stick to the sheet, lightly wet the bottom of the parchment with water and they should come away easier. 

Fill them with a filling of your choice (best just before serving).

Bon Appetite

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