Macaroon or Macaron? I believe that Macaron is the correct term for what I’m about to discuss, but Macaroon sounds less pretentious so I’ll stick to that one!
Three years ago I started upon a quest to teach myself how to make the perfect macaroon. I’ve used countless egg whites and kilos of ground almonds, icing sugar and caster sugar on my journey and I believe that I’ve now cracked it. Having tried several different methods, the one that seems to work for me 99.9% of the time is the French Meringue method. This is when you whisk your egg whites to a soft peak and then gradually add your caster sugar until the egg whites are thick and glossy before combining with the ground almonds and icing sugar mixture. The weather always likes to throw a spanner in the works every so often, as if it’s too humid then your macaroon shells won’t dry out properly and will crack when baked. Good example of a cracked shell in the below image, in the middle.
I don’t quite know the exact science behind it all, but I think because I’ve been through batches that have all had their own issues, I’ve taught myself how to fix them so that it doesn’t happen again. Practice makes perfect in my opinion, and although it can be a bit of a ‘ffaff’ unless you persevere then you’ll never learn. Patience is key to learning new skills, and as an amateur baker and a keen foodie, spending loads of time in the kitchen tweaking recipes is heaven to me!
Having nailed the macaroon, I then went on to experiment with flavoured fillings. I find that the shells are so sweet that I often just fill the them with a dark chocolate ganache to balance out the sweetness, but other fillings I’ve made include white chocolate ganache flavoured with cardamom seeds, buttercream with jam, fruit gel (I’ll discuss this one in another post soon!), peanut butter and cream cheese – this with melted chocolate and roasted peanuts makes the most delicious ‘Snickers’ macaroon, a particular favourite in my family! Of course, you can flavour your ganache using extracts and oils, for example peppermint or rose…basically you can make any flavour combination you like, even savoury!
I’m still experimenting with savoury flavours, so will continue to do so and post about that experiment soon.