So I decided to be brave and try and figure out how on earth to make macarons in the oven in my new flat. A daunting experience as I had only just worked my old oven out! As it turns out the ovens are total opposites, the first was a bit cold and the one now is a bit hot.
Having decided to make macarons my next issue was what flavour to make. I was reading Ros's, from the more than occasional baker, blog and happened upon alpha bakes. This is a monthly blog event hosted, in turn, by Ros and Caroline, of Carolinemakes, wherein a letter is chosen at random and people submit entries with ingredients or bakes themed around that letter.
This months alpha bake is hosted by Caroline and the letter for this month is H and so I decided to make my macarons flavoured with one of my favourite nuts, the hazelnut and enter alpha bakes for the first time.
2 large egg whites (80g of egg whites)
pinch cream of tarter
30g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
33g ground almonds
33g ground hazelnuts
132g icing sugar
First of all I prepared my baking sheets, I lined them with baking parchment and then used a round pastry cutter to draw little templates. This makes a huge difference look at my neat same sized macarons!
Mix the icing sugar and ground nuts together and set aside.
In a spotlessly clean bowl whisk the egg whites with the cream of tarter until stiff peaks are just beginning to form. At this point keep whisking and add in the caster sugar, a teaspoon at a time, until the mix is stiff and glossy. Add in the vanilla paste and whisk until incorporated.
Add the icing sugar and nut mix to the bowl of egg whites and fold in with a spatula. You need to mix enough so that the macaron batter can flow from the spatula 'like lava' BUT be careful not to over mix or your macarons will spread too much when they are piped.
Put the macaron batter into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. I stand my piping bag in a glass for easy filling. I would have taken a photo but piping batter is sticky and has a life of its own, to take a photo I would need at least 3 hands!
Pipe macarons ~5cm in diameter on your prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave room between them. Give the baking sheets a sharp tap on the work surface to eliminate air bubbles. The macarons must be left, preferably in a warm place, until they have formed a skin. That is, when you lightly touch them, they should not be tacky. Allowing your macarons to form a skin is very important as when your macarons bake it will allow them to have the elusive feet! A skin can take anything from 15 minutes to an hour to form. Be patient!
Leave them to cool completely on the baking sheet. Removing them too early could result in them falling apart.
When they are totally cool sandwich together with nutella.
Keep your macarons in the fridge, though it is nice to let them get up to room temp for a few minutes before eating them. Macarons will last a few days in the fridge and actually get more lovely a day after making.
So these are my first ever entry for alpha bakes. If you wish to join in check out either Ros or Caroline's site for the instructions and get creative!