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J'adore les macarons

Macarons are something that have been on my baking bucket list for some time. I think the stories you hear about how even French pastry chefs have difficult days with macarons have put me off trying them out.

Not so my daughter! I came home the other evening to find bowls piled high from one end of the kitchen to the other and her announcing she was making macarons! She divided her mixture and made half pink and half turquoise then filled them with vanilla buttercream once they had cooled. And I have to say, she made a pretty good job! There was some variation in size, but they all had a good shine and no cracks.

She still needs a lesson in what the kitchen sink is for though...

So, spurred on by my daughter's success, I thought

I'd have a go this weekend.

I decided to try different flavours rather than

colour them - salted caramel and chocolate :-)

Actually making the macaron mixture seemed

fairly straightforward and piping it onto 1" discs

was easy, but the chocolate mixture flattened

out better than the plain - possibly because it

was mixed more and had lost some of the air

from the beaten egg whites...? The plain almond

mixture puffed up whilst in the oven and the

resulting macaron looked more like a choux

pastry bun! The chocolate ones came out looking more like macarons so maybe I was too gentle when I folded the almonds & icing sugar into the egg whites...who knows?!

I filled the plain almond ones with salted caramel and the chocolate ones with a white chocolate ganache. And whilst the salted caramel ones might

look a little wonky, boy do they taste good!

The conclusion? More experimentation required! There were lots of variations between the two batches - different recipes used, food colouring added (or not), cocoa powder added (or not), length of time mixing, resting time before going in the oven, oven temperatures, baking times etc etc. But for saying it was our first attempt at the infamous macaron, I think we made a good start. If anyone has any top tips, please comment below - any advice welcome!

Now, where has that plate of salted caramel macarons gone...?!


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