Wednesday, July 7, 2010

pretty pink macarons

Forget big brash cupcakes, macarons, the super sweet and oh-so-elegant French treat are the current darling of the baking world. Here in Christchurch I love to buy them from J'aime les macarons, who have well and truly perfected the art of the macaron, but last week I thought it would be fun to try making some myself. Macarons are notoriously tricky to make, the base recipe containing just egg whites, ground almonds and sugar, so I was prepared for a less than perfect result.

And so be it, my first attempt at macarons flopped. I used a Ruth Pretty recipe for chocolate macarons that had been in my 'to-try' folder of newspaper clippings and website printoffs for few years. The mix was very wet, and I think in hindsight I over mixed it too - the amount of folds the batter is given being a critical success factor for perfect macarons; too much air in the mix and they will peak when baking, but too little air makes a flat macaron. Oddly, the recipe instructed to bake the macarons at 200c, which was much hotter than most other recipes I had seen. I baked one tray as per Ruth's instructions and another at 150c, but both produced macarons that were determinedly flat and cracked on the top. When I went to the Ruth Pretty website to check the oven temperature I noticed a photo had been added since I had printed the recipe off, and it didn't bode well, they were very skinny which is never a good look for a macaron. I think this was the first time a Ruth Pretty recipe has failed me, but I should undoubtedly shoulder some of the blame myself too...

My next attempt was the recipe on Mrs Cake's blog. If you are interested in a run down on the more technical but highly interesting aspects of macaron making you should check out her macaron post via the link above. (I being too lazy to go into the detail required, and why reinvent the wheel...) This batch worked well and I was rather pleased with myself. They had lovely smooth shiny tops and the requisite wee 'foot' on the base. Sandwiched together with a bitter chocolate ganache they are tucked in the fridge for when sweet cravings strike. One thing I would suggest is leaving the filled macarons in the fridge for a day or two before eating, before that the shell shatters upon biting and the texture is a bit amiss.


  1. They are beautiful! Am going to make for my next supperclub to have with coffee, macarons always seem very glam to me, who could resist? Will have a wee practice first I think:)

  2. What a perfect way to end your dinner...I just added a note about chilling them for about 24 hours first to improve the texture, good luck with your macarons. Oh and nice to see Plum Kitchen mentioned in the Sunday paper too!

  3. Perfect, will do.......and thanks, my 5 seconds of mirco fame!

  4. They look perfect - and the chocolate is calling out to me, wish I had some in my stash about now! ;-)

  5. I tried making macarons just recently.

    I totally agree 200C is just to hot, I also checked Ruth Prettys website and she seems to be sticking by it!

    The ones I tried were out of the new Delicious Magazine (this recipe was very similar to yours), and they worked out well. Thank you for the hints and help!


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