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Sunday, 8 January 2012


 Week one of my new years resolution target to cook a new recipe every week. This week the recipe is from France!

 My brother is brilliant at buying Christmas presents and this year he bought me 'Les Petits Macarons', a Macaron making kit and a box with four yummy macarons in (sorry, but I'm afraid I ate them before I snapped a pic!)
empty box!
 So this week, me and my mum decided to give it a go. I thought I'd dedicate a post to this because Macarons are thought of as very tricky and I though I would share my tips from the experience. Overall, although fiddly, I found that with a good recipe these weren't too bad to make!

1. The book that I used is great, it is detailed and flexible - when making macarons I recommend something like this! The exact timings and measurements made me sure that I was being as precise as possible

2. Read the ENTIRE recipe at least 5 days before you want your macarons to be ready - the recipe I used called for 'aged egg whites' - this means separating four eggs and leaving them in the fridge for 2-5 days! It also involved several 'wait for 1 hour' instructions so it is important to set aside a good amount of time in order to do these properly.

3. My kit came with these great circle patterns that I slipped under the baking sheet and made it so easy to pipe perfect little rounds
4. My book recommends silicone baking sheets and I can vouch for this! I got a baking sheet for Christmas and used it for my first batch but they were still cooling when I had to pipe my second batch so I used baking parchment - this was much trickier! When I piped, the parchment was so light it just lifted up when I lifted up the piping bag!

 I love chocolate so it was obvious to me that the first batch of macarons I made would have to be chocolate! However, despite the large of range of fillings in the book (from chai tea to chicken?!) there was only one that was plain chocolate (the chocolate caramel). I am a bit fussy when it comes to chocolate and like just chocolate on its own so we made the caramel.
Having tried to make caramel in the past with little success I was a little apprehensive when the recipe called for just 1/2 tsp lemon juice to 2 cups sugar! However, within the specified time, and some cream and chocolate added to the mix, we had a delicious amber caramel. The recipe also included a 12-24 hour fridge period after the caramel was made.

However, when we went to fill the macarons the next day it was literally solid! We tried gently heating it by placing it in a bowl of hot water but to no avail! There was no way it would ever by pipeable - and if I did ever get it into a piping bag then it would just clog it up! So we got it soft enough round the edges for me to break bits off, mould into circles and put inside the macarons - they look like I've done it properly though so I am quite pleased!

Here is the lump of caramel that was left. Unfortunately pretty unusable! It looks pretty grumpy though don't you think!

 Wow! That was a long post but I hope our macaron effort helps when you try to make some yourself. Oh, and I forgot to say they are actually really nice! I was pleased with how they turned out although there is definitely room for improvement! Looking forward to having another go to perfect the outcome.

Love Rebecca

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