Recipe: Denizen’s foolproof guide to baking fine French macarons

French macarons have a hoity-toity reputation for being a finicky dessert, reserved for professional French pastry chefs exclusively. But after much trial and error, we have refined our method for baking these delicious treats down to a fine art. This recipe for Rosewater macarons will see you achieve the perfect balance of a delicate and crispy outer shell and a soft, chewy centre, all while boasting a beautiful mixture of sweetness and nuttiness. Without further ado, here’s our guide to creating the perfect French macarons at home.

Ingredients
Makes approximately 20 macarons
Avoid using cups to measure for this recipe. Scales guarantee more accuracy. 
– 4 large egg whites (room temperature)
– 70g of caster sugar
– 230g pure icing sugar
– 120g of ground almonds
– Pinch of salt
– Pink gel food colouring
– Piping bag (2 large zip-lock bags are also fine)

For the rosewater ganache filling
– 250g of white chocolate buttons
– 100mL of Lewis Road Creamery double cream
– 1 tbsp of rosewater
– Pink gel food colouring

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 150°C fan-baked.
2) Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
3) Blend your almond meal in a blender or food processor for a super fine texture to avoid clumps.
4) Sift the blended almond meal, icing sugar and salt into a medium-sized bowl and set aside. If there are still any large clumps of almond meal remaining, dispose of them.
5) Take a larger bowl for your egg whites and caster sugar, but make sure to crack the eggs in a separate bowl to ensure no shells get into the batter.
6) Begin beating your egg and sugar mixture with an electric mixer, starting off on medium speed and gradually working your way up to a high speed. You’re going to be beating this mixture for slightly over 10 minutes — until you can turn the bowl upside down and the stiff mixture doesn’t move.
7) Add in your gel food colouring. You want to avoid liquid food colouring as the consistency can cause your macarons to become flat. You also want to make sure the colour of your batter is pigmented as it will lighten in the oven. If you’re going for a pale pink, as this recipe suggests, make sure your batter is hot pink. Continue beating for 1 more minute, until the colour is fully incorporated.
8) Take the bowl of ground almonds, icing sugar and salt and sift it again, into the bowl of eggs, caster sugar and colouring.
9) This is the most important step and the one where most people go wrong. It’s crucial to not overmix or undermix your batter and one fold makes a significant difference, so pay close attention. With a rubber spatula, scrape the edges of your bowl and fold your spatula into the centre of the bowl. It should take approximately 40 folds and you want to stop at the point where your batter is smooth yet thick. Every now and then, lift your spatula out of the bowl and if the batter slowly falls off, that’s when to stop. If it’s still stiff enough to hold its form, give it a few more folds and if it’s runny like pancake batter, you have over mixed and you’ll need to start over.
10) When the batter is perfectly mixed, pour it into a piping bag. Try to not fiddle with the batter too much as you could change the texture. Make a small incision at the tip of the bag.
11) Pipe your macarons onto your baking sheet in circles, giving each a diameter of approximately 3cm.
12) Bang your tray of un-baked macarons on the bench to see the circles flatten slightly and to make the air bubbles rise to the surface. This is very important to help prevent the macarons from cracking in the oven.
13) Leave the tray to sit and set for approximately 15 minutes before placing in the oven.
14) Put the tray in the oven for approximately 20 mins. Avoid opening the oven door if you can, as it will impact the macarons’ ability to bake evenly.
15) Once you can effortlessly take the macaron shells off the baking paper with no residue batter left behind, your macarons are ready. Set aside to cool before removing from the tray.
16) To make rosewater ganache, put the white chocolate buttons and cream in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure that the bottom of bowl does not touch the water.
17) When the chocolate has melted, add the rosewater essence and food colouring and stir well. Make sure your pink ganache is lighter than the shells.
18) Set aside for 30-40 minutes or until the ganache has thickened.
19) Place your ganache into a piping bag and pipe onto the cooled shell bases. Place another macaron shell on top.

Enjoy!

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