Image: Excerpted from Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen by Alison Walker
These elegant treats are sure to elicit "oohs" and "aaahs" on their arrival in a box or on a platter.
- generous 1⁄3 cup egg whites
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tbsp superfine sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- yellow food coloring paste
- 4 tbsp good-quality store-bought lemon curd
1 The day before you make the macarons, separate the eggs and put the whites in a bowl loosely covered in the refrigerator.
2 When you are ready to make the macarons, bring the egg whites to room temperature. Draw 1½-inch circles at spaced intervals on two to three sheets of parchment paper as a template to guide your piping. Turn it over and use this parchment to line two to three cookie sheets.
3 Put the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor and whiz until they become a fine powder. Sieve three times to remove any lumps of almond—this ensures a smooth surface to your macarons.
4 Beat the egg whites to a medium peak, then beat in the superfine sugar. Next, beat in the vanilla extract and food coloring—be generous with the coloring paste as it fades during baking.
5 Using a spatula, fold the almond mixture into the egg whites in two batches—it should be a fairly fluid batter but still be able to be piped.
6 Dot blobs of this batter on to the underside of each corner of parchment to keep it still during cooking. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe mounds of the mixture just within the circles. Tap each tray on the counter a couple of times to remove any air bubbles and let stand for anything from 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on humidity, until the surface of the macarons is no longer tacky—again this is crucial to ensure the macarons have their characteristic frilled feet.
7 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F. Bake the macarons in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until they just peel away from the paper when tested. Remove from the oven and immediately slide the parchment paper with the macarons onto a damp counter—this will stop them cooking further and also make them easier to remove.
8 Sandwich two shells together with a blob of lemon curd. These macarons keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. The unfilled shells can be frozen for up to a month.
Preparation: 1 hour, plus resting
Cooking time: 15 minutes
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Excerpted from Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen. Copyright © 2014 Alison Walker. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Limited a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.