Macarons might not necessarily be the first thing that comes to mind with “make-ahead meals” but really there isn’t a lot of work with the macarons meaning they make great bitesize treats for a garden party or just with a cup of tea.
I’ve already posted a recipe for Chocolate and Orange Macarons and it seems macarons are ever popular. The method remains the same but the ingredients are not. I’ve changed the nuts to walnuts, although I also made batches of hazelnut and roasted cashew macarons.
Everybody thinks macarons are hard and in reality the only hard bit is mixing it to the right consistency. This recipe has worked for me most times and gives fantastic results. The great thing is that you don’t need special food colourings as the nuts, especially the hazelnuts, give great colour.
I haven’t given a recipe for a filling as you can use whatever you want; it’s personal preference. Ganache, buttercream, whipped cream, jam or curd all work.
3 egg whites
75g granulated sugar
125g walnuts (this can be replaced with any nut)
175g icing sugar
- Cut out two pieces of baking parchment for two baking trays. Set aside.
- Place the walnuts and icing sugar into a food processor. Blitz and leave running. Occasionally give it a shake so it is evenly mixed.
- Whisk the egg whites into soft peaks and then add the caster sugar one third at a time until it looks smooth and glossy.
- Pour all of the contents of the processor onto the meringue. Gently fold the mixture until it is fully incorporated. Once incorporated, fold 3 times more exactly.
- Fill a piping bag with the mixture. Stick the two pieces of parchment using some of the leftovers in the bowl. Pipe small circles onto the parchment, allowing some space for spreading.
- Bang the tray on the surface. Let the macarons rest for about 30 minutes. You know when they have rested enough when the macaron has a skin, meaning you can touch the macaron and it is not sticky.
- Whilst the macarons are resting, preheat the oven to 160°C.
- Bake for 13 minutes. You can test the doneness by trying to lift one off the tray. It should come off perfectly.
Here is the resting batch of walnut macarons:
You can see how big the foot should be, which is created by the banging of the tray which allows the meringue to rise and the walnuts to sink:
Using hazelnuts lends a great colour to the final macarons:
Cashews have a great even colour and an intense nut flavour:
Macarons can be filled with whipped cream higher than you’ve ever seen, although they will get soft very quickly: