Basic vanilla macaroon
Makes about 50
140g/4 ½ oz ground almonds
240g/8oz icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg whites (80ml)
1 tbsp powdered egg white
50g / 2oz mascarpone
50g / 2oz Greek yoghurt
50ml / 2oz double cream
½ tbsp icing sugar, sifted
Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment or macaroon liners. Mix the ground almonds, icing sugar and vanilla extract together in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with the powdered egg to a firm foam, then fold in the almond mixture using a large metal spoon.
Firmly tap the bowl to knock out any air pockets. Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle or cut to size and pipe neat little mounds about 3cm/1 ¼ inch in diameter. Press the tops down lightly with a wet finger or wet spoon if they peak too much. Leave to stand in a cool place for a good 20mins until a skin forms on the surface of each one.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 150C/130 fan/gas 2. Bake the macaroons for about 20-22 mins or until they feel slightly firm. Leave on the baking sheets for 5mins then slide on to a wire rack to cool completely. They shouldn’t be crisp all the way through just nicely chewy. If you want to sandwich the macaroons together prepare the filling by beating the mascarpone, yoghurt and icing sugar in a bowl. Whip the cream in another bowl until fairly stiff, then fold into the mascarpone mixture. Put the filling in a disposable piping bag and snip the end. Sandwich the macaroons together in pairs with small dabs of the filling.
Flavouring and Colouring Macaroons
There are lots of flavours and colouring available in supermarkets and cake shops. Below are just a few ideas:-
Replace the vanilla extract with ½ tsp lemon extract and colour the mixture adding a tiny drop of yellow colouring at a time until you reach the desired colour. Sandwich with a 1-2 tbsp lemon curd mixed into the cream mixture.
Replace half of the ground almonds with pistachios that have been whizzed in a food processor until fine. Add green colouring and for the filling add 1-2 tbsp chopped pistachios to the cream mixture
Pina colada macaroons
Replace half of the ground almonds with desiccated coconut and colour with a peachy colouring. For the filling drain 100g tinned pineapple pieces and dry thoroughly on kitchen paper. Chop into small pieces and stir through the cream mixture
Replace a quarter of the icing sugar with cocoa powder and either sandwich together with nutella or make a chocolate ganache filling. Break up 150g dark chocolate in a bowl. Heat 150ml double cream until nearly boiling and then pour over the chocolate. Leave to melt and when smooth add 1 tbsp brandy or rum. Leave to cool until thickened and then sandwich together.
Colour the basic mixture with a pale lilac colour. To make the filling, using a pestle and mortar crush ½ tsp dried lavender ( Bart spices sell this in a jar) with 25g golden caster sugar until you have a fine dust. Mix 4 tsp with the cream mixture and then sandwich together.
Colour the basic mixture until pale pink and then sandwich together with 1-2 tbsp strawberry jam swirled through the cream mixture
Colour the mixture until pale pink and then use a few small drops of rose extract to flavour the cream.