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Thursday 8 October 2009

Baking for Beginners: Chocolate Macarons

For the Domestic Sluttery afternoon tea, Domestic Slut Alex and I wanted to make macarons. Because you can't have afternoon tea these days without macarons. But the problem was that everyone always tells me how hard it is. There's a huge variation in the recipes and we found that adding any wet ingredients (we tried rose water) made the mixture too sloppy. But this chocolate recipe is pretty good, and you should get about 24 small macarons out of it. And they're very yummy indeed. Crunchy, until you bite down into the soft gooey centre. Perfect. The simple chocolate ganache filling is all that's needed. They still cracked when we made them, as you can see from the photo, but I'm sure after a bit more practice they'll get even better.

For the macarons you'll need:
  • 200 grams icing sugar
  • 60 grams ground almonds
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 130 grams granulated sugar
For the filling you'll need:
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 240 grams chocolate
  • 30 grams butter

Make it!
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper and make sure you've got a piping back to hand as well (I warn you know, it's going to get messy).
  • Sift the icing sugar and almonds together - if you don't do this you'll get a grainy mixture and no one wants grainy macarons. Then add in the sifted cocoa powder.
  • Beat the egg whites until they being to hold their shape. Be sure not to do it too much otherwise you'll literally be scrambling eggs in the oven. Beat in the sugar gradually while you're going along.
  • Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mix, in two batches. Make sure you've folded until there are no streak of egg white left.
  • Transfer the mix into a piping bag and pipe the mix in small circles on the greaseproof paper (don't worry, they'll expand).
  • Pop the tray into the oven for about 8 minutes. While you're doing this, start piping onto the other tray and repeat until all the mix is used.
  • Once the macarons have cooled you'll be able to lift them off the paper.
  • To make the chocolate ganache heat the cream until it just starts to bubble around the edges. Then add the chocolate. When everything is mixed together leave to cool for a minute and then stir in the butter (it's the butter that helps it set so make sure it's cooled a little first). Then pop the mix in the fridge to set.
  • When everything has cooled, pair up the macrons of similar size and add a teaspoon of the mix. Sandwich together by lightly pressing in the palms of your hands - that way you won't break them.
  • Then pop them in a very pretty box and give them to people as presents. Your friends will love you forever. I haven't mastered wet ingredients, and they're not perfect so if you've tried making these yourself and have any tips, tell me in the comments so I can make them perfectly in all different colours and flavours!


  1. I think the biggest problem with our macarons (other than the pesky cracks) was the irregular sizes. We should've used something round (like an eggcup) to draw circles on the baking sheet as a guide when piping.

    Will definitely try that next time!

  2. thank you! I've been wanting to make the macarons in the ottolenghi cook book for ages but am put off by how hard everyone says they are and I couldn't visualise what the 'discs of mixture' are meant to look like. your pictures are exactly what I needed. I'll definitely give yours a go

  3. Yep sizing was definitely an issue, but that's something that can easily be worked on. Luckily, these don't take hours and hours to make, if you make a mistake it's easy to start over, if you've got enough eggs anyway!

    Time to start working on those pesky cracks...

  4. Having been lucky enough to have tried these, I'm definitely going to have to give this recipe a go. They were so deliciously gooey, without any mess thanks to the sugary shells. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I know this is a late comment, but might a cookie press not work in terms of making the macarons a uniform size? That way you also might have heart- or flower-shaped ones...?

  6. @kiri: The macaroon mixture is too runny for cookie cutters. It's like milkshake!

    I'm sure with a little more practice we'll figure it out. And when we do, we'll let you ALL know :-)

  7. Hey Alexandra,
    I meant where you put the runny cookie mixture in and it dispenses a small amount out through the holes in the plate. It may be too runny even for that though. But it's for a different kind of cookie mixture than the kind you roll out and cut out. there are a load of different kinds here.

  8. I've never seen those before, but what a good idea! Love the flower ones.

  9. Hi I have just made these for the first time. i added half tsp raspberry flavoring and a little pink gel color to give a lovely color and flavor.
    To get them all the same size I drew circles on the underside of the greaseproof paper. Once cooled I filled them with vanilla cream cheese frosting. YUM!
    They didnt crack and I dont know if its because I let them sit for 10 mins before baking and baked them at 140 oC for around 12-15 mins.

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