Macarons (and A Night Off)

Recently I stepped outside of my usual evening routine, I left behind the cooker and television and I went to an evening at the Waitrose Cookery School to explore the new kMix Boutique range from Kenwood. After starting the evening with cocktails and exploring the brightly coloured displays of the gorgeous Kenwood kitchen accessories we were treated to a macaron class. Following this we were invited to use the very well equipped Waitrose cookery school kitchen to make our own macarons! I’ve attempted macarons once before and while I had relative success (beginners luck I think) with them I didn’t ever think to repeat the ordeal! Luckily I wasn’t on my own. I was partnered up with Nazima from Franglaise Kitchen  thank goodness, as she seemed to remember all the things I’d forgotten! These macarons were made using the Italian meringue method which involves pouring boiling sugar quickly onto frothy egg whites! I was very pleased to be able to try this method as it was something I’d not tried before, I always thought it looked rather terrifying but it’s actually really easy and making macarons this way is, for me, a vast improvement! Until that night I didn’t like macarons very much!  My piping skills once again left a little to be desired and my macarons were very irregular in size but they all rose well and had the required ” feet”, in fact thanks to the help from the cookery school chef we all had success with this recipe and they tasted delicious!

I had a lovely evening meeting up with fellow bloggers and the cocktails and canapes we had were wonderful. The only thing I’m not too sure I’m happy about is I think I’ve developed a taste for macarons, which could be a dangerous thing!

Waitrose Cookery School have kindly allowed me to share this recipe for the macarons we made. Each group had different food colours and flavours to use.  The macarons I made had purple colouring and blackcurrant flavour buttercream. After sampling the others, my favourite flavour was the lemon. The buttercream filling was made for us, looking at the recipe it is quite different to buttercream fillings that I’ve made before but it tasted good so the extra effort is worth it!

Macarons ( Recipe from Waitrose Cookery School)

Italian Meringue

  • 275 gram caster sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • 95 gram egg whites, approx 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 tbsp food colouring, we used purple gel, you may need less if not using gel so add a little at a time

Paste

  • 275 gram ground almonds
  • 275 gram icing sugar
  • 95 gram egg whites, approx 3 egg whites
  1. Pre heat your oven to 145 C. 275 F, Gas 1. Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining each with baking paper cut to size.
  2. To make the Italian meringue add the sugar and 100 mls of water to a saucepan, mix together. Add food colouring and turn on the heat. Use a sugar thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature.
  3. While the sugar and water are heating place 95 grams of egg whites into a mixer with the whisk attachment. I think a stand mixer is best for this if you have one. We used the Kenwood kMix stand mixer. When the temperature of the sugar water reaches 110 C turn on the mixer to medium, so the whites get frothy by the time the sugar water reaches the right temperature.
  4. When the sugar water reaches 114 C remove the thermometer and quickly pour into the, by now frothy, egg whites. Pour in down the side of the bowl to avoid splashing and turn the mixer onto full speed for about 5 minutes. The meringue should be glossy and form soft peaks, holding its shape on a spoon, if it drips off the whisk a little longer.
  5. While the meringue is whisking make the paste by mixing together the icing sugar, ground almonds and 95 grams of egg whites. Use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients into a stiff paste.
  6. Add the whipped meringue to the paste in 3 stages. Add a third of meringue to the paste and carefully fold in, with the first addition make sure its mixed in well and that there are no lumps. The next two additions should be folded in much more gently. Be sure not to over mix.
  7. The meringue can now be piped, fill a piping bag to the half way point. Pipe a tiny bit of meringue under each corner of baking paper to stick the paper to the baking sheet and keep it still.
  8. Pipe small rounds of meringue, trying to keep them all a similar size. We were told to keep the piping nozzle close to the baking sheet, dont pipe from a height. Leave approximately 2 cm between each macaron. Continue until both trays have been piped.
  9. Bake for 17-19 minutes, when cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Buttercream Filling (Recipe from Waitrose Cookery School)

This recipe is for the raspberry buttercream but you could change the flavour to suit, we had blackcurrant added to ours.

  • 120 grams raspberry coulis
  • 45 grams caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 200 grams unsalted butter, diced and chilled
    .
  1. Heat the coulis on a medium heat.
  2. In another bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
  3. When the coulis begins to boil take a little and add it to the egg yolk mix. Whisk together then pour all of this mix into the saucepan with the remainder of the coulis. Using a spatula stir over a low heat and either when the mix coats the back of the spatula pour it into a mixer with the whisk attachment.
  4. After whisking for 2 minutes add the diced butter piece by piece until it’s all added and whisk until the buttercream is thick, shiny and smooth.
  5. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag for piping onto the macarons.

To assemble the macarons put the macaron shells into pairs, matching up similarly sized shells. Pipe some buttercream into the middle of a shell and sandwich together.

Some of the lovely Kenwood products on display. Arent they gorgeous? That pink coffee maker was my favourite!

This is not a sponsored post although I did receive a lovely goody bag on the evening.  I just thought it would be nice to share my experience. Many thanks to Kenwood and the Waitrose cookery School for a lovely evening.

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  1. #1 by Wendy Read (@Sunchowder) on November 6, 2012 - 18:21

    What a fabulous evening Jayne!!! I have never made macaroons..now I really want to..maybe in January when I come up for air. Yours look beautful my friend :)

    • #2 by Jayne on November 6, 2012 - 21:39

      Thank you, hope you do get to try them! It was a real sense of achievement to make them!

  2. #3 by Lizthechef on November 6, 2012 - 19:10

    I am SO impressed – I would never attempt these little beauties…

    • #4 by Jayne on November 6, 2012 - 21:41

      Why thank you! I must admit the chef made it look so easy, left to make them in my kitchen I think it would be a different story!

  3. #5 by Laura loves cakes on November 6, 2012 - 21:44

    Yum…these look delicious! I love the purple filling too…very striking! It sounds like a great evening…I’ll have to check out the Waitrose Cookery School. :-)

    • #6 by Jayne on November 8, 2012 - 15:10

      Thanks for your comment. The cookery school is great and really easy to get to. It was a lovely evening.

  4. #7 by laura_howtocook on November 6, 2012 - 21:59

    Oh this sounded such a good night out. Hope you will be trying out the macarons again. I could eat so many without getting sick of them. The colours and flavours all look beautiful. What a great experience!

  5. #8 by ironwhisk on November 10, 2012 - 00:47

    Those macs look awesome!

    • #9 by Jayne on November 11, 2012 - 09:53

      Thanks so much.

  6. #10 by @Lavender and Lovage (@KarenBurnsBooth) on November 19, 2012 - 15:00

    I was asked to attend this evening too, but couldn’t make it, never mind, I can see exactly what I missed in this fabulous post and I must say that your macarons look LOVELY! I am so pleased you have a nice evening, Karen

  7. #12 by bakeaffairs on January 22, 2013 - 19:36

    Your Macarons look just awesome! Love it!

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