Macarons are sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder and they are also the bane of my life. This is my third attempt at making them, and when I began making them, I began naively. I thought, how hard can it be? I can make meringue, so how can it be much harder?
Wrong, wrong, I couldn't have been more wrong. So many things go wrong with these stupid things. But they taste so good. And there are so many different flavour combinations and colours you can make with them, and when you get it right, you make something which is absolutely lovely. When you get it right...if you get it right.
But I'm determined to get it right. And I'll be documenting my troubles along the way, in an effort to document what went wrong so it doesn't go wrong the next time. And hey, some of the flavour combinations work, so if you can make macarons already, maybe you start by giving me some tips, and then you can take inspirations from my fillings. But tips please. Please. The only good thing about macaron failures, unlike for example, a failed cake, is that you can still eat them and they will still taste okay, and sometimes they will still even taste great.
So there were too things that went wrong this time. Firstly, the colour. They'd gone brown on the top and the colour wasn't as a strong as it should be. Apparently this means that I'd used the wrong kind of food colouring, or hadn't added the food colouring in at the right stage. The browning on the top was probably because the oven was too hot. This tends to be an issue with my oven anyway, even if I'm not making macarons!
Secondly, the tops were still a little rough and not shiny like macarons should be. Apparently this is because I didn't pulse the ground almonds enough. I'm always guilty of this too, because I get carried away and when it comes to baking, I'm not patient enough.
Anyway, moving on to the gin & tonic flavour, which is definitely good - if you can make macarons, then I'd definitely recommend giving them a go.
- 50g egg whites
- 90g caster sugar
- 30g water (about two tablespoons)
- 100g unsalted butter, soft
- 170g tonic water
- 30g (about two tablespoons)
- Boil the gin and tonic water until it reduces
- Whisk the egg whites
- Place the caster sugar and water into a pan and boil
- Pour over the whisked egg whites
- Increase the speed and whisk the egg whites
- Gradually mix in the soft butter and whisk until smooth and fluffy
- Add the tonic reduction and use immediately