Sweets for my sweet 4

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A macaroon is a small cookie classically made of ground almonds mixed with icing sugar (tant port tant) and egg white. The macaroon has a thin lace or foot around the base, a crisp, smooth, shiny top and a soft, moist centre. This brightly coloured ‘meringue’ is daintily sandwiched together with gooey fillings. Once filled, allow the macaroons to mature over night.

Steps to successful classic macaroon shells

To make the macaroon batter use ‘liquefied’ egg whites. Why? The egg whites will liquefy if you sit them in the fridge for several days, preferably a week. During this time the egg whites will lose their elasticity, the albumen breaks down and they will be much easier to whisk to soft peaks without the risk of turning ‘grainy’.
Makes about 80-100 macaroons (160-200 shells, depends on piping size).
Oven 140°C (important to be aware of your oven’s cooking temperature).
Refrigeration (ageing): 24h and 2h before eating.
The filling gives the macaroons their flavour. When they are baked and assembled, the 24-hour standing time in the fridge is essential. During that time, the ambient humidity and the moisture of the filling have time to flavour the shells slightly and improve the texture. The next day they will have the perfect consistency of a macaroon, a little bit crisp and fondant.
Take the macaroons out of the fridge two hours before serving – they should not be eaten the day they are made, because they will be too dry. Macaroons can be kept in the refrigerator for 48h, or freeze them.

Basic macaroon recipe

Ingredients
   
110g clarified egg whites (a)
3g cream of tartar
  Pinch dried egg whites (Actiwhite)
300g castor sugar
75ml/g water
300g icing sugar
300g almond powder
  Chosen colouring
110g clarified egg white (b)

Method

  1. Only start the recipe once the egg whites have been clarified and weighed. Preheat the oven to 140°C.
  2. Place the clarified egg whites (a), cream of tartar and dried egg whites into a clean mixing bowl with a whisk attachment.
  3. Place the castor sugar and water in a small saucepan and start cooking on a low to medium heat. Once the thermometer reaches 110°C slowly start to whisk the egg whites on a low setting and increase speed slowly.
  4. Mix icing sugar and almond powder in a food processor to a fine powder – then sieve to create a tant port tant (TPT). A TPT can be made in advance.
  5. Continue cooking the sugar-water solution to 117-118°C and then pour over the slightly whipped egg whites to make and Italian meringue. Mix the meringue until it cools to 45°C.
  6. Combine the sieved icing sugar and almond flour with the clarified egg whites (b) in a large bowl – gradually incorporate the meringue into the almond paste mixture, add in the chosen colour (1/2 drops only).
  7. Combine the mixture by hand using a firm plastic scraper using a folding motion until the paste (or macaroon batter) is ‘lava’ like and shiny.
  8. Pipe the macaroons onto a silpat or good quality parchment paper. Tap the tray to level the macaroons. Sprinkle with desired topping (optional)
  9. The macaroons are best baked on two flat aluminium trays for approximately 15 minutes at 140°C.