A Valentine’s recipe

For the Valentine’s pop-up shop, as well as my usual knitted and sewn items, I decided to made macaroons to give away to visitors to my stall. It was my first time making them, so I was rather nervous, but they turned out really well and were predictably all snapped up. As usual I turned to Mary Berry for my recipe, and if you have a piping bag and a penchant for chewy meringue, I urge you to have a go. They may sound daunting but they really aren’t that bad, and involve very few ingredients. I found piping out the neat little circles of meringue very therapeutic, and now well and truly have the macaroon bug!

I filled my macaroons with whipped double cream and raspberry jam, but a chocolate ganache would be lovely too. The real beauty for me lies in the colour possibilities of these bite-sized delights: I’m now thinking mint-green, or duck-egg blue, for my next attempt. My first batch, though? Pink, of course, for Valentine’s day.

See below for some obsessive macaroon photos and the deceptively simple recipe!

Macaroons
from The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake

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Ingredients:
3 egg whites
105g (4oz) ground almonds
225g (8oz) icing sugar
few drops of red food colouring

To assemble:
200ml double cream, whipped
Raspberry or strawberry jam

Makes about 20 macaroons

– Line two baking trays with baking parchment, and draw out 40 4cm circles on the parchment. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.

– Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Slowly add half the icing sugar until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy and bright white. Add drops of red food colouring until the mixture is the desired colour (remember that the macaroons will turn slightly paler when baked).

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– In another bowl, mix the remaining icing sugar and almonds together. Fold this mixture into the egg white mixture gently with a large metal spoon.

– Spoon half the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large nozzle. Holding the nozzle close to the baking tray, pipe meringue onto each of the circles drawn on your baking trays. As the macaroon forms, pull the piping bag up and away from the tray.

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– Repeat with the remaining meringue mixture. With a knife, carefully round off any peaks on your circles, then gently bang the baking trays a couple of times on a worktop to help the macaroons flatten out. Leave them to sit for 20-30 minutes, until a “skin” has formed on the top.

– Bake the macaroons in the pre-heated oven for 9-12 minutes, until they have formed “feet” on the bottom and are firm to the touch. Let the macaroons cool briefly on the baking trays, then carefully peel off the baking parchment and transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.

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– To assemble, match up your macaroons into evenly-sized pairs. Pipe double cream around the edge of one of the macaroons, then put a small blob of jam in the middle and sandwich together with its matched pair.

– Present to impressed friends, and smile. You made macaroons!

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