I tend to stay away from bakes that require a lot of faff, having 3 kids and a busy life means that I can't usually spend several uninterrupted hours dutifully creating baking brilliance. However, I do enjoy baking macarons. They used to be my nemesis, but I can now bake them to a fairly consistent standard and fairly quickly too.
I don't use the Italian meringue method of heating sugar as that is a bit too much faff for me and I tend not to like bubbling pans of sugar about when my children are home. I use a fairly simple and easy method that works for me. Please don't shout or complain if your macarons aren't perfect first time or hunt me down waving a heavy rolling pin. Macarons can be temperamental, tricky and frustrating. Normally my macarons work out well, however, sometimes a batch will fail spectacularly even though I have used the same method and recipe as I always do.
200g icing sugar
120g ground almonds
3 free range egg whites, at room temperature
1 Tblsp caster sugar
Food colouring (optional), I used a tiny amount of gel food colouring
Preheat your oven to 150C. Draw 48 x 4cm circles on to the baking paper which will line your baking trays. Make sure you leave room between the circles for the macarons to spread a little. Turn the baking paper over and use it to line your trays. These will be your template when piping the macarons, it makes piping consistently sized and shaped macarons much easier.
Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds into a bowl, then sift them again and set aside. You want them to be lump free so even though sifting twice seems a little OTT it is really worth it. Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer or using an electric hand mixer on high for 30 seconds until they are foamy. Add the caster sugar and whisk for another 10 minutes or until the mixture holds very stiff peaks when you turn off the mixer and lift the beaters/whisk. Add a little gel food colouring at this point if you want to. Fold through the icing sugar and almond mixture, in 2 batches, until your mixture is smooth.
Pour your mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm nozzle, or use a disposable piping bag without a nozzle, just make sure you don’t cut the whole in the end too wide.
Pipe 48 x 4cm rounds of the mixture on to the baking trays lined with the non-stick baking paper templates. Carefully bang the trays of macarons on your work surface a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles. Leave the trays to stand 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature of your oven to 130C and bake the macarons for around 15 - 17 minutes or until they are crisp on the outside and chewy in the centre. Remove the macarons from the oven and let them cool completely on the trays.