These are made with aquafaba, the brine from tinned chickpeas. You will need an electric whisk, a piping bag, a food processor (I use a mini one) and a silicon macaron mat. I tried drawing circles on a sheet of baking paper instead of using a mat – the mixture ran into puddles which were not remotely round and I was devastated. I also chopped my mat in half so each half fits neatly on a baking tray. I’ve found that using digital weighing scales makes it easier to weigh the ingredients precisely; the key to making successful macarons.
This isn’t a recipe to make in a rush. Make them on a rainy day when you have nowhere else to be and are feeling up to a bit of endeavour.
Makes 24 macarons
Brine from one tin of chickpeas
50g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
20g caster sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
Food colouring and flavouring of your choice
- Drain the brine from a tin of chickpeas and reduce over a medium heat to 55g. Yes, that’s right – grams rather than milliliters. (I keep a jug and digital weighing scales next to the hob, periodically pouring the liquid into jug to weighing it to see how much it has reduced.) It will reduce slowly at first, but then unexpectedly starts to evaporate very fast – keep a close eye on it and hover nearby!
- Allow the aquafaba to cool completely. You can do this by putting it in the freezer for 15 minutes. While it cools, blitz the icing sugar and ground almonds for 5 minutes in a food processor. I use a mini one that came as a blender stick attachment.
3. Whisk the cooled aquafaba until it forms soft peaks. It will change from a murky, sticky liquid to a white fluffy cloud. You should be able to hold the bowl over your head without the mixture moving. (For a less risky option that won’t threaten to mess up your hair, you can alternatively tip the bowl sideways to see how stiff it is.)
4. Add the caster sugar and whisk the mixture again until it re-stiffens. Now stir in the ground almonds and icing sugar – stir it well so there are no lumps. Add the cream of tartar and a few drops of food colouring of your choice. With regards to flavouring, macarons require a careful balance of liquid and dry ingredients so it’s safest to add flavouring to the buttercream used to sandwich them together.
5. Spoon half the mixture into a piping bag and pipe onto the macaron mat. (As you can see, not all of them are always perfectly neat circles.)
6. Allow to sit for two hours – the macarons will feel almost hard to the touch. Pre-heat the oven to 110C. Bake the macarons for 45 minutes. Switch the oven off and leave them in there for fifteen minutes. Then open the oven door, leaving them in there for ten minutes. Leave to cool completely before attempting to remove them from their mat. Don’t worry if they look a bit speckled – this fades as they cool.
7. Make the buttercream icing. I lack the patience to figure out exactly how much icing is needed for 24 macarons. Just make a batch of icing and add flavouring and colouring to a few tablespoonfuls. You can use the rest of the icing later. You might like to make yellow lemon, pink rosewater, darker pink with raspberry, purple lavender, green with mint. (It seems making pistachio macarons is an art in itself, one which we will worry about another day. For now you could just make green macarons filled with a pistachio flavoured buttercream.)
9. Once cool, remove the macaron shells very gently from the mat and sandwich pairs together with buttercream, which should be roughly the same colour as the macaron shells. If you’re not planning to eat them immediately, store the shells in an airtight container and fill them when you intend to use them. They can go a bit soft if you store them filled.