March 29, 2010

Chocolate French Macaroons a.k.a. Mandy Macs

macarons filled



OK, the picture above doesn’t look like French macaroons and that’s because they went a bit wrong! I used the recipe from the April issue of Delicious magazine and I did a bit of research online for some hints and tips, but I still failed.


meringueOne of the tips was to use old egg whites. I had a load stashed in the freezer which I defrosted in the fridge overnight and then left out on the counter to come to room temperature. This apparently helps to whisk them more stiffly.







macaron mixtureMy main downfall was that I missed out the step of sifting the ground almonds and icing sugar. So the mixture was really thick and I must have over-mixed as I was trying to get the “ribbon-like consistency as it falls from the spatula”. I knew that the mixture wasn’t right, but I proceeded anyway as I didn’t think I could save this mess! It’s funny because I did consider only using 100g instead of 125g of ground almonds as I didn’t really want to open another packet. If I’d done this, then maybe the mixture wouldn’t have been so thick.


macaron piped 1 I used a 1cm plain nozzle inserted into a food bag and it was quite hard to pipe out the mixture. As you can see they don’t look particularly appealing and it looks like I should have got busy with a pooper scooper! I did tap the baking trays on the counter to give them a ‘foot’ but the mixture was so thick that it made no difference.




macarons baked Another tip I read online was to bake them with the door propped open. So I baked one batch with the door slightly ajar, and the second batch with the door closed. They all came out exactly the same: domed and cracked!







macaron filled inside copySo they looked nothing like they should, but I filled some anyway with Nutella and tried them. They actually tasted really nice and had a lovely chewy texture, like a brownie. Steve preferred to eat them as singles with Nutella spread on them. He declared this new type of macaroon should be called Mandy Macs (quite fitting as his surname is Macfarlane, so when we marry I will be Mandy Macfarlane). Steve’s sister is the only one of us who’s actually tried a proper French macaroon and she said they were nothing like what I’d made, but she thought they were very nice anyway!


I will have another go at making French macaroons, but I will probably try a different recipe. But my Mandy Macs will also be made again and hopefully I will be able to recreate this new sweet treat! So here’s my recipe for Mandy Macs:


  • Makes: about 32 singles
  • Oven temperature: Gas mark 3/325°F/170°C
  • Oven shelf: middle



  • 110g icing sugar
  • 65g cocoa powder (I used Bournville)
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 3 large free-range egg whites
  • 75g caster sugar
  • Nutella to fill or spread



  1. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 3/325°F/170°C. Whizz the icing sugar, cocoa and ground almonds in a food processor to a very fine mixture.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar until thick and glossy.
  3. Fold half the almond, cocoa and icing sugar mixture into the meringue and mix well. Add the remaining half and mix for a few minutes until well incorporated.
  4. Spoon into a piping/food bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle (tip: place the bag in a glass so you have both hands free).
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Pipe small rounds of the macaroon mixture, about 3cm across, onto the baking sheets. Leave to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to form a slight skin then bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
  6. Use the Nutella to sandwich the macs together or just spread on single ones.


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