CHOCOLATE ALMOND MACAROONS
(makes 18 afternoon tea size)
This recipe gives you firm pastry cases ready to fill with poached fruit or a variety of custards or creams. Freeze them baked (but unfilled) if you wish.
125g (1 cup + 1 tsp) ground almonds
210g (1 + 1/3 cups + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp) icing sugar
15g (2 tbsp + 1 tsp) cocoa (preferably dutched cocoa)
1/2 cup (4) egg whites
25g (2 + 1/2 tbsp) castor sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Place ground almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder into a sieve over a bowl and sieve together. You may have to use your hand to push the almonds through the sieve. Make sure the ingredients are well combined.
- Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, place egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar into a scrupulously clean mixing bowl and whisk on high speed till the mixer holds stiff peaks.
- Remove the whisk attachment and using a wooden spoon or spatula mix in the almond, sugar and cocoa mixture till you have formed a thick paste. Don't be scared about losing all the air bubbles you have just created, as if the mixture is too light and fluffy the macaroons will puff up in the oven.
- Place mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small plain piping nozzle about 1/2cm diameter. Pipe macaroon mixture into 4cm circles onto prepared trays. (These will spread to 5cm when cooking). Alternatively place teaspoonfuls onto trays.
- Lift tray up and bang it on the bench a couple of times to allow the mixture to settle and spread a little.
- Leave trays of macaroons to sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to create a small crust, or skin.
- Place into oven and bake for 8-10 minutes till macaroons have slightly risen and spread slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely, then gently peel each macaroon off the baking paper.