Easter is just around the corner so when The Co-Operative got in touch and offered me some products from their lovely home baking range I was very happy to start thinking about an Easter themed treat for my family. I recently started making macaroons so I decided to attempt egg shaped ones done in multiple colours. I made a template to draw egg shapes on a sheet of baking paper and then made sure to turn the paper over so that the pencil marks don’t transfer to the macaroons.
Making macaroons is actually a lot simpler than you might think – there are just two stages to mixing them and as long as you are careful with the VERY hot sugar syrup mot too much can go wrong. Key points to remember are:
- Make sure the mixing bowl is completely cool before stopping whisking the meringue
- Bang the baking tray on the work surface a few times to smooth out the mixture and remove any large bubbles.
- Allow a skin to form on top of the macaroons before baking them to give a smooth top (about 30 minutes)
- Once baked slide the baking paper onto the work-surface to cool rather than removing the macaroons straight away.
For the macaroons:
90g Egg whites (total) split into 50g for Italian meringue and 40g for the almond paste.
110g Castor sugar
30ml water (approx)
125g Ground almonds
125g Icing sugar
For the frosting:
80g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
25ml whole milk
1 and a half tsp vanilla essence
First separate the egg whites into two – 50g and 40g
- Place 50g of egg white in a clean mixing bowl – preferably metal and whisk in a stand mixer using a balloon whisk until stiff peaks form and the egg white has roughly doubled in volume. When you are ready to pour in the sugar syrup (next step) to mix the italian meringue keep the mixer on high speed.
- While the egg white whisks dissolve the 110g of castor sugar in a little water (approx 30ml works for me) in a pan.
- Heat the sugar syrup on the hob until it reaches 113.5c then remove from the heat and with the stand mixer whisking on high pour the sugar syrup into the whisked egg white. Keep whisking until the outside of the bowl is cool.
- In a separate bowl mix together the icing sugar and ground almonds before stirring in the remaining unwhisked egg white to form a paste.
- Fold the meringue into the almond paste adding food colour as desired – to make the eggs I split my mixture into 3 and added green, pink & yellow.
- Place a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray and draw a series of egg shapes on the back using a cardboard template or cookie cutter.
- Turn the greaseproof paper over to prevent any ink or pencil mark transferring to the macaroons.
- Place the macaroon mix into piping bags and snip off the ends, pipe onto the tray.
- Bang the tray down on the work surface several times to remove any large air bubbles then set aside for half an hour to allow a skin to form on top.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170c and after a skin has formed on the macar0ons bake for 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and place the sheet of baking paper on your work surface to allow them to cool before peeling them off.
For the frosting:
- Cream the butter and icing sugar in a free-standing mixer on a low speed it will initally look powdery before becoming a smooth mixture.
- Mix the vanilla essence with the milk in a separate glass or jug (I use a re-purposed Tommy Tippee cup as it has handy volumes on the side).
- With the mixture on a low speed slowly add the vanilla milk.
- Beat the mixture on a high speed for at least 5 minutes
- Pipe the frosting between the cooled macaroons.
I got lots of lovely products from the co-operative’s baking range including bright spotty cupcake cases that we will be using to make Easter nest cupcakes, and walnuts which will be going into my husband’s Carrot cake birthday cake in a few weeks. Below are some other fun ideas to try as an Easter centre piece or just to fill a rainy after noon with your kids.