There is nothing scary about making macaroons and they make the most lovely edible present — in fact, these are our new go-to hostess gift. You can color them and flavor them and fill them with endless possibilities. The key is letting them rest for an hour before baking: this is what forms the characteristic line on the base of the macaroon and insures the perfect crispy/chewy balance. In a word, these are simply divine!
4 oz. ground almonds (1 cup plus 3 tbs.)
7 oz. confectioner’s sugar (1½ cup plus 3 tbs.)
3 egg whites
2 tbs. caster (superfine white) sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
pinch gel or powdered food coloring
For the filling:
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate
7 fl. oz. heavy cream
1 tsp. brandy
½ oz. butter (1 tbs.)
Blend the almonds and the confectioner’s sugar together well and set aside.
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted. Gradually add the caster sugar, cream of tartar, and food coloring and continue to whisk until smooth and glossy. Gently fold in the almond mixture until the mixture resembles shaving foam.
Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a ½” round nozzle. Pipe 1″ circles onto parchment-lined baking trays. If a peak forms, wet your finger and smooth it down. Sharply tap the baking trays to release any air bubbles and set aside for 60 minutes. They are ready to bake when they are no longer sticky to the touch.
Heat the oven to 315°F and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until barely golden on the bottom and matte in color on the top. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then carefully peel of the parchment and cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the filling, combine the chocolate and cream in a saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Stir in the brandy and butter, then leave to cool.
Fill the macaroons and chill for 30 minutes before serving.