Some major lessons I've learned from making these:
- Buy a good whisk: although I used an electric mixer (Kenwood), it took quite a long time (read: hours) for me to whisk my egg whites to soft peaks, resulting in a couple pots of burned sugar. Ideally, with the right whisk - this should happen within minutes.
- Age your egg whites: I should have separated my egg whites the night before and aged them before so that they could form peaks faster.
- Use gel or powder colouring: I made the mistake of using liquid colouring, resulting in the inconsistency of the macaron mixture. The ideal method of colouring should be powder (added to dry mix) or gel (added to meringue) as this will not alter the water content in the mixture.
- Pipe smaller shells: Ideally 3.5cm or less with 2cm gap in between.
- Invest in good aluminium trays: My normal cookie trays went crazy in the oven and started bending, causing some of my good macarons to stick together..
- High/Low: High heat at the start for the macarons to rise, and lower the heat to stabilise the shells. Be mindful to not have the heat set too high because this may crack the shells.
- Having feet early is not necessarily good: Yes, you should rejoice when you see feet but this shouldn't happen until the 3rd/4th minute of the high heat baking - because once you turn down the heat to stabilise it later, the feet will 'expand', resulting in macaron shells that has 'feet skirt'. (See batch 2).
Ingredients (excluding the yolks) - dry ingredients + egg whites
Sugar syrup - to be cooked to 121c.
Egg whites + sugar to hard peaks (mixture is cool to touch)
Depending on amount of liquid colouring you put - the mixture may spread on the sheet. Therefore it is best to pipe smaller than you want the macarons to be, and make sure there is adequate space between each macarons.
Result of piping them too closely!
Final product after the match making process
Sandwiched a couple with Zumbo's salted caramel mix :p
The feet of this batch wasn't as pretty - probably due to the higher water content in my mixture (I used more colouring to get the yellow colour I wanted to match the lemon filling).
Piped filling after match making
Arranged the macarons in a in an air tight container, cling wrapped and frozen - defrost them about 30 minutes-1 hour before serving. Perfect!
For the lemon cheese filling, I just used a combination of mascarpone and cream cheese, with some lemon zest and lemon juice - this creates a yummy filling. Not too sweet with the right amount of zest-yness.
The lemon could also be substituted with coffee mix or other flavouring too!