Lucinda Hamilton from Cocolicious shares her recipes for the indulgent afternoon tea treats she created for Wealden Times Midwinter Fair 2012 in collaboration with Bellaboo and Beau
You will need: piping bag fitted with 1cm nozzle & a baking tray lined with non stick baking parchment
Tip the icing sugar and the almonds into a food processor and blitz together for about 30 seconds until thoroughly combined and very fine.
In clean bowl whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Keep whisking whilst slowly adding the caster sugar, and whisk until the mixture is thick, white and glossy.
Add a few drops of pink food colouring and rose essence and blend thoroughly.
With a large metal spoon fold the ground sugar and almond mix into the egg whites. The mixture should be thoroughly incorporated and smooth, this generally takes about a minute of continuous folding action. When the mixture is ready, it should drop from the spoon in a continuous smooth mass.
Spoon the mixture into the piping bag fitted with the correct nozzle and pipe evenly sized rounds onto the prepared baking sheet. Leave enough space between macarons as they will spread out a bit.
The next step is very important as if forgotten you will not get the ‘pied’ at the bottom of the macaron.
Tap the bottom of the baking sheet sharply, ONCE and only ONCE, on the work surface to expel any air bubbles. (I just lift the whole baking sheet slightly above the work surface and let it drop down.)
Whilst the macarons are drying, preheat the oven to 150°C. Leave the macarons to dry out for a minimum of 15-20 minutes (sometimes longer depending on the conditions), they need to form a dry shell. They should not be sticky, tacky or wet when tested with your fingertip.
Bake the macarons for 11 mins. You may need to turn them halfway through the baking if your oven tends to be hotter on one side. The tops should be crisp and the bottoms dry. Once ready, remove from the oven and immediately remove the whole baking sheet from the tray onto a wire cooling rack.
Once cooled remove carefully from the baking sheet before filling.
For the Rose Buttercream:
125g unsalted butter at room temperature
250g icing sugar
a splash of milk
a couple drops of rose essence
pink food colour, if desired
Beat butter until creamy and pale. Gradually add the icing sugar and milk beating well until buttercream is very soft and light. Add any colouring or flavouring that you wish.
Pipe a small quantity of buttercream onto one of the macaron shells and sandwich with another.
Store in airtight containers until ready to serve. Macarons can be frozen too, make sure they are thoroughly thawed before serving.
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