Macarons are by far my favourite dessert to bake and eat. When done well they are light and this the right filling they are so full of flavour. They may be small but they are so decadent it is hard not to fall in love with these little French delights. Now these have gone up a level in our house and become marbled macarons.
A Few Questions
Firstly I would like to clear a few things up… Is it ‘macaron’ or ‘macaroon’? Well, in my humble* opinion it is macaron. A macaroon is a small coconut biscuit that is delicious and crumbly in texture. The little dessert I am referring to is an almond meringue sandwiched together with a flavoured filling including buttercream and ganache. It is a French invention and the word originates from the Italian ‘macarone’ which means meringue. In recent years people have adopted the French spelling to reduce confusion between the two items. So quite simply it is ‘macaron’ when discussing the almond meringue French dessert.
*My opinion is anything but humble, but usually well researched at least 😉
Secondly, should it be made using the French or Italian method? For the first time in my life** I am sitting on the fence, I am undecided. I believe it should be made using the French method because it is a French dessert. However this method is by far the hardest to master and the most likely to go wrong. I spent a long time practicing getting the perfect macaron using this method and I have succeeded. Despite this I still prefer the Italian method. I am sure there are French pâtissiers rolling in their graves at the mere thought of that phrase. The fact is the mixture is easier to work with and gives more consistent results. You are more likely to get a smooth shell and the ‘feet’ that give a macaron its distinctive appearance.
French Method Macarons
The French method making macarons is very simple. You make a french meringue by whisking egg whites and slowly adding sugar until stiff peaks form. To this you add a sifted almond and icing sugar mix with any colouring or flavouring required. This mixture is combined until it is smooth and falls from the spatula like a ribbon and not in clumps. As simple as this sounds it can go very wrong very quickly because it takes less mixing to thin to a ribbon consistency than the Italian counterpart. Over mixed and under mixed batter will make poor macarons. The tops can crack, feet become fluffy and lumpy rather than aerated and tall. All it takes to get this one wrong is one to many stirs of your final mix or two minutes too long when resting.
Italian Method Macarons
Like the French method it refers to the technique used to make the meringue. I have included a recipe for this one below so I won’t go into huge detail just yet. This method is much easier to mix and takes more mixing to form a ribbon consistency so it is harder to over mix. Not impossible though so you still need to be paying attention. In short they can go wrong and they still take skill but they are much more likely to go right using the Italian method than using the French method.
Now I won’t tell a lie. I can always be found pinning away on Pinterest just before bed. The inspiration for these marbled macarons came from a few pins I saw one night whilst browsing. I am a strong believer in giving credit where it is due however despite quite a lot of digging I can not for the life of me find the original post on how to make them. Whoever you are I felt extremely inspired so my sincere apologies that I can’t give you full credit .
I made chocolate raspberry marbled macarons in celebration of Valentines Day. Despite the fact I don’t like Valentines Day I do enjoy any excuse to pair chocolate with raspberry.[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:3]
It is hard to deny that these are the most stunning macarons I have ever made. This is an easy technique to transfer to biscuits and other bakes. The options of colour coordinations are endless so this effect would never get boring.