For the macaron shells:
300g ground almonds
300g pure icing sugar (without corn flour added to it)
110g liquefied egg whites (see below)
+ 300g caster sugar
75g mineral water
110g liquefied egg whites
2 tbsp cocoa powder
150g crushed hazelnuts
375g cooking chocolate
150g thickened/double cream
3 tbsp nutella
- PREPARE BEFORE YOU START:
- Trays (lined with baking paper NOT grease proof paper)
- Eggs – separate eat egg whites from the yolks and allow them to sit in the fridge for a couple hours. These must be measured accurately.
- Sift almond and sugar together (if you don’t have a food processor)
- To make Nutella Ganache:
- Add the chocolate and cream to a large microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time until mixture is smooth. Add nutella and mix until smooth. Place into a piping bag fitted with a plain tip. If the ganache sets and hardens by the time it’s ready to be piped simply microwave for 5 seconds and massage until it becomes soft enough to pipe again.
- Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and almond meal into a food processor and process until well combined. This will help get rid of any lumps in the sugar. Alternatively you may sift the two together. This must be done at least 3 times.
- Empty the almond mixture into a large mixing bowl, add the first portion of egg whites and mix until it forms a paste. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Add the sugar and water into a small saucepan. Give them a very gentle stir to get them mixed together. Bring to a boil on medium high heat, then turn down to a simmer. Add a candy thermometer to the pot to help you measure the temp of the syrup. As the syrup bubbles away it will splatter small bubbles of sugared water on the sides of the pot. Use a pastry brush dabbed in a little water to brush those back into the syrup. This will help prevent the syrup from crystallizing. When the syrup reaches 115C, add the second portion of egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and start whisking them on medium/high speed to help break them apart and get them a little frothy.
- When the syrup reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites in a slow and steady stream. Whisk to stiff peaks for about 6 min. Add the vanilla extract at about the 3 min point, whisk into the meringue for a couple of minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down, then whisk for an extra couple of minutes. When you can turn the bowl over and the meringue doesn’t fall out, you know you’ve reached stiff peaks.
- Grab a spatula full of the meringue and fold it into the almond-sugar mixture, mix until well combined. This allows the mixture to thin out a little before you add the rest of the mixture. Fold everything together by going around the bowl with a spatula then through the middle (as demonstrated in the video). Continue folding until the batter gets thin enough that it drips off the spatula and falls in a ribbon. It should take about 10 seconds for the ribbon to disappear into the rest of the batter. That’s when you know the batter is ready to pipe.
- Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a round tip.
- Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm (1.38 inches) in diameter, spacing them 2cm apart on (flat) baking trays lined with baking parchment. Sprinkle with crushed hazelnuts.
- Gently tap the tray on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes, until a skin forms on the shells. They shouldn’t be sticky when you touch them. It’s at this point that you can preheat your oven to 180C
- Bake for 12 minutes. If you feel your oven is causing the macarons to brown on one side (usually the side closest to the fan) turn the tray around about half way through baking. Once they’re baked, let them cool completely.
- To finish off your macarons by piping nutella ganache blobs around the outside of one cookie. Fill the center with nutella and sandwich with another cookie.
- STORAGE: store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (refrigerated or unrefrigerated).
- Handy Tip:
- Liquefied egg whites: Egg whites will liquefy if you sit them in the fridge for several days, preferably a week. During that time, the egg whites lose their elasticity, the albumen breaks down and they will be much easier to whisk to soft peaks without turning “grainy”.