Let's face it, everyone loves a foodie gift at Christmas don't they?! And even better if it is a homemade foodie gift! Lucy Jane Saunders shares her recipe for simple macarons which incorporates cinnamon for added festive spice. Package them up prettily for a delicious stocking filler, or serve them on a sharing platter where everyone can choose a flavour, accompanied with caramelised nuts and flaked chocolate.
Makes 25 macarons
For the shells:
90g of ground almonds
1 heaped tsp of cinnamon
100g of icing sugar
2 egg whites
55g of caster sugar
For the ﬁlling:
150g of butter
75g of icing sugar
2 tbsp of Nutella chocolate spread
2 tbsp of peanut butter
2 tsp of almond essence
1. Preheat the oven to 140/C
2. Sieve the icing sugar, cinnamon and ground almonds into a bowl. Mix together.
3. In a clean bowl, put the egg whites and beat with a whisk. Slowly combine in the caster sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture forms ﬁrm peaks which are very thick and glossy.
4. Fold into the egg white mixture the dried ingredients using a ﬁgure of 8 motion. This will release some air from the mixture and will also ensure all the dried ingredients are combined thoroughly.
5. Using a piping bag with a 1 cm slit in the end, pipe the mixture onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Less is more at this stage so you should only pipe circles of roughly 4 cm across and 2 cm thick. Leave about 4cm between each shell.
6. Tap the tray gently after to let the macaron mixture settle. Leave on the side for 15 minutes so the mixture dries out on the outside and forms a glossy look.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for seven minutes in the middle shelf. Then let the steam out of the oven and bake for approx. 7-8 minutes longer.
8. Place on a wire rack until they are cool enough to remove from the greaseproof paper. While they are cooling, prepare the ﬁlling.
9. In a large bowl cream the butter and icing sugar together. Separate equal amounts into three different bowls for your three different ﬁllings. If you wish to just have one ﬁlling alter the amount of extra ingredient to create a large batch of 1 ﬁlling.
10. In one bowl add the Nutella spread and cream together. In another, add the peanut butter and cream together. In the ﬁnal bowl, add the almond essence and mix thoroughly. Using a teaspoon, ﬁll your shells with a thin layering of ﬁlling.
TOP TIP: Serve with some caramelised peanuts, almonds and ﬂaked chocolate. Dust lightly with icing sugar to give a truly luxurious Christmas feel. Enjoy!