Who knew that macaroons were so easy to make? Now I’m not saying these turned out like Adrian Zumbo’s perfect round discs of colour, but the flavour and texture was awesome Given I was using a 1907 recipe from Mrs Beeton as part of The Cookbook Guru I certainly wasn’t wanting them to be high-end French patisserie anyway. I was just hoping for something light, flavourful and a little crunchy on the outside.
The good news is that these macaroons turned out to have a crisp outer shell and a lovely soft and chewy almond inner that is reminiscent of marzipan. With only 3 ingredients they are also incredible simple to make, in spite of the horror stories you hear from people of their many failed batches. This is not to say that there isn’t room for improvement, as a friend suggested, I could refine the texture by blitzing my almond meal into a paste which would make them a more delicate texture. In her method for making these biscuits she recommends pounding the mixture in a mortar and pestle. I would honestly be reverting to something a little bit more high tech such as a coffee grinder or a food processor to cheat. As my neighbour and I tested the end result from the oven, we both agreed that I’ve still created something delicious and it encourages me to abandon the idea that they need to be perfectly shiny saucers that you see being produced in the commercial world.
To modernise this recipe slightly I did add 3 drops of vanilla essence for flavour. As per the original instructions I did cook my macaroons on rice paper as the recipe suggested, but I believe that if you use non-stick baking paper you shouldn’t need to do this. Just make sure that they are completely cooled through before peeling them off your baking paper.
Mrs Beeton’s Macaroons
- 320g almond meal, finely ground
- 225g castor sugar
- 3 egg whites
- blanched and chopped almonds for decoration.
- 3 drops vanilla essence (optional)
- rice paper for baking (optional).
Pre-heat your oven to approx 140c. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
Combine your almond meal and castor sugar well in a bowl.
If using an electric mixer, add the egg whites and vanilla and combine until a stiff paste. If combining by hand, Mrs Beeton recommends using a mortar and pestle to create your mixture until it is a stiff paste.
Spoon or pipe the mixture onto the baking sheets allowing space for the mixture to double in size.
Bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes or until the biscuits just start to turn golden in colour. A cooler oven for longer is preferable to a hotter oven.
This mixture will make about 25-30 biscuits and keep well in an airtight container for about a week.
Happy Baking and Happy Eating,