Macaroons – the Master of Disguise!
There are a few reasons why I started making macaroons. Firstly, macarons are just tooooooooo temperamental.
Renee, Veronica and I tried and tried and tried. We must have tried at least 30 different recipes, drying techniques, mixing techniques, cooking techniques, ingredient adjustments and tweaking. But in the end the results were too hit and miss. Sometimes the little monsters would work wonderfully and we congratulated ourselves as being the best macaron makers eva! And then other times they were a complete flop! So we blamed the weather and the egg whites and the recipe we’d consulted and the oven.
But end of the day, we were developing a kind of macaron madness. So in the interests of mental preservation, we decided that French/Italian maracons just weren’t our thing and dumped the idea of being an Adriano Zumbo in Launceston!
Secondly, after each bake of pastry we end up with bags and bags of egg whites. The freezer is full of them and they are starting to reach plague proportions. Something’s gotta give!
Thirdly, Dazza favourite tweets is my hazelnut macaroons. So, I figured, if hazelnuts and almonds make tasty macaroons – what’s to stop me using other ingredients….. like red lentil or pumpkin seeds or linseeds….?
So, it’s simple really: (1) we’re rubbish at making the fancy macarons – so I decided to take it down a notch. (2) We have a glut of egg whites to use. And, (3) the way to a man’s heart is through his tum!
So here is my quirky nut-free macaroon recipe that can be used a dozen different for outcomes from simple macaroon rounds to fancy Wagon Wheels and Crowns and Kiss Biscuits.
1 cups desiccated coconut (organic coconut is nice as it doesn’t contain preservative and seems to have sweeter flavour and softer texture.)
1 cup freshly roasted sunflower seeds ground into a fine meal
1 cup freshly roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) ground into a fine meal
Basically you need 3 cups of dry ingredients – combinations of almond meal or hazelnut meal and coconut are fantastic, if you don’t have sunflowers or pumpkin sees. Even bean flours make unusually delicious macaroons.
4 eggs whites
¾ cup of caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional) or finely grated lemon/orange rind
Heat oven to 150oC
- Beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved. You don’t want your egg whites to go so far as to form peaks – as this will make your macaroons a bit dry. A thickened, glossy egg mixture is good.
Add the vanilla essence and beat to combine.
Add the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.
Put scoopfuls of the mixture onto baking paper on trays
OR: Put the mixture into a piping bag without a tip and pipe rounds or crescents
OR: Put blobs of mixture onto baking paper and smooth out into a round to make a thinner biscuit
Put tray into the oven and cook for around 15 mins for softer macaroons – you want the bases to be lightly browned – at least. Longer for crunchy. The less cooking time means a softer macaroon. A longer baking (drying) time in the oven means a harder macaroon. However you like your bikkies – soft or crunchy will dictate your baking time.
Once cooled top your biscuits with chocolate or icing or raspberry jam or marshmallows. OR a little bit of everything! Make the Full Monty Macaroon!!
Too easy. You don’t need fancy mixers and Thermomixers to make these little babies. Just a bit of grunt and mixing effort and you’re Nigella! Or Jamie! Perfect for picnics. Perfect for bush walking power food (we called them the Mighty Montezuma Marshmallow Macaroon Munchies!)