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Macaroons and Italian Buttercream (by Korea)

Basic Macaron Recipe (adapted from Tartlette)

120g egg whites, at room temperature
35g caster sugar
150g almond meal
150 pure icing sugar **
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt

Sugar syrup
150g caster sugar
50g water

** Pure icing sugar is also known as confectioners sugar in the US. Please bear in mind, this is different to soft icing mixture. Pure icing sugar is just powdered sugar, whereas soft icing mixture is a mixture of sugar powder and corn starch. You cannot use soft icing mixture to make these as it will make the cookies too firm and dry, giving entirely the wrong texture.

1. Preheat oven to 160 degees C – make sure you do not use a fan-forced setting. Sift together the pure icing sugar and almond meal, and set aside, then mix in 60g of the egg whites till well-combined.

2. Add the salt and cream of tartar to the remaining egg whites (salt helps thicken the proteins and cream of tartar helps to stabilize the aerated mixture) and beat till foamy. Add the caster sugar 1 tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat till mixture forms soft peaks. Do not overbeat at this stage.

3. Boil together the sugar and water for the sugar syrup till it reaches 110 degrees C, then pour into the egg whites in a slow and steady stream, beating continously. Continue beating the mixture till it is completely cool.

4. Carefully fold the almond mixture into the cooled meringue till evenly combined, and add any flavourings you wish. Continue to fold the mixture till it is soft and flows like magma – when you create a peak it should slowly but completely dissolve to a flat surface.

5. Pipe the macaron batter into even circles on a lined baking tray, leaving 5cm between each cookie, and make sure you don’t pipe any air bubbles into each form as that will cause them to ‘explode’ very much like a volcano while they’re baking. Sit them for about 15 – 20 minutes so that the surface can dry and they can form a skin.

6. Bake them for 13 – 15 minutes, then remove and place in the freezer for 10 minutes – this will make them cool quickly and make it easy to remove them from the baking paper. Carefully peel off the baking paper and pipe buttercream onto half the cookies, using the remaining half to sandwich them.

Italian Buttercream
2 egg whites (60mL)
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp castor sugar
60g unsalted butter at room temperature, roughly diced

Whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl bain-marie style (over a pot of simmering water) and heat the mixture, whisking often, for 3-5mins or till it feels warm and sugar has dissolved.

Remove from heat and whisk on high speed till stiff and shiny. Add the butter slowly, one cube at a time, and continue to mix till all the butter is combined. Add any flavourings and refrigerate till firm enough to pipe.

These can be flavoured with any variety of different flavours, so think about what combinations you might want to try and let your imagination run wild!