Macarons and I have a sordid history. About two years ago, I went through a macaron obsession – about the same time the entire world went through one. I was making macarons almost weekly. Not because they were delicious and I was awesome at them. No, because I was utterly incapable of making them. The very first time I made them, they were perfect… or at least, I remember them as perfect. Convinced that everyone was exaggerating about the skill required to prepare these French delicacies, I made them again and they were terrible, #fail. So I made them again, telling myself that I had been unlucky… and they were terrible. So I made them again and again and again and until I realised that that very first time was a fluke and that I simply couldn’t make macarons.
To heap misery on my despair, my 15-year-old cousin at the time could whip up macarons like they were nobody’s business. There is nothing worse that being upstaged by your kid relative, trust me. I complained to her and she replied, ‘They’re easy, so easy that I’ve moved onto harder French pastries’. So on the eve of my return to Tuscany, I called her in and begged her to show me her macaron recipe. It’s adapted from the very famous Ladurèe recipe, but it has a uniquely Australian twist in the form of sprinkles or, as we call them, hundreds ‘n’ thousands.
I rolled my eyes last year when I heard about the confetti/funfetti cake craze. Any ’90s Australian kid would remember having ‘fairy bread’ at birthday parties. For the uninitiated, that’s white sliced bread with butter and sprinkles. I remember my mum covering most of my birthday cakes with buttercream and sprinkles in an attempt to hide a shoddy bake. In other words, confetti cakes are nothing new to us Aussies. But confetti macarons, well I’m not exactly pioneering them, but I am making them my own. With sprinkles in the batter and the filling, these macarons will make your inner child smile. They’re sweet, colourful and beautifully festive, regardless of whether you’re making them for a party or not.
I really wanted to capture the flavours of the confetti cake in my macaron, so the biscuit itself is a Madagascar vanilla, which is sweet and subtle. I’ve learnt not to go too adventurous with the biscuit flavour the hard way! The filling is white chocolate ganache with a hint of rosewater just because I love rosewater. You could also make the filling with cream cheese and sprinkles if you’re after the authentic Funfetti experience
So good luck, happy baking and don’t stress about the recipe being too hard. If a 15-year-old can make macarons, anyone can… famous last words… 🙂
Sprinkle meringue kisses
275g almond meal
250g icing sugar
7 egg whites
1 cup regular sugar
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
For the ganache
200g white chocolate
125g double cream
1 tsp rosewater, or to taste
Preheat oven to 160°C. Combine the almond meal and icing sugar in a bowl. Separate the egg whites, keeping one egg white separate. Beat the egg whites (both the 6 and the separate one in two bowls) to stiff peaks. Fold in the almond meal a quarter cup at a time, then fold in the remaining egg white, vanilla bean and sprinkles. Carefully spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a 9 mm tube. Line a baking tray with three sheets of baking paper. Pipe your kisses about the size of a 20-cent piece. Pipe the shells in alternate rows so the air flow on the tray is nice and even and wait 15 minutes before putting in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp.
For the ganache, heat the cream in a small saucepan until almost boiling, remove from the heat. Break the white chocolate into chunks and stir into the cream. Add the butter, and rosewater refrigerate until cool and spreadable. Spread the ganache on the underside of each kiss, and top with another to make a sandwich.
Party hats at the ready! I feel like I’m a kid in the ’90s already!