These are Macaroon De Nancy, not what you would normally think of as a Macaroon, non-the less I love them. They have a distinctive almond flavour and if you get the cooking just right you end up with a cookie like item with a centre that is almost marzipan.
This is another dish that benefits from not being too sweet. Do please give it a go, I really hope you like Macaroons De Nancy! Apparently the recipe is a well-guarded secret, so I hope that if I publish this blog I don’t wake up surrounded by a gang of irate French bakers!
To Make Macaroon de Nancy You Will Need
- 100g Ground Almonds
- 100g Icing Sugar
- 40g Egg white – please do weigh it!
- 5g Vanilla Paste
- Bitter Almond extract – 3-5 Drops
- Water for brushing.
Note to my American readers.
One of the tutors at Le Cordon Bleu said that the Ground Almonds in the USA are not as high quality as we have here in the UK. This recipe says 100g Ground Almonds, and it means 100, not 99, 98 or 97. He advised that if making these in the US then sieve the ground almonds then throw away what remains in the sieve, then weigh out the full 100g. If you weigh out 100g and sieve it you may throw away a few g. Furthermore check that your American Icing Sugar (Confectioners Sugar) is just sugar, the majority of US suppliers add Corn Starch, you don’t want this in the recipe!
However, this is a simple mixture and without wanting to complicate it I have a couple of tricks that will make the finished Macaroons De Nancy perfect. I made these at Le Cordon Bleu and they were great. However I made them again when I got home and they were a whole lot better (sorry, coming over as a big head, but they were delicious).
Start of by sieving together your Ground Almonds and Icing Sugar. Yes sieve them!
You know me I think sieving is a pointless activity, but in this case it is not. Sieving together the two items makes sure that they are very fine and blended. It’s also good because the sieving action makes the sugar absorb some of the Almond Oil in the Ground Almonds. You are making a tant pour tant – equal parts of Ground Almonds and Icing Sugar.
Add all the other ingredients and mix them together. I use a spatula and to get a smooth blend squish the rubbery spatula blade against the side of the mixing bowl. Don’t over mix, we are not trying to add air into this mixture.
I put my mix into the fridge for 10mins to firm up as it was a warm day.
Douse your fingers with lots of icing sugar and pick up golf ball sized dollops of the mixture. Place this onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. With extra icing sugar on your fingers gently press the mound of mixture to flatten it to cookie shape, 1 to 1.5cm deep.
Once you have dolloped out all of the mixture put the tray back into the fridge for 20 mins to firm up again.
Put the oven on at 160Fan/180C/300F/Gas 3. Now this bit feels a bit strange, but do trust me I am a Dr! Before you put the tray into the oven you need to wipe the Macaroons with water. Take kitchen towel, fold it over, dip this in the water and give the surface a good wipe. You are moistening the icing sugar on top, not washing it away.
Bung them in the oven for about 12 mins, checking at 10. The water makes the surface of the Macaroon de Nancy crack and have a glazed finish.
If you are around when these come out of the oven the thing to do is to have them warm – just above room temperature.
You know I am besotted with baking, naturally. With Macaroon De Nancy I find it intriguing how so few ingredients, and simple techniques can turn into something magnificent, majestic and bloomin moreish!