These ain’t the fancy kind, my loves.
Yes, they are cute. Two colours! Light and dark! Hazelnut on one side, cocoa the other, sandwiching a slice of banana and a dollop of mascarpone.
No, they are not shiny perfect. The ground hazelnuts make them rustic (read: bumpy). They might crack in the oven.
No, you do not need boiling sugar. Or an electric mixer. Or even really a sieve. You can even dollop the silly things with a spoon should you be lacking in piping bags.
No, it doesn’t really matter. Macarons are such a simple cookie: egg white, sugar, ground nuts. You can invent anything you like to go inside, colour them any which way.
You don’t need to make a creme au beurre with fancy italian meringue and creme anglaise. Just a spoonful of marscarpone with its loud creamy taste that balances all the sugar in the shell. (Or a make a quick airy chocolate cream with a mix of Nutella and mascarpone, for the sweet-toothed.)
I have just saved you 1.85 euros per bite. (Yes, my favourite shop macarons are more than their weight in gold. Actually they are covered in gold dust.)
Bake. Love. Repeat.
Easy banana hazelnut macarons
125g ground hazelnuts
250g icing sugar
15g cocoa powder
100ml egg whites (about 4)
for decoration: 250g Nutella
Prepare some baking sheets lined with baking paper.
Whisk the egg whites until nearly stiff, add 2 tbs icing sugar and keep whipping to pointy peaks. Sieve the rest of the icing sugar and hazelnuts into the whites and fold in gently with a spatula, until just incorporated.
Divide batter into two bowls and fold the cocoa into one half.
Pipe, or spoon 3cm circles of batter onto baking sheets, spaced apart at least 2cm. (Trace circles first with a template if you are a dessert nerd.)
Leave macarons to sit for half an hour – they will smooth themselves out a little – while you heat the oven to 200C.
Bake for 1 minute at 200C then 8-9 minutes at 180C. They should be crisp on top – the plain hazelnut ones will be a little golden around the edges.
Remove from oven and pour a little water onto the tray, underneath the baking paper. This will stop the macarons sticking.
When cool, peel off paper and sandwich them together- try to match plain and cocoa shells together.
With a small dab of Nutella, stick a slice of banana to one macaron shell. Top with a dollop of plain Nutella, a divinely creamy mix of 50/50 Nutella/mascarpone or just plain mascarpone for a less sweet effect. Press the other half on top.
For best results, chill in fridge for 12 hours: the icing and shells will meld together for a harmonious fusion of nutty chocolate banana goodness.