My French friend Guillaume Nicoli is an amazing pastry chef. A few years ago, he and his wife Hiroe started a Macarons business called ‘Ma Cherie’ and it’s been incredible to see it grow from a tiny home based business to the successful company that it is today. Guillaume has even become a little bit of a celebrity around these parts, appearing on multiple TV shows such as Master Chef NZ and Good Morning and featuring in numerous magazines. I guess it shows what passion and a whole lot of hard work can do!
When it came to learning how to make Macarons for Mother’s Day I naturally turned to him. He kindly welcomed me into his bakery and agreed to share his home recipe and savoir faire with you lovely readers.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create the most beautiful little heart shaped macarons for Mother’s Day. One note of warning though, these can be a little bit tricky to make but one’s thing for sure, they are a labour of love!
Heart Shaped Macarons
140g Icing (confectionery) sugar
90g Ground almonds
2 egg whites
5g Caster sugar
10 drops of red food coloring (or any color of your choice)
75g White Chocolate (broken into small pieces)
35g Cream (boiled)
10g of Strawberry paste or 1 tsp Strawberry essence
2 drops of red food coloring (optional)
You can also replace the ganache with strawberry Jam or cream cheese
Step 1: The Meringue
♥ Sieve icing sugar and ground almonds into a bowl or onto parchment paper
♥ In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add Food coloring then continue to beat until stiff.
♥ Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the Almond/ Sugar mix into the egg whites. Guillaume considers this the most important step as if you over mix the batter the macarons will collapse during cooking but if the eggs whites are not properly incorporated then the top of your macarons will not be smooth. The mix should be smooth and glossy and have a thick ‘lava’ like consistency.
Step 2: Pipping
♥ Line a tray with non stick cooking (baking) paper. To make things easier you could draw or print a series of hearts shapes onto paper first and then place the cooking paper on top of it to use as a marker (just remember to remove the paper from underneath before cooking).
♥ Place meringue mixture into a pipping bag and pipe onto your baking paper. The easiest way to create hearts is to start with two balls next to each other, and to then gently pipe them down at the base to make a heart.
♥ When you’ve finished pipping, gently tap your tray onto the table to help the hearts spread a little. Then leave the tray to dry in a cool dry place for an hour.
15 mins before step 3, pre-heat your oven to 150c
Step 3: Baking
♥ Before baking your macarons make sure that they are slightly sticky to the touch
♥ Bake for about 15mins (depending on your oven). The macarons will rise and little ‘feet’ will appear.
♥ Leave to cool completely
Step 4: The Ganache
♥ In a bowl, mix chocolate, strawberry paste and coloring.
♥ Bring cream to the boil and add to chocolate mixture.
♥ Mix until smooth. If your mix has to many chocolate lumps in it then simply microwave mixture for a few seconds before mixing it again.
♥ Leave ganache in fridge until it becomes creamy (about 30mins)
Step 5: Putting it all together
♥ Turn your macarons upside down.
♥ Place ganache into pipe bag and pipe a little ball of ganache onto every second heart.
♥ Pair each ‘ganached’ macaron with a plain one.
The macarons will need to sit in the fridge overnight for the layers to fuse together perfectly. You can also freeze your macarons until you need them. Simply defrost an hour before serving.
To increase the wow factor I like to present the macarons lined up in a pretty box tied with a bow. However, if you run out of time, or don’t think you’re quite ready to bake macarons from scratch just yet, then you can always run to the ‘Ma Cherie’ shop and buy an already made box!
x Bon appetit