Last night I hosted my book club and I decided at the last minute to treat everyone to some chocolate macaroons. I nearly always have the ingredients for this recipe in my pantry. It’s also a very quick recipe, both in prep time and in baking time. Which last night was a good thing as I needed a few minutes to refresh my memory on some key plot points.
The recipe calls for sifting the dry ingredients – to get rid of any lumps – but to be honest when I am truly pressed for time, sometimes I don’t bother. The macaroons still taste great, just with a slightly rougher texture. But I did sift the dry ingredients last night. Book club can be a tough crowd.
Now if you were so inclined, you could think about piping the batter through a pastry bag into beautiful uniform circles and sandwiching them together with jam or chocolate or some other sticky filling. However, then they would be macarons, not macaroons. Personally I like the free-form look of these fudgy, squishy macaroons. And I don’t own a pastry bag.
What I love about this recipe is that it is gluten and dairy free, but it doesn’t read like a science experiment. The recipe has just five ingredients that can be found at any supermarket. To me, that is what gluten and dairy free baking should be about.
By the way, the book we read was A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And the macaroons were a hit too.
150g icing sugar
75g ground almonds
40g unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large egg whites
100g caster sugar
Makes 30-35 macaroons.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
Combine and sift (if you can be bothered) the icing sugar, the ground almonds and the cocoa.
In a large, clean bowl, beat the egg whites while gradually adding the caster sugar, until they form stiff peaks (about 2 minutes). I use a hand-held electric mixer, but if you have a standing mixer so much the better.
Gently fold the dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites.
Using two spoons, drop evenly spaced mounds of the batter onto the lined baking trays, about 2 tablespoons of batter for each macaroon.
Bake for about 15 minutes. When they are done the macaroons should have a hard outer shell but feel wobbly to the touch. The macaroons will have a crunchy outside with a gooey middle. If you prefer a drier texture, bake for a further 5 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack, then eat immediately with a good book or store in an airtight container for a day or two.