I do realise that macaroons are no longer at the apex of food fashion. Luckily for me, I am not a slavish follower of trends; I mean, just think of how many things I would have had to deny myself over the years simply because they were no longer 'fashionable' - prawn cocktail, black forest gateau, goat's cheese salad, chicken kiev...
Macaroons may have had their day but I stay true. Their small size and intense sweetness, coupled with the chewy yet soft texture make them an ideal way to finish a meal. They're also perfect with an espresso at any time of the day.
This particular version has been inspired by Nigella - indeed, it is a reworking of her chocolate macaroons sandwiched together with the filling from her pistachio ones. I'm including the recipe for the chocolate macaroons here because I've adapted it and you can find the recipe for the pistachio filling in Nigella's book, How to be a Domestic Goddess.
There are some fellow bloggers who make very impressive macaroons - have a look at Corner Cottage Bakery's stunningly beautiful white-on-white ones here, Blue Kitchen Bakes' delicious sounding raspberry filled ones here and Supergolden Bakes' incredibly professional ones here.
As these are perfect for parties, I'm sending them over to A Kick at the Pantry Door for July's Forever Nigella challenge, started by Sarah at Maison Cupcake.
As they are completely made from scratch, they're going to Javelin Warrior's wonderful weekly challenge too, Made with Love Mondays.
125g icing sugar
60g ground almonds
2 egg whites
15g caster sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
Sift the icing sugar, ground almonds and cocoa powder together. Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff then sprinkle over the caster sugar. Continue whisking until the egg whites become very stiff then gently fold in the sifted ingredients.
If you have an icing bag (I use the disposable ones), fit with a plain nozzle and fill with the macaroon mixture. It's a little bit fiddly and the mixture is really sticky so try to get it all in the bag! Pipe out small rounds onto the prepared baking sheets. If you're not bothered about having perfect discs, you can just put small teaspoons of the mixture onto the lined sheets instead of messing about with an icing bag.
Leave to stand for 15 mins and then bake in the pre-heated oven for about 12-15 mins. Using a palate knife, remove to a wire rack to cool and then sandwich with the pistachio buttercream.