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I’ve been scared.

Very scared.

Scared to make macarons.

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I’ve heard how difficult they are, and that’s put me off:

Measurements have to be EXACT.
Don’t over beat. Don’t under beat.
Problems with the formation of the “feet” (the rough edges of the macaron).
Cracked shells.

I see them lined up in cafes and shops, colourful and perfectly formed, filled with a variety of flavours. It’s the fillings you can really experiment with – from chocolate, to pistachio, to rose. Anything you can think of, really. And some have nuts or coconut, or even gold, sprinkled on top.

I’ve read countless recipes and I have Adriano Zumbo’s Zumbarons book, a treasure trove of amazing macarons and flavours! But the fear of making them myself was too strong and I’ve never tried.

But just recently I was at the supermarket and saw it – something that could help. Adriano Zumbo’s macaron packet mix, right there on the shelf. I thought: well, he’s the master. How could anyone go wrong with his mix?

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I’m often reluctant to use packet mixes because I feel like it’s ‘cheating’. That I should do it all myself. But I thought if I could just get a little help… then maybe, just maybe I could do it.

I bought the choc raspberry macarons box and it sat in the cupboard for a few days, until I had some quiet time, and time to concentrate.

What I like about this mix is that for something so difficult, it’s quite simple to do. Not only does the packet include the ingredients but also a couple of important items, such as a measuring stencil to trace around on the baking paper.

Basically you beat the included meringue mix and add water. You add the almond base.

Then it’s piping time, and two piping bags are included, one for the macarons and another for the filling.

Instructions are given on how to pipe the macarons, and the cooking time worked exactly for me.

The chocolate filling was easy to do – melt the chocolate and add some thickened cream, then pipe it onto the macaron and sandwich together.

I was excited when they turned out so incredibly well – and really, who could doubt Adriano Zumbo! When mixing the mixture together it was a vibrant pink and I thought that might fade when cooked but it held its vibrancy. And the rich raspberry flavour was strong without being overpowering. The chocolate added a subtle creaminess, contrasting with the crunch of the macaron.

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After my success with the choc raspberry flavour, I then bought Zumbo’s salted caramel macaron mix. They didn’t quite turn out as well as the raspberry ones – the shells cracked a little and the meringue wasn’t as soft – but I’ll be making them again soon to try to perfect them. The flavour also wasn’t quite to my liking and I was conscious not to add too much salt to the caramel mix to pipe inside.

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It’s now given me a bit more confidence to try making macarons by myself, from scratch. The Zumbarons book is now on my bedside table…

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* This is not a sponsored post.

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