Macarons or Macaroons? Confused…Let’s clear this up for you.

To really grasp the difference between macarons or macaroons we have to travel back in time to Italy and examine one of its most popular biscuits – the Amaretti.

amaretti

Amarettis are made from an almond paste combined with a meringue like mixture and then baked to perfection. Italian bakers had been creating and delighting people with these bundles of joy for many, many years. Bakers love to experiment and that’s exactly what happened next. Two divisions of bakers took the unassuming Amaretti and put their thinking caps on.

One group decided to use shredded coconut instead of the normal almond paste and the well known and loved Macaroon was born. The Macaroon (from the Italian maccarone or maccherone meaning ‘paste’ – referring back to its origins) became exceptionally popular with the Ashkenazi Jews of Europe for Passover as all the ingredients are unleavened and so they could still be eaten during the festival period.

 

macaroon

Yet here in Scotland, most people will think of a Macaroon Bar when we refer to Macaroons. The Italian Macaroon recipe was reinvented and the macaroon bar was developed and manufactured by the Lees factory back in 1931. …just 5 miles from our HQ here in Scotland.

John J Lees created the Macaroon Bar with mashed potatoes, chocolate chips, desiccated coconut and since then the macaroon bar has become a Scottish icon….just like the Tunnocks Teacake.

 

macaroon bar

Back in Italy, the other group wanted to try substituting finely ground almonds in the form of flour to the normal Amaretti mixture – this resulted in a smoother biscuit which was baked in perfect circles. But the experimenting didn’t stop there; the French further developed the recipe by having the chefs at the royal court play around with it when it was brought back from Italy by the French King’s Italian wife, Catherine De Medici. The name ‘Macaron’ is the French spelling for the colourful treat whereas congolais refers to the coconut variety.

So now you know about the difference between the two delicious baked treats, why not try your hand at creating one of these at home? Or, if you’re a bit timid in the kitchen, why not pick up a box of our gorgeous  French Macarons to devour with that special someone.

 

macarons

 

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Looking to buy macaroons cheap?  Here’s why they are expensive!

macaroons cheap

We have had a lot of requests recently for cheap macaroons and why macarons are so expensive so we thought we’d explain a little more.

French Macarons are extremely tricky to make. It takes years of expense and practice to get the correct recipe, the correct shape, the correct texture and the correct flavour.

It’s often joked that it’s what turns bakers grey and we can completely agree with that at Cake Cetera HQ.

Many of the ingredients can be expensive and difficult to source in the UK . Macaron shells are made by folding almond flour  and confectioners sugar into a meringue (sugar and egg whites) and involves the timely steps below:

Aged egg whites 

The egg whites (used to make the meringue) are recommend to be aged up to five days in the refrigerator before being mixed in.

Resting Period

After aging the egg whites and a piping marathon the french macarons then have to be rested for up to 30 minutes for form a skin.  If we don’t wait for the skin to form the macaron feet (base) don’t rise.

Piping the Correct Size and Shape

Even the slightest slant of the pastry bag could cause our team to create inconsistent circles—and two mismatched halves! Investment in specialist mats and trays ensure that macarons are uniform

More Waiting

Even after making and filling the French Macarons they’re not ready to eat, but they’re really at their best after 24 or even 48 hours.    When freshly baked this is hard and crisp, but over the next day it absorbs the filling flavour and its inside becomes more softer while the crust on the surface stays intact!

Hope that helps explain why you can’t really buy macaroons cheap but we try and keep our prices as affordable as possible so that everyone can try our tasty treats!

You can Buy macaroons online from our macaron shop for delivery anywhere in the UK!

 

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Say Hello to Sheila Harrington…this week’s Star Baker at La Maison Guimauve

Did you know Marshmallows were actually sacred to the Ancient Egyptians? They were given as offerings to the Gods and Pharoahs. They used the sap from the mallow plant which grew along the Nile to thicken their sweet delicacies. The same technique was then adopted by the French in the 19th century and evolved into the delicious sweet our Marshmallow baker La Maison Guimauve uses today

Our marshmallow baker has perfected their recipe to bring you the most deliciously tasty marshmallows you have ever tried. All of La Maison Guimauve gourmet marshmallows are handmade in their London kitchens, using the finest ingredients in a unique range of delicious and exciting flavours.

La Maison Guimauve marshmallows are a completely new experience – we use only natural flavourings and natural colourings. We don’t add anything we don’t need to – no flavour enhancers, no preservatives. Our raspberry and lemon marshmallows are flavoured with raspberries and lemons, it’s as simple as that. Add this to our own unique recipe and wow! There you have our French marshmallows!

Sheila’s award winning gourmet marshmallows taste amazing!

.The best bit is they are: Fat free, Gluten free and Guilt free.

Why not try them for yourself?

Shop for Sheila’s delicious Gourmet Marshmallows here

 

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