• 175g icing sugar
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 3 large fresh egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • A few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • Hundreds and thousands (optional)
  • The filling
  • 150g unsalted butter at room temp
  • 75g icing sugar
  • A few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • A few drops of vanilla essence

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This may seem a ‘faff’ and the first time I tried this I got about 60 percent success, but by the next time I had a 100 percent success and they blew everyone away. Crisp, yet soft and chewy inside.
You will need a cooling rack, non-stick baking parchment, an electric whisk (can be done by hand but it makes your arms ache) baking trays and a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle (this size is important).

Put the icing sugar, and ground almonds into a food processor and blend to a fine, powdery mixture.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until you get ‘soft peaks’. Add the cater sugar slowly, a little at a time, whisking continuously (I said it was hard on the arms).
When all the sugar has been added, you can put in a few drops of food colouring.
Keep whisking until you get ‘stiff peaks’.
Fold in the almond/icing sugar mixture with a large metal (important) spoon until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag (I put my bag, nozzle down, in a large plastic water jug. It’s much easier to fill).
Pipe the mixture into circles (a spiral from the middle out) about 3cm across leaving a small gap (about 1cm) between each one on the baking trays covered with non-stick parchment. You can now sprinkle each one with hundreds and thousands.
Leave to one side for about 15mins. At this point I preheat the oven to gas mark 3 160C.
Bake for 12-15mins. They should not be browning.
Set aside for a few minutes then carefully peel away the baking parchment and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
While these are cooling beat the butter, icing sugar and a little vanilla essence together. Again, you can add a few drops of food colour (why not?).
When the macaroons are completely cooled spread some of the buttercream onto the flat side of one of the macaroons and top with another making a small ‘sandwich’.
Present these with coffee after a dinner party or for afternoon tea on a Sunday and watch the surprise on your guests (or families) faces.