Thursday 23 February 2012

L is for...Limoncello macarons

I wanted to try making macarons again after recently taking a class at Caroline's Tea and Scones and came across a recipe for some using a lemon liqueur, so decided they would fit the Alphabakes theme for February as well. I had a feeling they wouldn't turn out as well as the macarons I made in the class, but I was hopeful!

The recipe was from a book called "Biscuits and macaroons" from Marks & Spencer. It was a different recipe to the one Caroline gave us in her class, but as I wanted to add the limoncello I decided to follow this one from the book.

3 egg whites
55g caster sugar
yellow food colouring
200g icing sugar
120g ground almonds
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
60ml single cream
150g white chocolate
4 tsp limoncello lemon liqueur

The recipe didn't say to age the egg whites, but following Caroline's advice in the class I took, I cracked them the day before. So to begin, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

Add the sugar
Add a few drops of yellow food colouring and beat
Add the ground almonds and icing sugar
This is my silicon macaron mat that I bought over the internet. It is flat and the circle shapes are only slightly raised, so it is as if you are piping onto a baking sheet but with a guide and a slight edge that will help keep the macarons the same size and shape. It's also easy to remove the macarons afterwards as the mat is flexible so you simply peel it off.
I'm not sure why this picture came out sideways as I did try to rotate it. Here's a trick I learnt from Caroline, and I can't believe I never knew about it before! When you're filling a piping bag - I always use disposable ones these days - stand it in a glass (this is a pint glass) and fold the excess bag down over the top. You can fill the bag without needing to hold it or get messy, and when you're done, simply fold the rest of the bag up and remove from the glass.
Piping onto my macaron mat - it really does work! It's important to leave the macarons to stand for at least half an hour, so they form a slight skin on the top. Meanwhile preheat oven to 150 C. Bake for 20 mins.
Unfortunately the macarons spread a little and became attached to each other, though they were fairly easy to separate from each other....
... unfortunately, they weren't so easy to get off the macaron mat in one piece! Some of them were a bit stuck on and left half of the macaron behind when I took them off. I don't know if they weren't quite cooked enough, or if I should have greased the macaron mat, or if I was just too heavy-handed when I took the first few off, as they came off fine after that. So I only had about half as many macarons as I'd expected - at least the ones I did have looked OK if not perfect!
For the filling, I used a bottle of Limoncello I had bought back from Italy and not opened yet. I'd never tried this lemon liqueur before - it's really sweet but has quite a kick!
Bring the cream to the boil, take off the heat and stir in the white chocolate. Add the liqueur and allow to cool until it is thick enough to spread on the macarons.

The finished product
When I made the macarons in Caroline's class, they had shiny, glossy tops. Mine were a lot more matt, and also they tasted more grainy as if you could taste the ground almonds inside. I don't know whether to put that down to the fact that I used a different recipe or not - next time I will try Caroline's own recipe and see how they turn out.
The macarons tasted more of white chocolate than of lemon in my opinion - next time I would try to adjust the recipe so the lemon flavour comes through more. The filling  was also runnier than I would have liked - it set when it was in the fridge and it was easy enough to fill the macarons, but when they had been out at room temperature for just a couple of hours, the filling went quite runny and started to seep out the sides of the macaron. It wasn't too bad, but I didn't think I could give these away as gifts like I did with the chocolate macarons I made in class.

Overall I wasn't too disappointed with my attempt at macarons, even though they were quite different to the ones I made in Caroline's class. I think next time I will have to try to recreate her recipe and see if I have any more success!

I am entering these into February's Alphabakes challenge - the letter L - hosted by me and Ros from TheMoreThanOccasionalBaker.

I'm also updating this to send to Baking with Spirit, hosted by Janine at Cake of the Week, as her ingredient this month is Limoncello.

It also happens this month that the Classic French challenge is macarons so this recipe fits the bill for that too (and I'm not going to attempt to make macarons again in a hurry!).  The challenge is hosted by A Kick At The Pantry Door this month on behalf of Jen at Blue Kitchen Bakes.


  1. Bravo for attempting macarons!! I still havent gotten round to making them yet even though I've now attended a class and bought a mat. I love the idea of your limoncello macarons and I agree that they don't look too bad at all - you should be proud of yourself! Look forward to your challenge in March :)

  2. My 1st attempt failed and ended up I added flour into the balance batter and bake into a My 2nd attempt which was one day later turns out better and it taste good. Out of 3 trays, only 18pcs looks perfect but the macarons are still without feet. I will keep trying until it looks perfect and hope you too :)

  3. they still look good enough to eat!.

  4. You could have given them away to me - I think they sound delicious. I'm a big fan of limoncello, I keep thinking that I should try making my own.

  5. Even if they didn't go to plan, I bet these still taste great. I'm not a huge fan of limoncello on its own but I do like the flavour it imparts when combined with other ingredients. Thanks for taking the time to update your post for Baking With Spirit - I really appreciate your entries!

  6. Thank you so much for updating this post and entering it into Classic French! I'm really intrigued by the limoncello flavouring, I adore it as a drink, so can only think good things about it in macaron form. The tip I learned about stopping the macarons being grainy and matt is to blitz the ground almonds and icing sugar together for about 5 minutes in a blender to get it super fine before you add it to the mixture, and then only stir together for long enough to get a shaving foam like texture. I hope you do give them a go again soon, there are some exciting recipes coming in for the challenge :-) x

  7. These sound delicious and so much better than my first attempt which were completely flat. Thanks for entering into Classic French this motnh :)


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