I'm feeling so clever, right about now :)
Please let me affirm, I am NOT a good cook, in fact I am truly disastrous in the kitchen, hehe.
I found this terrific recipe on homerunballerina (I love her blog, even though I am a horrendously bad cook her recipes are ab fab) and felt emboldened to give it a go.
Now, confession time, my first batch following the linked recipe exactly and to the letter was pretty horrible... I am thinking though it might have been due to the difference between Australian ingredients and US ingredients, maybe? maybe not? When we lived in the US I did find that some common ingredients were very very different from ours with the same name. Some ingredients commonly used here in Australia, for example self-raising flour and golden syrup (and that is just a few of many) are simply not available at all. A lot of my recipes that worked a charm here at home just did not work in the US. Particularly baking and cake-y sorts of things.
Anyhoo I made a few minor changes to Audrey's recipe, both to the macarons, and I made a much thicker ganache too; and my second batch looks and tastes pretty darn goooood if I say so myself! so this might be a good recipe for other Aussies and New Zealanders to try out.
The original recipe specified egg white powder, and I have no idea where or even if one can get such a thing here in sleepy lil' Perth. I substituted this stuff called Pavlova Magic, which contains powdered egg white along with other things. It seemed to do the trick. It is still a gluten free product, which makes the whole entire recipe gluten free; a definite plus!
My modified version of Audrey's recipe...
Vanilla macarons with dark chocolate ganache
3 egg whites, allowed to sit for at least an hour
30g castor sugar
5g powdered egg white (if you can't get it, Pavlova Magic works)
125g almond meal
200g pure icing sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp pure vanilla essence
Sift the icing sugar and baking powder and stir through the almond meal. Combine castor sugar and powdered egg white (or Pavlova Magic) in a separate little bowl.
Whisk the egg whites until firm and stiff enough to keep its shape when you turn the bowl upside down, I prefer to whisk by hand. Gradually add the castor sugar/powdered egg white mix whisking continuously and vigorously after each addition.
Add the icing sugar/baking powder/almond meal mix in five batches, stirring until mixed each time. Lastly, stir in the vanilla essence.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag and pipe rounds onto a baking sheet or baking paper, leaving an inch between each round, and let them sit on the bench for at least another hour or until they have developed a "skin" and do not feel sticky to the touch. I accidentally forgot mine and left them sitting for over two hours, but apparently that is a good thing :)
Bake at 130C for 5 minutes, turn the tray around, bake for another 5 minutes then remove from the oven. Slide the baking sheet off the tray and onto the bench; partly so you can cook the next batch, but also the cold bench stops the cooking process in its tracks. When they are completely cold, peel them carefully off the paper.
For the ganache:
150g dark chocolate
75mL whipping cream
Bring the cream to a boil, then take off the heat and add the broken up chocolate, let it sit for a minute then stir in thoroughly to melt. When it is lukewarm, spread a little onto a macaron like spreading jam thickly on bread, then stick another macaron on top.
Let the ganache set before you let everybody loose onto them.