So at the weekend I managed to get hold of a macaron kit from Sainsbury's. I had a few people enquiring and asking me what the kit was like, so here is my post on the kit. I apologise to my international readers as this post probably isn't relevant to you, unless Sainsbury's have extended outside the UK.
Sainsbury's have just brought this kit in. I can't remember the exact price, but it costs around £2 and is meant to make about 12 macarons. The kit is available in raspberry and chocolate. I chose the raspberry.
I found the box was very easy to locate down the home baking aisle, but this is what you are looking for. To make the macarons you will need this kit, 2 egg whites, a tablespoon of milk and 50g butter. Don't worry about buying a piping bag, because it is included in the kit.
The instructions on the box were written out very clearly. I found them very easy to follow. Unfortunately, we don't have an electric whisk, so we had to whisk the egg whites by hand. It took us forever to make it go stiff and form peaks. If you have ever made meringue before, you will know what I am talking about! Then after whisking the egg whites you add the macaron mix. The macaron mix is the bigger of the 2 bags inside the kit, which wasn't clearly marked, but with a bit of common sense I knew which one was which. As you can see from the picture, the mix goes a very florescent pink!
Next came the piping...
I had a bit of trouble with this stage! When I cut the corner off the piping bag, I wasn't expecting the mixture to come out as quickly as it did. As you can see, some of my macarons turned out very messy. The piping takes a bit of practice and at least next time I will know how quickly the mixture comes out. In the end I made 9 macarons instead of the 12 stated on the box, but that was mainly because the mix came out too fast and some macarons ended up bigger.
I followed the cooking instructions, exactly as they are written on the box. A few of the shells did get a bit burnt around the edges. The majority of the shells came out fine, albeit a bit strangely shaped. The kit also comes with instructions to make a filling. You use the milk, soft butter and the other mix bag to make the filling. In my opinion, the filling really lets this kit down. I found that the filling mix kept curdling and splitting. I was expecting a soft, creamy filling but the end result was quite runny and slightly grainy. If I were to use this kit again I would make my own filling instead of using the packet one. I know I can make a nicer filling from scratch.
So how did they taste? The raspberry flavour is very strong. I don't mind having a very sweet macaron, but I definitely ate too much at once and felt a bit sick afterwards! Both the shells and filling are raspberry flavoured. I think the shell is flavoured strongly enough by itself and the filling didn't need to be so strongly flavoured. The texture was a bit too chewy. It tasted like a macaron but the texture is not quite right. Whether this is down to my baking skills or the kit, I am unsure. It was just a bit too heavy. Maybe I needed a bit more air in my whipped up egg whites.
I would give this kit a rating of 3.5/5. I think this kit is a good purchase if you are new to macaron making, as it eases you in gently. However, the texture is not quite right. The filling that comes with this kit is awful. It tastes very nice, but I would expect nicer. But despite this, the end product was still very enjoyable. I had no complaints from my husband or mother-in-law when they sampled them. The raspberry flavour really comes out well. So whilst my macarons may not look as pretty as Laduree ones, I don't think this has been a total failure. I would try the kit again but I think in the future I would like to try and make my own ones from scratch. But for about £2 for 12 macarons, this kit is worth trying at least once.