Sam’s winning macarons

Photographer: Adam
makes about 14 biscuits

In December last year, we ran a bake-off down here in the Dunedin product development office. First place went to Sam, one of our electronics engineers, for his amazing chocolate macarons. We have been meaning to share this recipe with you for some time, but with all the work that went into creating our beautiful new site, some things got left behind! Macarons are a hot topic at the moment though with the final of Masterchef New Zealand screening last weekend. The final challenge, a macaron tower, ended in tears when Jax’s creation crumbled and fell apart at the last moment. Death by macaron! You can read Emma’s thoughts on the series here, but anyway, over to Sam and his winning recipe (and strategy):

            “I’m the first to admit I’m not much of a baker but when the office bake-off was announced I thought I would give it a go. I decided the key would be to bake something a little bit difficult and fancy yet just within reach of my beginner abilities. After looking through several recipe books and consulting with more experienced bakers I decided chocolate macarons struck this balance perfectly. I love macarons but before this I never thought to try making them myself. It takes a bit more effort than other baking options but I definitely recommend them if you want to impress. The following recipe is the result of a few hours of trial and error the night before the competition and earned me 1st place as well as a reputation as a bit of a “dark horse” when it comes to baking.”


1 cup icing sugar
½ cup ground almonds
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 large egg whites
5 tablespoons plain sugar

Chocolate Filling
125 ml cream
3 teaspoons golden syrup
120g chocolate, finely chopped (I went for darkish chocolate – about 60% cocoa)
1 tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 120º C on Bake
1.Cover two baking trays with baking paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready.
2.In a food processor, blend together the icing sugar, ground almonds and cocoa. This makes the ground almonds a little finer.
3.Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites while gradually adding the plain sugar until the peaks hold their shape.
4.Use a spatula to fold the cocoa mixture into the egg whites. Stop as soon as there is no longer plain egg white visible.
5.Using a piping bag (or one improvised from a plastic bag) pipe the mixture onto the trays. Form circles about 2.5cm to 3cm in diameter.
6.Bang the tray against your bench top several times until the peaks on your macarons flatten.
7.Bake the macarons for 15 – 20 minutes. This is a delicate process and will take a bit of supervision. If the tops of your macarons crack your oven is too hot and if your macarons stick to the baking sheet then they have not been cooked for long enough.
8.Once your macarons have cooled remove them from the baking sheet.

Chocolate Filling
1.Warm the cream in a pot then add the golden syrup. Just when the cream starts to boil take it off the heat and add the chocolate. Once this melts stir it though then add the butter and stir again.
2.Once your macarons and filling are cool combine them. This is pretty easy. Just grab a macaron biscuit, spread on your desired amount of filling and sandwich another biscuit on top.
I served mine simply stacked in a heap with icing sugar dusted on the top. Enjoy!