Last year I bought a fantastic Macaron book called Secrets of Macarons by Jose Marechal. It's very detailed and explains everything from the use of eggs in macarons to recipes and decorating ideas.
I had been wanting to use the "Swiss method" where you cook the sugar first, then add it to the egg whites, ever since I got this book. The only thing holding me back was not having a candy thermometer.
I finally bought a candy thermometer just so I could make these macarons. I decided Easter would be a great excuse to make up a fresh batch of chocolate macarons and tried out some fun decorating techniques too.
I tried out the "Stardust" decorating technique where, after piping the macarons on the baking tray, you dip a paint brush or tooth brush into some liquid food colouring and flick it over the macarons.
I was a bit upset that some of my macarons came out cracked. There are several possible reasons for this, the temperature in the oven could have been too high, the meringue mix might have needed to be worked in with the almonds more..the list goes on!
All in all, I found the Swiss method for making macarons much more stressful (getting the temperature right) but the shells looks much nicer and shinier! They were very soft and had quite a different texture to my usual macarons so again, I think I did something wrong there. All I know is, I'm not finished with making these macarons, I am going to get it right...and enjoy taste testing in the mean time!