I've been meaning to try out a macaron recipe for a while now, but it can be daunting when you read so many baking blogs where experienced macaron makers (macaroners?) warn you that even with a lot of effort and a strict adherence to the recipe you're using, you can still fail so easily.
So I took the easy way out. I tried out the Donna Hay Almond and Chocolate packet mix:
It worked well for me. At first glance the instructions were complicated (by packet mix standards), but once I got stuck into it, they were easy to follow. Certainly a lot easier than the recipes I'd been reading for how to make macarons from scratch.
My one real issue was that the packet stated that one tablespoon of mix was appropriate for each cookie - and that really didn't come to 24 cookies / 12 sandwiches. It was more like 6 sandwiches in total, which doesn't feel like enough of a payout for an $8 packet mix and a half an hour of effort. Yes, I'm lazy. If I use this mix again I'll only use a teaspoon per cookie.
As you can see, the macarons turned out pretty well. Some of them came out a little ugly (like the poor one in the back in that photo), but some had the perfect dome, the ruffled "foot" and that amazing chewy macaron taste.
Would I make them again? I'm not sure. It feels like cheating to offer guests beautiful macarons when you made them from a packet mix. They did, however, give me a beautiful afternoon tea to enjoy on the balcony.