These small French almond cookies with a blue buttercream filling are as pretty as a picture.
Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
For the macaroons, place the icing sugar and ground almonds into a food processor and blend to a fine, powdery texture.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Slowly add the sugar a little at a time, whisking continuously. Add a few drops of pink food colouring when all the sugar has been incorporated, and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
Fold in the almond and icing sugar mixture using a large metal spoon, until the mixture is smooth and well combined and falls in ribbons. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm/½in nozzle.
Pipe small 3cm/1¼in rounds of the macaroon mixture onto the prepared baking trays, leaving a small gap between each one. Using a damp fingertip, smooth the surface of each macaroon if there is a peak. Set aside for 15 minutes, or until a ‘skin’ has formed over the surface (the mixture should not stick to your fingers when touched gently).
Bake the macaroons for 12-15 minutes, or until they are risen slightly and are dry to the touch.
Remove and set aside for a few minutes, then carefully peel away the greaseproof paper and place the macaroons on a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, for the filling, beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth and fluffy. Mix in the blue food colouring to your preferred shade.
To serve, spread some of the buttercream onto the flat side of one macaroon. Top with another macaroon to make a small ‘sandwich’. Repeat with the remaining macaroon shells and filling.
Type the ingredients you want to use, then click Go. For better results you can use quotation marks around phrases (e.g. "chicken breast"). Alternatively you can search by chef, programme, cuisine, diet, or dish (e.g. Lasagne).
As the final week of heats begins, five more amateur cooks enter the competition.