These macaron handbags are boutique-ready, complete with edible clasp and handle. They are made with a French meringue that doesn’t need to rest before baking. However, leaving them to form a skin for 30 minutes before putting them into the oven will help them to keep their oval shape.
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4.
Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar together twice into a bowl. Set aside.
Put the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Use about ⅛ teaspoon fuchsia pink food colouring and mix on low speed to an even colour. Increase the speed to medium–high, then add about half the caster sugar. Increase the speed to high, mix for 1 minute, then add the rest of the sugar. Continue to whisk until you have a stiff and glossy meringue.
Add half the ground almond and icing sugar mixture to the meringue, and using a rubber spatula fold until combined. Add the remaining half of the ground almond and icing sugar mixture and fold again, until the mixture is slightly loosened and glossy. Be careful not to overmix at this stage.
Transfer the macaron mixture to the piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. Pipe 16 oval macarons onto the prepared baking sheet, using the drawn shapes as a guide. (Pipe from above in a downwards motion, starting on the outside and finishing in the centre.) Holding the baking paper firm, tap the baking sheets on the work surface to remove any air bubbles from the mixture.
Bake the first tray of macarons for 15 minutes, until the tops are set and shiny, and have formed a foot. Allow to cool completely before removing from the baking paper. Repeat for the second tray of macarons, but this time leave the macarons on the baking paper.
While the macarons are baking, make the royal icing. Tip the egg white into a small bowl and whisk lightly with a fork. Sift 80g of the icing sugar over the egg white and mix until smooth. Add more icing sugar until you achieve a stiff, dropping consistency. Spoon the icing into the piping bag fitted with the No.1 writing nozzle.
Make the ganache. Place the chocolate, butter and cream in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water and stir until melted. Remove from the heat, add the salt and vanilla and leave to cool, then refrigerate to set (about 15 minutes).
Choose your best 8 macarons. Pipe of royal icing back and forth across the bottom half of each macaron shell (see photograph) and sprinkle with multicoloured sugar sprinkles.
Pipe a wide, white ‘V’ shape at the top of the handbag to resemble a handbag flap. Place an edible gold ball in the base of the ‘V’ to finish.
Using 3 strawberry laces at a time, plait the laces and cut them into eight 11cm lengths. Set aside.
Spoon the chocolate ganache into the piping bag fitted with the 7.5mm piping nozzle. Peel the remaining 8 macaron shells from the baking paper.
Place the undecorated macarons shells upside down and pipe an outline of chocolate ganache around the edge of each. Pipe a vertical line down the middle of each and place a raspberry half either side of the line, in each gap. Gently push each end of a strawberry lace plait into the chocolate ganache at the top of the macaron to form a handle for the handbag, then sandwich together with a decorated macaron shell. Repeat for all the shells.