Some trends I like:
– designer jeans
– nude pumps
– Ugg boots (yes these are not really a trend anymore but they are comfortable so I wear them, regardless of whether they are trendy or not)
– infinity scarves
Some trends, not so much:
– over-sized sweaters
– fur vests (why anyone would want to look like they were attacked by a raccoon is beyond my comprehension)
– actually fur in general…I do not get it
As for food, if I see one more molten chocolate lava cake on a menu….And I am getting pretty sick of cupcakes too. Come on people, let’s try something more original. Like perhaps a macaron shop? Although popular in France (where companies like Pierre Hermé and Ladurée have been making them for years), they are finally taking the North American food scene by storm. Fruit fillings, chocolate ganache or salted caramel sandwiched between 2 colorful meringues? I think so.
Surprisingly, they are not that difficult to make at home. By no means would I open up shop this instant to begin selling my creations but they tasty pretty darn good. They’re cute too which always helps.
Courtesy of Mr. David Lebovitz
– 1 cup icing sugar
– 1/2 cup ground almonds
– 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
– 2 egg whites
– 5 tbsp. white sugar
– 60 g Lindt 70% chocolate (that’s 6 squares)
– 1/4 cup whipping cream
– 1 tsp. corn syrup
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and cocoa powder in a bowl. The original recipe says to blitz everything in a food processor to ensure it’s a fine powder but I alleviated this step. It would have probably been beneficial to at least sift it but I didn’t have one of those either. If you don’t mind the texture the almonds provide, don’t worry about it.
Meanwhile whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Once they reach this stage, add the white sugar and whip until stiff peaks (as seen below).
Then fold everything together in gradual increments to avoid deflating the egg whites. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag…which most people do not have. That’s where Ziploc bags come in. They are the perfect makeshift piping bag. Just cut off the tip and you are g2g (that’s “good to go”, not “got to go”).
Form the batter into little circles and try to avoid creating little Mount Crumpets (you know, from the Grinch). But you can always smooth them out with your finger if need be. About 1 tbsp. is a good amount to use and I left around 1 inch between each macaron. Or at least I tried, as you can see they are a little inconsistent. Pierre Hermé is shaking his head right now.
Anyways rap the baking sheet on the counter to flatten them out a bit then bake at 350 F for approximately 15 minutes. Remove and let cool, meanwhile you can make the ganache.
Theoretically this should be the easier of the two components but apparently chocolate did not like me today. I heated the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan, removed it from the heat and added the chocolate. It was a little bit oily (meaning that the cream was too hot and the chocolate split) but nothing to warrant throwing it out and starting again. After stirring to incorporate I refrigerated it. But it chilled for too long then it was like trying to spread cold butter on a slice of bread. So I popped it in the microwave for a mere 10 seconds. Then it was runny and oily again. Back in the fridge to chill again. Finally it reached a spreadable consistency, time to assemble!
For my first time EVER making macarons, I am pretty proud of the turnout. I am excited to keep trying and perfecting the technique but the first batch was definitely acceptable. Creamy, melt-in-your-mouth ganache sandwiched between chewy, yet airy and crisp meringues…BINGO! Mallory wins a prize! Yep my prize is I get to eat all the macarons! Next time I think I might add different fruit flavoring and food coloring. It is also my goal to get them thinner/daintier looking. The possibilities are endless!