Sunday, October 14, 2012

60 Posts and Macarons To Celebrate!

About 10 posts ago, on my 50th, JZ asked me if there would be anything special. "Oh no!"After  BMFK's number 50 had just been typed and published? "Was I supposed to?",  I asked, lost as to how  to make things right. And with the landmark passing, I figured another 10 to go, and I could usher in a day 60, rather than the forgotten number 50 and mark it with a special somethin' somethin'.

Sure enough, here with post 60 I've come with resolute payback for your loyal reading. Indeed, these pieces just could not, would not have happened without you, my sweets. Where the price you paid for a recipe was wafting through, most patiently, my long, oft times drawn out web drafts. I truly appreciate and applaud you, friends.

With 60 posts, and 41,000 hits, pictures being pinned by those lovely pinteresters, it is more than surreal, if that even exists and I am ever so grateful.  I thank all of you, readers, followers, stoppers by for taking notice and hearing in on my web jottings. The support and friendships forged here have been so humbling and at the same stretch, most exhilarating. You see, for me, any day past Update Number 10  has been miraculous and cause for celebration in all respects.

With that being said, the 60th post is where the toast shall lie. And for that, I have brought you these beyond dazzling French macarons. Refuting the bad rap which deems them the most difficult thing in the world, we shall rightly see they can be the easiest, up next to whipping an egg. These fanciful egg white preciouses are pure delight, provided you are willing to follow some hard and fast macaron making rules. For example, you have rule one, which suggests the auditoning egg whites be  a few days old and not so fresh. On beating, those drippy whites should attain high powered gloss and reach no- fall stiffness at the same time.  Of course, there is the ordinance that calls for a folding of all ingredients to not more than a 50 stroke maximum ( sadly, something discovered by myself only after the turn out of this batch). Another biggie is the ritual of the raw macaron rest, where the fixed up meringues sit to form a skin before meeting serious heat.

These dual egg whites, doing their fluffy, doubled- up- in- volume- dance, blend with the ground almonds into a batter, sweetened with sugar, thus finalizing an end product that is crisp, chewy cookie confection. Sandwich together two of these beauties with a complementing cream and you've taken the step from further- beyond- awesomeness into the wide world of scandalous.

So, thank you again, friends. I bestow upon you this foolproof recipe for cooking up some utterly brilliant French macarons.

(If it's your first macaron attempt it would be worth your while to check these out: the video where I adapted this same recipe and Tartlette blog, the be all/ end all of macaron making.)

Macaron~
Ingredients:
  • *¾ c finely ground almonds
  • 1 c confectioner's sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 4 tbsp granulated sugar
Directions:
  • Pulse  ground almonds and confectioner's sugar in a food processor until well combined. Sift the mixture well.
  • Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Slowly increase speed and add in sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Continue whisking until firm glossy peaks form, about 4-5 minutes, being careful not to beat to overstiffness.
  • Add almond mixture over whites and gently fold all ingredients until smooth and well combined, about 40-50 folds.
  • At this point, if needed divide batter in different bowls and add your food coloring(s).
  • Spoon into piping bag(s) with round tip or fill a large plastic sandwich bag with mixture and snip off ¼ inch from the tip.
  • While keeping the top of the bag tight, squeeze out ½ inch rounds on to parchment lined baking tray(s).
  • Let these rest for 20 minutes after being piped, so that a "skin" is formed and it is slightly firm to the touch.
  • Preheat oven to 325° F in the meantime.
  • When ready to bake, bake one sheet at a time and reduce oven temperature to 300° F when placing the trays in the oven.
  • Bake for 16 minutes, rotating halfway through. Wen done, they should be crisp and firm, no browning at all.
  • Let macaroons cool on the baking sheets for 3-4 minutes. Then transfer to wire rack.
  • Make sure before each batch is set to bake you increase oven temp to 325°F, and once preheated, reduce to 300° F when it actually goes in.

  • Allow to cool before sandwiching.
  • Pipe or spoon filling of choice onto one macaroon and pair up with a similar sized one to top.
Those fringed bottoms are called feet, something that comes about from the 20 or so minute sitting on the counter prior to baking.
Notes:
I ground raw almonds in my food processor until fine consistency. This flour was then pushed through a sieve to weed out the rough slightly larger sediments.

Sidenote~
They say macarons need to rest in the fridge a few hours upto a couple of days to be at their best, flavor wise and consistency wise. This said in all hopes you have a stronger willpower than I do to make it happen.

Strawberry Buttercream~
Ingredients:
  •  2 strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ c unsalted butter( room temperature)
  • 1 ½ c powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk or cream
Full figured and buxom, aren't they gorgeous?
Directions:
  • Pulse strawberries with vanilla extract in a food processor until pulped and slightly chunky.
  • Add in butter and process until smooth and combined.
  • Add in powdered sugar by half cupfuls and pulse until the contents becomes fluffy and all elements are evenly distributed.
  • Pour in milk and continue to pulse, using a rubber spatula to stir at intervals to aid in blending, until it is combined well and a smooth fluffy frosting results.
The occasion draws on the need to thank a special person. Della, who has touched my heart through her encouraging comments and detailed critiques of my recipes and posts, a colleague of JZ's, whom I have never actually once met, though her supportive voice and kindful acts are more than familiar to me. In fact, many of the beautiful "props" (including the gold container in the topmost picture) used in this blog came as a result of her generosity. Thank you sweet Della, truly grateful to call you friend.

Double Chocolate Ganache~
Ingredients:
  • ½ c heavy cream
  • ¼ c good quality semisweet chocolate chips (room temperature)
  • ¼ c milk chocolate chips (room temp)
Directions:
  • Heat cream in deep heat safe bowl microwave set at 80% power for 30 second intervals until it reaches simmer stage.
  • Put in the chocolate and allow the pieces to immerse in hot cream. After a minute, stir the contents. If contents is not melted through, place in microwave at 40% power at 10 second intervals, until chocolate is smooth and mixes well with cream to a shiny thick consistency.
  • Refrigerate for 15 minutes until mixture becomes a thick, spoon able consistency.
I don't mention as much the role of my better half in my blog pixelled life, who, at this moment, is situated on the sofa right next to me, waiting for my endless typing to be done. This man who has never missed reading a post I am truly and ever so grateful for. He is the voice of courage to my many a wimpy moment. JZ possesses the interesting destiny of midnight channel surfing and eventual proof reading for the rest of my good life. His weighty voice conveys the promises God has set in each and both our lives and helps me to hit the keyboard when all I want to do is sleep. I thank the Lord for my still strong man and the resulting two minis that live with us, themselves filled with commendable patience as their meals lay subject to many a photo shoot.

It is only through God's supernatural overflow that I am able to do what I do. He has enabled me in more ways than one, pushing me on, sparking my mind to think, create and make all this possible.

In this way, know that In Him all things are made possible. He is good and forever to be praised.

So here goes, post # 60 dedicated to you, lovely readers, the family and friends who have supported me by and through, my Three Heartbeats, and above all the Giver of life, Himself, Jesus Christ.

*Update*I am linking this post to Beantown Baker's Power Of Pink challenge.

Thanks Jen for the inspiring initiative, in raising awareness and understanding for breast cancer. To learn more about the invasive nature of the disease and recent statistics, click here.
******

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

17 comments:

  1. wow Tisa.. these are very cute and colourful... congrats on your milestone.. keep cooking beautiful things

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    1. Thanks so much, Reshmi- yourself being an inspiring bloggie mate :)

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  2. Congrats! Macarons are the perfect way to celebrate. You should enter these in my Power of Pink Challenge for a chance to win a $100 donation to the charity of your choice: http://www.beantownbaker.com/2012/10/5th-annual-power-of-pink-challenge.html

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  3. Congrats my friend you have had such an incredible journey and so much more to go :D
    You are a genius!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  4. Congrats on your 60th post,looking forward to many more interesting recipes from your kitchen..Lovely delightful macarons!!
    Join my ongoing EP events-Rosemary OR Sesame @ Now Serving

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  5. I am not a Macarons person, but your photographs are real good :-)

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  6. Yes Tisa those are my own photographs. As far as possible I use my own :-)

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  7. yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...!!!

    love the pink color..so apt too, this is the pink month (breast cancer awareness month)

    http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.in/

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Yes, even though "think pink' wasn't my reason to make them that color, I'm glad I did and it worked into the month.

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  8. Yes, they are gorgeous. Great job.

    www.anucreations.blogspot.in

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  9. delladio@earthlink.netOctober 20, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Tisa, I so look forward to your posts. You are the first blogger that I've ever signed up with. Thank you for your kind words, I'm glad the props are working for you :) You're an inspiration to us all! I have a Tisa folder with all things I want to try, I'm more encouraged to turn on the oven now that it's not 100+ here in the valley of the sun. Thanks again and for the awesome variety that you present to us, your loyal fans. Della

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Della. You are too sweet. And yes, I am like a kid in a candy store with all your lovely gifts. I'm sure you'd do wonders with any of these recipes :)

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  10. Well Tisa, they look like little jewelries. I want them all. The photos on your blog are amazing, love the colors, the depth of field, the composition .... they are talking to me. Great blog.

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    1. Thanks Anita. My pictures were so bad at one point, that this comment itself has me on cloud 9. Truly appreciate your thoughtful comments :)

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!