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Posts Tagged ‘macarons’

My my, is it already nearing the end of February?  That means my 29th birthday is two weeks away (eek!).  I don’t know what the birthday plans are yet, maybe a couple nights in Dublin or doing the unprecedented and actually staying in town, but I do know that I need to make the absolute most of the last year of my 20’s.  When my friend Lindsey freaked out about turning 29 four months ago, I could only laugh.  Now I know EXACTLY what she was feeling.  I figure I’ve got a year to travel for concerts before it starts getting sad.  I don’t want to be the old lady at the rock show…

That being said, the Fray is back!  Hallelujah!  About damn time, boys!  I keep all my concert ticket stubs (at least the shows I get paper tickets) and found that the very first Fray show I went to (and successfully got in) was on February 11, 2006.  The show was sold out so I took them cookies and they were sweet enough (the band, not the cookies.  Though those were sweet too) to get me in.  It was all downhill from there.  Between then and November 18, 2009, I had seen them 14 times (or more, that’s all the concert stubs I have) and as far as Paris, France.  I had become known as their “psycho fan” which they even mentioned on stage at the last show I attended in November.  By the way, I would like it publicly known that I am not a psycho.  I just enjoy baking and seeing bands.

When the Fray came out with their new record, Scars & Stories, earlier this month and announced a short tour, I was bummed that Phoenix didn’t make the cut.  So in typical Cookie Kelly fashion, I whipped up some cookies (vanilla macarons, chocolate cake balls, and “Bob bars”) and flew to Reno this past weekend to catch the show.  Lindsey went with me, as well as my friend Jessica.  It was a great time and so good to see those guys again.

And that leads to the fact that I finally mastered f*ing french macarons.  Those cookies had become my achilles heel.  I had never met a cookie I had so much trouble with before.  They would either be under cooked or over cooked, and never grew “feet.”  I wanted to try again though and take them to the Fray so I looked up a couple videos on YouTube, keyword searched “macaronage,” and gave it another go.  With the oven light on, I watched those babies grow “feet” and cried out in joy.  I knew just then, that Reno was going to be a good trip.

In other baking news, I still have been busy.  I made a birthday bowling cake for a friend, and I made cake balls for Valentine’s Day for coworkers.  This coming weekend, I need to bake sugar cookies and decorate them for my new guitar picks.  Other than that, I’ll probably take a short break around my birthday.  Let someone bake for me for a change.

                  

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Another month has come and gone, and the kitchen has not seen much action in October.  With training at work and a week’s vacation in France, I managed to barely scrape out this months Daring Baker’s challenge from the Daring Kitchen.

Macarons were the name of the game.  I was a little disappointed because I’ve made them a couple times before, and the point of this blog is to learn new things.  But in making them again, I’ve come to find that I could definitely spend more time perfecting these delicious french cookies.

Originally, I thought it would be a lot of fun to make the macarons during my visit to France.  My sister, whom I was visiting, didn’t think it sounded like a good idea.  And once there, I agreed with her because her kitchen is tiny (and, ahem, quite messy).

Therefore, I made the macarons the day after I got home from France.  I thought they would be a nice little gift for the coworkers who covered my shifts while I was away.  I had brought a couple bags of almond powder back with me and used them in addition to the few bags I already had.  And I made sure to study (consume) macarons while in France.

I’ve made vanilla macarons and pistachio macarons before.  I have numerous french patisserie cookbooks that I’ve brought back from my many trips to France and translated a few recipes.  It’s quite a bit of work.  And ironically enough, the best recipe I have for macarons is the one from Martha Stewart.  I used that recipe along with the recipe on the Daring Kitchen site to make a variety of macarons.

I basically just doubled the recipe and split the batter evenly to make pistachio, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and pumpkin macarons.  The vanilla ones turned out to have the truest consistency to a french macaron, probably because it involved the least amount of folding and mixing.  The other variations had additional ingredients added like pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, instant espresso powder, pistachios, and cocoa powder.  I had to mix those batches more thoroughly to incorporate those flavors, therefore causing some of the egg whites that I had folded in to deflate.

I also had a lot of trouble with the baking.  Some of the vanilla shells didn’t harden up so I had to bake them longer, the pumpkin shells never got a hard outer texture, and I simply forgot the chocolate shells which burned terribly and were inedible.

None of my shells obtained “feet,” as they call it.  Maybe it was the tray I baked them on.  Maybe I over-beat the egg whites.  I don’t know.  But I definitely need to try making these again, when I’m not jetlagged and rushed.

I filled the macarons with frosting flavored appropriately to the shells.  At least they tasted good, except the burnt chocolate ones.

Grade: C


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