I decided today that with all the talk on Twitter about macaroons that I would be daring and try to make some. I’d never made any before and though really “how hard could it be?!” That was my first mistake, although I’m not sure if this is what they are supposed to look like, they do however taste delicious! I think I am partial to the chewier ones. I’m pretty sure macaroons aren’t supposed to chewy. Hmmmm. I suppose this gives me a reason to try making them again. Always room for improvement!
I decided to switch it up a bit and I think it was quite a success. I made Chocolate macaroons (although I think they were closer to cookies) and strawberry filling. The strawberry filling I have been wanting to try for a bit to see if I would like it for Riley’s birthday cake. I liked the filling but I don’t think I’ll use it for the cake, I’ve got some really good recipes for buttercream and unfortunately this one didn’t measure up to the front runners. I think I’ll keep it in my recipe file and try altering it a bit so it’s not so icing sugary sweet.
His (Riley’s) birthday is coming up really soon but I think I’ve nailed down what I’m going to make. It’ll be a dump truck, I think (well I hope it’ll look like a dump truck) with the coveted buttermilk fruit cake with strawberry curd and delicious Swiss Buttercream from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve been looking for an excuse to use that buttercream again, I have dreams about it. I normally put a quite tasty chocolate buttercream on the fruit cake but lately I have been getting comments from the peanut gallery that it is too sweet. Too sweet?! Well, I guess it could be. If you think that though maybe you should get up off yer ass and try making one yourself, eh?
I’m not sure what to serve at the above mentioned birthday celebration. Thoughts? Ideas? Let me know, I’d love to know what you guys serve or think should be served at a three year old’s birthday party. He really loves fries… not sure how to do fries so that they are all warm and crispy and delicious and ready to serve without me looking like I work in a fast food restaurant. Hamburgers? Turkey burgers? Something completely different? White bean dip with pita chips? We are having around 17 adults, 3 toddlers, and 2 babies. Although I haven’t invited anybody yet so I should really get on that so that people can come! Oh, and is three to young for one of those bouncy castles? I really wanted to get one, but I’m worried the little ones won’t enjoy it, never mind the fact that October here can be very chilly. Hmmm, might have to think of a different idea. I wanted to do something more than just a bunch of us sitting around sticking food in our faces and opening presents but that may be what we end up doing again this year besides, the little ones seem to enjoy getting to play together and I sure like food! :)
Chocolate Macaroons from How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
- 250 g icing sugar
- 125 g ground almonds (I think next time I would try hazelnuts)
- 25 g cocoa powder
- 4 large egg whites
- 25 g caster sugar
- 2 baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 355°F (Nigella says 180°C/gas mark 4, I living in Canada I bake in°F) and if you have not already line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together the icing sugar, ground almonds and cocoa powder. Whisk the egg whites until half-stiff, sprinkle over the caster sugar and continue whisking until very stiff, but not dry. Gradually fold in the sifted ingredients.
Nigella goes on to talk about how to get the pastry bag ready, I didn’t use one, I’m a fan of the ol’ large plastic freezer bag. I stood the bag up in a bowl and folded over the edges so I wouldn’t get macaroon-y goodness all over the edge of the bag and then on my hands. Poured (is it supposed to pour? I’m not sure) into the bag and scraped the bowl down to get the last bits. Finally I sealed the bag getting out as much air as possible and went on my way to squeezing out little gobs of macaroons. OH SHIT!!! I didn’t read this part when actually making them! LEAVE TO STAND FOR 15 MINUTES TO FORM A SKIN. I did not do this, if you do and your macaroons work better please let me know!
Bake for 12 –15 minutes. Then using a good cookie flipper remove them from the tray and put them on a wire rack to cool. After they are cooled you are free to fill them with whatever filling has struck your fancy and then you may enjoy the deliciousness.
Nigella says she gets 18 cookies (or 35 rounds) out of this recipe. I got 14 cookies.
Strawberry Frosting from Gas●tron●o●my
- 1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
- Pinch of coarse salt
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.
Let me know what you think if you try making them yourself. I’d like to hear all about it.
The weather here is getting crazy, better say good night for now!