Friday, April 29, 2011

The Divas of the Baking World

Dear Friend K is staying with us for a little while, during which time she and I have plans to bake up a bit of a storm.  When I asked her what she wanted to make first, she said macarons.  Originally, these were supposed to be pink macarons with a chocolate ganache filling, but when we went to the store to buy the powdered food coloring, they were out of red. So we had to go a different route.  I already had these pretty pink and red (and orange too) sparkly sugar sprinkles, so we decided to use those.

During the process of making these, we decided that macarons are kind of the diva of the cookie world.  They are very picky about their demands, but if you provide for them properly, they produce a wonderful result.

We used the same recipe that I used for this post.  I figure, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  The ganache was 2/3 cup of cream, 8 ounces of chocolate and 2 tablespoons of butter, melted together in a double boiler, and then allowed to cool until it is thick enough to pipe.  Since we were a little crunched for time, we put the ganache in the fridge to cool quicker.  If you do that, just give it a stir every 15 minutes or so to help it stay smooth.  Speaking of time, I have a tip.  If you want the shells and the ganache to be done at the same time, make the ganache first, and stick it in the fridge before you start with the shells.  The shells need very little cooling time, so a few minutes after they come out of the oven you can start to use them.

We also tried to do something fun -- hearts!  My piping skills are not great, but K is very talented.  However, hearts were a new thing for both of us, and some of them were pretty funny:

If I remember correctly, the most successful technique that was used was to pipe and drag two blobs.  The top part of the heart doesn't have to touch, because as the shells sit before baking, they sort of ooze together. 

Aside from the obvious funny-shapedness, the other problem that hearts pose is that it gets difficult to pair them up.  Some of our "sandwiches" were a little wonky.  But, it didn't really matter because they tasted great!

So, I'm going to consider this another successful venture in the kitchen.  It was fun, and they tasted great. 

Now, where's that last one?.....

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