April 17, 2014

Black & White Russian Macarons

bandwandbI know, I know, I know! I am sooooooo late to the macaron party… My motto is, however, if you must be tardythen at least be well-dressed. Black & white is always appropriate, for any occasion.
And our occasion today is the “Ebony and Ivory” Improv Cooking Challenge.

(Thanks to Kristen, we’ve had this song playing in our heads all month! Winking smile)
I really wanted to try gluten-free chocolate cream-filled cookies; but because I made these a few months ago, I figured I should probably move in a different direction.yumI’d been studying up on macarons for a couple years. My Pinterest boards are loaded with soooooo much inspiration. The sites I used for most of my ideas are Mardi’s & BraveTart. Because they are so knowledgeable & helpful, I’m not going to waste space here telling you how to make macarons. (Also because I’ve made macarons once…) I will tell you my mistakes, though.
First, here is my recipe:
for the macarons:
115 g.  ground almonds
230 g. powdered sugar
10 g. instant coffee granules
5 g.  finely ground coffee beans
1 T. black powdered color
144 g. egg whites
72 g. superfine sugar
simple buttercream filling:
½ c. softened butter (salted)
1 lb. powdered sugar
¼ c. half & half (could use milk or cream)
1 T. Kahlúa®
3 T. Whipped Cream Vodka
Be sure to use a scale to have accurate measures.ejmac2I didn’t have enough lovely white Bob’s Red Mill almond flour, so I had to fill in with TJ’s colorful meal – didn’t matter much ‘cause it was triple sifted then colored with black.ejmac9(Speaking of color… if I use the black again, I will use at least twice as much powder to attain a good hue.)ejmac7The aged whites whipped up so nicely following Mardi’s directions. The folding in of the almond flour mixture took more strokes than she suggested.ejmac1I was thankful for the wonderful template from Yumarama. You can see the trouble I had “free-handing” it…ejmac3My piping skills obviously need much work! ejmac4
The buttercream turned out quite delicious. I’ve got half of it left to top some cupcakes after Easter.ejmac5 YUM!ejmac6Pairing up the shells before piping the filling saves a bunch of time!ejmac8The coffee smell from the shells while filling was overwhelming!ejmac12So overwhelming that I had to pour a cuppa and sample the wares right away…ejmac11
If you’d like to see more interpretations of our Ebony & Ivory theme; check out these links:

April 14, 2014

Rest In Peace?

rayOh, I think not! I’m pretty sure Ray is tired of resting. His last few months on earth were too full of resting.rayAfter spending some time wrapped in Jesus’ arms; I like to think that he’s hiking heaven - relishing his now perfect body and glorious strength.rayI figure Ray is probably chatting up Peter & John; asking about the possibility of setting sail to an ideal fishing spot.rayHe’s going to discus metalwork with Solomon; debating the pros and cons of ornamentation.rayAs for “off-roading” … well, I don’t suppose there’s any good mud on the streets of gold, anyhow… rayWe miss you!ray