Family · Family Favorites · New Favorite

French Macarons by Daughter Megan

French Macarons are such a light, sweet delicacy.  I never would think of making them, yet, one day, my oldest daughter, Megan, called to say she’d had a dream about making Macarons and was going to bake them that very day.  Megan is the dessert maker in our family, always coming up with something new and delightful. Even so, I thought they would be extremely difficult, especially at Denver altitude.

Never fear!  The results were stunning and delectable.  The only change Megan made to the recipe was reducing the vanilla and adding almond extract to both the cookie and to the frosting. I’ll leave the Macaron making to Megan and praise (and enjoy) the results!

FRENCH MACARONS

For the Cookie

  • 100 g egg whites room temperature or 3 large eggs
  • 140 g almond flour or 1 1/2 cups
  • 90 g granulated sugar just under 1/2 cup
  • 130 g powdered sugar or 1 cup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5mL (Megan used 3/4 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 tsp. almond extract)
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar 800mg

For the Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened 226g
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 100g
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (Megan used 3/4 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 tsp. almond extract)
  • 3 tbsp. water 30mL
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions

For the Macarons:

  • Sift the confectioners sugar and almond flour into a bowl.
  • Add the room temperature egg whites into a very clean bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites. Once they begin to foam add the cream of tartar and then SLOWLY add the granulated sugar.
  • Add the food coloring (if desired) and vanilla then mix in. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Begin folding in the 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
  • Be careful to add the remaining dry ingredients and fold gently.
  • The final mixture should look like flowing lava, and be able to fall into a figure eight without breaking. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium round piping tip and you’re ready to start piping.
  • Pipe one inch dollops onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this should be glued down with dabs of batter). Tap on counter several times to release air bubbles. Allow to sit for about 40 minutes before placing in oven.
  • Bake at 300F for 12-15 minutes, rotate tray after 7 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking sheet.

For the French Buttercream Filling:

  • Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan. Heat over low heat while stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium- high and bring to a boil
  • Put egg yolks in a stand-mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat until thick and foamy.
  • Cook the sugar and water syrup until it reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately remove from heat. With mixer running, SLOWLY drizzle hot syrup into bowl with yolks.
  • Continue mixing until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch and the yolk mixture has cooled to room temperature.
  • Add in butter one cube at a time allowing each piece to incorporate before adding the next. Add vanilla and salt. Continue mixing until buttercream is smooth and creamy. (About 5-6 minutes.) Add food coloring if desired.

For Assembly

  • Pipe your filling onto the back of half the shells. Form a sandwich and repeat. Macarons should be aged in the fridge for 1-3 days for best results. This allows the filling to soften the shells inside.

Notes

  • THE MERINGUE!!!! That meringue HAS TO BE STIFF! I had no idea French meringue could be whipped to such a thick marshmallowy consistency but all it takes is a bit of extra whisking. You’ll notice the meringue start to fill the whisk when you’re getting close to the right stage.
  • Sift, Sift, SIFT! Those larger pieces of almond flour will mar the surface of your macarons. Best practice is to sift then whiz in the food processor and repeat two more times. Discard the larger particles, don’t try to press them through the sieve.
  • Use a scale if possible, accuracy helps with this recipe.
  • The mixing will take some practice, you will fold and fold the batter and then use the spatula to GENTLY press the batter against the bowl. You want to remove some of the bubbles but not to many… Continue this until it reaches a thick “lava” consistency. It should slowly fall off the spatula in ribbons and be able to form a figure eight without breaking.
  • Pipe the macarons perpendicular to the surface. If your tip is pointing a bit in any particular direction when you pipe the macarons might be oblong or malformed.
  • Add your coloring to the meringue after it reaches the soft peak stage.
  • When you are finishing the piping motion stop squeezing the bag and pull up with a circular motion.
  • The macarons will be best after 2-3 days resting in the fridge.
  • If you over-bake the shells and they’re too crisp, brush the bottom with some milk before assembly to soften them up.

Recipe adapted from Preppykitchen.com

Family · My Roots

Mother’s Day…Things I Miss About You

Time is so precious and passes every so swiftly. When I was younger, I took so much for granted, assuming that time and moments would go on forever.

Each Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) I recall the times that I did have with my Mom and Dad. How I wish I could call them up to chat and tell them how much I love and miss them.

Betty Gaunt senior portrait 2

Things I Miss About You

It’s Mother’s Day again,
And I’m trying to make it through,
Because this day reminds me
Of all the things I miss about you.

I miss your face smiling down at me,
With love shining from your eyes.
I miss the way you’d laugh at my jokes
So hard that it made you cry.

I miss the touch of your dear hands,
How gentle and kind they could be.
And I miss the warth of your hugs, and how
You’d wrap me up tight as could be.

I miss the smell of your perfume,
The way it lingered in the air.
Sometimes I think I smell it again,
And I get a sense that you’re there.

I miss the way you could always tell
When something in my life had gone wrong,
How you’d talk to me until I felt better,
Your words soothed me like a song.

And so I sit here once again
Remembering these things I miss
And this year, just like every year,
I make a silent wish.

I wish that one day I’ll see you again,
Whole, and safe, and sound.
That you’ll take my hand securely in yours,
And for Heaven we’ll be bound.

Author Unknown

Family · New Traditions · Uncategorized

Celebrating Moms!

Each year, for the past four years, a group of gal pals have gathered to celebrate ourselves. This wonderful group of women saw our kids grow from adolescents to adults and we have a lot to celebrate! While we don’t see each other as often, we do gather together for a Mother’s Coffee/Tea as well as in smaller groups for Book Club, Card Making, and Christmas.  These women are such a blessing for me as well as for their children.

That being said, we all LOVE to come together over food. Each year our friend, Barb, captured pics of our delicious array of food as well as pics of our group.

2013MDfood

Last year was the first time our daughter, Sarah, joined us as a Mom celebrating the birth of Evan. It’s such a wonderful gift to now have our daughters (and in the future daughter-in-laws) join us in the celebration.

P1120107We will be celebrating a week before Mother’s Day this year so let the party begin.

Family · Holidays

Mother’s Day 2013…Daughter, Mother, Grandmother, Friend

Mother’s Day 2013 will be a weekend of celebration starting with my annual Mother’s Day Coffee/Tea on Saturday.  There will be much laughter, hugging, catching up and, of course, delicious treats.  This year our friend Barbara has designed T-shirts to celebrate our annual event.

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Sunday, our family will share a meal celebrating daughter Sarah as a Mother and now adding Grandma to my title.   We are blessed.

As I reflect on Mother’s Day, I think about my Mother who passed away in 2001.  I miss her every day.  How many times have I wished that I could pick up the phone and talk to her!

Our journey as Daughters and then Mothers (and now Grandmothers) takes many twists and turns.  I recently read this poem which reminds me of my Mother being there to support me and my own journey as a Mother.  And the journey continues with my daughters.

Love you, Mom.  Love you girls!

IMG_3571
Baby Evan with Grandma, Mommie and Aunt Megan

A Mother…

When you’re a child she walks before you,
To set an example.
When you’re a teenager she walks behind you
To be there should you need her.
When you’re an adult she walks beside you
So that as two friends you can enjoy life together..
Author Unknown
New Traditions

My baby girl is getting married tomorrow!

Tomorrow my baby, Sarah, will be married. Where did the 23.6666 years go? Wasn’t it yesterday she was saying ‘me do it’ and putting herself in time-out?  So fun to see our children grow up and become adults, but not so fun to look in the mirror and not recognize that person.

Sarah Bearah, age 2

The preparations are almost done as we are gearing up for the ceremony at a local rose garden, followed by the reception in my backyard.

The ceremony and reception will be Colorado Casual with live music, BBQ and backyard fun.  While the main course will be catered, we have been busy making the appetizers and cupcakes, clearing out the furniture on the first floor of my house to make room for tables and chairs.

We are PRAYING for no moisture, no high winds, and comfortable temperatures.  In Colorado, you never know what you’ll get.  We had a blizzard for older daughter Megan’s wedding to Christian last October, moving from the gorgeous outdoor venue to the ballroom.   Oh well, made for beautiful photos and many stories.

October 8, 2011 — uh oh, wedding indoors!

Hopefully, no snow (or rain, or hail, or tornadoes, of hurricanes, or wind bursts, or earthquakes) on July 28 in Centennial and Littleton, Colorado….but I ramble….

I’m sending positive thoughts and prayers for a beautiful wedding and reception for Sarah and Kyle on their special day… and many years of love, joy and laughter!

Family Favorites · Uncategorized

Food Themed Bridal Shower … Cheesy Apple Spread is recipe number 1!

It seems my world truly revolves around food, as it does for my daughters!  Our oldest daughter, Megan, was married last year; we asked bridal shower guests to share a favorite recipe to insert in a cookbook.  This year daughter, Sarah, is also engaged and we did the same for her shower.  I  photocopied hand-written recipes of Grandmothers, Great-Grandmothers, and other family members no longer with us.  We also asked each guest to write a note the bride inside the cookbook.

As favors, we gave each guest a copy of three of Megan’s favorite dip/spread recipes which we also served at her shower.

Megan’s recipe favors at bridal shower

The dips shared were Cheesy Apple Spread (today’s post), Hot Wing Dip, and Peach Salsa.   They are all family favorites.  The Cheesy Apple Spread recipe has been in my recipe box for at least 30 years.  Younger daughter, Sarah, loves this dip as well and prepared the dip for the shower.  Cheesy Apple Spread is truly an oldie but still a goodie!

Apple Dip

CHEESY APPLE SPREAD

8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped apple

Ingredients for Apple Dip
  • Blend together the cream cheese and mayonnaise.  Add shredded cheese and chopped apple.  Chill until ready to serve with Ritz or other favorite crackers.