There are a few significant days that stand out in my life. Obviously, Ben's birth is the big one. There's our wedding day, the day we got engaged, my 30th birthday, the day I climbed a mountain...
This past Sunday, I got to watch/help my awesome cousin make macarons. That day is right up there with my other most wonderful days, for sure.
Macarons are a delicious French confection of epic proportions. People spend years on the quest for Macaron Perfection. They look simple enough -- almond meringue discs with a ganache or buttercream filling; I have read at least a dozen different recipes which are all pages long and intimidatingly complicated.
I have loved macarons for a long time but never had the courage to make them myself.
It was a long process. First, we had to go out in search of the ingredients: ground almonds (almond powder/almond flour), icing sugar, eggs, chocolate, and flavourings.(Only the Callebaut chocolate is here; each chunk is over a pound!)
Almond and icing sugar were sieved together and mixed.
The egg whites were beaten, and when ready, a hot sugar syrup was beaten into them. See how gloriously white and glossy the mixture is?
It was even more beautiful once tinted.
Awesome Cousin chose orange because the macarons were to be flavoured with Grand Marnier. Smart, isn't he?
Note the two mixers working so beautifully together:
Meanwhile, a dark chocolate ganache was created: dark Callebaut chocolate, whipping cream, orange zest, and Grand Marnier.
The almond/sugar mixture was tinted and combined with the meringue. This mixture was then piped onto parchment paper:
The discs needed to rest about 10-20 minutes to form a skin, and half were dusted with cocoa powder, just for fun. Then they were baked and cooled:
See the frilly "foot" on the bottom of each meringue? Part way through the baking of the first batch I asked, "Do they have feet?" and did a little dance at the affirmative answer. They're not macarons if they don't have feet!
Combined with the ganache filling and eaten:
They're a little uneven because I was permitted to pipe the rounds at one point. Actually, there were four of us in the kitchen; one chef and three "assistants"; any imperfect results are our fault. I point this out because some of the finished macarons are a bit heavy on the cocoa "dusting" (MOM!!!!)
They are so delicious. I still might never have the courage to make them myself. But my kitchen is always his for the borrowing, if he wants to make them there!