games: carolina vs buffalo
new york vs denver
tampa bay vs new orleans
dallas vs kansas city
seattle vs san francisco
escape: lavender macarons
on the menu: watermelon margaritas + nachos + tacos
It has only been 2 weeks into Football Sunday season and the boys have already, temporarily, abandoned Mike. As the guys recovered from their Saturday night wedding (not to each other but as attending guests), Mike was left to take on Sunday as a solo affair. Seeing as the testosterone levels in our condo were normal, I felt no impending internal pressure to flee.
With free reign over the kitchen, I decided to bake. What better way to celebrate Manning Bowl 2013 than by baking lavender macarons. I’m sure Eli loves the scent of lavender and Peyton loves Parisian cookies.
The macaron recipe I’m sharing is from my Ladurée Sucré cookbook in combo with some tips + tricks that I’ve picked up while testing and attempting other recipes over the last couple years. I know that the internet is not short on macaron how-to’s but lately I have been asked by several people to share my recipe and I have put it off long enough. For those interested continue reading. For those sick of the macaron, there’s a picture solely devoted to meat near the end; so scroll on through.
…ingredients for the cookie…
recipe makes about 50 macarons
2 ¾ c + 1 tbsp | 275g almond flour
2c + 1tbsp | 250g icing sugar
6 ½ egg whites @ room temp
1c + 1tbsp | 210g granulated sugar
food colouring [gel colour works best]
…ingredients for the lavender ganache…
recipe adapted from the book Les Petits Macarons [makes 1 pint enough for 40 small macarons]
343 g white chocolate |chopped
2tblspns lavender [or loose lavender tea/4 tea bags]
1c heavy cream
piping bag + 1/2” tip | Silpat sheets [or parchment paper] | baking sheet(s) | template | spatula | mixing bowls | stand or hand mixer | sieve | oven @ 300° | food processor | small sauce pan
 Combine almond flour + icing sugar and strain through a sieve twice | discard large chunks | set aside.
 With a mixer beat the egg whites on a med speed. Once it begins to froth [about 30 seconds in] gradually add the granulated sugar 1 tbs @ a time until all combined | add food colour and beat until glossy peaks can be formed
 Add ½ the almond flour + icing sugar mixture to the whites and gently fold in circular motions | add the remaining half and continue to fold until combined
 Macaronage; from the inside out with your spatula in a circular motion spread and press the batter along the edge of the bowl and in the same circular motion scrape the batter back into the middle of the bowl. Repeat about 6x until batter has consistency of thick pancake batter. This step works to push the air out of the batter so that your macarons don’t end up hollow. If mixture still appears too thick hand whisk a small amount of egg whites and add to loosen up mixture.
If this makes no sense, You Tube “macaronage” and I’m sure you’ll be able to find a video demo | be careful not to over mix
 Transfer mixture to pipping bag and lay the template under the Silpat/parchment on the baking sheet | using the template begin to pipe
Pipping tips: start at the centre of the circle template with the pipping bag perpendicular to the bake sheet | squeeze the bag until a circle of batter forms to just smaller than the template size and then lift the pipping tip up | stagger your pipping so that you’re using every other circle on the template…pipe too close and the cookies will end up touching
 De-bubble; when pipping is complete smack the bottom of each baking tray and or gently bang it against a table top
 Let the cookies sit in room temp until the surface dries | can take upwards of 20mins
you know they’re ready when you can touch the surface and batter doesn’t stick to your finger
 Bake in the middle of the oven, 1 sheet at a time, for about 15 mins.
monitor often after the 9min mark and rotate baking sheet in oven | watch that they don’t start to brown | you know they’re done when they are hard to the touch | if after 15 mins they still feel soft, lower heat by 25 and bake a little longer [all ovens are different; unfortunately this is really a trail and error situation] | to avoid surface browning on the consecutive baking sheets, I turn the oven off between batches and re-set the temp
 When baked, let the cookies cool on the sheet for about 5 mins | remove from the sheet and let cool on a rack.
 Play match maker; pair the cookies off by size
 Pipe ganache onto 1 half of the pair [in the same fashion you pipped the batter on the baking sheet] + sandwich the pair together
sure you can eat them right away but they are much better if you refrigerate them 12-48hrs prior to devouring as they mature in the fridge and will become softer over time
 Food process white chocolate into small pieces + leave in food processor
 In a small sauce pan bring cream + lavender to a boil over med heat | remove from heat and let steep for 5 mins
 Press milk-lavender mixture through a strainer back into the sauce pan | bring milk back to a boil over med heat
 Pour lavender milk over chocolate in food processor |wait 1 min to let chocolate melt then pulse until smooth
 Pour ganache into a shallow pan and let cool in room temp for about 30mins | stir occasionally
 If it holds a ball like shape then it’s ready for pipping
ganache can be kept covered + refrigerated for up to 2 wks
Now onto the football grub…
Though it was only the 2 of us this Sunday, Mike still decided to cook for 4; which, sadly, is a common occurrence in our home.
The meal started with a grand amuse, if you will, of nachos. Evident by his artistry below, I consider Mike the Jackson Pollock of oven baked apps. The nachos were fully loaded with cheese, ground pork, onions, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, salsa, and guac! I switched modes from Parisienne to Mexican and made some watermelon margs to accompany the main dish; meat on meat on meat tacos -beef short rib + ground pork+ beef tenderloin spiced up with kale chips, pickled red onions, and black beans. With each bite Mike slowly nursed his Dallas loss by 1.
Sorry boys no meat for you!
*football images from USA Today Sports + SB Nation