Anxiety was building once Halloween ended and as American Thanksgiving neared. My tree wasn’t up and the only signs of holiday in our condo were the rolls of wrapping paper I pulled out from the closet and the box of early gifts I purchased throughout the year. Those who are familiar with my overly eager Christmas punctuality know that my tree is up earlier than later to ensure that I get every second out of the holidays. Fortunately, my anxiety ended just before our American neighbours broke bread over turkey and candied yams; I got my tree up and decorated!
This faux tree has been with Mike + me now for over 5 years. It’s travelled from Winnipeg to Toronto and will likely hang around for the remainder of our condo Christmases. Each year in the guise of a gift in Mike’s stocking, I gift our tree with a new whimsical, usually food related, ornament. Last year it was pizza and the year before it was a hamburger. And though I try to limit my new ornaments to 1 [the one in Mike’s stocking], I often skip up a couple more before and after the holidays.
Amongst the newest of my ornaments are 2 felted critters from West Elm; a little piggy and a penguin – both handmade + fair-trade from Nepal.
With my tree decorated and gifts wrapped, the final piece of my holiday puzzle were the baked goods. Last Christmas, I gave out boxes of, perhaps the best looking macarons I have ever baked. However, as mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been going through a bit of a macaron slump. None of my batches were working out and with Christmas in less than a month, anxiety episode #2 was setting in.
Whenever Mike makes fresh pasta, I am left with containers of egg whites. Not wanting to let the egg whites from his last dinner of noodles go to waste, I decided I’d try another batch of macarons. And to my surprise, they turned out pretty good!
Sticking to the flavours in my pantry, I attempted Earl Grey macarons infused with a tea I picked up from our last trip to the UK.
E A R L G R E Y M A C A R O N S
- 6Tbsp chilled Earl Grey milk
- 1/2Tbsp loose Earl Grey tea leaves
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 8Tbsp [4oz] butter | cube + @ room temp.
- 3 1/2C icing sugar
to prep the Earl Grey milk, in a small sauce pot combine heavy cream + loose tea leaves over low-med heat; occasionally stirring
remove pot from heat once milk scalds
let sit for 5 mins | occasionally stirring to prevent a skin from forming
strain into a bowl separating the leaves from the milk + ensuring to squeeze out all the liquid from the tea
pour into a bowl and let sit in the fridge to cool
in a mixer [with a whisk attachment] on medium speed, begin whipping the softened butter
gradually add in the icing sugar about 1/2C at a time
continue whipping until combined
gradually add in 6Tbsp of Earl Grey milk
continue whipping until fully combined and fluffy
scoop buttercream into a pipping bag and start filling your macarons
Serve these macarons with a cup of hot Earl Grey and you’re only a few cucumber sandwiches away from high tea.
Not a bad start to my holiday baking. Now I just need to shake off this cold and I’ll be ready for full holiday everything!!!