For the last year or so, I’ve fallen into a habit of bringing a batch of salted caramel macarons with me whenever I gather with knitter friends. I’m not quite sure why I started doing this, but at this point I think it’s expected for me to show up with macarons. While planning a recent trip to NC, a couple of the knitters asked if I could teach them how to make macarons – one of them even dragged her Kitchenaid from IN to NC for the lesson. Sadly the lesson failed due to altitude and/or funky egg whites. Fortunately I brought dozens of macarons from home just in case the lesson didn’t work! Despite the failure, one of my friends from the trip asked me to share the recipe, so that she could attempt them at home.
I’ve tried a few different recipes in the last couple of years with mixed results. Then I got a copy of the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. I tried the macaron recipe in it immediately and I probably won’t ever use another recipe.
The other macaron recipes I used were very particular about warming egg whites to room temperature and even using old egg whites. These recipes also required the unbaked cookies to sit on the cookie sheets for a period of time before baking. The Bouchon Bakery recipe doesn’t require you to use old room temperature egg whites and you can bake the cookies immediately after piping!
The linked recipe is for plain macarons. I’ve adapted the recipe to make lemon, vanilla and espresso macarons, but I make salted caramel ones most frequently. The cookies themselves aren’t really caramel flavored, but to color them and add a little flavor, I add the following to the meringue part of the batter: about a 1/2 teaspoon of instant espresso dissolved in a light splash of vanilla extract. The coffee flavor from the instant espresso is subtle enough that most people don’t notice it.
The recipe for salted caramel filling makes about twice as much as you’ll need for a batch of macarons. You can make half a batch or you can do what I often do and use it in a batch of the salted caramel brownies from Smitten Kitchen.
The original Bouchon Bakery recipe lists the ingredients by weight and by volume. For some unknown reason, I don’t own a digital scale, so I use the volume measurements. The Annie’s Eats recipe only lists the weights, so here are the volume measurements as well:
212 grams – 1 3/4 cups + 2 1/2 tablespoons almond flour/meal
212 grams – 1 3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
82 grams – 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons egg whites
90 grams – 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons egg whites
236 grams – 1 cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (plus a pinch for the egg whites)
158 grams – 2/3 cup water
Seriously, I think this is the best sandwich in Charlottesville. It’s from Bodo’s, a local bagel place, and it is an amazing combo of warm pastrami, melty muenster cheese, mayo and lettuce on an everything bagel.
I planned to make a batch of carbonara for dinner tonight, but we accidentally devoured half a loaf of this bread the instant it came out of the oven. There’s not really a need for dinner after you eat half a loaf of bread.
As I always ask myself when I’m eating freshly baked bread, why don’t I bake bread more often? It doesn’t take much hands-on time and it’s so, so delicious.
This particular bread is one that I’ve made many times before. The base recipe for Classic White Bread was published in Martha Stewart Living a number of years ago, but this version of it contains a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour as well as oatmeal. If you take a look at the linked recipe for two loaves of bread, you’ll see that it calls for seven cups of all-purpose flour, I use one cup of whole wheat flour, one cup of oatmeal and five cups of all-purpose flour. Other than that, I follow the recipe to the letter.
I don’t think I remember the last time I made deviled eggs. I can’t really be trusted with them, so I don’t make them unless I’ve got a reason. Some of Joel’s family visited today, including a cousin who is obsessed with deviled eggs. So making her happy was my reason.
For the curious, I make deviled eggs the same way my mom does. The recipe isn’t unique, but I think they’re really good and rarely like other people’s deviled eggs as much as I like these. The filling is a mix of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sweet pickle relish (canned by me last summer) and a touch of black pepper. I’ve never measured the amounts that I use of each ingredient, I just add a dollop of each and adjust the filling until it tastes right.
I tried something new to me for dinner tonight: fish and veggies baked in parchment paper. Really the idea isn’t new to me, just the making it myself at home part. I worked in a seafood restaurant for many, many years and they served a dish like this the entire time that I worked there. In my opinion, it was one of the worst dishes they served, so I kind of hated the concept of fish in parchment for a long time. But it’s been 5 years since I quit that job and I’ve finally recovered enough to make it myself.
Tonight’s contents were somewhat randomly chosen based on what I had on hand: catfish seasoned with Cajun blackening spices and garlic, sauteed onions, thick potato slices and green beans. I drizzled the whole lot with olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, wrapped it all up in the sheet of parchment paper and tossed it in the oven.
Whoa, it’s been nearly a year since I last posted anything here. I’ve got plans to do better in 2014. I’m participating in a group blog/photo project with a bunch of friends. It’s called Few and Far Project and we aim to each post daily photos in 2014. Blogging there for the last week has made me think a bit about changing my approach to blogging here. Since I’ll be taking lots of pictures anyway and since a lot of them will involve food, I plan to cross post images here when the mood strikes me. I’m going to let go of my need to write paragraphs of text for every blog post. Some days it will be just a picture or a few sentences. I’d rather say a little less if it means being present on this site again.