Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lavender Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

Having balance has always been one of my greatest desires. It seems that on weeks when my social calendar is full, I find myself distracted at work. Or on ones that I am kicking butt at work, I see my quiet time suffer. When I spend too much time alone, I miss my friends and have a deep ache to reconnect with them.

It is hard to have it all.

So, I'm trying to mold my worlds together. I received a good piece of advice recently: fit people into the activities that are already happening in your life. It is less exhausting, and bringing people into the mundane, the regular, somehow brings an intimacy with them that you can't receive doing new and exciting things.

I often have friends who ask me to teach them to make macarons. There is something alluring about these little french cookies that are both delicious and freakishly beautiful. So, when Cat said she'd like to learn to make macarons, I made it happen.

When there isn't anything exciting going on on Saturday nights, I usually stay in and catch up on some baking projects, often thinking of friends whom I can give little treats to know that they are thought of. This is something I'd usually do alone, but Cat is a friend whom I'd been meaning to catch up with, so fitting her into my usually-solo Saturday night baking was a compromise I was more than willing to make.

Let's all let people into some parts of our life that we normally wouldn't, shall we? It makes it more possible to have it all (almost) . . .  including delicious macarons.

Lavender Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies

4 egg whites, aged overnight

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup fine granulated sugar (caster sugar)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup almond flour

pinch of salt
1 teaspoon dried lavender (plus more for the tops)

One recipe chocolate ganache

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats (preferable) or parchment paper laid over guides for sizing the cookies.

In the (very clean) bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat aged egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peals form. Slowly incorporate the sugar. Continue to mix until still peaks form.

In a food processor or coffee grinder, pulse together almond meal and powdered sugar a few times. Remove to a bowl.  Carefully fold in half of the egg white mixture. Add remaining egg whites, salt, and lavender and fold those in carefully until full combined.

Place the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip. Following the guide, pipe circles onto the silicone mat or parchment paper laid over the guide. Sprinkle tops of macarons with a few pieces of lavender. Let rest about 30 minutes, until the top of the macaron is dry. Remove guide before placing pans in the oven.

Bake macarons for about 12-15 minutes, until the macarons are set and have some nice feet on them. Cool before CAREFULLY removing from the baking sheet.

When cookies are cool, speed a little bit of prepared (and slightly cooled) ganache over one cookie. Place another cookie on top to make a sandwich. Let set before consuming.

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About Me

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Salt Lake City, Utah
As a pastry chef by trade and by hobby, being diagnosed with Celiac Disease has not been easy. But through some experimental baking and a whole lot of faith, I'm living a full(er) life.