I’m really proud of my brain. It never ceases to provide me with really wonderful and random new ideas. However, I fear that the direction in which my brain is taking me might not be the most conducive for my potential future career in economics. Rather, I may be headed more towards the “arts-and-craftist” or quirky baker vibes.
Take an example from my Monday morning class via a three part series of “encounters”.
The prof calls us up, one by one, to chat about the quality of a small in-class surprise essay from the previous week.
Prof: “Are you poor?”
Me: “Err, not really?”
Prof: “Then why don’t you invest in more paper?”
I look down to my essay. One page is computer paper and the other piece is ripped out notebook paper. Both sheets flaunt the fact that my handwriting is a generous font size 6.5. Line after line is shushed together. Words completely engulf graphs and equations. Basically: disaster.
Ok. I get it, I'm not the neatest person. Let’s move on.
Then, after a few more minutes of handwriting criticism (I quite like my handwriting, by the way), he sums up: Obviously you know what you’re talking about, but you have no idea how to say it well. … obviously.
Err. That’s fine.
Excel exercise. Prof walks up to my computer… “DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN! THAT’S WRONG!”
Err. That’s also fine.
I bring in macarons to class, and offer them to everyone.
Prof: “These are wonderful! You must be careful when you get married… your husband will make you stay in all day to bake and you won’t be allowed to get a job.”
(Digression: I smiled back to him and told him I wasn’t getting married. Concerned face.)
Yes, so here we have it folks. I’ve tried this whole economic thing, but we can obviously see what my professor thinks is best for me. I knew it all along! Sorry father for all that educational investment you put into me. I tried.
So, if my brain starts to waiver at school, it’s still going strong outside of my institutionalized education. I have lots of random ideas that lead to very fun activities, AND I can still think of interesting macarons to make (albeit with some outside inspiration!).
The outside inspiration for this macaron is from my lovely sister. When we were kids she ADORED neapolitan ice cream. SOMEDAY when I have my bakery (ahem, someday...), I plan on having a macaron dedicated to each person in my family based off what flavours remind me of them. This one is definitely the "Laura" macaron. (Loooove youuuu.)
Ok, so we have strawberry AND chocolate macarons to make.
Strawberry Macarons – What you need:
- 110g almond powder
- 200g confectioner’s sugar
- 50g strawberry sugar
- 100g egg whites, room temperature and aged for 24 hours in a sealed container
Strawberry Macarons – What you do:
Sift together the almond powder and the confectioner’s sugar. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Slowly add the strawberry sugar to the egg whites while beating them. Beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Be careful not to over beat at this step!
Fold the egg whites (also known as meringue) into the almond/confectioner’s sugar mixture. Continue to fold the mixture together, again being careful not to overbeat. The stirs should not exceed 50!
Place the macaron batter into a pastry bag and pipe out macarons onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Tap the baking sheet on a counter a few times to get all of the air bubbles out of the macarons.
Allow the macarons to rest for approximately one hour before baking.
When they have sat for around 50 minutes, pre-heat your oven to 140c.
Bake the macarons in the pre-heated oven at 140c for 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the baking tray half way through the baking process.
Allow the macarons to sit for a few minutes, and then pop them off the baking pan. Cool on a cooling rack.
Chocolate Macarons – What you need:
- 110g almond powder
- 190g confectioner’s sugar
- 10g cocoa powder
- 50 grams caster sugar
- 100g egg whites, room temperature and aged for at least 24 hours in a sealed container
Chocolate Macarons - What you do:
Sift the almond powder, confectioner’s sugar, and cocoa powder together. Set aside.
After this step, repeat the directions from the strawberry macarons, but now using regular caster sugar instead of strawberry sugar.
Vanilla "Ice Cream" Filling - What you need:
- 100 grams butter, softened
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar... for extra vanilla vibes!)
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
Vanilla "Ice Cream" Filling - What you do:
Put the softened butter in a medium bowl. Slice open the vanilla pod and scrape out the vanilla. Add the vanilla to the butter, and with a spatula smash together the butter and vanilla.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then gradually add the sugar. Beat until the mixture becomes light and the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the milk and whisk together the mixture well.
Add the egg yolk mixture to a small saucepan over a low heat. Continue to whisk so that the mixture doesn't curdle. Cook the mixture until it becomes thick like a pudding.
Return the mixture to its original bowl and beat it until it the temperature is reduced to room temperature. Slowly add the butter while still mixing. You can do this in three additions. Mix and mix and mix away until everything is thick and well combined.
Finally, beat in the confectioner's sugar (it's easiest to do this in two additions so you don't have a small confectioner's sugar meteor shower all over your body).
Put the buttercream in a pastry bag and pipe out onto a chocolate macaron shell. Top it all off with a strawberry macaron shell.
More stories about the malfunctioning of my brain next post. Yep, it never ends.