Those of you that know me, like know me, know me, know that I’m a tad “quirky”. I do some odd things, say some odd sentences, and all to often perform odd dances. It’s normal. I promise.
However, I think one of my oddest habits is making lists.
Like, minimum two times daily I make elaborate lists. I make lists about my day plans, my week plans, and my two week plans. I make grocery lists, one list for each store where I need to shop. I make “what to bake next”, “what to read next”, and “what movies to see next” lists. I make running schedules and yoga schedules. Now that it’s starting to be the holiday season, I have about three different lists concerning what to make and for whom. THEN, because the gifts (so far) are largely arts and crafts, I have an arts and crafts shopping list (or five). It’s a bit excessive. You may even think that I’m slightly manic.
However, the worst part about these lists is that I don’t even use them. Nope, I think 1 out of every 10 lists I actually follow. A solid 95% of my grocery lists get lost along the way to the store, stuffed in a bag somewhere, or completely forgotten at home. I know this. Very, very well. And, in the case of my grocery lists, I honestly curse myself every time I’m grocery shopping because I KNOW that I’m forgetting something, but well, where DID that list go? Good question. I have no idea.
Well, my most recent list was for a Thanksgiving dessert to make for a dinner for this weekend. I REMEMBERED my list. It had two things on it: canned pumpkin and cinnamon oil. I went to the store out of two where I know they sell canned pumpkin in Paris. Obviously, they were out of it. (And cinnamon oil is like crazy expensive. Crazy people! ... but more on this in later days.)
So, yep, the rare time I utilize my list… nothing came out of it! Perhaps this is a sign that my unusual tactics are working out just fine for me.
(P.S. I know that it’s quite simple to make pumpkin puree, fresh. But, you see, my kitchen is the size of, well, a pumpkin, and my knife and cutting board are the size of pumpkin seeds… this combination is really, really dangerous, and the last time I cut up a pumpkin at home, I feared for my life.)
Anyway, digression, digression, digression: there will be no pumpkin dessert for this Thanksgiving dinner (made by me at least), but there will be:
That’s kind of an American combination, right?
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Macarons – What you need:
- 40 grams of macadamia nuts, pulsed finely in a food processor (or pre-ground)
- 70 grams of almond powder
- 175 grams of confectioner’s sugar
- 25 grams of white chocolate hot chocolate mix (if you can’t find white chocolate mix, make them normal chocolate!)
- 100 grams egg whites, aged 24 hours in a sealed container at room temperature
- 50 grams caster sugar
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Macarons – What you do:
In a food processor, pulse together both nut types, the confectioner’s sugar, and the white chocolate powder. Sift these ingredients into a large bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, then slowly add in the caster sugar until stiff peaks form. Try not to overbeat! You know when the meringue (beaten egg white and sugar) is ready when you can flip the bowl upside down without any slipping down the bowl.
Add the meringue into the nut/confectioner’s sugar/chocolate mix. Fold the two mixes together. Again – it’s important not to over beat the batter… try to make fewer than 50 stirs.
On parchment-lined baking sheets, pipe your macarons out using a pastry bag. Make sure you leave some space in between, for they expand a bit! Allow the macarons to rest for at least an hour before baking.
Preheat the oven to 140-150 c. Bake the macarons for 15 minutes rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Allow the macarons to cool slightly before popping them off the baking sheet and placing them on to cooling racks. They should come off really easily, and if they don’t, just place them back in to the oven for a few more minutes.
I feel that the stars added a nice "patriotic" touch. If you ever want to add sprinkles or embellishments to your macarons, place them on top of the macaron shell right after you pipe them out! If you wait until they have sat out, the sprinkle won't stick as well.
White Chocolate Ganache – What you need:
- ½ cup of heavy cream
- 100g white chocolate
- 1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
White Chocolate Ganache – What you do:
Cut up the chocolate into small pieces. Set aside in a large heat-proof bowl.
On the stove top, heat the cream until it simmers slightly.
Remove the cream from the stove, and pour over the chocolate. Allow this to sit for a few minutes, and then stir the cream and chocolate together until no lumps remain.
Add the confectioner’s sugar to the ganache and beat well until the ganache is smooth and creamy.
Place into a pastry bag, then allow the ganache to chill in the fridge for an hour (minimum) before using it.
Pipe the chilled ganache onto the cool macarons and sandwich together.
For the best taste, allow the macarons to chill in a sealed container for 24 hours before eating. Bring them to room temperature (30 minutes out of the fridge should be fine) before serving.
I noticed that I'm losing macaron photo originality... thus, may I introduce the macaron "book ends" for your holiday go-to gift?
... Perhaps just stick to giving them macarons...
Baking soundtrack - Tunes to inspire your inner baker:
I'm on a Hot Chip Trip!
Matthew Dear - Don & Sherri (Hot Chip remix): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sjf6GnKq01U
Hot Chip - I Feel Better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VurR44pxUKo
Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!