Not so random fact of the day: I love cornbread. I have a slight problem. I confess. It’s an addiction. I could happily eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… and when I make it, that’s exactly what I do.
Now that this is out in the open, we can continue.
I had a funny conversation with my mom the other day (she is amazing, and listens patiently to me run-on-sentence speak for 45 minutes straight about nothing and everything), and she told me something I found really interesting: I haven’t changed in, well, ever. Perhaps not in all aspects of life, but every since I was a kid, I’ve hated being bored. (I've also always been ((and still am)) incredibly stubborn.)
Boredom. Don’t like it. Drives me crazy. I must be active. At.All.Times.
She made a funny remark that most kids complain to their parents that they have a headache, or that they feel flu-ish, but I complained to her that I was bored with the sincerity that equated to the severity that my appendix just burst into 4,762 pieces.
And now, how many years later? I am still the same. I love running around, even if it’s aimlessly (actually, those are the best times), I love seeing people, I love moving, but most of all, as you may well know, I love to bake. It’s a problem, but I manage. (My macaron interest came about last year during the toughest times of my Masters when I couldn’t sleep.)
This activity gets amplified to the power seven when I get to bake for people. I love excuses to cook and bake for hours and hours, and then to have a party or to even just share food. This time, the excuse was a special one: CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!
So, it’s a bit belated… but it’s important to me all the same. I’m not in a country that celebrates Thanksgiving anymore, but I love all things Thanksgiving (ahem, minus the turkey), and I want to keep the happy Thanksgiving memories alive – as well as create new ones! So, this past weekend, I went a bit wild. Baked. Cooked. Repeat.
It was fun.
There was a lot going on in terms of food, but this recipe is the thing I was most stoked about… perhaps a new tradition to add to my small cornbread obsession.
Cornbread macarons – What you need:
- 110 grams cornmeal
- 200 grams confectioner’s sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 100 grams egg whites, aged for 24 hours at room temperature in a sealed container
- 50 grams caster sugar
Cornbread macarons – What you do:
In a food processor, pulse the cornmeal, confectioner’s sugar, and salt until the mixture is finely ground.
Add this combination to a large bowl.
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric beater until soft peaks form. Add the caster sugar and continue to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks, or a meringue, forms. Be careful not to beat the egg whites too long!
Add the meringue to the cornmeal mixture. At first fold the two mixtures together quickly in order to incorporate them well. After, carefully fold the meringue into the cornmeal until a ribbon-y macaron batter forms. Again – be careful that you don’t beat the batter too much… I try to keep my stirs under 50.
Spoon the macaron batter into a pastry bag and pipe out the macarons on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Allow the macarons to sit at room temperature for an hour so that a hard “shell” forms on the top of the macaron.
During this time, preheat the oven to 140c.
(I started off with 150c, and my first batch of macarons cracked! Ay caramba!!! I quickly lowered the temperature and everything was smooth and perfect after!)
Bake the macarons for 16-18 minutes, depending on their size, rotating the baking tray half way through the cooking time. Transfer the macarons to a cooling rack, and allow them to cool completely. The macarons should come off easily, and if not, just place them back into the oven for another minute or two.
The filling of the macarons was a slight improvisation, but it turned out really well!
I made a pumpkin cake, and frosted it with a cream cheese frosting. Then also for the dinner I made cranberry sauce. For the filling I mixed a cup of frosting and a cup of (cooled) cranberry sauce together, and allowed it to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours before putting it in a pastry bag to pipe out onto the macarons.
For the cream cheese frosting I beat 150g of softened cream cheese with 1/3 cup of softened butter until fluffy. After, I beat in four cups of sifted confectioner’s sugar, in two additions, until the frosting was thick and smooth.
For the cranberry sauce, I mixed a bag of cranberries (3 cups or 340g) with ¾ cup sugar and a cup of water in a sauce pan. I allowed the mixture to boil, then I reduced it down to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Just for fun, here are the inspirations for the savory snacks of the night! I am the worst at following directions when I cook, but this is more or less what I did. These recipes are great ideas for vegan or vegetarian appetizers!
101 Cookbook’s Sweet Potato Falafel (Vegan AND one of my FAVOURITE recipes):
My Turkish friend found the spice sumac at a market and bought it for me! (THANK YOU!) I added some of the sumac into the falafels – nomnomnom.
I used sweet potato, totally messed up the recipe ((not because of the sweet potato, but because I didn’t read anything after I saw the pretty pictures)), then ended up adding in an egg, the flour, and the bread crumbs to the mixture… definitely not as successful looking as Joy’s, but they still tasted good!
From Canadian Living (Vegan): lentil mushroom burgers!
Here I used tomato paste instead of salsa (oops, didn’t measure!), and made these guys super small so they would be more of an appetizer than a burger.
… Oh yeah. Then I made cornbread muffins. And cornbread stuffing… in various sizes. Yeah, I thought that cornbread macarons JUST weren’t enough for the evening.
I told you. I have issues.
Baking Soundtrack – Tunes to inspire your inner baker:
I can’t explain to you how this song makes me feel. So, instead of trying, just listen. It’s incredible. He’s a genius.
To be honest, just listen to the entire album. It’s been on repeat, no joke, for the last three days in my apartment. Nonstop. Not one gram of me is sick of it.
Oh. And, p.s., I'm reading this book right now… It is currently the equivalent to the aforementioned album. Incredible.