Oh those little macarons!

macarons

Those pesky little sweet treats are so hard to get perfect.This batch is pretty near perfect, at least for me. They are a plain cookie with a a mango passionfruit curd inside. That weird looking red stuff on the top is freeze dried raspberry. Let’s scratch that up to the live and learn world. Freeze dried raspberry tastes great and grates easily but it scorches if you put it on top of macarons while they bake.

Here’s the truly sad part of this macaron saga of mine: I made a perfect, gorgeous batch with my four year old grandson. We had limited tools and lots of distractions. How did they come out so well? My DDIL’s sheet pan was perfectly flat so that when I banged it; all the air bubbles went out. The worst part? Not one photo was taken and the macarons were all gobbled up within fifteen minutes. But, here are some photos of my trial and error. I’m planning on trying another, different recipe I found in a Great British Bake Off cookbook and I bought a new, nice flat pan.

Chat soon!

vanilla macaron filled with homemade blueberry curd. Yummy.
Homemade blueberry curd. Yummy.

Ge-Ge

Let’s Chat About Learning New Things

In our last post we veered away from the world of beauty and delved in the world of TV baking shows.  More realistically, we delved into my ridiculous obsession with The Great British Baking Show.  

This pushed me to thinking that maybe I’m not such a bad baker after all.  And  while I’m doing all of this baking, I’m not putting on makeup and doing my hair.  So  what am I doing writing about beauty products?

That’s what made me realize I need to expand on what I write. I need to embrace all things Grandmother and write not just about looking better in my golden years but also about other Grandmotherly pursuits like baking, cooking, Grand-babies etc.  Don’t you agree? 

Now lucky you readers this is the FIRST in this newly incorporated Grandmother Style Blog.  That’s what I’m calling it.  It’s similar to Lifestyle blogging but  I’m not  really cool like that ’cause I’m older and slower. 

So if you enjoy learning and learning about new things and reading more reviews then please continue following me and PLEASE leave comments. 

Chat soon,

Ge-Ge

Let’s Chat about Baking BAD Macarons…

Hello!

Welcome to the very first post in in our new Grandmother Style Blog format.

Today we are working on making the ever popular macarons. I’ve made them a lot and had great success but this time I tried using the Italian Meringue method.

As I’m of Grandmother age, I’m not a novice to meringue making but I had no idea there were meringue varieties. Thanks to The Great British Baking Show for using both the Swiss and Italian versions of meringue and making me aware they existed.

What I believe is a great part about what I am about to post is that these are bad macarons.

My attempt at these, using a more difficult recipe is a FAILURE and I’ve got the photos to prove it. However the BEST part is that I learned a lot and I’m not afraid to try again.

I’m including a click button so that you can jump to the blogs where I found the recipes because these are the hard work of others and I don’t claim them.   

Usually I’ve used the French Macaron method, and most recently the recipe here from Indulge With Mimi. I’ve had pretty good luck with that and find inspiring ideas there.

The recipe for Italian meringue is here at  Serious Eats.

The macaron recipe is from Everyday Annie

Both of those recipes work, it was not their fault I failed.Allow me to make a list of the BAD as well as the GOOD about this dainty sweets

1. Do you see the slight browning on the edge of a few there? pale blue macarons with browning on partEither my oven was too hot or I left them in too long. There should be NO BROWNING of the macarons.

2. Lots of negativity going on with this photo. First, bumps on the top. pale blue macarons with bumpy tops and ripped edgesThose are air bubbles and I should have carefully popped those before I put them in the oven. 3. Do you see the darker blue edge on some of those? That is where they touched each other in  baking and they should NOT TOUCH. My batter was too wet so they slid around and into one another.

4. Now for a positive!    Do you see that sort of “ruffle” around the edge of the cookie? Those are what are referred to as “Feet” Even though my batter was too thin and my oven probably too hot I got good feet going on here.  Looking at the pink ones before       they go in the oven they are super flat. And in this case too runny.  Looking through the oven door you can see them rising up on their little ruffly feet. Hurrah!

5. Next and totally my own issue, is the color.  I was making this practice batch for a July 4 party so I wanted Red, and Blue macarons that I planned to fill with some left over cream cheese icing in the fridge.  The rule of thumb with gel food coloring is less is more. Well, for me to get a dark sort of American Flag blue and red, I needed to go with the more is more concept.  But if I was taking these to a baby shower, I think they would be on point.

6. Lastly just look at these uneven messes. A circle template, that I downloaded and printed from a search engine, is really helpful to make them even. In my case, it was of little use since my batter failed. You can use a silicone mat they even sell them with circles but I prefer parchment since I’ve had (usually) success with it.

If you draw your own circles on the parchment, be sure and flip it over because the pencil will imprint into your macarons. (ask me how I know)

There you have it. What NOT to do to bake macarons using the Italian meringue method. But honestly these simple tips apply to any method you use to make these delicate little darlings.

Please be sure to comment below if you’ve had success or failure in you macaron baking.

Chat soon,

Ge-Ge

Let’s Chat About The Great British Baking Show

Let’s Chat About The Great British Baking Show

Okay, I’ve never pretended to like to cook or bake. Also, this little corner of the interwebs is supposed to be about beauty. Hmmmm? Well, food is part of beauty. It’s definitely a part of all of my excess beauty. (What? You don’t know that expression? Well, a wonderful friend of mine used that phrase whenever she gained a few extra pounds. It’s a great expression and I’ve adopted it as my own.

Now where were we? We are watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. (This post is NOT a paid advertisement and I have not received any compensation to discuss this program)

I’m pretty sure I’m late to this party, mostly because I don’t really care to bake or cook. THEN we watch The Great British Baking Show and it’s all I can think about is baking.

Considering that I started baking when I was little (first project swapped salt for sugar) and then married as a child and continued baking, one would think that I loved to make food. NOPE. It’s work. It’s a ridiculous amount of work. Fast forward to working in the big ‘ole corporate world and I was tasked with making cupcakes for an entire floor. Again, more WORK.

Then one day I’m flicking around the channels and there is The Great British Baking Show and I’m hooked! What is it about this show? Suddenly I’m reading recipes in the way I normally read E!News.

From many reviews I’ve read, the show is so popular because everyone is so nice to each other. Ok, that’s fine. My obsession is that it’s kind of like a puzzle. Present me with a puzzle and I’m set for hours.

The Great British Baking Show has an interesting formula that you can discern easily if you watch enough. We see the interesting men; one professional, one blue collar. The ethnic usually a male and a female. The youngster. The housewife. And a scattering of men and women of varying ethnicities and professions. Ok, we get it. There’s a formula. But what is really amazing is that they don’t try and undercut one another. They are collegial. And much more collegial than any group I’ve ever worked with in real life.

Better yet, the recipes that they work on are inspiring. I’ve made Chelsea Buns and have never eaten one in the UK. And, my next project is Mary Berry’s Madeira Cake; which I’ve never tasted or heard of. This show is crazy in how it inspires me to get back into the kitchen.

What about you? Do you like to cook and or bake? Do you watch this show? do you like it? Let me know in the comments. That’s where the real fun chat goes.

Best,

Ge-Ge