Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Peppermint Macarons

Macarons are a finicky little treat.  One of the top questions on Google on macarons is why they are so expensive.  Anyone who has attempted or made these delicate meringue treats knows the answer to that question.  One wrong move and and you have a big pile of goop.

I might have had a few five fails before I was able to bring this together.  I actually checked out books from the library on macrons and I have to say, those books, which shall remain nameless here, make it way more difficult than necessary.

Last week I happened to have a couple of leftover egg whites that I let sit on the counter overnight.  I completely forgot about them and came down the next morning to find them looking sad and taunting me to give the macrons another try, after swearing them off after my last fail.  I looked up a recipe on pinterest that did not require weighing and was very simple.  Guess what?  They actually worked.  The recipe is here.

I used a basic buttercream filling, threw in some peppermint oil and rolled the sides in crushed candy canes.  The end result was delicious, although I do need to work on smoothing out the tops of the macaron shell.  Taking pictures of my work keeps me honest and those little bumps in the picture above are bothering me as I write.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Spiced Biscotti

There I was last night, swearing I would not turn on the TV.  I told myself, "Don't do this to yourself.  You can't take the heartbreak."

I cleaned half the house, did some laundry, worked on this blog...and then I couldn't take it any longer.  I had to see what was up in Alabama.  I turned on MSNBC and saw Roy Moore leading.  "Son of a B----!!!!!!  Mother of God, WHY, WHY?????"  My son came down the stairs to ask if I was ok.  "Yes, love...just mourning the end of decency, that's all."  

I flipped on Netflix to the only show that could calm my nerves, The Great British Baking Show.  I watched a group of people being helpful to one another and competing for none other than the honor of doing well.  I watched two episodes and it calmed me.  At this point, my significant other, let's just call him, Manny, because he looks like Manny Pacquiao , was home and checking his phone while I ever so dramatically mourned the end of our Republic.  

All of a sudden he said, "Doug Jones won!"  I thought he was kidding.  I checked my own phone and saw the news outlets calling the race for Jones.  Christmas came early.

Thank you to the good people of Alabama for sending an honorable person to represent them in the Senate.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Homemade Pop Tarts

Store bought pop tarts remind me of a guy in college I used to see in the library all the time.  This guy was so good looking that I assumed that he would have an amazing personality to match his gorgeous looks to fit the fantasy I had built up in my head about our marriage, the gorgeous babies we would have and the perfect life we would lead together.  

Months went by and he would smile at me and I would smile at him.  The fantasy continued to build in my mind to a point where no one could likely measure up to the very high expectations I had built up.  I mean, how many guys look like Ryan Reynolds and actually have a sense of humor, like he seems to least on Twitter?  Never.  It never, ever happens.  Plus, clearly I am not Blake Lively.

So anyway, there I was one day at the library and it happened.  The object of my fantasy came over, just like that, and sat next to me.  It was just like the movies, where the guy you admire from afar forever comes over, sweeps you off your feet and you live happily ever after.  Except, that is not what happened.  He opened his mouth, started talking and after about two minutes, I realized we had nothing in common.  So very unfortunate.

We never spoke again.  Perhaps he also thought my personality was that of a wet rag.  Who knows?  Looks can be deceiving and so is the case with Pop Tarts from the store.  They look so delicious and enticing.  Then, you bite into them and you start wondering if you just took a bite of cardboard, with some sugar on top.  So, do what you want but again, life is short to be spent eating cardboard.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

White Chocolate Oatmeal Cherry Cookies - Crazy Monday

Monday mornings are never easy but it seemed like a cloud was hanging over this house yesterday.

One of the dogs had an accident, then my son fell halfway down the stairs before school and it sounded a little like this.  I ended up having to drive him to school and on the way back my allergies decided to take a hit out on me and I ended up looking like Rocky after taking on Apollo Creed...the first time.

To top it off, I rushed into my house racing for the computer for a call I had scheduled and tripped over a pair of shoes and went flying into a chair in the dining room, doing further damage to my already blown out eyes.  After binge watching The Crown, I realize everyone has their problems but I did feel a little more jinxed than normal for a Monday. 

Oh well.  At least I have cookies.  Life is good.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Cocktail - The Pink Lady

Here we are again at the end of a long week of learning just how many ways a man can make a woman feel small and powerless.  The Commander and Chief Groper of them all is still in power while heads continue to role everywhere but that office.  Just to add insult to injury, we actually have him on tape bragging about his grabbing, kissing, groping exploits.  We have a ton of women (here's the list) claiming that they were victims of his assault.  Yet, he stays...and stays...and stays.

Here, have a cocktail.  A bright, pink, creamy cocktail to celebrate being a woman.  Cheers and have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Viennese Whirls - U.S. version

I am a Great British Baking Show fanatic and I am finally getting around to watching season 4.

There was a technical challenge in the second show for Viennese Whirls.  Two delicate, buttery shortbread like cookies with buttercream and jam in the middle.  Since this was the rare technical challenge that did not require elaborate ingredients or construction techniques, I thought I would make a go of it, as they say.

When I went to look up the recipe, I could not find any with American oven temperatures or measuring techniques.  There was one on the PBS website but even that one said that it had not been tested.  Converting measurements is about as much fun to me as watching paint dry but I really wanted to try this bake.

I found out that grams do not translate perfectly into our cups and spoons.  So, my conversions are below but I would highly recommend measuring the ingredients with a scale.  It's also a lot easier just to dump the ingredients into a bowl until you hit the number you need rather than juggling multiple measuring cups.

Also, if you make this, do not do what I did and put the dough in the fridge overnight before piping.  HUGE mistake.  The dough must be mixed well and extremely soft in order to fit through the piping back tip.  Once you pipe, then the whirls should go into the fridge to harden a bit before going into the oven in order to hold that whirl shape.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Peanut Blossom Cookies

There are times when I am doing well with daily meditation and finding inner peace.  In a world gone mad, focusing on my breath calms me more than anything else I have ever tried.

That is, until the streets of Oak Park became a scene out of Mad Max in the early morning hours as I drove home from my morning ass-kicking, better know as Pilates.  As I was savoring the worn out but feeling stronger aura that ones gets from Pilates, some jerk swerved out from behind me, almost hit me and then swerved in front of me.  Inner peace flew out the window and I laid on my horn.  So, I am annoyed that the peace and inner calm vibe I had going was shattered and that I allowed a crazy driver to disrupt my zen state.  Should have reacted like this guy.