Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chocolate Gingerbread Macarons

Les Petites Faiblesses (those pesky little human weaknesses)

Mieux vaut déceler une faiblesse que se laisser soupçonner d'un vice. *
- Denis Diderot, Jacques le fataliste et son maître, 1765 - 1784


It has been one of those weeks. Husband has his Man Cold. Okay, I like to tease, but he has whatever is going around and it ain’t pretty. Son battled his oncoming sore throat valiantly and scurries off to school, jacket and sweatshirt open, neck bared to the winter wind. Sigh. My mother’s heart does that funny little pitter pat of guilt-ridden worry but teeth firmly bite tongue as I watch him slip out of the apartment. Marty marches on courageously and stout-heartedly as only little pups can do, with nary a complaint (minus the soulful eyes). His health wavers, we have our doubts, but each time he curls up in our lap, warm and soft, and each time he looks up to make sure it is indeed maman or papa on whose lap he is cuddled just to reassure himself before settling back into sleep, well it goes without saying that we put off that impossible decision one more day. As for me, a little upset tummy that I stoutly claim was due to boxed mushroom soup while husband places the blame squarely on three days spent at Le Salon du Chocolat eating nothing but, well, chocolate.
Once again, son approaches me and introduces the subject abruptly, as is his way, as if I have been following his train of thought all along. He asks while demanding, demands while asking, making that lilting statement of Well, if you want to bake cupcakes or something again, my friends will eat them. Friday night I’ll be at Martin’s for dinner. He states it casually, almost off-handedly, with that familiar, barely perceptible shrug of his lanky shoulders. It somehow comes out that they have requested something homemade, or maybe he has made it known that I am free to offer up dessert whenever they desire. A chocolate layer cake for his friend’s birthday party, cupcakes for a dinner and muffins for their workgroup at school of an afternoon, and a new generation, a new gang of friends has come to know – and apparently crave – my baked goods.


Let sleeping dogs lie.

My son finds an important purpose in life.

Well, okay, no problem, I declare, heaving that motherly sigh of sacrifice while secretly thrilling that my baby boy, usually so embarrassed by my being so, well, I don’t know…American? Outrageous? A nudnik? Embarrassing? has actually offered my treats to his friends, once again, and is answering their young call of the wild for snacks from my kitchen.

But there the problem lies. What to make? Now, my son, my Simple Simon, would be quite happy if I made the same three things over and over again and into eternity. I highly doubt that he even partakes of what he brings to his friends. But where is the excitement or challenge in that for Old Mom? Or for his friends? And so I ask him to ask them what they would like. And he does. And comes back with the most astonishing of requests: macarons. Do they even know that I make these delicate, fussy little concoctions? Has he bragged? Happily I happen to have two jars of fresh egg whites floating around the back of my refrigerator and let the games begin!


I turned back to one of my favorite flavor combinations, my favorite macarons, les Macarons Pains d’Épice, the Gingerbread macarons. I adjusted the flavoring by omitting the extra ground cinnamon and doubling the cocoa for a more pronounced chocolate sensation highlighted by the gingerbread spice blend. I filled the macarons with a simple chocolate ganache. So when he dashed into the house precisely at 7, dropped his backpack on the floor and demanded I pack up the macs in foil vite vite!, grabbed the foil package and dashed back out the door, his thank you a breathless wisp caught in the breeze of the swinging door, hidden among his embarrassment to acknowledge my good deed… well, I had to smile. I know how hard showing his appreciation is for him. It is enough that he wanted me to bake for his friends.


* Better to reveal a weakness than be suspected of a vice.

CHOCOLATE GINGERBREAD MACARONS
With Chocolate Ganache

7 oz (200 g) powdered/icing/confectioner’s sugar
4 oz (112 oz) finely ground almonds
3 large eggs whites (about 3.5 oz / 100 g)
1.2 oz (35 g) granulated white sugar
1 tsp ground pain d’épice or gingerbread spices
2 tsps unsweetened cocoa powder

FOR THE FULL RECIPE DIRECTIONS, PLEASE JUMP HERE AFTER READING THE FOLLOWING NOTES.

Sift the powdered/confectioner’s sugar and the ground almonds into a large mixing bowl.

Blend the cocoa powder and spice together with the sifted powdered/icing sugar and ground almonds and whisk to blend. Whip the granulated sugar in with the aged egg whites and carry on from there! I baked these at 145°C in my never-ending quest for the perfect oven temperature for my own oven. And in my new oven it took much longer than the average 20 minutes. Watch closely, check often and see what is best for your own oven.

Chocolate Ganache:
½ cup (125 ml) heavy cream
3.8 – 4 oz (110 - 115 g) dark chocolate

Coarsely chop the chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl. Heat the heavy cream just to the boil and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth and creamy. Allow to cool until desired piping consistency.

40 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your macarons are perfect both flavor- and look-wise! As a matter of fact, I don't think I have ever seen anything as pretty until now...

Cheers,

Rosa

Elizabeth said...

They're so perfect! I'm sure your recipe works and all; we have a copper bowl and excellent French whisk, but I don't think we have a pastry bag - or it's buried in a drawer somewhere. So, (I feel sure you're following my train of thought) if I send you the tin, will you fill it with these perfect macarons and send it back post haste? Pretty please, with sugar on top? :-)

Jamie said...

@Rosa's Yummy Yums: That coming from you, Rosa, makes me blush with pride!

@Elizabeth: ha ha ha you even asked more nicely than my son did :-)

Robin O said...

The gifted mother, writer and baker is the result of astute observation. The nuances of a smile, a shrug equates to a hearty thank you hug if you know how to look for it. The subtle changes to a recipe, again nuanced to meet the sensibilities of the receivers based on the observation of taste preferences and instinct. The listening ear to the soft breathing of dear Marty. You are one gifted Mama Jamie!

jehanne@thecookingdoctor said...

I 'm embarass to admit that macs are no longer in my fav list- baked them too often for the troublesome two ( hubs and daughter), and how temperamental they are at times! Tgis gingerbread flavour somehow, piqued my fancy, they are just so perfect! btw, what happen to McTweets, are u not planning to revive it?

Return to Sunday Supper℠ said...

I really think that this is what a blog post is supposed to be...honest writing, great recipe and photography! Love!

Return to Sunday Supper℠ said...

This is what a blog post is supposed to be...great writing, recipe and photography...love!

Jamie said...

@jehanne: It has been ages since I made macs and I was afraid I had forgotten how or somehow lost the touch. Only my one son likes them actually - husband and second son do not. Which is why I took the chance of my son's friends wanting them to make them. Unfortunately, I'm not sure about MacTweets since Deeba and I just no longer had the time to organize it. We will have to rethink it!

Jamie said...

@Robin and @Return to Sunday Supper - Thank you so much. I cannot tell you how important and touching your words are. Compliments such as yours, whether deserved or not, keep me going. Thank you.

Lisa said...

I think it was the all he chocolate that caused the tummy upset because it's happened to th numerous times I sneak in or take part in a chocolate gorge (milk and white, mostly). You ARE the cozy, comforting Mommy when those around you are feeling poorly. The best kind of Mommy, in my opinion. As for macarons - I burnt out on making them and was glad to see them fade away a bit. However, your beautiful gingerbread chocolate macs make me want to make them again. I curse you! (in a nice, loving way).

sunday said...

i can never get enough of macarons!

Jeanne said...

Love the "sleeping dogs" pic :) Sorry to hear everyone's been ill, but good to see your baking prowess remains unaffected :) *Love* the flavours in these perfect macarons...

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Mmmm these look marvellous and I've not made macarons for MONTHS.

My husband would be happy if I made the same 3 things all the time. Thankfully Ted is more appreciative of more adventurous stuff!

Kate@Diethood said...

Those are the perfect macarons! The perfect feet, the perfect size ... how do you do that?!? I need to keep practicing.

LOL @ the man cold. Oh do I know what you mean... Lord, do I know! :-D

Kitchen Riffs said...

Nice photos and wonderful looking macarons. And really excellent writing - a thoroughly enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing your macarons - and life - with us.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Jamie I'm travelling at the moment and I just had to show the person that I'm sitting next to your gorgeous pictures and macarons!! :D

Carolyn Jung said...

I always think chocolate cures a multitude of problems. So, here's hoping your family is better -- what with these gorgeous macarons to cure them.

Junglefrog said...

Ah yes I've been plagued by this cold now over two weeks as well. It's annoying but well, life goes on right? And work too by the way...
With a mum like you I'm pretty sure I would have asked you to make something for my friends too...! Haha and those macarons sure are my favorite flavor too. As it happens I had a photo shoot yesterday with macarons and it had this same flavor in the mix!!! Not made by you but still pretty good..

Ivy said...

Love the combination of chocolate and ginger. Your macarons look perfect.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

What I wouldn't have given for a mother who baked anything at all, let alone macarons. Sigh. Your son knows exactly how lucky he is, and it seems his friends (and their parents) know, too. I have never had the courage to attempt macarons, and I fear that, were I to succeed at making them, I'd be even better at eating them.

Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen said...

Your macarons look absolutely perfect!

Sandy @Southwestgirl said...

Your cookies are perfect. And, your boy and his dog are priceless! I love little moments captured forever.

Jill @ MadAboutMacarons said...

Love your post, Jamie - and not just because it's you making macarons but that Simon Says to make them! Cool. My teenager daughter is into this funny speak at school like, like Random but your macarons are 'epic', 'LOL'. Finding it hard to adjust. Your macarons are perfection on a plate and no wonder you're getting orders to make them!

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

Your macarons are perfection. I have such a weakness for macarons, if only one could subsist on them alone!

Kate | Food Babbles said...

I haven't made macarons in SO long! These are lovely. I imagine the flavors are just divine. I really need to make a batch!

tasteofbeirut said...

I keep telling myself it is high time I try my hand at making macarons! yours are giving me the impetus I need!

nancy baggett said...

How could anyone not love macarons--and those look so lovely.

Hope you recover from the chocolate eating, or boxed dish, or whatever.

See you soon!!!

Liz Berg said...

Oh, your macarons are spectacular, Jamie! No wonder you are getting backdoor requests from your son's friends :) And it's so good to see a photo of sweet Marty. Happy weekend, my friend!

Paula @ Vintage Kitchen said...

I wonder if those macarons got to their destination in one piece, or maybe a few were missing...! The flavors are perfect, since I find them to be too sweet for me. They are gorgeous Jamie, and you might get more requests in the future I´m guessing.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

What gorgeous macarons and lovely photos. Your son would have been proud to share those with his pals.

However... nudnik?? When's the last time I heard that? I laughed.

Jamie said...

@Liz: Thanks, Marty is hanging on. By a thread but hanging on. I had to include his picture.

@Paula - two things - this particular son will never eat a macaron. Ever. The other would have eaten the entire box. And I don't like overly-sweet macs so mine never are. I always love adding at least a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder which seems to tame the sweetness.

@Maureen - ha ha sometimes those old yiddish words are the only ones that perfectly describe what one wants to say, am I right?

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com said...

Labor of perfection! I hope to muster some courage in making macarons one day :)

Denise said...

Stunning photos! Love the idea of this flavor combination - have never tried. It has been so long since I made macarons, now I have an itching to do so!!

Lora said...

Beautiful macs as always. I love when someone asks me to make them.

Deeba PAB said...

So nostalgic chica. Love love love these babies and wish I could get back into mac mode too. Hope Mr man is feeling bettah! Nothing these macs can't fix...beautiful!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Soeren (at his age now) is always quite proud in front of his friends when I bake for them. As a matter of fact lately he has taken to baking himself. For our Weimar workshop we had to bake many macarons and he was so thrilled to help (and taste) each flavor combination.

wendy@chezchloe said...

Hope everyone is back on track and that you are able, I hope, to be excited about your upcoming trip.
I'm immersed in retail world and won't make it this time to SF.
Have a fantastic trip.

...these macarons look perfectly perfect and perfectly delicious. x wendy

Medeja said...

These macarons look so perfect! Both looks and taste!

Renee Goerger said...

Nice to see little Marty make an appearance in this post. Please give him a kiss on the temple from me. I think of him often!
Your chocolate gingerbread macarons are a thing of complete beauty.

Jenni said...

I love-love-LOVE that photo of Marty. Very Arty. <3 And lovely macs. I hope Simon realized that there are many folks who quake in their boots at the thought of even attempting them. :)

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...