“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” - Harriet Van Horne
April 7, 2012
Holidays, despite the plethora of merchandise and Hallmark products shoved in your face every time you step out of your home, offer a perfect excuse for baking desserts. I’ll have 12 people over for Easter tomorrow and I must stuff them all with delicious baked goods sure to ruin their swimsuit bodies! While a large pastel layer cake would probably be more fitting for the occasion, cookies offer two benefits: easier rationing & less cleanup. The latter I’m definitely aiming for, dreading the post-dinner pile of dishes.
French macarons instill fear like no other. The first time I tried one was a grand macaron in Paris and it was so damned beautiful that I was scared to eat it and thus destroy its beauty. In a much larger way, though, they’re scary to make. The basis of a good macaron is a good meringue, and I was a meringue virgin when I dipped my toe in the oh-so-intimidating pool of macaron-baking. So, I was really quite nervous to see how these would turn out.
Anyhow, this is a photograph of my third attempt - the first batch to form actual feet! It’s a thrilling experience to see those little cookies not getting uglier and uglier as they bake away. Despite my fear, I did it - I made Parisian macarons that were decent enough to deserve the name. Well, maybe one or two of them.
If you’d like to try them yourself (and I suggest you do - even if they aren’t pretty, they’re still delicious!), follow in the footsteps of someone trusted in the area: David Lebovitz. I still haven’t ventured away from his recipe; even when I don’t want chocolate macarons (the ones above are vanilla filled with chocolate ganache) I just alter his.
I was craving chocolate chip cookies when I made these; alas, I was out of chocolate chips. I did have, however, a load of cocoa powder so I found this very versatile recipe for chewy chocolate cookies! Use your imagination in topping them - I tried out peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, and brown sugar, but my absolute favourite was raspberry jam (make sure they cool before you add it lest it slip off!).
The traditional American apple pie: easy to make, hard to make splendidly. These, however, are made splendid by the mere fact that they’re miniature! Everything’s cuter when it’s smaller, right? Kittens, baby carrots.. so it follows that these must be great. It’s also much more difficult to ruin your crust when it’s a fifth the size. Another benefit is that they’re much easier to ration; you can eat a whole pie without feeling full. ;)
Find the recipe at Novel Eats - oh, and they’re vegan (you can replace butter with a soy substitute)!