So, this whole thing with the bartering. Have I even mentioned it here, or just on Twitter? Well, I like to repeat myself, so you’re getting the scoop yet again.
I am bartering this year. For stuff. Christmas presents and such, you know. So I started shouting on Twitter – who wants to trade? And I got lots of responses! It seems that it isn’t just ME trying to be a little frugal this year. Now, I don’t want to say WHO I traded with or what FOR exactly, because hello? The stuff is for gifts. Giiifts. (Okay, maybe a few things are for me, but I, too, will be experiencing the Holidays. So, Yay me.) But, I’m talking toys. Apparel. Ornaments. Food. More food. Good stuff. And what did I have to do in return?
Bake my fool ass off, that’s what.
I bartered out gingerbread cookies and so many macarons that if I don’t see another cookie until 2010, that’s fine by me.
This go ‘round, I made two different flavor combos. The first was Hot Cocoa, the second was Candy Cane. i thought they fit the Holidays. Yummy, too. But here’s the deal…they didn’t turn out quite as perfect as I would have liked. Yes, still cute as a button and taste great, but I like mine to be perfectly flat. These all had the little “kiss” on top – small, but still there. The reason? I doubled the recipe. I just don’t think that’s a good idea – the batter doesn’t seem to get wet enough. I’ve done this once or twice before and gotten the same “kissy top” result…therefore – do as I say, not as I do. Don’t double the recipe. Just make 2 separate batches if you want umpteen dozen of these suckers. They do make nice gifts, especially if you package them up nicely.
Now…recipe time. The Hot Cocoa Macs are simply chocolate shells (which I posted ages ago) filled with Marshmallow Fluff. I mean, really – what goes better with hot cocoa than marshmallow? No brainer there. But here is a recipe for the Candy Cane Macs. Sorry for the blah picture qualities – it was rainy all day and by the time I could take a picture? Night was falling. Oh well – you get the drift.
- 2 ounces almonds
- 1 cup Confectioners Sugar
- 2 Egg Whites, Room Temperature
- 5 Tbsp. Superfine Sugar
- 1/4 tsp. Peppermint Extract
- 3-4 drops red food coloring
- 1 Tbsp. Meringue Powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/4 to 1/2-inch) ready. Grind together the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, add in the granulated sugar a little at a time, until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes. If you can turn the bowl upside down and the meringue stays put, you’ve got it. Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. Before dumping in the second half of the dry ingredients, add the meringue powder, peppermint, and food coloring. Stir quickly and gently, then add remaining dry ingredients. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone). Pipe the batter on the prepared baking sheets in 1-inch circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch or more (3 cm) apart. Rap the baking sheet a few times on the counter to flatten the macarons. Place an empty baking sheet on the lower oven rack, then place the macarons in the upper third of the oven. Bake them for 10-13 minutes. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet. Macarons that are not being baked (waiting their turn on the counter) are fine, and can be left out unbaked for a half hour or more.
For filling, make an simple white chocolate ganache (1/2 cup heavy cream, brought to a simmer, then poured over 1/2 cup white chocolate chips. Stir after 30 seconds) and add crushed candy canes to it. Fill and enjoy!
Just in case you haven’t yet entered to win the fancy 90th Anniversary Edition KitchenAid from my last post – go do it now! And, even if you did enter already – here’s another chance to win…see the Networked Blogs link on my right hand side bar? Join me, then comment on the Giveaway post. This is SEPARATE than “friending” me on FB, it’s a whole other entry! Now, go join, go comment!