December 08, 2010

Chrismukkah treats

Tonight is the eighth and final night of Chanukkah, so I wanted to share a recipe for some delicious and fun treats.  In the spirit of being culturally diverse and all inclusive, I hereby declare the entire month of December the season of Chrismukkah.  

First, gather some friends, selecting those who like to bake.  For this recipe, the three little foodies were together again.  Kitchen Em, RD'lite and myself.

Next, open a bottle of wine. 

Make sure you have the necessary tools and decorations.

A little chocolate gelt goes very well with the wine. 

Choose a recipe.  Make sure its one that will impress all your friends, and fill them with awe and wonder at your culinary talent.  Shortbread cookies and macarons should do the trick.  

Macarons are a meringue based cookie.  So the first step, is separating the eggs.  This egg separator gadget certainly did the trick!   

Let the KitchenAid mixer do its magic and beat the eggs until you get stiff peaks.  Add the sugar for both taste and stability.  From what I remember in my university courses, the sugar acts as glue by holding the micro bubbles intact (wow, my prof would be proud!) 

You may need to check the recipe twice to ensure you have the correct ratios.  (ahem, ahem)

 Gently fold the almond flour into the beaten egg whites. 


Fill a pastry bag (or in this case a ziplock bag), and pipe the macaron batter into small circles, about an inch wide.   

There are many tricks and tips to bake a perfect macaron.  Most experts agree that how you fold the flour into the meringue is crucial.  One extra fold, and its all over.   They also suggest giving the cookie sheet a good bang on the counter to get the bubbles out.  Another controversial discussion on the macaron blogs and websites (yes, they exist and I've read them) is whether to bake them immediately or let them sit before they go in the oven.   The goal of all this advice?  To get the perfect feet on the macaron.  Apparently, this is what we should all strive to achieve.  Being the shoe lover that I am, I had no objections.  

Ours had feet! See them?  The distinct spread at the bottom of the macaron.  

Lastly, fill them with ganache, buttercream or anything else that sounds good.  For this recipe, we used buttercream raspberry icing, and paired them up to make little sandwiches.  

Meanwhile, make some shortbread cookie dough.  Roll out to the desired thickness and select holiday themed cookie cutters to create various shapes.

Bake and let cool so that your frosting and decor won't melt and then slide off.  (I speak from experience on this one).

 Be creative.  There are no rules in cookie art.  

 Happy Chrismukkah everyone!

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