Monday, December 31, 2012

Reminiscing 2012 & Vanilla Macarons

Well I don't know if you have heard, but we survived the end of the world and a new year is coming in less than 2 hours...And WOAH! Let me tell you, this year has certainly been a mixture of emotions. But summed up, I have realized how incredibly dang blessed I am. I have lost friends, I have gained many. I have lost many pounds, I have gained a few pounds. But everything is pretty balanced in where I am with life right at this moment. I am content, yet anxious for what 2013 will hold--there are many things I want to accomplish this coming year and feel that I have the capability to do so. God has given me undying love and strength this year, that has in return made me an incredibly strong woman living through Christ himself. I am blessed, very blessed. Thank you to my readers of my blog, (even if there aren't that many) hopefully someday it will make something of itself and can inspire people. I hope you have a blessed New Year and here, I will leave you with a few answered questions that are passed around my family at the dinner table tonight:

What was your favorite song of 2012? Well my favorite song of this year actually came out in 2011, but I discovered it in 2012. It is incredible. 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman & of course I love We Are Young by Fun.

What was your favorite movie released 2012? This is a tough questions, so I'll just say whatever is off the top of my head that I really enjoyed this year: Pitch Perfect, The Lorax, The Hobbit, & Brave (I am missing so many more!)

Favorite meal you have eaten in 2012? My most favorite meal I have probably ever eaten was at Fig and Olive in NYC on 5th avenue. We ate lunch here and it was crowded with local moms lunching together while the nannies were at the opposite side of the room with the babies. I ordered the Fig & Olive salad that was DIVINE. I seriously have never eaten a salad this good and I am a salad connoisseur! It consisted of fig, apple, manchego, gorgonzola dolce tomato, walnut, olive, romaine, mesculin scallion, fig balsamic--Arbequina olive oil. Delicious!

Best sweet treat you have eaten in 2012? This, once again was in my beloved city of NYC. It was a Pistachio Macaron at this French bakery between 3rd & Bleecker St, right next to the NYU bookstore called Mille-Feuille Bakery. It was a tiny little bakery/cafe that was super chic and cozy and you could actually watch them make macarons!

After my mouth watered for 30 minutes after writing this post and thinking about that dang macaron, I decided to whip some up myself. So I made vanilla macarons tonight after attempting it two times. So I must leave you with vanilla macaron recipe:

This makes 14 normal sized macarons.

Ingredients for cookies:

3/4 cup sliced and blanched almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup extra fine sugar (just regular Imperial granulated sugar is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for filling:

4 tbsp unsalted butter (softened<---this is very important)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions for cookies: Place the almond slices and powdered sugar in a food processor and process for about 1 minute, until every thing is nice and grounded. Sift the mixture into a bowl to make sure it is super fine texture. After doing this, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

Place the egg whites in a bowl and mix with electric mixer until it is holding soft, white peaks. Slowly incorporate the extra fine sugar to make a firm and glossy meringue and then whip in the vanilla extract.

Using a spatula, fold the almond and powdered sugar mixture into the meringue one-third at a time. DO NOT MIX WITH MIXER. Once the dry ingredients are incorporated, continue to cut and fold the mixture until if forms a shiny thick batter.

Pour this thick batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1 cm plain tip. Pipe 32 small-ish circles onto the baking sheets. Make sure you don't have many air bubbles. Let stand at room temp. for about 30 minutes until dry and shiny. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes and then cool for 10. After that carefully peel the macaron cookies off of the parchment paper and let them cool completely.

To make the filling beat the very soft butter and vanilla in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Use to sandwich pairs of macarons together.

Bon Appetit!

Everyone have a safe and happy new year! 
Eat your cabbage and black-eyed peas!

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