As a result, my family members and certain friends, have pointed out that I need to share more. It's not that I want them for myself (well a little), it's just the logistics of not eating the treats until I can give them to people are close to impossible.
Anyhow, I make special exceptions for birthdays, and since my aunt has been wanting to eat more than the one cookie or tart I bring her on occasion, I thought that would be a wonderful present. I asked her to give me some flavors that she liked, and she told me her favorites were chestnuts, chocolate, cardamom and citrus. As you can tell from the title of my post, I was able to incorporate 75% of them into one small cookie. Pretty impressive if I don't say so myself.
I was planning to grind up chestnuts and use them in lieu of almond flour, but then I realized that they're not in season and I would be hard pressed to find them in the short amount of time I had at my disposal. I adapted, and decided that I would use lemon zest in the shells and make chocolate gananche.
Then I remembered the cardamom that I bought at Sahadi's over spring break, just sitting in the cupboard, asking to be whisked into the pot with the cream, butter and chocolate. So I spooned what amounted to be about 1 tsp of cardamom into the ganache. Click on this link if you want to understand what this tasted like.
For the cookies, I used bravetart's recipe, but I baked the cookies for 20 minutes instead of 18 and added the zest of one lemon to the egg whites and some yellow food gel. Ideally I'd bake the cookies for longer but I didn't plan my day very well. The ganache is very simple. Take 1/2 cup of heavy cream and bring it to a slight boil.
Then turn off the flame and add 4.5 ounces of semi/bittersweet chocolate chips and a bit of butter (2 tsp at most). Stir until its a homogenous mixture and then add the cardamom. It will be very liquidy so you must put it in the fridge for a few hours to harden. When you're macarons have cooled, spoon out just a tsp of ganache onto one side and gently press the shells together. Voila.
The plate that the macarons were on was part of the present and my aunt's face just lit up when she realized that they were all for her (except for the 6 that everyone else in the family ate). Homemade gifts are just the best, and while it was certainly tastier, I don't know if I could ever beat the mobile I made her out of pencils and paper-cranes when I was 8. She seemed to love it nonetheless.
|Aunt Carolyn with her gift|