Thursday, March 26, 2009

Life and Another Blog's Giveaway!

Ok, well, going back to work put a damper on my blogging and baking and doing art! :( Hopefully, I can get some things done, soon!

Oh, my husband and I have finished off the beautiful macarons! I'm so ready to make some more. Hubby is off on Saturday, so we are going to an art museum to see the King Tut display. However, next weekend, I plan on making the beautiful yummy things- this time in Strawberry/Coconut (hubby's request), mint/chocolate, and one other flavor, maybe! I'll keep you posted!

Ok, finally, I was on Twisted Figures to see her newest work. She had a post to this giveaway going on Cameron's Blog. If you haven't seen Cameron's blog, she seems to be a very talented Mixed Media artist. I just found her blog, so I will be spending some time on it! Hope you will find it as awesome as I do!

See you soon!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Macaron Day!!!

Happy Macaron Day! In Paris, if you go to Pierre Herme's bakery, you can get 4 macarons for free if you make a small donation. It is a way to raise money to help cure diseases, I think. (My French isn't that great anymore!) Anyway, I decided since I can't go to Paris and get free macarons, I would celebrate by making my own!

Inspired by many blogs, I decided to give it a try- especially after I got my new mixer. I've been pouring over recipes and tips all week. I found Emily's (The Black Apple) tips very helpful. You can find them here. (Thanks, Emily.) She also posts links to several recipes! I'm attempting cherry vanilla macs today. This morning, I made the batter and they are currently sitting out to form a skin. They will go in the oven shortly, and we will see what happens!

I had some trouble with the macs so far. First of all, my almonds weren't dry enough when I tried to grind them up. No big deal- I put the almonds in then oven at a low temp for a little while. That helped- they were still wet, though. I sifted the ground almonds with the icing sugar and then I proceeded to making the meringue.
I was so proud! My meringue turned out nice with very stiff peaks. Then I folded in the dry ingredients and tried to pipe my macs with a ziploc bag since I don't have a piping bag. Oh, that was messy!!! My macs look much like amebias instead of nice round macs. I can handle amebias.
They have sat out to form their skin. Now, I'm going to put them in the oven. I'll add to this post later after they have baked. I've decided, if they form little feet like they are supposed to, I will continue to make the ganache filling. If not, we will just eat them as cookies, and I'll have to try again- soon!

These are fun, but they are finicky! I'll keep you posted!

ETA: Update #2
Ok, Macs are cooked and out of the oven. They are all amebias, but most of them sprouted feet and most of them didn't crack (a sign that I did beat it right!) They aren't perfect, but not bad for a first try.

See the feet? I was jumping around the kitchen when I saw those. They are very small, but they are there!
Batch one. Not too bad. Many with feet. Only a few small cracks. I baked these with a wooden spoon propping the oven door open.
Batch number 2. Do you see the one perfect mac???? I do! This batch I baked with the oven door closed- less feet and more cracks. Ok, lesson learned!

These are the macs once cooled and waiting for the ganache filling. I'm currently waiting for the ganache to get a little harder, so I can put it in the cookies. I think I might run an errand and come back to see how the ganache is doing! I'll be back soon with finished macs!

E(on Saturday)TA: I did get them done. I made the ganache with cream and white chocolate and a bit of vanilla. It was very soupy. I even put it in the fridge for a while to set. I was impatient, so I put it in a small bag and tried to pipe it onto my macs. It was messy, but they got done!
I decided to freeze them, so the ganache would harden. That helped some. Here are some pictures of the final results!

Than you all for going with me in the quest for macarons. They taste marvelous even if they look weird. My husband is so excited, he is ready for me to make more. He didn't even like the ones at the bakery- go figure, huh? He says mine taste much better! They were fun, and I plan on trying again very soon!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

KitchenAid Mixer!!!

Ok, I can no longer contain myself! I got a KitchenAid Mixer this weekend. My husband found it on Craig'slist! It is a 5 quart professional mixer, and it is RED!!!! I'm so excited! It is bigger than I wanted, but who cares, the price was right! I've used it once, and I plan to do some more baking tomorrow and Friday (Macaron day! There will be a post!!).

Unfortunately, I have misplaced the card adaptor for my camera's memory card, and I can't get my pictures downloaded! *sniff* *sniff*. I have a card reader at school that will read that card, but I'm on Spring Break right now. As soon as I can, I'll post the pictures my husband took when we first got it home and the pictures I took of its first use!!!

It is a beautiful mixer, and it works like a dream! Baking will be so much more enjoyable with the perfect tool! (Not that I didn't enjoy baking before, but having the right tool makes all the difference in the world!!)

If you don't understand my utter excitement, let me explain. Ever since I registered for my wedding 3 years ago (maybe even before that!), I've wanted a KitchenAid mixer. When I registered, I registered for a black Artisan mixer. Well, needless to say, I didn't receive it, and I decided that our wedding money was better spent on other everyday items. I had a small hand mixer which was fine. It go me through some baking expeditions. However, this past December, it died while I was making my husband's birthday cake. Then, for about a month, I've wanted a mixer and have been looking. I've had this urge to bake and was unable to do so without a mixer. Then, I discovered some recipes for homemade marshmellows and macarons! They both required a whisk attachment. Yes, other mixers had that, but why settle for something else when I've always wanted a KitchenAid.

At that point, my husband and I kept our eyes out for a good deal. There was no way I could pay full price for a KitchenAid mixer- it just wasn't going to happen. Well, about a week and a half ago, my husband sold one of his trucks which gave us a little money. (My husband gave me $500 to start my Etsy shop which I plan to do this summer!! Whoo-hoo!!) Anyway, just Saturday, he saw a red, professional mixer on Craig'slist. Well, I was out all day Saturday, and by the time he told me about it, I thought it was gone for sure. I emailed the seller, and then waited. There was no news. Sunday, there was no news. We went to church and then to lunch. I happened to check my phone after lunch to see a strange number had called and left a message. Sure enough, it was the owner of the mixer! She still had it! We went straight over there and bought it for $100!!! I was so excited!!!!

I am so excited! As soon as I get my pictures off my camera, I will show you the beauty!!

Ok, a brief bit about Friday. Friday, March 20 is Macaron Day in Paris. Granted, I'm not in Paris, but I'm going to celebrate Macaron day by trying to make my own macarons. I've become obsessed with them- I'll explain more on Friday. Just keep your fingers crossed mine come out ok! I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Two New Cards

I've been doing all kind of artsy things lately. Here are my two latest cards. One was for my Pator's birthday (he is an awesome man, and going to a small church, we know him pretty well). The other is for my husband- our anniversary is tomorrow! 3 Years, baby! (and I haven't killed him yet!!!)

I just wanted to share.

Also, I'm working on all I need to do to open an Etsy shop! I hope it succeeds!!! I'll keep you posted on that!