I swoon for a good macaron

So yesterday, as I was coming down with a terrible cold, I set out to make quite possibly the MOST difficult thing you could make. A french macaron. Our friends had invited us to dinner, and I wanted to make something with limoncello and blueberries. So I started googling ways to make a macaron, and there are zillions of recipes ranging from rose flavored to earl grey tea but NOTHING for limoncello and blueberry. I should have known this was going to be trouble just from that clue alone. SO I went a little rogue and found a recipe and tweaked it. I have learned a lot, and I promise you that they did not come out perfect, but it was a valiant effort and a good start I think. So here it goes:

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Blueberry-Limoncello Macarons

Ingredients:

Cookies

  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • Blue food coloring

Filling

  • 1 small container of blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons limoncello
  • 1 stick of butter (softened)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar

Cookies:

  1. Combine powdered sugar and almond meal then sift twice. You need a very fluffy powdery mixture. There will be little seed looking things on the bottom of the sifter, discard them.
  2. In a stand mixer or separate bowl whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until they are frothy (about 1.5 minutes)
  3. As you are whipping the eggs, mix the cream of tartar and granulated sugar together. Add the mixture one tablespoon at a time and whip until there are stiff peaks in the meringue. About 2 minutes
  4. Add the lemon zest and 3 drops blue food coloring to the meringue mixture and whip a few times until it is mixed.
  5. Gently fold half of the almond meal/powdered sugar mixture into the meringue with a spatula. When it is blended, add the second half and fold until it is a smooth and creamy mixture.
  6. Put the batter into a piping bag (if you don’t have one, just put it in a ziplock bag and cut a little hole in the bottom corner) and pipe one inch rounds onto a parchment lined baking sheet (do not use a greased baking sheet there MUST be parchment paper)
  7. Preheat the oven to 280 degrees. Rap the pan a few times on the counter to release air bubbles and to even out the topes and then let the raw cookies sit out at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, this will make them tacky and more firm.
  8. Put them in the oven for 13-15 minutes or until the top is hard. Do not let them brown too much.

FIlling:

  1. Whip the stick of butter until smooth and then slowly add the sugar.
  2. Combine limoncello and blueberries in food processor or blender. Blend until smooth
  3. Add the blueberry mixture to the buttercream mixture. Mix until well blended

Use the filling as glue to stick the two cookies together. Then Voila!

I am telling you that this is really not easy to do. My fist AND second batches were FAR from perfect. However, I found an awesome YouTube video with great tips. Because of the temperamental nature of macarons, you should watch this video before you start baking.

Entertaining with Beth: Fool-proof French Macarons

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San Fran Part III – Fisherman’s Warf, North Beach and the Bush Man

Hey Guys!  Have you missed me?  I am really sorry for neglecting you AGAIN! I don’t know what has happened to my life!  I am so tired of being so busy.  However, at least it has been a fun kind of busy.  I want to tell you about the last day of our trip because it was seriously one of my favorites.  So my mom, has 5 siblings, 4 sisters and 1 brother.  I hadn’t been able to spend a lot of time with my Uncle growing up because he lived so far away.  A few years ago, he and his partner adopted a little baby boy and I finally got to meet him at our wedding in October.  He has since become my favorite 7-year-old on the planet!  They live in San Jose so they agreed to come meet my mom and I while we were in San Fran.  So we all met up at the ferry building and shopped around then hopped on the trolley to Fisherman’s warf.

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So we got to Pier 39 where all of the little shops and restaurants are and of course, the first thing we see is a giant magic store.  Julian was so excited so we went in there and the guy at the shop showed him all kinds of magic tricks.  It took us like an hour to get out of there, everything was just so cool! Then we got a quick bite to eat at an italian restaurant that overlooked all of the sea lions fighting for space next to the pier.  Then we walked around and watched the street performers and tried making our way to the huge pirate ship at the end of the walk.

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While we were walking, we learned that Julian took a school trip to Alcatraz not long ago and he was absolutely scarred for life!  He kept asking in a very nervous little voice “we aren’t getting on the pirate ship right?”  “we aren’t going to Alcatraz, right?” .  As if the threat of a possible trip to Alcatraz wasn’t enough we were all completely attacked by the famous Bush Man.  He is basically a guy that holds a giant bush in front of him as he crouches down on the boardwalk.  Then out of nowhere he completely terrifies everyone in his path by jumping out at you with his green painted face and giant mass of foliage. Needless to say, we were all completely freaked out and decided that we needed a cocktail.  So we walked up the street to the Buena Vista Cafe where the original Irish Coffee was finally perfected in the United States.  It was DELICIOUS!

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After we calmed our nerves a little, we walked over to the Winery Collective which is inside of the Argonaut Hotel.  We were so happy to see that they even had a “kid’s tasting” option where they poured grape juice from each of the grapes that wine was made of, from Pinot Noir grape juice, to Chardonnay grape juice.  Julian LOVED it!  It was so cute to be able to include him in that, he is now a little sommelier.

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After that we said our good-byes, they had to head back home, so my mom and I decided to walk all the way down Columbus to North Beach.  It is their little Italy area.  They must have known that we were going to be looking for little Italy after already drinking wine, so they kindly marked the light posts on the correct street with Italian Flags so we wouldn’t get lost!

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We finally made it to E Tutto Qua.  Let me tell you, this place is legit!  All of the wait staff was straight off the boat.  Our server had just moved here from Rome a few months ago and this was his uncle’s restaurant.  The food was amazing, the service was great, they played old black and white italian movies, and the neighborhood is very colorful.  Perfect way to end our trip!  So we had some more wine and headed back to the hotel to pack our bags and prepare ourselves for reality.  I miss San Fran already!

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