Rose Cupcakes and Macarons

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It is unusually warm for this time of the year in this neck of the woods and the smell of spring is definitely in the air. It is only early March and I see my lilac tree already budding out. Not that I am complaining though, but it just seems to good to be true. I anxiously anticipate that 50 cm snowfall any day now.

And what perfect timing that this month's macaron challenge from Mactweets is Spring Fling : Baking Your Favorite Springtime Flowers. The first flower that came to my mind were roses. Well, it's not really what you'll consider a spring time flower, but it is my favorite, so rose it is.

I wasn't so lucky the second time around with making macarons. After my successful first attempt I thought 'hey, this is going to be a breeze'. But I missed to do one important step - sifting the almond/icing sugar mixture before folding it into the eggwhites. This resulted in lumps of "almond balls" in my eggwhites. I had over beaten the mixture trying to smooth it out and the result were shrunken and wrinkled macaron domes. It was still good but not very pretty to look at.

I had no more aged eggwhites and I have read somewhere that with the Italian Meringue method you can use fresh eggwhites. I used Tartelette's recipe and got beautiful macarons. Although she mentioned that you can bake the macarons right away without leaving it out for a minutes to dry the top, it didn't really worked out for me. Half the domes where cracked when I experimented with it. It came out wonderful though when I left it to dry for about 30 minutes before baking it.

The filling was made with white chocolate ganache infused with rosewater. I absolutely love the resulting combination. The smoothness of the ganache blended very well with the sensuous flavor of the rosewater. It paired perfectly with the nutty macaron shells.

And since I was in a rosy mood, I made cupcakes decorated with, you guessed it - roses.

I used marshmallow fondant to make the roses.

sugar roses how to

I also used it to cover the cupcakes. The impressions on the fondant were made using stamps. I really liked the way they turned out.

fondant covered cupcakes

I brought the rose cupcakes and macarons over to supper with my in-laws. When served with the macarons, my hubby's brother asked "And what is this?". I replied "Macarons!" while he bit into one. There was a puzzled look on his face while eating and finally he said "I sure don't taste the coconut...". "Well, they're macarons francais" quoting the francais with my fingers. Still the puzzled look on his face.

How wrong of me to just assumed that this well travelled French Canadian brother-in-law of mine would know this French "cookie" (!) from one of his escapades in Europe. He said he certainly didn't notice it when he was in France. I guess you never notice things that does not interest you. He loves wine and that he had noticed plenty when he was there.

I've never been to France, and I thought to myself, it would certainly be a different trip when I go there. Aside from going up the Eiffel Tower, one of the first things that I would do is taste the macarons francais. Yes, I do enjoy simple pleasures in life - roses, cupcakes and macarons... but then again would you consider macarons simple?

rose cupcakes, macarons

Macarons (Italian Meringue Method)

150 gr ground almonds
150 gr icing or confectioner's sugar

Meringue:
120 gr eggwhites
35 gr granulated sugar

Sugar syrup:
150 gr granulated sugar
50 gr water

food color

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place parchment paper over a baking sheet.

Process the almonds with icing sugar in a food processor. Be careful to not process too much or you will end up with a paste. Sift.

In a grease free bowl, beat 60 gr. of the eggwhites until foamy. Add the 35 gr. granulated sugar and continue beating until eggwhites have medium peaks.

In a small saucepan, boil the sugar with water until it reaches 230°F on the candy thermometer.

With the mixer on high speed, pour the syrup on to the sides of the bowl, careful not to pour it on the beaters. When all the syrup has been added, lower the speed and let it beat until cool.

Add the other 60 gr of eggwhites to the almond/icing sugar and mix well.

Carefully fold it into the meringue.

Add a drop of color. I used one drop of pink gel color for half the mixture.

For the green macarons, I used yellow with a bit of black gel color.

Place the mixture in a pastry bag with a medium round tip. Pipe 1"to 1.5" round circles on the baking sheet. Let rest for 30 minutes so it will develop a crust.

Bake for about 11-13 minutes until ever so slightly brown on the edges.

Let cool on the baking sheet. To remove the macarons, carefully peel off the parchment paper from the bottom of the macaron.

Rose Water White Chocolate Ganache

6 ounces white chocolate
6 ounces 35% cream
3 tsp. rose water

Chop an place white chocolate in a bowl.

Heat cream to slight simmer. Keep an eye on the cream as it may boil over.

Pour cream on to the white chocolate. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Add rose water and stir until smooth.

Cool until it is buttercream consistency and sandwich between macarons.

Yield: 1 cup

Rose Cupcakes and Macarons Top
› Rose Cupcakes and Macarons

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