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.
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.
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?