Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chocolate Macaroons

I got into the habit of making these when I realized how expensive they are to buy here now in the States. They really are not all that difficult to make.

You can make your own chocolate filling or to save time, use some pre-made icings.

Ingredients~make 16 to 20

3/4 cup of ground almonds-used Bob's Red Mill brand
1 cup of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa
2 extra large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup of superfine sugar

For the filling, I just used a chocolate icing mix.

Place almonds, powered sugar and cocoa into a food processor and process for 15 seconds.
Sift the mixture into a bowl. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. I used my molds from Mastrad. (a pre-formed silicon mat)
Whip the eggs whites until they hold soft peaks. Gradually add sugar  to make a firm and glossy meringue.
Use your spatula to fold in  the almond mixture to the egg whites, one third at a time. When thoroughly incorporated, continue to cut and fold the mixture until it forms a shiny batter and has a thick ribbon-like consistency.This may take a few minutes of gentle folding. Do not over fold.
Pour the batter into a pastry bag. I used a 1cm. plain tip for pipping. Place as many circles as you can get on your sheets or mat. When all completed,tap your baking sheets firmly to get out any air bubbles. I used a tooth pick to pop some of the air bubbles that did not break. Let mixture stand at room temperature for at least thirty minutes.When you touch, nothing should stick on your finger.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely on racks. Carefully peel from paper or mat.
Spread icing and match up macaroons!  Not as hard as it sounds. Beats paying 1 dollar for each one!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Swiss goats but, Italian made cheeses!

Whenever Robin and I lead a group in Italy, the two of us usually find a small apartment to live in where we can prepare our own meals. It really helps us cut down on the costs. First things first, where can we locate some fresh cheese? Always on the lookout for whatever is local  and in season, here are a few of our finds. These goats are from Switzerland, just over the hill! They must be walked at least four miles everyday to produce the best milk.  We ran into a chef from London who was working with the goats. His mission was to observe and study first hand what it takes  to produce such amazing cheeses! He is enjoying the walks!