Espresso Chocolate Macarons

What a beautiful day to stay inside and bake! I am so lucky to have some free time to experiment with complex desserts and practice some new skills in my cozy kitchen. So I made macarons! Espresso macarons with chocolate ganache filling, to be exact. Such a good plan!

The end product is imperfect (just like my first photo) and super delicious! I usually take the first opportunity to analyze what I did wrong so that I can improve it next time, but I’m going to take a moment to celebrate the awesomeness of the finished product first. I mean they are crispy on the outside, perfectly chewy on the inside. The sweet cookie-ness of them is beautifully complemented by the forward coffee flavor and rich chocolatey ganache between the two. If your mouth is watering too and you want to try your hand, give this recipe a try! The post includes step-by-step notes on how to create successful macaron cookies so if you’re trying this for the first time, it’s a great place to begin. My taste buds want me to eat like six of them in a row, but my the rest of my body won’t appreciate that later so I’ll take it slow.

This is the third time I’ve tried my hand at macarons so I think I still have some beginner’s luck going on. Plus I did learn a lot from the first two attempts. This particular recipe gets extra points because the cookies earned a lot of happy comments from my husband multiple times throughout the evening. I love the way that baking allows me to enjoy the process then bring joy to others with the finished thing! Is it too weird to just go to a park and hand out cookies to strangers? Yep. Yep I should not do that.

Anyway, I spent a ton of time in the kitchen today making these cookies, homemade salsa, and that classic comfort meal- pot roast and mashed potatoes. Man has my kitchen smelled good all day. I really enjoy these times, few and far between, with no errands or appointments when I can stay home and create things joyfully with my cozy cat, Norbert, napping in the corner (or occasionally racing around the apartment like a complete maniac.)

Speaking of which, there are a couple of macarons that never got to see the light of day thanks to Norbert. No sooner had the skin formed perfectly on the uncooked macarons before he decided that was a great time to explore what was going on on the counter. In slow motion, I watched him jump…straight into one of the pans of macarons. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. About 3 seconds and several pawprints later, the remaining untainted macarons were on their way to the oven and I was laughing at Norbert as he processed getting more than he bargained for on his little expedition. He crawled, purring, into my lap later, and I’m pretty sure he knows he can get away with anything when he does that.

Last thoughts on the cookies- how can I grow and improve my macaron game? I’m so practical at heart, compelled to find the mistakes so that I can fix them in the future. It’s a weakness and a strength all wrapped together, but aren’t a lot of things? Overall, the results were delightful. I don’t need to change a thing about the taste, though I might experiment with omitting the granulated sugar next time for a slightly less sweet cookie, just for my personal preference. (The internet seems to agree that you can lessen or omit granulated sugar in macarons in the egg white beating stage, but you shouldn’t mess with the powdered sugar to almond flour ratio.) The texture was great when biting into the cookie with that glossy, crispy outer shell, the gooey inside and feet. The only super noticeable issue was that the feet spread out too much. From what I can tell, this was from poorly regulated oven temperature, a little too hot for the first few batches. This is my first time making macarons in this oven though so that will just take a bit of trial and error.

I adore baking, but making sugary things all the time and keeping them in the house is not a great option. Macarons are an excellent opportunity to really dive into baking and develop a specialized skill. Plus I’m not tempted to turn out multiple desserts every week when I’ve got an ongoing project I’m perfecting. Thanks for joining me vicariously in this little endeavor. Give yourself a few moments to create with joy whenever you can!

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Why share my life?

Welcome to the unique world of me. It’s about to get weird up in here.

I love the fact that I am a unique person, unlike any other in every way but like so many other people in a lot of single ways. I believe that sharing stories is valuable for a hundred reasons but there are four that drive me to begin this blog: relatability, perspective, authenticity, and new connection opportunities.

1. It gives you something to relate to

One of the things that connects humans most powerfully to each other is shared experiences. Relating to one another. Knowing that someone else has felt what you feel. And one of the most dangerous roads to go down is thinking that you are alone, the only outlier to feel or experience what you have. As someone who has dealt with depression for many years, I know intimately what the latter is like and it is my hope and prayer that no one else has to feel isolated in that struggle. Hopefully some shared thought processes, experiences, and feelings help you know that you are not alone!

2. It expands your perspective

No two stories are exactly the same, and it’s extremely important to expose yourself to the deeply different worlds of others. Being able to put yourself in another’s shoes, understand their motives, and appreciate their experiences allows you to grow an invaluable skill: Empathy. Empathy breeds compassion and compassion allows you to love others well. We could all stand to grow in that area.

3. You can practice authenticity

I know that some people process “internally” and some “externally” whether by talking or writing, etc. But somewhere along the way, I think it is important to invite others into the process and share your story authentically. Now I’m not saying you should bear your soul to the internet in the midst of your worst day because, let’s face it, the internet can’t hug you and then your darkest rants will be in cyberspace forever. Not ideal. But being able to share your experiences in an honest, appropriately vulnerable way is another important skill. Allowing others to know you builds trust on both parts and, believe me, it’s a small risk for the reward of community.

4. New friends might be waiting in the wings

This is simple, but you never know when you are going to meet someone with whom you could become friends! The internet is a unique platform too because it laughs in the face of distance and life circumstances. You have the chance to meet thousands of people you otherwise would never have come into contact with.

So here I go, launching this blog to share my life with you. If you connect with something or learn to look at something differently from a post, please comment and let me know. I’d love to hear from you!