Food Blogs not only helped to improve my culinary education over the last year, they also have shown me, that I might be missing one important gene: The one that makes you love macarons. While some food bloggers have investigated the holy scene of Pierre Hermé and Ladurée in the past, others were courageous enough to face the challenge and create their own – as far as I can tell from their appearance – very successfully!
Perhaps I should think about revisiting Paris (yes, quite a burden…;) and see if there is some hope for me – or if I am doomed to a macaron-less life. But then I also have my own sort of remedy: A cookie called “wasp’s nests”. Probably the first cookie I prepared together with my mum, balancing on a chair next to her – I was a real shorty back then… This is one of the few memories I have about baking cookies with her, because she was anything but into baking cookies – she hated it and still does.
So it was down to my grandma, or even better, aunt Lene. If I had to name one cookie baking crazy relative, yes, it would be aunt Lene. Anyone in the family (and family to her meant neighbors as well as friends from her sewing class) could give her an empty container or box – which within days was miraculously filled with an amazing variety of cookies, each in perfect shape and lovingly decorated. Her husband, my uncle, was also breeding rabbits back then, needles to say I was pretty keen on joining her for one of her countless christmas cookie baking sessions in the first days of every December. Not sure if I was of big help to her – carrying around young bunnies and nibbling away from all the cookie trays coming straight from the oven…
With the egg whites as a basis for the cookie dough (would batter be more adequate?), I suppose they qualify as macarons. An important difference: They are prepared in no time and their outward appearance is not crucial, no uniform shapes are required! Taste-wise often underrated, because eaten still warm, they simply melt in your mouth and are a delicious treat. A little aged (one to two weeks) their “biting experience” changes, they’ll burst into lots of crumbly, dry chunks when you bite into them. Of course they are still fine (kept in a tin can), it’s just that these are typically the first cookies I make each year, so they usually never pass the 3rd or 4th day.
It’s killing me that work currently is consuming a lot of the precious pre-Christmas time, time I would rather spend baking countless cookies. But on the other hand, the immense repertoire of recipes documented by the last joint IMBB/SHF event would make it almost impossible for me to pick and choose a few new recipes – they all look and sound so wonderful…
Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F). Evenly cover a lined (parchment paper) baking tray with almonds, sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over them and toast until golden brown. Turn them once, then remove and let cool down. Now reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (320°F).
Beat the egg whites, add the sugar together with the vanilla sugar and continue to beat until the mass forms stiff peaks. Stir in the lemon juice, then set aside.
Finely grate the chocolate and carefully fold in with the egg whites and the toasted almonds.
Use two teaspoons to help portion the cookies on a lined baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden.
Once cooled down, decorate with melted chocolate, if desired.
Wasp's nests/Wespennester (my kind of macarons...)
Recipe source: my mum
Required time: prep. 15 min., baking time 20-25 min.
Ingredients (yield: ~30 pieces):
100g almonds, coarsely chopped or better: gestiftelt (is there an English expression?)
2 egg white
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
100g dark chocolate, grated
for decoration: melted chocolate