First: today's bento.
Kiwi, carrots, broccoli, cheese & almonds, and a container of hoisin/chili sauce for chicken karaage. Bottom tier holds said chicken and a brie/honey/dried fig "sandwich." I didn't feel like making rice this morning, and I still have some bread to use up. It's not the most balanced meal I've ever put in my bento, but I figured having raw broccoli gets me some points. (Having the dipping sauce helped!)
And now on to the exciting part: macarons.
After seeing how beautiful they look all over the internet, I decided I had to try making them myself. And I admit to a bit of fear, since I do have difficulty dealing with kitchen failures, and I have seen many tales, far and wide, of the potential pitfalls of macaron-making (fiddly egg whites, humidity, etc.). But. A friend of mine could use some sweetness this week, so today was the day.
I used a recipe from Tartelette, whose method and recipes I've seen hailed far and wide, and I tweaked it for flavorings. Rather than recopy all of her hard work here, I'll send you to the recipe: Gingerbread Macarons. Mine omitted the nutmeg and cloves and added about a tablespoon and a half of sifted cocoa powder, because chocolate and cinnamon together are so lovely.
I used Bob's Red Mill almond flour, and I also blitzed it with the powdered sugar (in my blender) until it was, indeed, far finer than it was in the package. I aged my egg whites over night, and I did let my piped macarons rest on the counter for 30 and 50 minutes.
My oven is a touch hot, so next time, I will check on them at about 18 minutes, because at 20 minutes, they were a bit crunchy when completely cool. But the inside texture is delightful. Look!
For the filling, I used dulce de leche, made in the David Lebovitz fashion. Next time, I think I will put a dish cloth beneath the caramel-holding baking dish, because the center of mine got a bit overdone. It was delicious, but the texture was not smooth--the center got a bit over-caramelized. The little chewy bits were delicious, but not as polished-looking as I would like. But the final product?
Delicious. And they have feet! Proper macaron feet! (You have no idea how excited that makes me.)
Now I just have to not go into a sugar coma.