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Stress biscuits (finale)

Today saw the climax of my biscuit-baking spree, taken to its glorious peak. It was AWESOME.

Behold:

Mighty-Macarons-1

Macarons.  They’re imperfect: they’re a little on the slim side, definitely amateurish, and I kind of made up the fillings as I went along, but my God they are delicious.  The shells are perfectly light and crispy, which I attribute to beginner’s luck and of course my natural genius.  The recipe ended up being quite straightforward, which surprised me: there has been a lot of macaron/macaroon-related activity in the food blog community, and I had begun to suspect they were incredibly complex.  (On the other hand, maybe I just lucked out.)  Essentially, you whip up some meringue, and when you’re at the sweetened/stiff peaks stage, you fold in some icing sugar and almond meal.  Then you pipe it into rounds and let the batter rest for an hour or two (the idea being that the outer surface will air-dry and form a little shell), then bake at very low temperature. When cold, fill and sandwich together.  Huzzah!

Look at these babies:

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Perfectly crispy and flat on the bottoms.  And check out how airy they are:

Mighty-Macarons-4

I think I misunderstood the piping process (and can I just add that I hated, hated, hated every second of the piping process), and used too-thin a nozzle. So instead of nicely-domed little chaps, I had little puddles.  But they still rose nicely in the oven, and the finished texture is heavenly.  They have crispy shells and a nice chewiness to the centre, and then they’re filled with thick, decadent fillings.  Some are filled with lemon butter, some are filled with passionfruit icing (a thick paste of passionfruit pulp and icing sugar), some are filled with a berry icing (pureed cooked berries and icing sugar, which ended up far too thick and sweet) and some are filled with an off-the-cuff berry butter (like lemon butter, but with pureed berries instead of lemon zest/juice).  I think the lemon butter and the passionfruit icing are the clear leaders, but the others are so tasty as to make it not even a competition.

These are so, so great.

Meanwhile, I explored some other exotic baking options: Pfeffernusse! Pfeffernussen (meaning peppernuts) are tangy, spicy, peppery German biscuits, and I freaking love them. M loves them, too, and I was pleased to present him with a huge batch of them upon his arrival home this afternoon.  Here they are, cooling in the kitchen:

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They’re damned good, too.  Just the right spiciness, tanginess, and lightly glazed with a thin vanilla icing. I am proud.

Today was a good baking day. I am ready to go back to work.

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