Sunday, July 11, 2010

HONEYSUCKLE ROSE MACARONS

YOU’RE CONFECTION, GOODNESS KNOWS…


Every honey bee fills with jealousy
When they see you out with me
I don't blame them
Goodness knows
Honeysuckle rose

When you're passin' by,
Flowers droop and sigh
I know the reason why
You're much sweeter
Goodness knows
Honeysuckle rose

We were driving down the highway one summer day years ago, windows rolled down, wind in our hair and radio blasting as we sang along. Radio Nostalgie, our preferred road trip station, was keeping us toe-tapping happy with The Best of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, French, English, American and even some Italian thrown in, the perfect driving music. All of a sudden, JP leaned over and turned the volume down. He glanced nervously in my direction and exclaimed, “I’m worried. There must be something wrong with me.” “What?” “Well, I just realized that I know all the words to every single song! Shouldn’t I be worried about that?”


I owe my music education to my husband. He does indeed know them all and carefully taught me to appreciate – and sing along with - each of them: the Groovy (Johnny, Michel Polnareff, Dalida, Mike Brandt, Michel Berger), the Classic (Piaf, Aznavour, Brel), the Unexpected (Fernandel and Bourvil) the contemporary (Jovanotti, Zucchero, Gainsbourg). He has all of us, sons included, singing along to Cat Stevens and Simon & Garfunkel, Willy Deville and Leonard Cohen. And jazz? His favorite. Ella and Louis, Nina, Chet and Django. Jazz, swing, fado, rock, the blues, from Pink Floyd to the Beatles, from The Dubliners to Gregarian chants, he listens to learn and then to enjoy. And he adores Opera! The very first videocassette he bought his young sons was Losey’s Don Giovanni, which he played over and over until they could sing from beginning to end. For my 40th birthday he took me to see Cosi Fan Tutte at the Paris Opera. Magnificent! And from there we were onto all the classic operas and opera singers, beautiful lessons indeed. Not to poo-poo those classic musicals either: West Side Story, Peter and the Wolf, Oklahoma and even Hairspray and Grease. His range is astonishing, his collection vast and ever growing.

So while I was listening to Journey and the Eagles, Boston and ABBA, he was listening to, well, absolutely everything! A day without music is torture for him. While I am perfectly at peace with complete silence wrapping her soothing arms around me, with simply the hum of distant cars and the mild roar of the city keeping me company or absolutely mesmerizing me with a delicious feeling of being near the seaside, he paces back and forth, uneasy and nervous until he slips in a CD or pulls up his abundant collection of music on his computer and yes, music does indeed soothe the savage beast!


Well, don't buy sugar
You just have to touch my cup
You're my sugar
And it's oh so sweet when you stir it up

When I'm takin' sips
From your tasty lips
Seems the honey fairly drips
You're confection
Goodness knows
Honeysuckle rose

As romantic as we are, we have never been romantic in a conventional sort of way. No pet names, no roses and champagne to celebrate those most traditional of occasions, no diamond ring has ever been slipped onto a finger. We were never formally engaged, the proposal, if you can call it that, was made on the sidewalk on our way to shop for the evenings’ dinner and it had more to do with having children than getting married. Our homemade wedding was most unconventional. He loathes celebrating birthdays and wedding anniversaries, dates mean nothing to him. And heaven only knows how it is that he pampers me and showers me with gifts on Valentine’s Day, for he adamantly refuses to play along with the silly faux holidays. “I don’t need someone else to tell me how or when I should show you how much I love you!” Personally I think it has to do with him turning into an old softie, but that’s just my opinion. But we do have an “our song” as strange as that may seem to those who know us well. Sappy and sentimental, it just isn’t his thing, but we simply stumbled upon a song that was perfect for us, romantic and a touch racy, jazzy with a dash of swing, a song to sing, a song to dance to in his arms around the living room, a song to make me giggle and him to gently roll his eyes while he amuses me, allowing me to carry on the silly idea that we actually have an “our song”.

Yes, ladies (and gentlemen), it is indeed that time of the month again. Another Mac Attack moment. This month Deeba and I asked all of our dear friends who bake with us in our virtual Mactweets kitchen to invent a macaron inspired by a song. Of course, there is no song closer to my heart than Honeysuckle Rose, our song, written by the great Fats Waller and sung by the wonderful Dinah Washington, the version I love the best. It is a song to inspire, a song that brings joy to all and any who sing it loud and saucy, eyebrows wiggling, hips swaying back and forth, arms waving like branches swaying in a gentle breeze.


Honey and Roses, sweet as can be, Honey and Roses will surely make a fabulous macaron. And indeed they did. I started with Strawberry Rosehip tea (because it looked so beautiful in the package) and whizzed a couple of tablespoons up with my ground almonds. Oh boy, the tea didn’t smell particularly enticing but processed with the almonds and the kitchen filled with the most mouthwatering scent of strawberries and rose. And the nuts took on a gorgeous deep mauve color. The shells baked perfectly though sadly they discolored ever so slightly and took on a sad, yellowish tinge. But it didn’t affect the luscious berry, rosy flavor of the shells. I was stunned by just how flavorful they were! I wanted to use honey in the filling but knew that a chocolate ganache would go over best with the son and his friends so I chose the only viable solution: Toblerone, that perfect honey nougat spiked milk chocolate and, strangely enough, my husband’s one and only chocolate weakness. It was perfect! These may be the most delicious macarons I have made yet on my long and winding macaron road.

When I'm takin' sips
From your tasty lips
Seems the honey fairly drips
You're confection
Goodness knows
Honeysuckle rose
- Fats Waller


HONEYSUCKLE ROSE MACARONS
Strawberry Rosehips Shells with Toblerone Ganache

For the macaron shells:
The shells are made with the same basic recipe I used to make my Chocolate Macarons with Pink Praline Filling, my Blueberry Hibiscus Macarons, my Chocolate Espresso Sea Salt French Kiss Macarons, my Coffee Macarons and my Violet Macarons:

200 g powdered sugar
110 g finely ground blanched almonds
3 large egg whites, about 112 g *
30 g granulated sugar
2 Tbs Strawberry Rosehips tea made all naturally with edible dried fruit, berries and leaves
1/2 tsp powdered red food coloring
A couple of drops of liquid red food coloring

Click on any one of the links about for full recipe and step-by-step how-to pictures.

* The egg whites should be left out in a covered container at room temperature for 24 hours.

Prepare 2 large baking sheets. On 2 large pieces of white paper the size of your baking sheets, trace 1 ½ inch-diameter circles (I used the wide end of my pastry tip) evenly spaced, leaving about ¾ - 1 inch between each circle. This will be your template to help you pipe even circles of batter onto the parchment paper. You will be able to reuse these endlessly. Place one paper on each baking sheet then cover with parchment paper. Set aside. Prepare a pastry bag with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809).

Whiz the tea together with the ground almonds in a food processor or coffee grinder until fine. Sieve through a mesh strainer into a large bowl. I must say that since my tea had tiny chunks of soft, chewy dried fruit, the ground almonds became a tad damp in the process and I wasn’t able to push all of it through the sieve so I simply topped off what did get sifted with enough to make up to the needed 110 grams. The rest I saved to stir into cookie dough or something.


Sift the powdered sugar and the powdered food coloring into the bowl with the now mauve ground almonds and whisk to combine.

In a standing mixer or with a hand mixer, whip the egg whites for 30 seconds on low speed then increase speed to high and whip until the whites are foamy and beginning to thicken. Gradually add the granulated sugar as you are whipping the whites until you obtain a glossy, stiff meringue. Add a drop or two of liquid red food coloring and beat just to evenly distribute the color pink.

Gently but firmly fold about 1/3 of the whipped whites into the powdered sugar/ground almonds. Add the rest of the whipped whites/meringue and fold, using a silicon spatula or the equivalent, turning the bowl as you lift and fold, scraping up from underneath, making sure you fold in all the dry ingredients. When the batter is ready to pipe, it should be flow from the spatula like lava or a thick ribbon. To test to see if you have folded it enough, drop a small amount onto a clean plate and jiggle it slightly. The top should flatten, not remain in a point. If it doesn’t flatten, give the batter a few more folds.

Fill your pastry bag with the batter. Pipe circles onto the parchment paper, using the traced circles on the template sheets to guide you, holding your pastry bag above each circle and piping into the center. When you have piped all of your batter out, sprinkle half of the shells with dried or candied rose petals or a bit of the tea if you desire. DO NOT FORGET TO CAREFULLY REMOVE THE WHITE PAPER TEMPLATE FROM UNDERNEATH THE PARCHMENT PAPER. YOU DO NOT WANT THIS TEMPLATE TO GO IN THE OVEN!


Allow the macarons to sit out for 45 minutes to an hour. The top of each shell should form a “skin” (it will feel like it hardened a bit when gently touched).

Preheat your oven to 280°F (140°C). Bake the shells for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on their size (when I touched macs that were not quite done, the top jiggled a bit as if there was still a bit of liquid batter between the top and the “feet” so I let it continue to bake another minute). If your oven bakes unevenly as mine does, flip the trays front to back 5 minutes before the end of the baking time.

Remove the tray from the oven and immediately slide the parchment paper with the shells off of the hot baking sheet and onto a surface, table or countertop. Allow to cool before sliding the shells very gently off of the parchment by slipping a cake spatula under the shell as you lift it up. Be careful or the center of the shell risks sticking to the parchment.


Allowing the shells to sit over night (I store them in a metal cookie box) made them wonderfully chewy underneath the crispy outer shell, just as I love them.

TOBLERONE GANACHE

I used approximately 150 g Toblerone with 125 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream and proceeded as I would a regular ganache:


Coarsely chop the Toblerone and place in a medium bowl. Heat the cream just to the boiling point. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth and creamy. Allow to cool until thickened and piping consistency.

Mine would not firm up enough, even in the refrigerator so I melted and added 50 g more caramel milk chocolate, warmed up the ganache and stirred them together until smooth and creamy. Again, I allowed it to chill until firm enough to pipe and hold its shape under the weight of the top macaron shell.

Fill the macarons:
Prepare your pastry bag with a plain tip that will pipe teaspoon-sized dots of filling onto the macaron shells. Pair up the shells so you have sets that match (same size and shape). Pipe the ganache filling onto one shell of each pair. Sandwich with the second shell. Allow the filling to set.


Results:
Fabulous! The delicate chocolate honey filling married perfectly with the incredibly fruity shell. In fact, it was so delicious I ran right out and bought a second package of this brand of infusion that was dried elderberry, blackberries and blueberries and I can’t wait to try using it to flavor macaron shells.


58 comments:

Pratiba Bhat said...

wow :) they look pretty :)

shaz said...

What a lovely post Jamie. Ilove so many things about it: "your song", the pretty macarons, the heart shaped ramekins and the tea spilling out of the package. Just beautiful.

Btw, I find that my pink macs tend to discolour easily too, not sure why.

Anh said...

So pretty, romantic and so you!

My husband and I also had songs that marked our relationship. We didn't really celebrate anything, but whenever the songs were played, memories returned - and that's the bestest thing!

Jamie said...

@shaz: Thanks. And each time I make pink macs they discolor. Glad it isn't just mine!

@Pratiba: Thank you :-)

Ken said...

As many compliments you gave me, you are still the Mac Queen. So delicate and o what beautiful feet. Thanks for introducing the D Washington rendition to me, sounds so different from Ella's.

Jamie said...

@Ken: Thanks! And if I remain Queen, well there is indeed room for a king and you are duly crowned! Husband has the whole Dinah Washington record on his computer and I love her!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Aww what a beautiful story Jamie and your macarons are divine! We definitely have our songs too and isn't it lovely to take that break i the day when one comes on :)

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Jamie they are absolutely beautiful and I wish I could taste that Toblerone ganache!!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Divine macarons! What a heavenly combination.

Cheers,

Rosa

tasteofbeirut said...

Jamie

I love unconventional people; I also am so impressed by your latest take on macarons; so refined and yes! romantic~

LoveFeast Table said...

You never cease to inspire us...and make our mouths water!

Barbara Bakes said...

Perfect macs Ms. Queen. I'm going to have to try out some teas. How great to have such a romantic song sung to you in Paris. Doesn't get much more romantic than that!

Deeba PAB said...

Unconventional I am too, but feet continue to elude me! Love the rose & honey and romance wound through your evocative post. It's beautiful Jamie, as are these elegant macs. Those dried flowers have me enthralled! WOW!! Also love the metallic button from Jean Pierre... sweet!You inspire me dear girl... LOTS!!

Junglefrog said...

It just seems to me that your mac's are looking more and more perfect every time you make them and that filling... mmmm, sounds absolutely delicious!

Cathy said...

Bravo, Jamie. Your macs are beautiful. I do love that gorgeous pink. Blending flavored tea into the almonds is a brilliant way to add flavor and I can't wait to try it myself.

RV said...

These Macs are pretty and delectable. Am drooling at those pictures.

elra said...

They are gorgeous macarons Jaime.

girlichef said...

Beautiful Jamie! Please tell me when you decide to bundle all of your eloquent posts into a book that I can linger over "in the flesh", if you will... =)

Jamie said...

@girlichef: Ah, I am stewing it over and seeing words like yours (and from you!) encourages me just a little bit more. xoxo

Happy Cook said...

I am in love with the pictures of the Mac, and they absloutley looks so so goo. Love the gnache too. I have to admit also that i learned to apriciate classical music from my husband too.

Ana Powell said...

So perfect, delicate and delicious.
Great post, lovely photos ♥

Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf.ch said...

i love this ! and not only because there is toblerone involved. you still have a husband who doesn't like chocolate (or macarons !) though - toblerone doesn't count. it's its own category. i love toblerone.

and i also happen to love nostalgie. always search for it when in the car in france. it doesn't bother me so much that i know the words (since i don't), yet that there are songs of MY youth on... *nostalgie* !! ;)

last but not least, i took note of that huge declaration of yours: "the most delicious macarons I have made yet" - WOW !! that's big time. bravo !!

Jamie said...

@Kerrin: My husband needs a chocolate weekend with you in Zurich! With me of course. And Nostalgie. And the songs of your youth? Ha Ha Ha that was last week!

debug said...

Amazing Amazing post dahling...I love your style and the MAC's look sooooo good..My hubs and me have so many songs that remind us of the lovely times...both as friends and then as a couple..

Asha @ FSK said...

Jamie, you knocked me out with that fabulous creation!!! You rock, Ms McQueen!!!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I love Radio Nostalgie! I've listened to it in hire cars when holidaying in Ile de Re and Noirmoutier in your neck of the woods.

Your photos are looking especially lovely today, very crisp and pretty.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Jamie, I stumbled upon your blog from FG and am so thrilled to find you. I loved this post.Your husband's passion in Music is impressive and I think it is wonderful that such passion gets rubbed off onto the loved ones. Your macarons are especially lovely and what an interesting flavour! I am definitely bookmarking this!

Jenn said...

Last time I had some macarons was last year. And I haven't been able to get them out of my mind since.

lora said...

Beautiful Macarons. Gorgeous flavors.

Marisa said...

Beautiful beautiful beautiful photos!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

These are so pretty Jamie! They look just like the song sounds. I bet everyone loved them with the toblerone - my Mom's favorite - she would love these. Thanks for your sweet comment on my Anniversary post - and for trying my recipes!

Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf.ch said...

re: nostalgie... LOL !

re: chocolate weekend in zurich... ready when you are jamie :) you won't recognize jp when i'm through with him - he'll start his own chocolate drawer chez vous afterwards, ha ha !

Mary said...

How beautiful, Jamie. The song, of course, stole my heart, but your choice of macaron was perfect to go with it. They look delicious. I hope the day is treating you well. Hugs and blessings...Mary

Esi said...

I've made macs a couple of times, but my last few attempts have been kind of sad. I love these and especially the flavors!

Leave-Room-for-Dessert said...

Jamie! I *love* the idea of these macs... infused with tea, toblerone ganache, and they're gorgeous too! You're inspiring me like you wouldn't believe! Big hugs for you...
xoxox

Jasmine said...

Jamie, these macarons are stunning! They must have the most delicious taset ever!!
I wish you lived in Milan so I could beg you to give me a macaron :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

What darling macs! The look and flavourings are so delicate and feminine. I love them.
*kisses* HH

tspegar said...

your posts always bring a smile to my face and this one is no exception! wow. absolutely beautiful macs and post! i am so lucky to be a part of mactweets with you :)

Lynnette said...

What a fabulous post!

Heather Davis said...

Sounds like your JP is pretty romantic to me. That's a gorgeous song to call your own and the perfect Macs to celebrate it. I wish I had more old music in my life. My kids overwhelm me with modern stuff that I just don't get. Guess that is the sign of old age!

Sippity Sup said...

It's all so "pretty". It's so touchingly sweet. It's fitting that the 'roons are pink! GREG

Cristie said...

What a wonderful post. Music is such a great way to stir up memories-- your themes have been so wonderful. Thanks for all you do. And your mac's are beautiful, just beautiful. Love the decor on the top.

Shea M. said...

Wow, so beautiful and romantic! (The story and the macs). Can't wait to get back to the States (and a real kitchen) so I can finally try some. Until then, I may just take your lead of driving through France with music to guide my way (we're in Germany, so basically we HAVE to go to France).

I've only just found your blog - I'll be bookmarking you, and looking forward to your next post.

Soma said...

One very romantic post. I love the color and the flavors here, subtle elegant and all things that I heart.

Sarah said...

You always bring back memories, west side story was my favorite movie when I was seven...

Rachel said...

Wow, these look amazing!

Lisa Michelle said...

Jamie..I remember the movie "Honeysuckle Rose' with Willie Nelson (have you seen him lately? He cut off his braid!). and of course thought of that when I saw your macs, although the song pairing is perfection. They look gorgeous and sound delicious! You are so incredibly creative when coming up with such unique macaron flavors! Soon they will be calling you 'the Queen of macaron flavors you never would have thought of yourself' LOL

That said, I need to jump back into mac attack soon! So much stuff going on in life, it's been hard to fit things in. Even all of my DK challenges are like 3 days late each month lol

Fahrenheit 350° said...

Great pictures of perfect macarons! I'm jealous! I'm so scared to try again on my own, but I have egg whites aging...

dining tables said...

I was so fascinated on your post. I read your article and I had so much fun reading it. Your honeysuckle rose macarons is the best.

gastroanthropologist said...

Toblerone ganache -Genius! My husband has quite a music lover too, though unfortunately his favorites include lots of heavy metal. He looks like the least likely to be a "metal head" but he is and I when I accompany him to some of his favorite concerts I always take my earplugs!

ps tried to DM you on twitter, but couldn't, anyway wanted to say I love the huffington post articles!

Sue Sparks said...

Your macarons are utterly beautiful! I love the pale rose with the chocolate! Divine! Such beautiful photographs too!

RamblingTart said...

Wonderfully pretty and romantic, Jamie. :-) I love that you and your man are YOU, doing, being and celebrating what makes you happy, regardless of what traditions stipulates must be done. :-) I love that and wish you many, many years of best-friend-lover-companionness. :-)

Amy B. @ Foodista said...

Awh those macs look pretty! :-) I'm sharing this to my friends in Foodista :-)

Sophie said...

MMMMMMMM,...these macarons look incredibly tasty, dear Jamie!

I so love the toblerone filling,..very special & apart too!


Delightful pink macarons!!

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

Wow - tha's a serious range of musical tastes that JP has!! A man after y own heart ;-) I grew up listening to Piaf and Nat King Cole o my dad's 8-track in his Aston Martin (he is quite something, my dad) but yes, by the 80s I was also into Abba and a-ha (duh!). From my mom I got Mozart, Bach, Chopin and Beethoven and I knew Peter and the Wolf's fabulous music before I even went to school. And all of it is FABULOUS!

I am the one in our family who wants to have "our song" - to N, music is background noise. So it's safe to say we don't really!! Beautiful macs - and how sinfully inspired to have Toblerone ganache!

OysterCulture said...

Its options like this that prevent me from selecting a favorite macaron, because the moment I say something like chocolate, I have only to discover an option like this existed. What an incredible flavor combination, it sounds like it should be perfume. Plus you elevated the bar when you had a Toblerone filling. that should be outlawed as it could inspire selfish deeds, such as hoarding this batch of macarons to oneself.

Trish said...

What a fabulous post! Macarons are something I adore but have never had the courage to make. Maybe you'll be my inspiration. Thanks for sharing. Glad I found your blog.

asiangrrl said...

I love your posts about your hubby (prolly because we have so much in common). And the macarons? Kisses of heaven!

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