Saturday, October 22, 2011

COCOA MACARONS FOR PINK OCTOBER

AND A THOUGHT…


No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.
~ Charles Dickens

Sometimes occasions come around that inspire the need to take action. We have each done our part, made a gesture no matter how small, to bring about awareness for a good cause or donated money, goods or time to help someone in need. From leaving a pile of old coats and cuddly sweaters for the homeless person who lives in a makeshift shack outside of Paris as winter sets in to dropping a few coins in a hat on a street corner, from purchasing too many boxes of cookies from the adorable daughter of our next door neighbor to making phone calls for our candidate of choice, from taking to the streets to giving our time in a shelter, we have all made an effort. Now, as I sit at my laptop in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by my family (listening to my husband and son chatter together amid the noise of puttering) and enjoying good health, I think of those close to my heart who have suffered at the hands of one evil or another. I have sat with one of my college roommates as she received chemo; I have spent hours upon hours, weeks and months listening to the labored words of my husband as he had to make decisions on his own father’s behalf; I have telephoned my cousin to tell her about my brother’s illness and death only to end up discussing her own brave fight against breast cancer; I have been stunned and amazed by the courageous behavior of two very close friends made through the internet as they face their own struggle with cancer, blown away by their humor and grace in dealing with something so dreadful. I have lost my own father and brother to an illness still, sadly, without a cure.



A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self.
~ Charles Dickens

It is Pink October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I cannot but remember the two times I entered a clinic to have lumps removed, confused, stunned and trying to deal with the fear of the unknown. I was one of the lucky ones, educated, informed and having the means with which to do something about it. Others are not so lucky, like the poor woman I found standing in front of the banks of elevators at the Breast Clinic in Manhattan, alone, hysterical, crying for help as the tears coursed down her cheeks, one woman, one moment that is seared into my memory. And I know that no matter how small and insignificant my words or my actions, if I can reach out and help one person or be the means of educating one single man or woman then I will feel as if I have made a difference. Deeba and I selected Pink October as our monthly Mac Attack Challenge theme for the second year in a row. We understand the importance, the urgency of spreading the awareness of this still incurable disease. We understand that there is still a long way to go not only in research and finding that cure, but in simply making more women (and men) aware, educating them that they have the power to anticipate, screen themselves as I did those many long years ago, and at least begin to take matters into their own hands and help themselves.


Keep love in your heart.
A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
~ Oscar Wilde

Pink is the color of October.
Now, one thing that I have learned along the way is that a most crucial element in dealing with a challenge such as an illness is friendship. Kind words. A hug. Support, encouragement and laughter. Sharing the burden just a little, making us forget the pain and worry for even a few minutes or a few hours. Chocolate and chick lit where a chick flick isn’t possible, when distance divides. And baking together. From Mactweets, where we gather together each month a bevy of Macpassionate bakers in our virtual Macaron Kitchen to Bake Together where Abby Dodge offers us her recipes, shares her love of baking, her encouragement and her own virtual kitchen to bake together across space, miles and continents, there is always a place for the healing power of friendship, camaraderie and conviviality. And food.

I will share two recipes from these two groups that offer each of us a way to spend just a little time with friends, to spread laughter, help each other face challenges whether in baking or in life, a way to get to know each other a little better and widen our circle of friends and support. This is one reason we have all come to food blogging, knowing that we will meet like-minded souls, many of whom will become allies and companions, collaborators and mentors, friends with whom we can share our woes and successes, our knowledge and our support. Today I offer you… French Macarons for Pinktober! As I have only one macaron eater chez moi and he really loves my chocolate macs the best, I have used my regular recipe, adding 1 tablespoon cocoa powder to the dry ingredients and about ¼ teaspoon pink food coloring paste whipped into the stiff egg whites to get a cocoa macaron with a faint pink tinge. I sprinkled the shells with candied rose petal bits or cherry-flavored sugar crystals then sandwiched the halves together with a thick, rich semisweet chocolate ganache swirled with a dab of my favorite cherry jam. Luscious…to be eaten in moderation. And with a friend or two.


Please find the basic and my favorite Chocolate Macaron recipe and well as the best Chocolate Ganache filling HERE. Adjust to taste by adding cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla or any other flavored sugar as you please.


And this month of October: THINK PINK!


Follow Deeba and I on our monthly macaron adventures on the Mactweets blog. And join along, the more the merrier, and see how baking together ignites your creativity, inspires your imagination, gives you courage to try and laughter when you fail… and a whole lot of new friends.

33 comments:

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

They're beautiful Jamie! And did you know that by adding pink you're making them an even more beautiful chocolate colour? I can't resist chocolate macs either. Mine are in the fridge waiting for their photo shoot later on :) Yay PINKtober and YAY MacTweets!

Maris said...

These are beautiful! I have never made macarons before but they're so elegant.

Jamie said...

@Mardi Thanks for the tip! And can't wait to see yours!

@Maris: What? Never made macs? Join us every month at Mactweets!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A beautiful post and awesome macarons! Really pretty.

Cheers,

Rosa

Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen} said...

A lovely post. I've never eaten a mac. When I come to the other side of the pond will you make me one? ;)

Fuji Mama said...

A gorgeous post Jamie. Pink + Chocolate = Perfection.

Annapet said...

I have not done MacTweets in a while and happy to bake with you again for PinkOctober!

They are beautiful, Jamie!

WiseMóna said...

I saw these on FB earlier and could not wait to read this post. I love love love the pink hat box in the background of your Macaron shots Jamie. Such great depth of colour all round. I am sure they taste good. I love the idea of Pinktober too. I have a very young friend (29) just diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer....early detection is so crucial to survival....xx

Tickled Red said...

What a beautiful post Jamie and I just adore your macarons with the pink sprinkles.

Farmgirl Gourmet said...

Beautiful Macarons Jamie! I'm still leery about making them....thanks for making it look so easy.

Heather

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

An intelligent and thought-provoking post as well as beautiful macs. Love the Dickens quote - should be recited regularly :)

A Thought For Food said...

These look lovely, Jamie! A great way to celebrate Pink October!

Lora said...

Wonderful beautiful post and gorgeous luscious flavorful macarons. Wow.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Beautiful post. My dad is a cancer survivor I'm happy to say. Having seen him go through so much makes me love him all the more and I am so proud to have such a brave dad.
Beautiful macarons! Great to bring light to such an important cause!
*kisses* HH

Deeba PAB said...

Just gorgeous... I love the 'writing', the colours and the setting. Fabulous PINK shout out & perfect macarons. Yay you girl to have managed these {you know which way mine went...LOL!}

Jenn @leftoverqueen said...

I have yet to make or try a macaroon! Yours looks lovely though!

Shulie said...

So inspiring Jamie for me to make few more trips to the Salvation army among other gestures. Gorgeous macs for a great raising breast cancer awareness cause. Have afantastic time in Italy. I wish I could have been there!

Georgie said...

Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe and for the beautiful words.

Baker Street said...

lovely post and even more lovely are your macs jamie! am glad you chose pink october as a theme! its been lovely seeing the gorgeous macs all over the blogosphere! And if I could bake macs, I would have surely joined you this month. :)

Nancy said...

Jamie - These macarons are beautiful and this is such an important cause!

Lisa said...

I'm so bummed - I have two containers of pink tant pour tant in my freezer. The reason for that is, I was going to make some raspberry mousse macs for the fruit MacTweets a few months ago, but got sidetracked. Now it's macs for Pinktober, and it still sits, when they would actually mean something outside of cute and sweet. Unfortunately, I can't fit them in until November - maybe.

Love your pink sprinkled cocoa macs, and the photos/food styling is beautiful! Pink plus chocolate is quite the match, like Barbie meets Fozzy bear and, err, makes macarons ;D

ailovebaking.com said...

Beautiful macarons and I must find some candied roses! But equally beautiful is your post. I found it moving and as tears filled my eyes and my daughter asked me why I was crying over a photo of some chocolate macarons : )

As I explained to her the tears, I also shared with her the meaning behind Pinktober. She is a mere 7 years old and when I told her about self-checks I got a funny look, but awareness and education in this disease transcends any age.

Jill Colonna said...

Gosh, Jamie, you have certainly touched the strings. How awful with so many of your friends and family affected - and even yourself. Beautiful writing - and reminding us of the need to support. Bravo in supporting this cause with these beauties. The choc macs are beautiful with their pink sprinkles - I've not seen the cherry sugar crystals before. They look wonderful!

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

The part about the woman outside the clinic really struck a chord with me. We don't often stop to think how many people are going through tragedy in their lives that don't have the support and friendships that we so often take for granted. Thanks for reminding me to be grateful everyday for the wonderful people in my life who have been there for me.

Winnie said...

These are lovely. And so is your heartfelt story, Jamie. Thanks for sharing ;)

Priscilla - She's Cookin' said...

Beautiful post - your words and sentiments as well as the perfect cocoa macarons for Pink October. I've never made macarons, but live vicariously through all you fine bakers that do! Sorry to hear that you, and so many close to you, have suffered through breast cancer.

Soria Pastry Addict said...

They're just amazing !

thelittleloaf said...

Such a thought-provoking post, and a wonderful recipe too. Thanks for coming up with such a wonderful and inspiring theme for this month's Mactweets challenge.

LadyMacaron20ten said...

Jamie, your post really hit a chord with me this month, thank you for sharing this with us and promoting pinktober. Your macarons look gorgeous, I love the candied rose petals!

Michigan Food Blog said...

These look great!

Chocolate Shavings said...

I love your presentation with those macarons Jamie - beautiful!

Sandy said...

Love your heartwarming post! Your vintage photos are awesome, we should do more in pink color :) It was a great challenge in October, greetings, Sandy

Mairi @ Toast said...

Beautiful post, I do love your writing. And those macarons...so pretty.

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