3…2…1… HAPPY NEW YEAR! What does 2017 have in store for you? There is something enchanting about the new year, even though I don’t buy into the whole “new year, new you” mentality. If you want a resolution to stick, it needs to be an all-year, all the time resolution! But it’s never too late to start, so go for it if you’re ready for a life change this new year!
My new life resolution is to update this blog more! I can’t tell you how many photos of awesome, delicious meals I have that never made it to the posting stage. Laziness, maybe. I attribute it to my internet, which takes about 9 minutes to upload each picture. Ugh.
But I am especially exited this for this New Year’s Eve because I am going to a fancy swing dancing party! We have always had a chill night in with our best family friends – which is very nice! – but I’ve always wanted to experience New Year’s Eve at home in New Orleans and out on the town. The anticipation might just be better than the event!
With visions of champagne bubbles dancing in my head, I dreamt up these delicate macaroons. They combine the drink of the evening with the class of the most sophisticated party. Here’s a toast to Auld Lang Syne!
Prep step! Measure out your ingredients. Have a stand mixer, large bowl, sifter, and spatula ready. Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the dry ingredients. It is SO important that the sugar and almond aren’t clumpy at all. Clumpy macaroons are no fun. Sift the ingredients in small batches into the big mixing bowl.
Add the egg whites to a mixing bowl. Begin to beat on medium speed. Add the cream of tartar and salt, and beat until soft peaks form. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Now, increase the mixer to medium-high. Slowly, add the caster sugar in a fine stream. Increase the speed to high, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 3 more minutes.
Mix the extracts and color into your egg whites, folding gently. Scoop the whipped egg whites into the big mixing bowl with the dry ingredients, and fold gently until it is completely incorporated. Let it sit for about ten minutes.
Add the mix into a piping bag. It works best if you first put the bag, opened, into a glass (see picture!) Cut off the tip about 3/4 of an inch up from the bottom, so that you have a small hole.
Pipe small rounds of batter, so that they spread out to be about an inch in diameter. Let the cookies dry on the sheet before baking. The required time varies depending on your local humidity levels. At home in New Orleans, I let them dry for about 45 minutes. In Wisconsin for the holidays, it only took about 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 300°F.
Bake the macaroons for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are hard and have developed that characteristic little edge on the bottom. Let them cool completely before your carefully remove them – don’t crack them! They are fragile.
Frosting prep! Measure your ingredients.
Reduce the champagne in a small pot over medium-high heat until it is reduced by about half. You can measure by pouring it into a measuring glass to see if it is 1/3 cup. Let it cool to room temperature.
Beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is fluffier, for about five minutes. Slowly, add the powdered sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the champagne. If you like lighter frosting, add about 1 Tablespoon of heavy whipping cream. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 more minutes.
Time to put them together! Match the macaroons up by size. Add your frosting to another piping bag, and pipe the frosting into the center of one of the halves. Sandwich the two together, and press gently so that the frosting reaches out to the edges. Decorate as desired. I used edible gold spray paint and metallic sprinkles, all available at Michaels (best store ever!) Enjoy with a glass of champagne while you toast the New Year!
Peppermint bark is one of my favorite parts of the holidays. I enjoy white chocolate year round – a little too much, probably – but there is something special for me about white chocolate with crunchy peppermint on top.
I think my true obsession with it blossomed in high school. I fondly remember studying for exams with a cup of coffee and peppermint bark next to me and the Christmas tree. Add some fluffy, falling snow, and I am in nostalgia heaven. An added bonus was that my brother hated (and still does) peppermint bark. Something about the sticky candy in his teeth. More for me!
But I can understand that some people feel guilty about eating exorbitant amounts of pure sugar. These cookies try to make a compromise. Since the peppermint bark decorates a cookie, it is easier to coerce yourself into taking just one! And the brownie cookies that support this glorious peppermint bark are a chocolate dream. They are thick and gooey but not so overwhelming that you wish you had stuck with just an after-dinner mint.
Make sure that these cookies have a place on your holiday table or at your next cookie exchange party! Direct the fans to Adventures of a Frostaholic © so that they can share the deliciousness!
Prep Step! Measure out all of your ingredients.
In a double-boiler (or a bowl over a pot of simmering water), melt the chocolate and the butter. Let the chocolate mixture cool.
In a small bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt).
In a stand mixer on medium-high speed, beat the eggs and sugar together until light in color. Mix in the vanilla. Slowly incorporate the cooled chocolate mixture. Finally, fold in the dry ingredients until incorporated.
Chill the batter for an hour or until firm. When the time is almost up, preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Scoop dough with a Tablespoon and place balls of dough on the baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies resemble a crackled brownie. Set the cookies on a rack to cool.
While the cookies cool, melt the chocolate and crush the candy canes. Dip the cookies into the chocolate, then sprinkle with crushed candy. These are best when dunked in hot chocolate! =]