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!
I saw a picture on the internet recently that had replaced Mars’ solar ranking with Louisiana. If you’ve even been in the summer, you would agree that it can’t be too far off!
This cocktail is the perfect summer night (or morning, whatever) cool down. It combines sweet, ripe peaches with the earthy and robust taste of whiskey. You can sweeten it up or not all. You can choose a simple sparkling wine or a sweet champagne.
Cocktails technically have recipes, but I say go with whatever floats your boat – this is a suggestion that you can tweak to your heart’s content!
Prepare your ingredients! Separate the mint, chop the peaches, cut a lemon, slice one for garnish, and get your alcohol nearby
Put a few ice cubes in the bottom of the shaker. Add the peaches, mint, and juice of the lemon. Pour the amount of whiskey that is desired, and add any simple syrup that you would like.
Note: You’ll see from my picture that I chose a pretty cheap whiskey. I have acquired a “whiskey snob” taste from my family, but it’s not worth the cost when you’re mixing with flavors that will mask what makes expensive booze good. Save your money on this cocktail.
Shake, shake, shake! Pro Tip: Cocktails mix best when you come up with a dance. 😉
Pour the whiskey mix into a glass of choice (I used a white wine glass – a champagne flute would be much more classy). Fill the glass with your desired bubbly. Add garnishes of mint and peach.
Sip on the porch under a fan and laugh at the weather – it can’t rain on your parade with this drink in hand!