May the fourth be with us

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m sort of fond of a little science fiction film called Star Wars. In fact 4 years ago my robot and I exchanged our wedding vows in front of friends, family and a droid on May 4th. I admit I’m a total sap, so when the month of May begins I start getting sentimental about my wedding anniversary. It was a long time in the making , my dear robot proposed to me on our 8 year anniversary and we had a 17 month long engagement. I remember the night he proposed it all felt surreal, you imagine something enough times when it finally happens you’re not sure if it’s real or another daydream. I remember sitting at our anniversary dinner afterward and over dessert he asked, “When do you think we should get married?” We threw a few dates around, everyone gets married in June, both our birthdays are in July, November is our dating anniversary but maybe that’s too close to the holidays. Then he said it, “…well what about May the fourth?” It sounded perfect the way he said it. I was ecstatic over the idea of getting married on Star wars day. When we told our friends and family most simply replied, “ Oh you would.”

Wedding planning was actually fun, having been in pastry industry and therefore working closely with brides over the years I sort of worried that it would be stress inducing; but since planning was spread over 17 months and my robot and I were super organized there were few road bumps. We also had a ridiculous amount of help. I told myself I wouldn’t sweat over the little stuff and as long as at the end of the day I was married to my hearts desire I would be happy. Our friends and family really ran with our theme of nerdy chic (we didn’t stick to just Star wars) and we were really grateful for the results. Things that I didn’t even think to think of such as decorations for the wedding pews popped up here and there. My mother in law tore pearls from her wedding dress to decorate tea light holders for our reception tables. My sister in law and friend Mercedes created signs with the iconic “ I Love you. I know” for our wedding reception chairs. My Father in law organized our wedding party to surprised us with a lightsaber arch as we entered. Like I said I still get sappy thinking of that wonderful day.

As I began to get sappy this year I thought of what I could do for my husband to commemorate that beautiful date. I eventually settled on sugar cookies. They’re fun to make, delicious and I hadn’t made them in a while. Sugar cookies are on that list of items that i was so much better at decorating before someone told me it was something that I couldn’t do. It’s amazing how often we get into our own heads. I admit with these again I was a little rusty and a little impatient but I do really like how they turned out. I got a bit of advice from my cousin-in-law? She makes lovely sugar cookies; not only did she give me some helpful tips but she directed me to some of her favorite cookie makers for tutorials and recipes. That’s one thing that I love about this community, for the most part bakers/decorators are very supportive of other bakers/decorators, and that’s something we need a little more of in this world.

In my day to day life I try my best to have Leslie Knope levels of enthusiasm for the people in my life, because I’m not naturally like that I find that it can be draining sometimes, but looking back on my wedding photos I know that I am love and supported by some truly amazing people and that makes me want to be a person worth that enthusiasm.

Lemon, pineapple, and lime! Oh my!

Let me just begin with I absolutely adore my sister in law. I’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to in laws and my snorlax’s wife is the bees knees. I mentioned on my Easter post how I like to joke that she married my brother because of my pastries, specifically my French macarons. When I was in pastry school I used to bring so much home that I had to have my brother take some of to his work. Before she was even started dating my brother my SIL would try my pastries because he father worked in the same company as my brother; so the magic of pastries resulted in me having this wonderful woman in my life. One thing that I love about her is that sometimes, often in an off handed way, she’ll mention flavor combinations that she’s interested in and that inspires me. This time the result was these pineapple lime macarons. As soon as she mentioned wanting a pineapple lime dessert I couldn’t wait to try it! I found myself jotting down ideas and sketching plated dessert ideas (Lime panna cotta with pineapple curd anyone? That might have to be another time) but inevitably decided on French macarons because they’re fun to make and they make her happy.

I filled these lovelies with pineapple curd Oh. My. Goodness. This is the same curd recipe that I use all the time. The main difference is that because pineapple is extra acidic I added some cornstarch to help stabilize and thicken the curd.  The taste is subtle and even a little on the buttery side but coupled with the lime curd it’s light and refreshing. I had some left over lemon curd from my blueberry lemon cake and ended up making lemon, lime, and pineapple macarons. The ones that I set aside for my SIL had a bit of lime zest in the shell and a combination of the lime and pineapple curd.

I pretty much love my french macaron recipe it’s been tweaked and perfected over the course of a few bakery jobs and while I’m not entirely ready to share it with everyone I do have a few helpful tips for those who are intimidated by the cookie.

Helpful tips for your French macarons:

-Be Patient! I’m sometimes tempted to rush the resting time but I’ve found that when I don’t let my French macarons they burst or bake wonky. You need to let them form a skin before baking. I usually let mine. I let mine set for a minimum of 30 minutes now.

Wrap them up! As mentioned in my Easter post wrap them up and stick them in freezer over night. You want crunchy on the outside and chewy in the center. If you ever have left over macarons you want to wrap them with plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer until you’re ready to snack again.

Straighten up! Be sure to hold your piping bag straight up and down! Because these cookies are meringue based they’ll bake in the direction that you pipe so even if they look pretty on the parchment they might look like mushrooms when they’re done.

Sometimes less is more(but only sometimes. I’m a firm believer that more is more)Try to go easy on the flavors and food gel when it comes to the shells. One of the reasons that I love macarons is that you can make them any color and they look lovely in a variety of colors. It’s also really easy to add a bit of cocoa powder or fruit zest to the batter to really up the flavor of your shells but if you add to much you can cause your batter to be over mixed and this results in wonky looking cookies.

Most importantly if you’re going to share your cookies, share them with the best people.