Life gets pretty overwhelming sometimes doesn’t it? The business of work and school and home merging together too easily. Priorities and pace overlap and the wrong things get prioritised and grumpiness sets in. I’ve started to consciously challenge my grumpiness. Is it worth it? Or rather should I focus on all the little things that make me smile. The answer is easy and it sets me thinking….
- The smell of toast
- A cuddle on the sofa
- Shimeji mushrooms for sale in the supermarket
- The way my little ones talk about their Daddy’s pie
- Red wine
- Feathered green and white tulips
- Melted cheese
- Tea with biscuits
So we celebrated. Celebrated the little things. The things that matter. The things that count.
We celebrated with Champagne and macarons. Two more things that make me happy. The sound of a cork popping. The joy of peeking in the oven and seeing feet on my little macs. The girls shamelessly slathering the macaron shells with Nutella. The satisfaction of perfect chewiness and the taste of bubbles. Little joys to set the week straight.
- 3 large egg whites – use older eggs as this helps the macarons to rise and stay risen
- 100g ground almonds
- 100g icing sugar
- 100g granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 100g dark chocolate (80% cocoa solids)
- 70g double cream
- 2-3 tbsp Champagne
- Popping candy – I use this one from Waitrose
To make them
- Line three baking trays with a double layer of greaseproof paper and set aside.
- Fit a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle and set aside.
- Whizz the cocoa powder, ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor for about 5 minutes, sieve into a large bowl and then set aside.
- Whisk the egg whites til soft peaks forms and then add the granulated sugar a tablespoon at a time. Keep whisking until the mixture is shiny and stiff.
- Add a dollop of the mixture to the ground almonds and icing sugar. Stir in. Repeat until all the egg whites are used up.
- Pour the batter into the piping bag and pipe blobs just less than an inch wide onto the greaseproof papered trays.
- Lift each tray and let it slam flat on the table. Do this a few times to release the air bubbles trapped.
- Smooth over any peaks on the blobs with your finger gently.
- Put the oven on to 180C. By the time your oven is at temperature – this takes about 30 mins for me – your macarons should have formed a skin.
- Bake each tray on it’s own for 10 minutes.
- As soon as the tray comes out of the oven slide the paper onto a work surface and leave the shells to cool.
- Meanwhile make the ganache. Heat the milk to boiling point in a saucepan.
- Break the chocolate into a mixing bowl and pour over the boiling cream.
- Mix together til all the chocolate has melted and then stir in the Champagne.
- Leave to firm up somewhere cool – not in the fridge as it will get too hard to pipe.
- When you are ready to assemble, pipe a small ring onto a macaron shell and then sprinkle over some popping candy. Repeat til all the shells have been used up.