Baking Happiness.

Everyone! I have started bringing sweaters to work with me every day. True, it hasn’t been cold enough to justify wearing a sweater, but Fall is so close that I am anticipating and hoping my sweater wearing every morning will be an act of faith that brings on the most beautiful weather that exists. Nothing is better than Autumn breezes.

In fact, the sweater and jean outfits i’ve been rocking seem to be working, because we have had the most delightful week of rainy days with cool breezes. It’s probably having a horrible effect on my window frame, but I am delighted by the rain that is blowing in onto my face as I sleep. Choosing to rearrange  my room so that my bed was right up by the window, where I can rest my pillow on the window frame and star gaze as I fall asleep, was wise.

Along with the happiness of a rearranged and perfectly organized bedroom, I’ve recently spent an evening at the county fair riding the Tilt-a-Whirl over and over. Roller coasters are a thrill, but no ride can beat the Tilt-a-Whirl. The whirling was doubly fun because my friends and I accomplished our goal of making the grumpy ride operator laugh at our roller coaster style reactions to the spinning of the Tilt-a-Whirl. Also, I got fresh mini doughnuts. I’m sure you can all see how it was a perfect evening.

But the most exciting thing about this Autumn-anticipating time is the fact that yesterday, I made macarons. For the first time. Now, before yesterday, I had never eaten a macaron. I’d seen plenty of pictures. They were on my list of desserts to attempt baking in my life. But I had never tasted one. I knew they were made by whipping egg whites and sugar until stiff and glossy, so I thought they would taste like other food items made in that way, like meringues or those Resurrection Cookies. I’m not a huge fan of meringues. Those Resurrection Cookies are gross. Egg whites and sugar just aren’t my thing. But I was determined to make maracons once in my life.

So, because nothing sounded better than an evening of baking while listening to Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, I made macarons last night. Martha Stewart provided me with detailed instructions of the process. I ground my blanched almonds into almond flour, mixed in powered sugar and sifted the mixture through a sieve. Then I very carefully mixed my eggs whites – which were room temperature and fresh – with sugar. Once the eggs were perfectly stiff, I mixed in the almonds exactly as Martha said. Well, I hoped the hand motion I was doing was what she described in the instructions. I faithfully counted out my spatula turns. I piped out the maracons onto the parchment paper covered pans, let the batter dry, baked the exact time, rotating faithfully half way through. I had read online that it was very important for the macaron to have a “foot.” Also, it was important for the top to be perfectly smooth, no bubbles or cracks. Well, wonderfully, the macarons came out of the oven looking perfect. I piped in my raspberry jam filling and took a bite of my first macaron.

OH MY GOODNESS!!

It was nothing like I imagined. Nothing like Resurrection Cookies! It had a crisp, but not crunchy, outside and then an amazingly soft, chewy, melty, (insert words here) inside that came together perfectly with the raspberry jam filling. It was delicious. So. Delicious. After that I made another batch, espresso and chocolate style.   I am entirely pleased and proud of the experience. I know what i’m making next Valentine’s Day.

There is so much to be joyful for.

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