April 5, 2014

March of Macarons Features

Thus concludes my first link party here at Tried and Twisted.

Thank you to everyone who shared macaron recipes for the March of Macarons link party! 

My mouth is watering and I can't wait for my next chance to get baking.

March was so busy, but it's important to stop and enjoy the sweet little things in life. The first smell of flowers in the air, the first warm sunny day, or a little sweet thing -- like the macaron!

I was on an awesome bridesmaid trip to Florida this weekend, when we were met with the unexpected discovery of a macaron shop!

This may not sound like a very big deal to some of you. Macaron patisseries may adorn every corner where you live.

But in my hometown, "macaroons" are assumed to be the coconut cookies, not the French meringue that gets its own fashion show in Paris. 

While I adore the variety, color, and pop of these cookies, it has been impossible for me to eat one without traveling many miles or making them myself.

So, I chose to learn to bake them myself.

But now, I've finally had a chance to eat a professional's macaron. So, how does my homemade ware compare?

Smooth hard shell, soft moist interior, ruffled feet, flat tops, sugar overload. Oh yeah, my macarons are just as good!

Last year, I baked Cadbury egg macarons to celebrate the Jour du Macaron, so this year I wanted to make something equally unique and challenging.

Enter the Boston Cream Pie Macaron! A twist on the old classic.

Now, let's look at the best of the March of Macaron guests! 

Macaron Fetish shared these adorable treats just in time for Easter.

Blood Orange Walnut Macarons 
Blahnik Baker shared these pretty perky pink Blood Orange Walnut macarons. Once you consider all of the flavors available when you try other nuts or flours in your shells, it really opens up all sorts of possibilities.

Black Sesame Macarons with Cherry Chocolate Ganache

Like these clever macs! Passionate About Baking shared this very creative flavor combo of black sesame macarons with cherry chocolate ganache.


 How elegant is this macaron with this carmelized hazelnut garnish! Very fancy! Hint of Vanilla contributed these classic hazelnut buttercream macarons.

Black coffee macarons

Chili & Toni shared a strong jolt to wake you up in the morning. Black coffee and chocolate -- yes, please!

Honorable mention to Jill at Mad about Macarons for her adorable mendiant "Easter bonnets" for her chocolate macarons! I've never heard of mendiants before, but those pretty little chocolate disks sound like a tasty treat.

Thank you again to everyone who contributed and made this year's March of Macarons so flavorful!

March 31, 2014

Boston Cream Pie Macaron

The English language can be so confusing. Fat chance, slim chance -- same difference. Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo. 

And we strangely call some cakes "pie", but only when we're talking about the famous Boston cream pie. Or whoopie pies, but that's a horse of a difference color.

Boston Cream Pie French Macarons | Tried and Twisted

Just to confuse things even more, today we'll be talking about the pie, that's really a cake, that's actually recreated as a macaron. 

March 11, 2014

March of Macaron Linky Party

Welcome to this year's March of Macaron festivities!

 For the first time, I'm hosting a link party for all to share their best and favorite macarons.

http://s1361.photobucket.com/user/triedandtwisted/media/MarchofMacaronButton_zpsa825d148.jpg.htmlHave you been inspired to try your first batch of macarons since last year's March of Macaron tutorial? Are you a master of macarons, branching out into new and creative flavors? I'd love to see them all.

Share your baking stories with us all month long!

Linking at: Natasha in Oz, Pin It Monday,

February 27, 2014

Calling All Macarons

Come and see this year's March of Macarons! | Triedandtwisted@blogspot.com

The sun is shining, the snow is melting. It's almost that time of year again!

Well, sure, I guess it is almost spring too, but more importantly, it's almost March, which here on Tried & Twisted means it's almost time for the all month marathon of those delicious, colorful French Macarons!

French macarons are pastries of sugar, almond flour, egg white, and a dash of pure awesome. I might be biased though. I do have a diagnosed obsession with these happy little treats. 

Some concerned friends and family members have suggested professional help, but the doctors have just recommended immersion therapy, so bring on more macarons!

Last year, to celebrate the annual Jour du Macaron on March 20th, I dedicated the entire month of March to macarons. As it turns out, a lot of you out there are also lovers of these desserts too, and many of you asked if you could join the fun. 

So this year, I'll be hosting a party!

For this year's March of Macarons, let's share a parade of macarons on my blog!

All are invited! If you've been making macarons for years, share your favorite. If you bravely tried them for the first time, share the experience with us. Even if you just went to a local patisserie and found a cool new flavor, send it in! 

In March, I'll host a linky party for bloggers to share their favorite, colorful, flavorful macarons. 
If you'd like to write a guest post or if you'd like to share your baking experience, but you don't have a blog to post to, then just email me at triedandtwisted@gmail.com.

I'll be sharing new tips and new recipes all through the month of March, so stop by often for more of the March of Macarons.

I'll also be pinning macarons on my Minor Macaron Obsession board, so feel free to follow along!

Be sweet, everyone! 

Linking at:
Natasha in Oz Saturday Linky Party, Flaunt it Friday

February 8, 2014

Be My Valentine?

If Valentine’s Day is a holiday invented by Hallmark to sell cards, then consider this my formal declaration of rebellion...or at least polite dissent.

Top 14 Quirky Valentine's Day Cards

This is hardly anything new. My husband and I have always preferred handmade notes of love instead of a corporation’s interpretation of acceptable emotion. Handmade cards are all about the personal and honest touch, admitting that bed head is never attractive, but that the love in this relationship is far more powerful. 

Nothing against Hallmark, since some of their cards are quite hilarious and endearing, but some levels of intimacy, honesty, and nerdiness require that personal touch.

The past month has been pretty nutty, so I’ve actually been contemplating buying a card. (gasp!) This might be a first in our nearly seven years together! Not ready to fully drop the authentic feel of a handmade card, I turned to Etsy and all of its magical wonders. 

Who knew they had so many clever, nerdy, and honest cards! Today, I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you all.

February 5, 2014

DIY Chinese Calendar Wall Art

It's a new year, which means just like kuzoos, glitter, and novelty crowns, those freebie calendars are bound to turn up. Free calendars from dentists, calendars from your doctors, and sometimes, if you're lucky, calendars from your local Chinese restaurant.

Perhaps I'm just a little bit of a hoarder at heart, but I always felt bad throwing away the freebie Chinese calendars. Sure, you can't really write your appointments or friend's birthdays onto bamboo, but they have an artsy and exotic vibe to them which I just adore. So, I thought -- why let them go to waste? Why not upcycle a Chinese calendar into a free piece of art?

January 26, 2014

Snow Day Games

Let's play a guessing game!
Guess what I'm doing in the snow?

I’m not making an igloo for the neighborhood stray cat. I’m not chucking snowballs at the neighborhood kids. I’m not making AT-AT snowmen. Nope.

I’m checking on my garden…in a foot of snow.

For real, everyone! I have attempted the (nearly) impossible this year — a winter garden in my very own DIY cold frames. Cold frames are basically just boxes with glass or plastic covering the top to reflect the sunlight and warm the box. And that part, worked like a charm. Even in this crazy polar vortex, my cold frames did not go below freezing!

Cold Frame Winter Garden | Tried & Twisted

I simply placed my cold frames in a row in the garden, planted seeds, watered, and watched things grow. Some quick differences between regular gardening and cold frame gardening:
  • Regular watering – since the ground is covered by glass, you will need to water regularly. However, I did not need to water nearly as often because the sealed box held moisture much longer. 
  • Temperature – the reflected light causes the box to heat up much faster than surrounding air temperature. Too hot, and you’ll have pre-steamed greens. If the internal temperature of your boxes is above 80, simply open up the hatch to air it out. 
  • Insulation –  The boxes work best to keep the temperature above freezing when the frames are sealed. At the ground level, piling a little mulch insulation around the base of the box helps to seal the snow and cold out. I also left a layer of fall leaves on the surface to help the ground stay warm.
  • Sunlight - When snow covers the windows at the top of the cold frame, this adds natural insulation from the worse of the cold. However, plants do need sunlight, so if snow covers the box for more than a week, I do brush off the snow to let a little light it. 

January 19, 2014

Coconut Curd Chocolate French Macarons

The holidays are over and all of the gifts are unwrapped and packed away. What did you all get for Christmas?

I got curd. 

Yes, you read that right. I got curd. 

Now, like many Americans, when I was growing up I hadn't heard much of curd outside of little Miss Muffet's curd and whey snack (which is actually more like cottage cheese, but I digress...).

True curd is actually a dessert spread, similar to jam or jelly, but thick like pudding and very sweet. Fruit curds are a fancy dessert's best friend, like scones, tarts, and the French Macaron. It's a perfect pair for a fancy tea party.

While lemon curd is a common companion to the macaron, but there are many other flavors of curd around to try. This Christmas, I was given a jar of coconut curd from my mother-in-law. Inspired by the coconut chocolate candies that I make every holiday, I just knew that chocolate macaron shells would be a delicious pairing with the sweet coconut curd.

January 5, 2014

Happy Blog Birthday!

Happy Birthday to Tried & Twisted! My little blog is celebrating its first Blog-iversary!

2013 has been quite an eventful year for me. New blog, new hobbies, new job, new haircut. Life just keeps on changing and challenging, and I can't wait to meet what tomorrow brings!

Last January, I started writing this little blog as a dare to myself. As a creative person, I've always had a pile of projects. You know the type: crafts, decorations, and hobbies. But being busy with the rest of life, I struggled with giving myself permission to take the time to be creative. Sadly, that meant that I often rarely had time for a single project.

Creating a blog about my creative trial and errors gave me an excuse to give a little more importance to my hobbies and to allow myself to take time to play, to bake, to craft, and to just do all of the creative things I've always wanted to do!