Double Chocolate Macarons

Three of my kids have birthdays in May. This makes May a very, very busy month. It also isn’t very good for our health! I guess you could say that May is like our second Christmas with all the birthday cake and sweets I end up making!

This year, I changed up our usual birthday happenings. On each boy’s actual birthday, I made them the flavor of birthday cake they wanted. Ian picked a giant chocolate chip cookie with chocolate frosting. Corran picked a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Thias picked a chocolate cake with caramel frosting. I won’t be posting pictures of these cakes because I am an awful cake decorator! One of my future goals is to learn how to decorate cakes properly. Also, Corran’s red velvet cake ended up being more like a brown velvet cake. I also had multiple things go wrong with each cake! Oh well, it ended up being very good practice for me, but they don’t make for very good blog posts unfortunately. At least, the cakes tasted good, even if they didn’t look like much!

For the boys’ combined family birthday party, I asked them which dessert they wanted me to make, instead of a birthday cake. Yesterday, we had their party. So this past week has been a little bit crazy!

Corran wanted a chocolate cream tart, which was pretty straightforward. Ian wanted Minecraft cookies, which ended up being pie crust Minecraft cookies instead of sugar cookie Minecraft cookies.  Thias wanted his very favorite dessert: macarons! Specifically, double chocolate macarons. He has been asking me to make these for a few months. So for his birthday party, I was finally able to make them.

With this kitchen experiment, I produced my first macaron fail! I should have just stuck with my usual macaron recipe that I know (heating a sugar syrup to 245 degrees F), instead of trying a new one, which used confectioner’s sugar and no stovetop work.

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My chocolate macaron fail… what is interesting about these is that they still tasted awesome (especially with ice cream!) They just weren’t the way macarons are supposed to be. Their texture was more like brownies!

I’m not quite sure what I did wrong with these. Maybe I will give this recipe a try another time when I’m not making them for a specific reason. I suspect that not weighing out my almond flour could have been the problem though.

I can’t seem to find the recipe I used online. So I won’t be posting a link to it.

After my macaron fail, which took about 3 hours, I started my second attempt, with my usual recipe using Italian meringue. The only change I made was to add about 2-3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder to the sifting part of the recipe.

The star of this macaron though was the ganache in the middle that I used for the filling. I used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for chocolate ganache but I made 3/4 of the recipe instead of the full. Even with the 3/4 recipe, I still had leftover ganache, which I had no trouble using… or eating!

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

1 Ghirardelli chocolate bar, 72% cocoa

1 Ghirardelli chocolate bar, 86% cocoa

3/4 cup plus about 3 teaspoons heavy cream

3 Tbsp butter, room temperature

Method:

Break the chocolate bars up into small pieces (as small as you can) into a glass bowl. Heat the heavy cream in microwave-safe container in the microwave until just boiling. Pour half the hot heavy cream over the chocolate in the bowl, wait 30 seconds, and gently stir in a circular motion until the chocolate melts into the cream. Pour in the rest of the cream and continue the gentle stirring until the ganache is smooth and shiny. Stir in the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time, making sure the butter piece is melted before adding the next. The ganache will be too thin at this point to use as a filling for macarons. Let it sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until thick enough that it won’t fall out of the middle of the macarons.

My family likes dark chocolate, so that is why I used the 72% and above cocoa bars. Feel free to use the cocoa percent you are comfortable with.

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These macarons had some nice feet! They also had little hats…

I let these little beauties sit overnight in the fridge before we even tried them. As usual, it was worth the wait!

I’ve promised Josh that I will make jasmine-flavored macarons for him for Father’s Day. It may be sooner than that though because I have egg whites in the fridge I need to use!

-Lynn

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LEGO Challenge Tuesday – Build a Zipline

We had a lot of fun with today’s LEGO Challenge from Gather. Love. Grow.

In fact, this challenge kept them pretty busy for part of the afternoon! Thank you, Isabelle, for another fun LEGO challenge!

To make the zipline, we took some heavy-duty string that Thias had used to make an old-fashioned cup telephone (it only sort of worked), and I tied it to a curtain rod above our living room window. Then, one of my boys tied it to one of the legs of our piano bench. This made a pretty intense zipline for our LEGOs, which meant they crashed at the bottom of the line into pieces! To prevent the crash, we put the back of a foam child chair underneath the string.

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Ian made a LEGO car. Surprisingly, it stayed in one piece. Most of the time.
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Corran made a boat. This vehicle wasn’t very sturdy and was the reason we had to put the chair underneath the string.
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Thias decided to have his minifigure hang upside-down!

I took a few videos of the boys using the zipline.

Here is the previous video in slow-motion, just for fun!

I slowed Thias’ video down even more so it’s a little bit more dramatic. Thias made two different vehicles to ride the zipline. This is a video of his second one.

Rhys even made something for the zipline! His didn’t have a minifigure on it though.

Ian had the most fun with the zipline I think. He built multiple vehicles for it.

Later, after the older boys were done playing with the zipline, my two youngest had fun playing with the zipline together. Thank you for another great challenge for a summer day, Gather. Love. Grow!

-Lynn

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