Fourth of July Firework Macarons

I totally meant to have this recipe up and posted 6 days ago, but I was in vacay mode pretty much the minute I stepped onto my first plane. Sorry!

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I’m back now, unpacked, semi-organized (I had the forethought to deep clean my apartment before I left so I came back to a pristine home and a bunch of struggling plants) and I guess ready to get back to real life. Kind of. I could have used an entire month of vacation, to be honest. At least my real life has been pretty good lately!

So, these macarons. I made them as part of a variety pack for my mama as a belated Mother’s Day gift. They’re Fourth of July themed, as you can see from the red, white, and blue vanilla buttercream stars piped in between the two cookies. As a fun surprise I also added some pop-rocks to the mix! When you bite into the macaron itself, you get a popping, firework sensation right in your mouth!

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Fourth of July Firework Macarons

ingredients

for the macaron shells

1 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup almond flour

2 large egg whites

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

for the buttercream

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1/8th tsp salt

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp heavy cream

red and blue food gels

1 packet of strawberry poprocks

directions

sift 1 cup of powdered sugar and 3/4ths cup almond flour into a large bowl. whisk to combine, then set aside.

add the egg whites to a metal mixing bowl and start whisking on one of the lower settings (I start with a 4 on my Kitchenaid) until the egg whites start to look frothy. add half of the granulated sugar to the egg whites, then increase the speed to a medium (7 for me) until whites start to foam. add the remaining granulated sugar, then increase the speed to high (9 works well) and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.

remove the bowl containing the meringue from the stand mixer. add half of the dry ingredients directly into the bowl containing the meringue, then use a spatula to gently fold meringue around and over until the dry ingredients are well incorporated. add the remaining dry ingredients and continue to fold the batter. avoid over-mixing by going slowly. the batter is ready when it falls off the spatula in ribbons, but isn’t runny.

transfer the batter to a piping bag with a large round tip. pipe small, uniform circles onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper by holding the piping bag at a 45 degree angle to sheet. make sure not to overcrowd the sheets.

once finished with piping the batter, take each cookie sheet and carefully but forcefully bang the bottom of each corner on the countertop, to help release air bubbles in the batter! let the cookies sit for 35 minutes. preheat the oven to 305 F while you wait.

bake the cookies on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes. remove from the oven but let the cookies cool completely before touching them.

while the cookies cool, make your vanilla buttercream by creaming the butter in a clean mixing bowl. add the sugar, and mix on low until the sugar is incorporated into the butter but there are still small clumps present. add the remaining ingredients, and mix on medium until the buttercream is smooth and fluffy.

divide the buttercream into 3 bowls. add & mix in the red food gel to one bowl, the blue to another, and leave the 3rd bowl containing the white frosting alone. transfer each frosting color to separate piping bags, each fitted with a star tip.

pipe individual dollops of frosting onto one macaron cookie, alternating colors throughout. repeat with half of the shells. sprinkle pop rocks on top of the frosting, then sandwich with another, clean macaron shell. enjoy immediately!

*macarons can be frozen then moved to the refrigerator right before you’re ready to eat them. however, the pop rocks lose effect during this process.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake w/ Berry Topping

Fourth of July is juuust around the corner, can you believe it?! Time to get your red, white, and blue on!

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I’ll be making the annual trip to our lake house for the holiday and I couldn’t be more excited about it. There are so many traditions and activities that I look forward to every single year. Picnics on the pontoon boat, swimming in the lake, reading on the hammock, bike rides through the woods, and of course the annual Independence Day festivities!

Last year my family officially took over the responsibility of hosting the bocce-ball-tournament/party for all the neighbors on our little lake. In preparation for this year, my mom enlisted everyone in the family to start brainstorming good, festive dishes we could serve. Obviously, my mind immediately drifted towards desserts.

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Here’s the thing. Flourless chocolate cake is…easy. You can make it ahead of time (it’s better that way, in my opinion!) And fun to dress up. And damn, is it good. Nobody asked for this information, but if you want to know my Official Ranking of The World’s Best Cakes, it’s this: 1st. Carrot cake. 2nd. Angel food cake. 3rd. My family’s poppyseed cake. 4th. Flourless chocolate cake. 5th. Cheesecake.

So, anyway, I figured a flourless chocolate cake that’s been dressed up with red, white, and blue toppings would be perfect. Viola! You’re welcome.

Flourless Chocolate Cake w/ Berry Topping

ingredients:

16 tbsp unsalted butter

12 oz high quality dark chocolate

5 eggs

1 + 1/4 cup white granulated sugar

raspberries and blueberries, for topping

powdered sugar, for topping/dusting

directions:

preheat oven to 350 F. grease a 100 inch cake pan with canola oil and then line it with parchment paper.

in a microwavable bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until completely silky smooth.

in another bowl, whisk together the eggs and white granulated sugar.

add the egg mixture to the chocolate, whisking everything until well combined. pour the batter into the cake pan. bake for 75 minutes, or until a fork that’s been inserted into the very center of the cake comes out mostly clean (no obvious liquid batter).

remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely. i even chill mine in the freezer, so that when you remove it from the cake pan there is no chance that it breaks apart.

carefully remove the chilled cake from the pan. top with powdered sugar, then assorted berries, and again with a bit more powdered sugar. serve immediately, and enjoy!

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Lemon Buttercream Macarons

Happy Tuesday, friends!

I’m writing this from my beautiful balcony, enjoying the sunshine and a persistent summer breeze. It’s 10 a.m on my day off, I have a homemade almond milk latte in hand and a whole day of fun ahead of me. This is bliss, y’all!

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For the longest time I told myself I liked the season of summer the least. I considered it kind of boring and pretty overrated. I mean it was the best as a kid (no school! endless slumber parties! pool days!), but as an adult it just felt sort of blah. Maybe it was because when you live in L.A every season feels like a minor variation of summer. It lost it’s allure. Or maybe I just hadn’t figured out how to summer as a grown-up. Y’all. That has changed.

I have been loooving this season again. Going on runs in the warm sun, laying out by the pool with several good books, grilling almost every day, gardening, scheduling slumber parties and lake house trips and baseball games and concerts at every opportunity. And of course, getting inspired by all the bright summer-y flavors!

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Yaaas, people. Give me all the citrus. I started off the fun with lemon buttercream macarons, the world’s most notoriously finicky cookie, and this was my first batch in two years (linking to that post so we can all laugh at my photo quality and post organization back then…oy). I know what you’re thinking. Does that mean I’m a wizard? Yes. Yes it does.

As far as I can tell, these are the perfect little treat for so many reasons. They’re decadent and light at the same time, so you won’t feel super guilty about enjoying a few. They’re sweet but also tart. They’re fun to bring into work and share with colleagues. They’ll wow at any dinner party. Enjoy one after an average dinner at home and feel a little elevated. I froze these and will be making more flavors over the course of the month so I can gift them to my mama when I see her in July, as a belated mother’s day present (her only request was “nothing matcha”, ha!).

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Lemon Buttercream Macarons

ingredients

1 cup + 1/2 lb powdered sugar

3/4 cup almond flour

2 large egg whites

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

lemon yellow food gel

1/2 cup butter

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

directions

sift 1 cup of powdered sugar and 3/4ths cup almond flour into a large bowl. whisk to combine, then set aside.

add the egg whites to a metal mixing bowl and start whisking on one of the lower settings (I start with a 4 on my Kitchenaid) until the egg whites start to look frothy. add half of the granulated sugar to the egg whites, then increase the speed to a medium (7 for me) until whites start to foam. add the remaining granulated sugar, then increase the speed to high (9 works well) and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.

remove the bowl containing the meringue from the stand mixer. add half of the dry ingredients directly into the bowl containing the meringue, then use a spatula to gently fold meringue around and over until the dry ingredients are well incorporated. add the remaining dry ingredients along with 2-3 drops of food coloring gel, and continue to fold the batter. avoid over-mixing by going slowly. the batter is ready when it falls off the spatula in ribbons, but isn’t runny.

transfer the batter to a piping bag with a large round tip. pipe small, uniform circles onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper by holding the piping bag at a 45 degree angle to sheet. make sure not to overcrowd the sheets.

once finished with piping the batter, take each cookie sheet and carefully but forcefully bang the bottom of each corner on the countertop, to help release air bubbles in the batter! let the cookies sit for 35 minutes. preheat the oven to 305 F while you wait.

bake the cookies on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes. remove from the oven but let the cookies cool completely before touching them.

while the cookies cool, make your lemon buttercream by creaming butter in a clean mixing bowl. add the lemon zest to the butter and mix to combine. then add the 1/2 lb of powdered sugar. finally mix in the lemon juice.

transfer buttercream to a new piping bag and pipe frosting on the underside of one cookie. sandwich with another cookie of roughly the same size. repeat over and over again. enjoy!

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Alright. Time to read by the pool, go to a yoga class, and grill myself some Thai chicken satay skewers for lunch. Summer, y’all!