Posts

French Rose Geranium Macarons

A Parisian window without geraniums is like a macaron with no filling.

Even starting out as students in our first Parisian apartment, geraniums brightened up our rickety shutters. It was one of the first things a girl-fresh-from-Scotland just had to do to feel a little French. The other Frenchie things: the discrete bum-wiggle walk, the designer handbag, the slender figure – “le look”, quoi – would need rather more time (20 years on, I’m still awaiting this transformation), but at least this was something easy in the meantime. Le quick fix.

Along by the Parisian quays, it’s also de rigueur.  Geraniums are beautifully decked out on peniches, or houseboat barges moored along by the Seine.

Outside Paris, geraniums are coordinated with more colourful shutters for le country look.

So pretty, jolie, French. But have you heard of the rose geranium or pelargonium? When you rub their velvety leaves, a strong lemony-rose scent perfumes the fingers and can pack a powerful punch. Can you imagine the next scene?  No, not Rocky – more a French garden scene, peut-être.

Pop in for a rose macaron with a pot of darjeeling, mes amis

Rose geranium leaves can be used to perfume your baking. For your macarons, follow the rose recipe on page 45 of Mad About Macarons. Omit the rose water, using 100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) cream and infuse a few pelargonium leaves in it. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for an hour. Turn the delicately scented cream back on the heat and follow the recipe. Adding just a few drops of rose geranium aroma just gives it that extra je ne sais quoi for a most delicious macaron sensation.  It tastes of rose, but it’s not.

Anyone for a rose-geranium macaron?

Sue, of Tales from the Giantswood, also has an interesting tip with rose geranium leaves: put the leaves in a sealed jar of sugar and when you bake a cake, place the leaves at the bottom and when it’s baked, peel them off and your cake has the lovely scent of rose geranium. Why not place the rose geranium leaves in caster sugar and use the sugar later in your macaron making?

So sit back and relax with a pot of Darjeeling tea and a few rose geranium macarons.  You deserve it.  It’s decadent but don’t forget that macarons are gluten free and if they’re homemade, you’re saving for that designer handbag, n’est-ce pas? Now, where was I on that bottom wiggle? No question about it: I shall always be behind on that one.

Rose geranium macarons

Time has come, my friends, for me to take a small blogging break. Well, most of Paris is shutting down for the holidays so I may as well join them. 😉 I can’t thank you enough for all of your wonderful support via your comments on Le Blog and for sharing in the fun of macarons in macaronivoreland. I shall see you again on 29 August for more mad macarons, French recipes, and foodie adventures in Paris and around my local haunts.  I have so much in store for you so stay tuned.

Great Party Times Giveaway

Don’t forget the Mad About Macarons! competition over at Pippa Middleton’s site, ‘The Party Times. You have until 13th August (2011) to post your entry – you could be one of the 10 lucky winners to receive a copy of the book.  The competition is open to everyone – no matter where you live – so head on over and join in the fun! Good luck.

Egg Yolk Recipe Series

It’s a real pleasure to have my friend, Carolyn – otherwise known as FoodDreamer – as my guest this week.  She has shared her wonderful recipe for Rum and Toasted Coconut Ice Cream.  It’s not just a dream to taste – it’s also sugar free, low carb and gluten free.  How cool is that?

Guest Recipe: Rum and Toasted Coconut Ice Cream (low carb/gluten free)

How often do you dream about food?  Do you think about lunch at breakfast, dinner at lunch and breakfast at dinner – and then continue dreaming of recipes in between meals?

Let me present you to my friend, Carolyn, who is otherwise known as FoodDreamer.  When I first discovered her blog, All Day I Dream About Food, there were a number of names that kept ringing out. Sugar was replaced with interesting names such as erythritol and stevia, for example.

What baffles me about Carolyn, is that each time I see her beautifully sweet and mouthwatering photos of cakes, cookies, tarts, bread, and candies, you wouldn’t even bat an eyelid.  They all look stunning.  But study each recipe carefully and there’s also something extra special behind each and every one she produces. They are ALL low carb and/or gluten free. You see, Carolyn is diabetic and has been ever since giving birth to her third child. It’s amazing how she has relearned how to cook all of our favourite treats but transformed them into low carb / gluten free masterpieces.

I am so honoured to have her on MadAboutMacarons, to concoct another stunning low carb recipe for us.  Let me hand you over to the sweet – but with no sugar added 😉 – Carolyn Ketchum.

FoodDreamer: All Day I Dream About Food

When Jill asked me to guest post on her blog, I may or may not have let out a squeal of delight.  I am not saying I did, but I am also not saying I didn’t.  See, if you are a regular reader of Mad About Macarons, you already know that Jill is brilliant.  She is an amazing cook, and has taken on the world of French cooking and that now infamous treat, the macaron.  She has written a cookbook devoted to them, and for those of us who are wildly scared of actually attempting to make macarons, she assures us that it’s really not that difficult.  I have promised myself to put her assurances to the test and make some very soon, but I haven’t quite worked up the courage.

So you can see why I was so delighted to be asked to guest post on such a wonderful blog.  But that delight was also tinged with a little fear.  Would I be able to come up with something that was Mad About Macaron-worthy? Jill requested that I develop a recipe that uses egg yolks.  I love that most of her guest posters do this, it makes so much sense.  After all, macarons use the whites, and we can’t let those leftover yolks go to waste.  I’ve made plenty of things that use yolks, and I am not one who fears undercooked or raw eggs, so I figured I was up for the challenge.

But what to make?  Mousse or crème brulee seemed too obvious, too…French.  I love both these desserts, but I thought if I made them, I might look like I was trying too hard to belong on Jill’s blog.  My mind kept circling back to ice cream, but I dismissed the idea several times.  Ice cream was just too unsophisticated, too child-like for Jill’s lovely blog.  But I couldn’t shake the idea.  It’s hot here in New England and ice cream is fun to make. Besides, I really wanted to try making it with some coconut milk, and the idea of coconuts made me think of rum.  And adding rum to ice cream takes it to a whole new level, so maybe it was Mad About Macaron-worthy after all?

If you happen to follow my blog too, you know that I am a diabetic and most of what I make is low carb and gluten free.  This ice cream is no exception, as I sweetened it with a stevia  blend called Stevia In The Raw.  But you could easily use whatever you like to sweeten it, it’s very versatile.  It’s also incredibly rich, as I used full-fat cream as the base.  But once again, you can change that up and use whole milk or a combination of cream and milk.  Adding the rum is up to you.  I find that a few tablespoons of alcohol in any homemade ice cream gives it a better texture and keeps it from freezing too hard.  And the dark rum in this particular recipe gives it a distinctive edge and flavor that is unmistakeable.

Rum and Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

2 cups cream, whole milk or a combination thereof
½ cup Stevia In The Raw* (or sugar, honey, splenda)
4 large egg yolks
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
½ cup unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted
3 tablespoons dark rum

Set a medium bowl in a large container of ice water.

In large saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and sweetener and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 170F on a candy or instant-read thermometer.

Meanwhile, beat egg yolks until light yellow and thickened, about 3 minutes.  Very slowly whisk ½ cup of the hot cream into the yolks to temper them, then gradually whisk tempered yolks back into the saucepan.  Continue to cook mixture, stirring continuously, until it reaches 175F to 180F.  Do not let it come to a boil.

Stir in the coconut milk and toasted coconut.  Pour mixture into the bowl set into the ice bath and let cool 10 minutes, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill until cold, at least 3 hours.

Stir in rum and pour into canister of an ice cream maker.  Churn according to manufacturer’s directions until thickened and creamy, about the consistency of soft serve ice cream.  Transfer to an air-tight container and press plastic wrap flush to the surface.  Chill until firm but not rock hard, about 2 more hours.   Serve immediately.

If you will be freezing the leftovers for later use, be sure to let them warm in the fridge or on your counter to make them soft enough to serve.

* Stevia In The Raw is a stevia blend that is meant to be measured cup for cup like sugar.  Pure stevia extract (liquid or powder) is much stronger and a little goes a long way, so sweeten to taste.

Thank you so much, Carolyn, for not only such a deliciously melting-in-the mouth rum and toasted coconut ice cream but you’ve done it again.  It’s not just ice cream but low-carb-with-no -sugar ice cream!  It’s high time I tried out baking without sugar – you have inspired me so much.

Don’t forget that Carolyn is on Facebook via ‘All Day I Dream About Food’ and don’t forget to drop in to her blog, All Day I Dream About Food to check out many more fabulous gluten-free and/or low carb recipes and say bonjour from me!