Macarons 2014 – Batches 13 and 14 – NewBo style

Cedar Rapids, IA has this fantastic little main street district called Czech Village/New Bohemia or NewBo for short.  It includes a fun indoor farmer’s market, NewBo City Market, an independent book store, coffee shop and artist studios.  It was in one of these artist studios where my macarons made their public début in Iowa.  It was a combo party – studio opening for Russ Fagle and 50th birthday party for a dear friend.

Posing in front of a Russ Fagle print getting ready to celebrate NewBo style

Posing in front of a Russ Fagle print getting ready to celebrate NewBo style

Russ Fagle has a great variety of work – in medium, subject and style.  I am a fan of his NewBo poster series.

A great number of people came to the party. And I must say the folks of Cedar Rapids are quite fabulous. I recommend checking out the area if you ever find yourself in the neighborhood.

As for the macarons, I have already written about the woes of the lemon curd macarons in Batch 12.  Batches 13 and 14 were made on the same day.

Action pose by nephew as he pretends to eat the salted caramel macaron

Action pose by nephew as he pretends to eat the salted caramel macaron

They were an improvement as I mostly figured out the temperature to use in my sister’s oven. I also cut the sugar mixed into the egg whites by 50 grams for Batches 13 and 14.

They still had some “character” and were not ideal in their form, but were still tasty enough to share.

The filling for Batch 13 was my go-to salted caramel recipe with a slight twist.  Instead of mixing the caramel with butter, I used cream cheese.  This is my go-to recipe because I tried it and I had success.  I have since been able to repeat the success, so I figure why fix what ain’t broke.

Batch 14 was a chocolate ganache – heavy cream, vanilla, coffee and dark chocolate.  These are my go to flavors when serving a crowd and not wanting to be adventurous.

The macarons had some great company at the dessert table.  Cakes made and decorated by my dear childhood friend (her husband was the one celebrating the big 5-0). He is a big fan of Bob Dylan and it has become a tradition for her to decorate his birthday cake with a Bob Dylan image.

The whole experience was well worth the wee bit of adventure in a snowstorm.

Macarons had some great company on the dessert table

Macarons had some great company on the dessert table

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Macarons 2014 – Batches 1, 2 and 3

0110140752aFor 2014, I have fallen prey to the beginning of the year goal setting affliction.  The goals are to make 52 batches of macarons this year and to document them.  Why 52?  Who knows, it sounded like a reasonable number to average one batch a week.  I often make more than one batch at a time, but there are some weeks I don’t make any.

The first macarons of the year – Chocolate Salted Caramel – were presented at the Minnesota Public Radio | American Public Media Employee Cabaret Bakery Showcase.  Every year employees of MPR and APM, take the stage at the Fitzgerald theatre and perform for the co-workers, family, and friends.  It is great fun. It helps there are so many talented people working there.  This year included a bakery showcase which I eagerly volunteered to make some macarons.

The details: shells were made using the Mad About Macarons basic recipe, plus what I had left for cocoa divided into thirds (probably about 10 grams each).   The filling is the Salted Caramel using Manu’s Menu’s recipe.  One batch of the filling was plenty to fill all three batches of the shells.

Mentions were made some of these were taken home for partners who were not able to attend the event.  This sounds like a stamp of approval to me.