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Mactweets September: Childhood summers

No, no, it’s not a macaron up there ^^ but before you click away let me explain…

I have to say I wasn’t entirely thrilled with this month’s Mactweets theme, A Childhood Summer.  For me, summers meant Christmas – and I am not ready to start thinking about that just yet, having just started school with the longest term ahead of me before we leave for Mexico on December 18th (to escape Christmas).  I am not a beach girl (case in point, no beaches for us in Mexico) and so the summer often stretched ahead of me with the constant challenge of finding things to do when we were not travelling – my favourite summers were when we escaped to other countries, I guess the start of my love for travel.

So, as a child during the holidays, I read a lot and I baked a little but Christmas really overshadowed much of the summer so, I decided to attempt some Christmas-coloured (not themed, mind you!) macarons.  Except that I kind of forgot that folding dry ingredients into egg whites wasn’t really something I can do properly as I nurse my injured hand back to health (yes, yes, Mum – I know you are reading this thinking what on earth was I doing baking with an injured hand but I *am* you and Dad’s daughter after all. Nuff said).  So yeah, the macaronnage stage didn’t quite turn out as it was supposed to (batter not firm enough…) and even as I was putting them in the oven, I knew that they wouldn’t work out. Let’s blame the Christmas influence, shall we?

Yes, there are the beginnings of feet and the tops are lovely and shiny, but the collapsing effect isn’t quite what I was going for. Though it could be argued that after Christmas with the family, one feels a little battered about and unsightly.

Sigh.  Check out those ones melting into each other. Double sigh.  I *knew* I couldn’t attempt any more, even though I had a tiny amount of aged whites left over.  I was in too bad a mood and I am of the opinion that you infuse your mood into whatever you are making, thus a second batch wouldn’t work either.  Yes, I am nothing if not a pessimist sometimes!

So I put them in a Tupperware and pondered what I could do with them. I have folded crumbled bits of macaron into ice cream before, which tasted great.  But I kind of wanted to finish what I started – the dreaded Christmas colours – so I put them to work decorating some mini lemon cupcakes, iced using the same lime buttercream I had planned on sandwiching the macs together with.

I crushed the failed shells in a coffee grinder and it made a pretty powder…

And since said injured hand can’t really pipe very well, I did a little squiggle of buttercream and sprinkled the macaron crumbs on top…

I actually think they’re really pretty and I love the texture the crumbs give to the cake.

And since I am experimenting with light and learning how to shoot for texture in my food photography class,  I took about 14 000 pictures of the little darlings.

Which photo you prefer?

So there you have it.  Hopefully I will be back in the Mac saddle next month but as I said in my Project Food Blog Post #1, I am nothing if not honest and am not afraid to post my failures.  Because, like life, cooking and baking are a constant learning process.

Speaking of Project Food Blog – did you like my first entry?  If you did, please head on over here and vote for me before 6pm PST/9pm EST Thursday September 23rd.   I have the most fabulous post planned for Challenge 2 and it would be a shame to not be able to post it because I did not advance to the next round…

(if you are not a member of Foodbuzz, you can still vote too – you just need to sign up, only takes a few clicks)

As a thanks for bearing with me through the ups and downs of my culinary adventures, I’m also hosting a $75 CSN Stores gift card giveaway – click here to enter before September 26th.

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58 Responses to Mactweets September: Childhood summers

  1. Belinda @zomppa September 20, 2010 at 09:18 #

    I love these colors! What lovely memories.

  2. Barbara Bakes September 20, 2010 at 09:21 #

    I definitely wasn’t expecting Christmas. Love the picture with the white background – really makes the red and green pop. Fun idea to use them as sprinkles.

    How can you not like beaches?

  3. Sharlene (Wheels and Lollipops) September 20, 2010 at 09:43 #

    This is what I love about your posts, its the good and the bad :) I love the way that you turned it around and made something equally as yummy. Working a stones throw away from La Durée I see enough macaroons on a daily basis but twists like this always make me smile :)

  4. Lauren @ Healthy Delicious September 20, 2010 at 09:52 #

    LOVE the last photo on the darker background!
    I can’t imagine having Christmas in the summer… so weird!

  5. RavieNomNoms September 20, 2010 at 10:30 #

    What fabulous colors! These are so cute!

  6. Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 20, 2010 at 10:34 #

    Mardi, these are truly the perfect Christmas macs. So many people have a story of a Christmas lunch failure – the mother-in-law whose oven broke half way through cooking the turkey so she finished it off in the microwave and everyone ended up with food poisoning; the roast pork some aunty brought round and threw everyone into choking fits with its dryness that no amount of apple sauce could fix; some dodgy uncle getting on the turps and cracking onto someone half (or twice) his age. You’ve managed to capture this perfectly, and then pull off some fantastic cupcakes and photos. I like the dark mat ones, the colours really pop :)

  7. deeba September 20, 2010 at 11:14 #

    I hear you Mardi girl, I really do. It’s humid as can be here, I’m down with the flu, I’ve tried 4 times since the morning, but just buttons is all I get. What a life eh?
    Glad you shared those beautiful memories, and really happy to see how beautifully you salvaged the challenge! Well done my dear! Cheers to your spirit! Thank you for joining Jamie & me at MacTweets!

  8. Jamie September 20, 2010 at 12:26 #

    I forget that half the world has summer in December! LOL! But I love how you used these amazingly colored macs! And I think the cupcakes are beautiful! See that adventures you have with a busted hand? And personally I love the last picture! Onward and upward Mardi! You mac attacked this theme with a roaring success!

  9. May Ling Wu September 20, 2010 at 12:51 #

    Love learning more about you in this blog. Good luck with PFB!

  10. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle September 20, 2010 at 12:51 #

    Summers meant Christmas? In Australia? Cause surely not in Toronto or global warming is REALLY on a rampage!

    I love the last photo, the direction, the bokeh…it’s my most fav. And wherever you are, Merry Christmas!

  11. Daydreamer Desserts September 20, 2010 at 12:57 #

    First off I hope you hand is feeling better. Secondly, this is what I love about you… you tell it like it is!

    I think you definitely achieved what you were hoping for… Christmas Colors. The mac powder on sprinkled delicately over those yummy cupcakes was a very clever touch. :)

  12. Sarah, Maison Cupcake September 20, 2010 at 13:56 #

    You might not be pleased with them but they’re a fabulous colour! Mine always fade loads in the oven.

    I like the bottom photo best.

  13. Evan Thomas September 20, 2010 at 14:26 #

    I think the second one is more visually interesting personally.

  14. roxan September 20, 2010 at 16:49 #

    I LOVE your way of turning lemons into lemonade :) What a great idea! Your cupcakes look great.

    BTW – I would have eaten your macarons, even the ones that melted into each other.

  15. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels September 20, 2010 at 18:27 #

    Love the colors in the second picture. What a funny story, I love how you used the macaroons to decorate the cupcakes. I would have never of thought of that! :)

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 23, 2010 at 10:00 #

      Well I had seen someone crush them up to use instead of as much ground almond so I figured it would be pretty…

  16. Cynthia September 20, 2010 at 19:08 #

    You get bonus points for creativity! And I like the second photo better, it has more dimension to it.

  17. FoodFitnessFreshair September 20, 2010 at 19:59 #

    Just came across your site. Those cupcakes look amazing. I’d vote for the second photo. It’s great!

  18. Megan Gordon September 20, 2010 at 20:48 #

    Urgh. Can’t believe your hand still isn’t better?! So sorry, Mardi! And talk about turning a sticky situation around…I love what you did with the crumbs of these! I probably would’ve just tossed them in a sulk. And these photos are looking great. How awesome to get the opportunity to take an extended class!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 23, 2010 at 09:59 #

      Thanks Megan. The hand is kinda going 3 steps forward and 2 steps back – have to be careful… And I am sure you would make perfect mags every time!

  19. Magic of Spice-Alisha September 20, 2010 at 23:29 #

    I love both pictures…but if I had to choose I would say #2. These are gorgeous :)

  20. make my day September 21, 2010 at 00:02 #

    ok.. so i did have a bit of a giggle when reading this..so i have to say the pic with them macaroons melting into each other is my favourite ( because of story behind it only I promise). But love your ability to turn a baddie into a goodie. It’s amazing how often these things happen I reckon we just need to look at it with a new pair of eyes sometimes! the last pic is really my favourite – just teasing before. cheers kari

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 23, 2010 at 09:58 #

      Oh believe me, I was laughing as I was putting them in the oven as I KNEW they wouldn’t work!!

  21. penny aka jeroxie September 21, 2010 at 02:56 #

    14,000 images? no wonder you are improving rapidly!

  22. Mary R September 21, 2010 at 03:23 #

    I’d say you salvaged those pretty well. I tried to make macarons once and had a hellish time.

    I’m an amateur food photographer and I take 100s of photos and even make my husband pose as a hand model sometimes…

  23. A Canadian Foodie September 21, 2010 at 08:30 #

    So, you are from Australia? …or where? I didn’t know that. It is a weird perspective for me… Christmas in the summer. Kudos to your using your macaron differently. I am certain they were delicious, anyway. How frustrating that after all of your incredible success, there are still occasional problems. I love the intense colour. And, they would also be great in a parfait!
    :)
    Valerie

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 23, 2010 at 09:56 #

      In my “About me” page ^^ ;-) And I don’t think you can ever rely on macs working perfectly. Too many factors that affect them.

  24. Daniel@CocinaSavant September 21, 2010 at 09:22 #

    So, you took 14,000 pictures of these. My mother-in-law says that when we have kids there will always be more pictures of food taken than the kids. These turned out awesome as sometimes improvisation urges us toward new creations. Good luck with Project Food Blog. Dawn and I are too busy to do it which saddens me greatly.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 23, 2010 at 09:56 #

      Being the second child, there are way less pics of me than my older sister. And in fact, I prob now have more food photos than of my cat – which is saying a lot!

  25. Sasa September 21, 2010 at 11:09 #

    Being from NZ, summer means Chrissie to me too (go southern hemisphere!) Lovely idea and I do hope your hand gets better soon.

  26. CarolineAdobo September 21, 2010 at 11:53 #

    Way to go for making a cute cupcake. Hope your hand heals soon. I like the last pic & already voted for you :)

  27. saltyseattle September 21, 2010 at 12:03 #

    I am guessing they taste absolutely delicious, despite their somewhat compromised appearance. In terms of the photos, I think my fave is the one you led with, of course I couldn’t shoot a cupcake out of a paper bag, so… Loving it tho- we have to be honest, right?

  28. Shea M. @ Blissfully Unrefined September 21, 2010 at 18:33 #

    Out of the last 2 photos, I think I like the first one better (you asked) :). The neutral white background really makes the colors pop, and the texture of the crumbs is great! Question though – why does summer remind you of Christmas? (possibly a naive question, but I still had to ask, lol)

  29. Anna Johnston September 21, 2010 at 22:59 #

    Fantastic colours Mardi. Have to say Christmas & summer go together for me.

  30. Kocinera September 22, 2010 at 00:57 #

    What a cool use for macarons! I’ll definitely keep this in mind next time I have a batch that turns out less than perfect…which is rather often. :D

    Beautiful photos, by the way!

  31. Pam M September 22, 2010 at 02:23 #

    The second photo is my favourite. The cupcakes look wonderful, and I loved what you did with the macaron crumbs. Just reminding you about the bad Christmas family story…. something about too many drinks and your father’s new red B.M.W.! Wish I could get the cupcake papers like you have, mine ( and I have tried many brands) always collapse, maybe my cupcake days are over!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 23, 2010 at 09:54 #

      Yes well I wasn’t going to elaborate on “bad Christmas stories” because then I would have to tell that one!!!!

  32. Lora September 22, 2010 at 12:39 #

    What brilliant use of Macdust!. I love the 5th photo down.

  33. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction September 22, 2010 at 21:27 #

    I wish I had thought to grind up my failed macs a few months back… Mine just landed in the garbage (well, OK… I ate a few and then threw the rest in the garbage). Cute idea to decorate the cupcakes!

  34. Bonnie September 26, 2010 at 00:14 #

    I love the side shot on the gold plates. You definitely get an A for effort this time, and an A+ for creativity.

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