a Macaroon Epiphany

Until the gluten free movement put the flavor back into flourless foods, Passover bakery goods tasted like sawdust. For forever, the only Passover-approved cookie available at the grocery was an almond macaroon. Like a beloved family tradition, those icky sweet orbs have been passed off from one generation to the next as the holiday’s go-to sweet. Falling into the ancestral way, I’ve been serving almond nuggets for over 30 years, until this year, when I experienced a macaroon epiphany.

Ever so sick and tired of the packaged cookie, I turned to my cookbooks for a macaroon review.

vintage cookbooks_array

A 1913 recipe for a Cocoanut Macaroon called for 1 grated cocoanut, 1/2 its weight in sugar, and the white of 1 egg. A mixture like a paste was to be worked into balls the size of a nutmeg and baked fifteen to twenty minutes in a slow oven.

While a perusal of recipes from later decades provided a tad more direction, apparent was the macaroon is no newcomer when it comes to the homemade treat scene.

More of a surprise is the simplicity of ingredients that are a modern macaroon.

You’ll Need:  14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

The Mixing Directions:  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
Using 2 teaspoons, take generous dips into the mixture and drop onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Don’t smooth or compact into neat cookie “balls.” Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool, then store airtight to maintain freshness.

Step it up a notch: After cooling, dip 1/2 of a macaroon into melted dark chocolate; then place on a parchment covered cookie sheet. To harden the chocolate, set sheet in the freezer or refrigerator. Store airtight.

macaroons_chocolate dipped www

The resulting cookie is a Passover game changer. Irresistibly yummy, it’s impossible to eat just one, so smarten up from the get go and double the output.

It would seem no contest between a delectable macaroon and a macaroon with a shelf life

macaroons_in dish www

of two years, but not so, according to my tradition-besotted husband. Each bite of almond, macaroons_cannister in cupboard www

he says, is a sensory memory trigger, taking him back to a time when his parents were alive and as a family, they gathered at the Passover table.

His response gave me pause.

Perhaps when it comes to tradition and our holidays, a tastier macaroon isn’t necessarily better.

xx EllynAnne

Quilty Giveaway Winners

Carolynn Mintz and Marsha Lynne have been selected (via my brother-in-law providing 2 random numbers) to each receive a copy of the quilty magazine with Erika’s apron patterns.

apron-page-in-quilty_thumb.jpgErika’s designs have a modern domestic feel and I’m excited to see your finished aprons. Congratulations!

With the end of October begins the 21 days in November that encourage us to Tie One On (an apron, of course!) and give from the heart to someone who would benefit from a gesture of kindness.

TOOD-2013-very-clear-image002.pngThe Tie One On Day Giveaways scheduled for the four Wednesdays in November are to thank every one for participating and encourage your spreading the word and love that is TOOD.

For each Giveaway, there will be one (1) winner. You need only enter once to be in the running for all four. Entry is HERE !

The November 6th Giveaways are provided by these sponsors:

Marula, Chaps Bakery, Country Woman magazine, Eleanor’s, Bernina USA, Simplicity and My Memories.

Each year I am ever hopeful more and more will make Tie One On Day part of their Thanksgiving tradition because the more who participate, the more who receive.

xx EllynAnne

Ready Set…Tie One On! Share! and Give Thanks!

Hide & Seek at Passover and Easter

This week-end celebrates Passover and Easter, which is especially exciting news for the egg industry. Poultry farmers are ringing up sales as the hard boiled egg is featured within both holidays.

For Passover, the egg is a symbolic food, as well as a key ingredient to a flour-less torte dessert.
Passover choco torte www
For Easter, the egg provides one of childhood’s happiest experiences:
vintage mag_easter egg cover 1948 www (Medium)
Growing up in the South and the only Jewish family in the neighborhood, our parents allowed my siblings and I might participate in the fun of Easter through dyeing eggs and holding our own egg hunts in the backyard.

With our little record player on hand, we sang along to the one Easter song permitted, as we colored dozens of eggs.
Peter Cottontail record easter version www (Small)
When our friends returned from church and sat down to their Sunday dinner, my brothers and I were playing Peter Cottontail to our three little sisters, hiding the eggs over and over and over in the tall grass of the backyard.
Bunny pic 1930 www (Small)
I have wonderful memories of those days and wanted that same fun for my own little boys.

As one of a handful of Jewish families in our town, my husband and I did as my parents had done and sanctioned the egg hunt. To every hunt advertised, our boys were there, running about with their little baskets, gathering eggs and candies and having the most fun.

It’s been decades since those days, and with children no longer about, so has there been no egg coloring nor hiding nor hunting.

As I was setting the Passover table last night, and placing the ceremonial hard boiled egg into its spot on the Seder plate, I suddenly thought about a particular someone and whether her Easter might use a bit of whimsy and surprise.
table cloth closeup www (Small)

So today, I purchased a bag of jelly beans, filling a vintage egg holder to overflowing.  Adorable, yes, but missing something…

Chick egg holder with jelly beans www
                                  Ta Dah!
Chick egg holder with jelly beans choco rabbit www (Small)

Holidays like Passover and Easter are so very rich in tradition. Whether matzo ball soup or a baked ham, hiding the matzo or hunting colorful eggs, what’s important is as we celebrate, not a seat at the table is empty.

Chocolate Almond Torte – recipe from Country Living magazine
Passover co living www
2 sticks plus 2 T                     1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter
unsalted butter cut                       a 10-inch springform cake pan.
into small pieces

9  oz good quality                   2. In a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering
chocolate, chopped                    water, melt butter and chocolate together.
                                                  Stir until combined. Set aside to cool.

6 lg eggs, separated                3. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with
2/3 cup superfine                        sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually pour
sugar                                          melted chocolate into egg mixture, stirring
                                                  constantly. Fold in almonds. Set aside.

1/2 cup almonds,                   4. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set
finely chopped                           on medium high speed, beat egg whites
                                                 until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into
                                                 prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Torte will be very moist in the middle. Transfer torte to a wire rack and
cool completely in the pan, about 1 hour.  Serves 10-12. Nicely topped
with whipped cream and fresh berries.

Tie One On…an apron, of course!