quick and classy

This week has been rather stressful for me, as I've been working hard to sort out a schedule that puts the things I need to do (i.e. research) at a higher priority than the things I like to do (i.e. dance).  I don't expect that I will turn into a work robot, though: although the idea seems outdated, I've started taking a Sabbath again, and so tomorrow I will not do homework, I will not do housework beyond normal maintenance things like washing dishes, and I will not be stressed out.  Well.. it may not be so easy to forgo the stress, but I need a day, and I need to trust God with my time.  Thus, I am looking forward to tomorrow, although I am not quite finished with today, no matter what the clock tells me.

My weekly cookie project just came out of the oven about half an hour ago, and maybe if I post right after I can get back into the habit of only having to talk about one cookie per post, on time.

Here goes...

87. Almond Macaroons
If you have never tried almond macaroons before, I think there is no way I can describe their flavor properly.  These are just about the simplest cookie in the book (yes, even simpler than shortbread!), and yet I had never tried any cookie with the same flavor palette before I got into this book.  The first time I made almond macaroons was as a part of another cookie, discussed in this entry, and was so impressed by the flavor that I was looking forward to making the plain macaroons.  So yes.  In these cookies are almond paste (which can be found in the grocery store next to the pie filling), confectioners' sugar, salt, egg whites, and vanilla.  That's it.  The ingredients are mixed together until the dough becomes thick, and then baked for some 20 minutes.  I made a mistake on the first batch, as I didn't mix enough for the egg whites to thicken, and I used the tablespoon of dough the recipe directed, and ended up with wide, flat, ugly cookies.  I attacked the remaining dough more before the second batch and reduced the cookie size to 1 tsp each, and found the result to be much prettier.  With all the stress of this week and even today, these quick cookies were a nice project to throw together, and I look forward to sharing them tomorrow.

On the topic of things shared, I had a baking project this week that is non-project, but was so delicious I had to take a picture, and I think it is worth sharing.  We like to celebrate people's birthdays in my bible study group, and I like to find new kinds of cake to bake for people when the opportunity arises.  And so I was stumbling around on allrecipes when I found the following:

Are you ready for this?  These are cupcakes with cookie dough in the middle.  The lighting in the picture is kind of poor, but the cupcake pictured here is dark chocolate cake (box mix) with a big hunk of undercooked cookie dough, and topped with a chocolate ganache icing.  The concept is actually quite simple: if you make chocolate chip cookie dough and freeze it in ~1tbsp balls, you can put it right on your cupcake batter and bake it.  The cake part will bake all the way and the cookie dough will not.  I liked the chocolate cake because you can actually see that the dough is in there.  It also paired well with the icing: chocolate ganache is just semisweet chocolate melted in heavy cream, and so the chocolate taste is strong without being as sweet as regular icing.  Everyone in my small group really liked these, except for the birthday boy, who, as it turns out, doesn't like chocolate.  I am fail.  But these cupcakes are amazing, and if you want to impress someone with not much work, this is a sure bet.

That's about all for now, except for a quick follow-up on my Cuban recipes post: I made the chicken recipe, and although it took a little while to prep, it was SO DELICIOUS, as there was a good mix of sweet and savory, and maybe even just a little bit of spicy taste in there too.  I'll probably make it again in the summer, when the avocados and mangoes are something more like in season.

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