Yesterday, I turned 24.
For the past 3 years, I’ve been bluffing at the fact that I’d be leaving the country soon for my dream city–Paris. I’m sure my friends and family have been tired of hearing it, and so am I. So I did something crazy this morning.
Happy Birthday Joyeux Anniversaire to me! I’m going.
At last. I’ve booked a one way ticket to adventure. It’s funny how birthdays have a way of sparking spontaneous acts. One year older, is one year less I have to cross off those “what-if’s” from my bucket list. Soon, Paris in May can be finally crossed off the list.
My father told me a story today of a woman in Taiwan who was an ex-flight attendant turned bakery success story. Her adorable cakes are currently a rage throughout Taipei. My father told me that he knows that I can make better cakes. I smiled. It’s the first time he’s shown appreciation for my craft, and acceptance of the path I chose. Still, now, it’s hard to be secure with the fact that I made the right decision to follow my passions rather than do what I feel is expected of me as a first-generation college grad from UCLA, whose parents’ idea of success is determined by annual salary. I make a kitchen cook’s wage, but I know that I’m not letting anyone down.
1 birthday, 1 year in San Francisco, and 3 jobs later, I have earned zero regrets. I’ve learned the hard lesson of surrendering myself to humility and gaining the strength to persist against the odds.
Speaking of persistence, let’s talk about these macarons you’ve been scrolling through for the past few minutes. These are the products of my 4th attempt at making these darn things. This recipe is essentially the same recipe I used to make my first ever batch of macarons. However, this time, I’ve done a better job of conducting the macaronage, which is the process of incorporating the almond flour mixture into the egg whites. The idea is to slightly deflate the egg whites, but it is easy to go overboard. I found yoyomax12’s video to be very helpful in illustrating how this process should be done, in terms of how to properly swipe your spatula. I also did not have any brown food coloring handy, so I substituted a bit of the confectioner’s sugar for cocoa powder to produce a lightly tanned color. I think that did the trick.
What do you think?
Salted Caramel French Macaron
Adapted from MarthaStewart.com
1 c confectioner’s sugar, minus 2 tsp.
3/4 c almond flour
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 c granulated sugar
*Same recipe as my Raspberry Honey Buttercream Macarons.
Salted Caramel French Buttercream Recipe
Adapted from Sara Yoo, YumSugar
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 c heavy cream
1 1/2 stick of butter, softened
2 tsp sea salt
2 egg yolks
3 1/2 Tbsp milk
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine granulated sugar, and water into a medium stockpot. Stir to melt the sugar. Take a brush dipped in water and wash down any granulated sugar from the sides of the pot. Heat on medium high until sugar begins to caramelize. Do not stir as this will create crystallization. The edges will be the first to brown, feel free to tilt the pot and swish the sugar mixture around to distribute the caramelization. Once caramel has reached a deep amber color, immediately remove from heat and whisk in heavy cream. Be careful as it may spatter. Follow by whisking in butter and salt. Transfer into heat proof container and let cool to room temperature. Measure out 7 Tbsp.
Now it’s time to turn this salted caramel into a French buttercream. In a small pot, whisk together egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and pale in color. Whisk in milk. Heat over low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and reaches the consistency of pudding. remove from heat and whisk in the 7 Tbsp of salted caramel and vanilla extract. You can add more or less depending on how sweet you’d like your buttercream filling to be.