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fresh food bites

french confections

an average joe’s guide to eating healthier

SPICE UP THE HOLIDAYS

Every month, like clockwork, you can flip through the pages of verge and find me spouting off food recipes. Most of the time, I try and find some sort or way to relate it to the month or an upcoming holiday and, of course, I generally try and keep it healthy. This time I decided to step outside of the box and offer something that you can enjoy from Christmas to Super Bowl Sunday – and beyond. This issue’s treat is based on something I used to have when I lived in Germany, and its cozy goodness is perfect for any cold time of the year. But, that is not what truly makes it different from past recipes I have shared. This month’s recipe is actually a beverage.

Hot Christmas Spice Wine INGREDIENTS

chow bella simple tips and recipes on cooking with natural goodness

THE FRENCH MACARONS

If you could taste air, it would probably taste like a macaron – an almond flavored delicacy. I had never made macarons before – real macarons, not to be confused with the coconut macaroon which is a confection of an entirely different nature. I set off on my first voyage into the unknown world of meringue tossed with almonds with excitement and was thrilled when the results were perfection. I decided to try macarons based on some lovely photos, so I did not know what to expect flavorwise. I was beautifully surprised when the outcome tasted like a fluffy almond cookie, because I was skeptical I had even made the meringue correctly. I tried beating the eggs by hand – hint, that will not work for meringue – and finally opted to visit a friend with a Kitchen Aid stand mixer: Success! The process is a bit lengthy, but the time it takes to make these little beauties is worth it. The sandwichstyle treats are perfect for a holiday party or shower. (Who doesn’t want to show their friends and family how much they love them by making delicious sweets crafted with care.) I plan to set my eggs out two days before I make my next batch of macarons, so that they have time to become fully room temperature, which is supposed to result in a more appealing cookie. The filling is up to the baker: I have seen macarons filled with chocolate, all types of jellies, buttercream and sweet cheese mixes. I chose the latter – using mascarpone, an Italian cream cheese that is not as sweet as the American version and is wonderful when mixed with preserves. Raspberry is my favorite preserve and made a wonderful mix with the mascarpone and the soft almond flavor of the cookie. Enjoy this avenue into French desserts – I plan on making more in the future and sharing the results.

2 oranges 2 bottles of red wine 1 bottle of white wine 1 peeled and thinly slice piece of fresh ginger 3 cinnamon sticks ½ tsp. ground cloves ⅓ cup brown sugar ¼ cup brandy

article and photo by ELLIE BENSON boyandabride.virb.com

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DIRECTIONS 1. Remove zest from oranges with sharp knife or peeler, then juice oranges into a large pot. 2. Pour the red and white wines into the pot, and then add the zest, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves and brown sugar stirring until the sugar is dissolved. 3. Cover and heat on medium-high until heated but not boiling, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for an hour. You can add more brown sugar along the way as preferred. 4. When ready, strain and serve hot. You can add a splash of brandy if you want to be really festive. This take on a traditional European spice wine will add even more spirit to your holiday festivities and warm things up a bit. It is perfect for sitting around a fire or just enjoying your favorite holiday TV classics while cuddled up on the couch with a loved one. I recommend serving it with a European holiday treat such as a panettone. Enjoy!

from chow bella’s kitchen: FRENCH MACARONS

Dainty French cream-filled sandwich cookies

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INGREDIENTS: 2 cups powdered sugar 1 cup blanched almonds 3 large egg whites 2 tablespoons and ½ teaspoon sugar 8 oz. mascarpone cheese 3 tbsp. raspberry preserves *You will also need two piping bags and a large round tip.

DIRECTIONS: 1. 2. 3.

by JOHN “STONEY” CANNON John believes that anyone can learn to eat healthier - in small steps - taking one bite at a time.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse blanched almonds in a food processor until they turn into medium fine flour. Add the powdered sugar into the processor and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

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In a separate bowl, mix the mascarpone and the preserves, leave at room temperature until ready to pipe. In a metal bowl, whip the egg whites until they resemble a bubble bath, continue whipping while slowly adding the sugar, stopping when you get a glossy meringue with medium peaks. Do not over whip. (Hint: If you place an egg on your mixture and it sinks, you have whipped to long.) Fold the almond mixture into the meringue until evenly mixed. Put the mixture into one of the piping bags and pipe onto the cookie sheet in 1- to 1 ¼ -inch circles (leave space between each for spreading). Let the cookies sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Bake for five minutes; reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. Watch the cookie carefully and remove before any browning occurs. Cool for 10 to 20 minutes. Using another piping bag, pipe a layer of the preserve mixture on half of the cookies, as thick as you like, then top with remaining cookies.

vergelive.com | community driven news | December 14, 2011 27

December Issue B 2011  

people | places | events | culture the NEW generation of print media serving Augusta & the CSRA

December Issue B 2011  

people | places | events | culture the NEW generation of print media serving Augusta & the CSRA

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