Pink Velvet Grasshopper Macarons and 1,000 Cooks for the Cure
Pink might be Steven Tyler’s favorite color but it for sure isn’t mine. The word “challenge” took on a whole new meaning after I was asked to “Put on a Pink Party.”
I don’t own anything pink. My personal color palette consists of earth tone shades like brown, grey, greens, blues and whites. Not pink. NO.
After learning more about why KitchenAid had asked me to throw a pink party, my point of view on incorporating the color pink at my party totally changed. The KitchenAid campaign 1,000 Cooks for the Cure urges us to channel our passions and help create awareness and support for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The color pink is a symbolic reminder of why we are gathered together on that day.
The campaign asks us to throw a party and in lieu of having guests bring a gift, wine, or flowers request a small donation for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. It can be as small as a dollar, anything and everything counts and matters.
We as women all love to get together, share good food, and a few cocktails. My friends and I have crazy work schedules, and it’s on a rare occasion that we can all get together. When we finally do get together it’s a time for us to unwind and catch up. I had never thought to use that time to do something bigger than ourselves together as a group.
It almost seemed silly that we had never thought of it before. After throwing this pink party together, I can say that gathering with those closest to you to share the love you have for one another with others forms a bond between friends that you couldn’t even imagine possessing unless you and your friends do it yourself.
To “Put on Pink Party” doesn’t mean having everything from the decorations to the food be pink, but rather the theme encourages the use of the color pink within your party as a tool to unite us and help us take a stand against breast cancer.
Planning a party can be stressful, but when you are fueled from a place of service and love the work seems effortless.
As I said before pink is not my color, but I wanted to make it be my color by having the décor best represent me and my style.
I went to my local fabric store and picked up some earth-toned pink cloth and cut it into rectangles to make placemats. Paired with a pink striped napkin, and some vintage looking silverware the pink seemed like it belonged and it was an elegant reminder that we were there that day for a reason. The meal was gorgeous, light and summery. We finished the meal off with a plate of Pink Velvet Grasshopper Macarons.
When you first look at my pink macaron you will see a pleasantly pink exterior enveloping a white ribbon of shiny filling. Your first thought might be they are white chocolate raspberry flavor or perhaps strawberries and cream. When you put one in your mouth you are surprised to be hit with hints of chocolate and the cooling sensation of mint. They are not overly sweet, so even indulging in 2-3 of them won’t leave you with a sugar headache.
If you have read my blog before, you know I am not a huge fan of overly sweet desserts. So when I was asked to come up with a macaron recipe I knew it was going to sway from the traditional sweet delights. While traditional macarons are delicious and have been perfected by master chefs all over the world, I knew I had to come up with a recipe that best represented my cooking style. I believe the best desserts have a good backbone, depth and an element of surprise. Sometimes too much sugar can mask all these beautiful qualities in a dish. I believe these macarons hit all those vital notes, and leave everyone happy and satisfied. These were the perfect way to end a beautiful party.
I challenge and encourage all of you to throw a pink party of your own, I promise it will exceed your expectations and hopefully together we can help find a cure for breast cancer.
Macarons scare a lot of people, but they are actually quite simple and easy to make. They take a bit of practice and a lot of patience but the result is well worth it. The best part is they are traditionally made from almond flour and powdered sugar so they are naturally gluten-free and that makes me one happy lady.
Here are some helpful hints to making macaroons:
Age your eggs: separating the whites from the yolks and leave the whites in the fridge for a few days. I cover my egg whites and leave them out on the counter overnight.
Sift your ingredients several times.
Don’t over mix your batter. You will end up with cracked macarons, or even worse completely flat disks.
When piping your macaron if you can’t seem to get rid of the peak that forms at the top, take a bowl of warm water, lightly dip your index finger in and GENTLY smooth the tops. This takes a very delicate and precise hand.
Be patient. Let your macarons “dry” out on the counter before baking them. Don’t rush this step.
Pink Velvet Grasshopper Macarons
For the Macarons:
4 ounces “aged” egg whites (3-4 eggs)*
4 ounces finely ground almond flour
7 ounces confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 ounces organic granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
7-10 drops of liquid red food coloring (add just enough to make it nice and pink)
Pinch of sea salt
*1 day before separate your eggs and keep the whites in an airtight container in the fridge. A few hours before you make your macarons pull the egg whites out and let them come to room temp. Don’t skip this step, the “aging” process of the egg will reduce the moisture content and lend good elasticity to meringue.
For the filling:
4 ounces white chocolate
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
For the Macarons:
Line baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with baking spray, or use a Silpat
Take 1/3 of the confectioners sugar and the almond flour and pulse in a food processor until it forms a fine powder.
Combine the almond mixture with the rest of the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder and sift into a large bowl.
In another bowl add egg whites and salt. Using a KitchenAid hand mixer or KitchenAid stand mixer whip the egg whites on medium until eggs are frothy. Turn mixer on high and slowly pour sugar in. Whip until glossy and firm peaks are formed. Add food coloring and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
Add 1/3 of the almond flour and confectioner sugar to the meringue. Using a rubber spatula gently fold the ingredients together. Repeat until all of the almond mixture and meringue are incorporated.
Transfer to a piping bag lined with a #4 round tip or simply use a plastic zip-top bag and snip a 1/2” opening.
Hold the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet and pipe 1” rounds about 2” apart from each other.
Let the macaron “dry out” on counter for 30 minutes or up an hour. You want a light skin to form on them before you put them into the oven.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake one sheet at a time for 15-16 minutes.
Remove from oven and place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool. Let the macaron cool on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes before removing.
Fill with white chocolate mint filling. Let the filled macaron “set” for another hour before serving.
For the filling:
Fill a small sauce pan 1/4 of the way up with water. Place a heat proof bowl over the saucepan and add white chocolate and milk. Allow the two to melt completely before adding extract.
Cool for 5-10 minutes. You don’t want white chocolate to be piping hot but also still needs to be liquid enough to easily spread on the macaron.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*