My grandson Aiden turned eight years old on Tuesday and I asked him what kind of cake he wanted me to bake him this weekend. “Chwocolate with chwocolate and some wheels” is what he answered after thinking hard. Translated, this means he wants chocolate cake, chocolate frosting and some kind of chocolate confection that resembles car wheels. Allrighty then. My sugar and chocolatiering skills aren’t so great, but I can make a mean macaron and those are round. Filled with a buttery, bittersweet chocolate cream, they’d look like the wheels from one of those monster trucks he loves. A layer cake covered in ganache and my little macaron wheels stuck to the sides and on top of it is what I was thinking, so I set about doing my shopping.
I’ve been teaching my granddaughter Jasmine the importance of mis en place when cooking and baking and she is finally starting to understand it. She’s more a fly by the seat of your pants kinda girl and she occasionally calls me “OCD Grammy” when I get a little too orderly around her. Like when I twitch if the cap on her nail polish is slightly askew. Don’t laugh. Mis en place is important! It finally clicked for her with the macarons. Aiden on the other hand, roamed off to watch some kind of sporting event on television, leaving me to surprise him.
Even with everything in place and done properly, macaroons can be a pain. Today, we had one exploding pastry bag and ended up covered in sticky batter. Jasmine ignored my cautioning to leave the macarons on the parchment paper to dry out before popping them into the oven – she was too excited, so I let her. She ended up with a tray of flat, hard little chocolate bits. Delicious, but not a macaron.
We started again. This time the macaroons sat for the appropriate time. We remembered to settle them in the pan so they’d develop their little feet (base). They puffed up beautifully and that is when Jasmine said, “ooooh I get it now” which made me smile. We made our chocolate filling – simply done but delish. Heavy cream, bittersweet chocolate and butter. The macaron cooled and were assembled and stacked onto a plate. We counted 55 of them. Plenty to decorate a cake with.
I left to get things done around the house before starting up the next phase in baking – the cake. The kids roamed back and forth and I was vaguely aware they were doing so, but I was busy. I’ve just come from the kitchen, where I went to set up for the next phase. There were SIX macarons on the plate! I asked the two chocolate-covered youngsters on the couch in what appears to be a sugar-induced coma if they’d taken the macarons. They looked at each other, then at me and slowly shook their heads.
“Goblins,” Aiden said.
“Yes, Grammy. We think there are goblins here and they really adore chocolate,” says Jasmine.
“Well, there’s no sense in making a chocolate cake then” I say. “Don’t want the goblins to run off with it.”
There won’t be a cake tonight. There will however, be no grandkids, plenty of wine and the six remaining macarons.