Vanilla French Macarons with Honeysuckle Buttercream Filling


Sometimes I think there is a garden genie on our PA property. When we closed on the house in the month of March, I had a long list of what I wanted to plant in the garden. My husband said to just wait and see what would come up first. Wise words. One by one the items I desired got struck off my list as soon as they bloomed or flowered. 

Recently I found myself wishing I had a honeysuckles. Lots of them. Less than a day later I found one in full boogie with big fat bees buzzing around it up on the hill on the side of the house. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to harvesting the blossoms, they had gone. 

Then I spied a picture posted by friends living in Matamoras of their lovely honeysuckle bush in full bloom and immediately begged a cup or two full of flowers.

Consequently, these macarons are brought to you today by the generosity of friends and the awesome power of social media.
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Sage flower Almond Scone Recipe

This sage has come back for the third year in a row in our PA garden but this year was the first time it flowered. 

It looked so pretty in the garden I almost left it alone but eventually broke down, cut about half of them and used them to make these scones and infuse vinegar.

Harvesting the flowers is a bit of a tedious process. You have to pull the individual flowers off of the stem and stamen. The sage flowers are less powerful then the sage leaves so the scones had a more delicate sage flavor than if I had used the leaves.
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Nasturtium Covered Lemon Layer Cake

This was a request to bring a cake for a sit down birthday dinner for 12. The birthday boy is a cake maker. No pressure there. Said birthday boy and I were recently gawking over this book:

This gorgeous book is my latest obsession from which the Tulip Vodka recipe and inspiration for my Lilac Cashew Baklava came. We just couldn’t get over the cover cake.

Since my frosting piping skills are minimal (his are exceptional) I thought I would surprise him with a edible flower covered cake at the party. Easy peasy. No piping.

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Lilac Cashew Baklava



Last year I was all lilac crazy. Once I had figured out how to harvest my lilacs creating sugars and syrups, I went on a lilac baking binge, creating recipes like Lilac Ginger Ale, Lilac French Macarons, Lilac Blueberry Scones and Chocolate Truffles.


Even though it was a bit exciting last weekend to have four different varieties of lilacs blooming on on our PA property at once, this year I was a bit more calm about the whole thing. 

I harvested the sweetest smelling ones to make sugar, simple syrup and infused gin with lilacs. I also and spread some out on an extra large paper lined baking sheet to dry.

Recently I was thinking how I hadn’t made baklava in years and was looking for a good flavor idea as an excuse to bring on the filo dough. 
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Tequila Cilantro Pepita Pesto Salsa for Cinco de Mayo


In honor of Cindo de Mayo, let’s take a crack at revamping salsa, shall we?

Recently, I was handed about 20 pounds of tomatoes at work. They were left over props from a fashion photo shoot.  After giving two big bags away and making a huge pot of tomato sauce, many more were still lurking in every corner of my fridge.

This unique salsa is created in two steps, I first created a cilantro pepita pesto then a tequila salsa. Mix them together and you have Cinco de Mayo Appetizer Magic! 

Ay caramba is this good. The cilantro pesto is terrific by itself and mixed together with the salsa, this is one fun fiesta in a bowl.  Andele!

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Tell Mom How You Feel With Mother’s Day Message Cookies

Sometimes I get weary trolling aisles of various stores for baking supplies. Then there is the occasional score which makes it all worth it.

Recent I found this Williams-Sonoma cookie lettering set at TJ Maxx for $4.99. I have one similar much smaller rectangle shaped cutter back in Germany I’ve used before for a Karneval party.  Compared to that cutter, for which I paid about 15 Euros, this was a great find.

This set contains three large plunger style shapes (heart, star and rectangle) and the letters. Inserting the letters with this set was much easier than my other one. The best part is, included are entire words to save you time searching and loading the letters. “Thank You” “Happy” “Birthday” are a few examples. Totally. Love.

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Coconut Hot Pepper Jelly Linzer Cookies

This recipe is one of the result from my recent experimenting with coconut flour. I’m on a bit of a coconut baking jag as this is my second post in a row with coconut as a star ingredient.

This particular creation worked out way better than I expected.

Not only did these taste wonderful, I had bought some vintage tupperware cookie cutters at a tag sale for $1 last year and got to finally use them for this recipe. I am not sure this reversible one was made to be a Linzer cutter but I made it work because I loved the unusual star design.

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Red Velvet Coconut Macaroons

In honor of Passover, French Macaron Monday is replaced by Macaroon Monday. Those two words, macaroon and macaron are often confused in print. Macaroons are the coconut cookies. Macarons contain almond flour and are meringues.

These cookies were  a cinch to make from prep to mix to baking time. No mixer required. The batter does require an hour in the fridge before baking but since I am forever multitasking in my kitchen, it was easy  to whip up some homemade matzolah (recipe will be posted Wednesday) in between. So you can definitely fit another recipe around this one when prepping for your seder.

For the red velvet flavor, I used my favorite red velvet baking emulsion. It did the trick. Love that stuff. 
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Speckled Egg French Macarons for Your Easter Table

French Macarons are hard to make and I can tell you from personal experience practice does not necessarily make perfect but once you are able to make a few successful batches, you feel like you are sitting on top of the world. 

For these Easter themed French macarons,  I divided the batter into three parts and tinted them each a different color.

After the batter was colored to my liking, I piped out egg shapes, purposely using almond flour that had the skin left as opposed to the pure creamy almost white variety. My thinking was it would provide enough flecks to look like speckles. However, after checking the first round of photographs, the shells were too subtle for my liking so I went for a more obvious look.
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