09 May 2010

Big Red Macarons


It's that time again.. MacTweets Challenge Time!  I have to admit, with April being little more than a blur to me, the date for our monthly macaron bake-off completely snuck up on me.

This month's challenge was a bit of a thinker for me; "MacTell Me A Story!  Storybook Macarons".  I really had a tough time wrapping my brain around this one, until this morning.  Waking up early to roll out and bake up some cinnamon rolls for my dear sweet mom on Mother's Day, somehow the dots all managed to wiggle through the cobwebs of my sleepy head and connect.  So as I stand here in my kitchen, quietly rolling out dough and thinking about my mom and books I loved to read as a child, my mind came to rest on memories of reading Clifford the Big Red Dog.

I was quite an imaginative child.  Though it was my big sister who always did all the bad stuff (DID TOO! Mom even said so!) my mom always said I just looked like I was up to something.  Well, now, that does not mean I was an angel... I certainly embarrassed the crap out of her on more than one occasion.  Ironically, those events often had something to do with my love for animals and going grocery shopping with my mom.

You see, I am an Animal Lover.  I always have been.  My mom has never been.  Most kids go through a stage of having an imaginary friend or two, but I had imaginary pets, and lots of 'em.  (Oddly, a large number of them were also named "Bart" - no idea why, this was 18 years before the Simpson's ever aired). For instance, it wasn't that I didn't want to eat the kidney beans on my plate - I simply couldn't!  How can a girl eat kidney beans, when there is an elephant sitting on her plate??  C'mon!  I'd like to see YOU try it!  It's an e-l-e-p-h-a-n-t... Then there's the time that I lost my "pet frog" in the produce section of the grocery store... (did I mention I was never considered a quiet child?).  Hysteria ensued in the broccoli section that day, searching for my amphibious green friend.  When I announced that I had found him in my pocket, everyone turned to see me holding out my two empty hands for all to see.  Then there was the fit I threw as we were headed down the food wrap aisle, which is where they also had all the pet food.  "Please Mommy!  Can we please buy some food for the puppy?"  "But we don't have a puppy, sweetie" my mother argued.  My already active imagination kicked into high gear and I wailed "Yes we do!  And he's STARVING!!!" Apparently my mother caught more than a couple of stares from passers-by, possibly contemplating reporting her to the local humane society.  I've often wondered why she stopped bringing me with her to the grocery store...



Growing up in a pet-free home meant I spent a lot of time reading stories about Clifford the Big Red Dog, Marmaduke and Garfield, dreaming of the day that I would have a dog or cat of my own.  It would be many years later before I would finally have a puppy of my own, one that would grow up to be my very own Big Red Dog.  Cairo, our Bullmastiff, was with us for 13 wonderful years before we had to let her go.  A year later, we brought home a furry little bundle of wrinkles named Molly.  Riley the goofball mutt joined our little pack a year after that.  



So, thanks to Clifford, and my real-life big red dogs, I was inspired to make these Big Red Macarons with a candied ginger ganache.  My macaron mojo was working today, as you can see, for my macs have feet, in addition to all the little paw prints.

17 comments:

Aparna said...

These are gorgeous. How on earth did you manage to get those paw prints on them?

MeetaK said...

what cute little macarons. love those paw print. my son loves clifford too. i have to show him these macarons!! wonderful!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Just gorgeous - I love the little paw prints!!!

Lora said...

I LOVED Clifford (and dog in general) and your paw print macaroons are just plain adorable.

Jamie said...

Oh this is too funny and I am picturing you as that little devil! But how lovely you ended up being able to have all of those lovely wonderful dogs to call your own! And how I remember that book! And fantastic your Clifford Macs! Just fabulous! And great feet ya got there girl!

Leave-Room-for-Dessert said...

Thanks! So glad you all like them.

Aparna, to answer your question: food colouring paste, a steady hand and a *very* tiny paintbrush
*woof*

Chele said...

Wow! Not sure I would be able to eat the macaron's after you went to all that effort with the paw prints. Just fantastic! Well done.

Cecilia said...

I just love these! And the little paw prints are sooo cute!

Barbara Bakes said...

This is hilarious! Such a fun idea. You should do more thinking with cobwebs in your head. Great macs!

karen said...

those are amazing!!! I'm super impressed!! And of course, love all the reminiscing (except the part where you said your sister did all the bad stuff...!) xo

Deeba PAB said...

How in the world did you manage those? Woot woot Julia... how novel and how absolutely adorable the paw prints are! I remember watchin HOURS of Clifford with the kids, esp the son, when he was little. These are FAR OUT!! Please share your secret my dear!!
Thanks for joining us at MacTweets. Now may I have some for dessert?
HUGS!!

Bonnie said...

These are the cutest. I can't believe the cute prints. Did you do them on the whole batch? My girls loved Clifford.

Cristie said...

What a fun post. You put so much effort into the prints. I've loved Clifford books for years- great choice!

A Canadian Foodie said...

How did you get the paw prints on your gorgeous cookies????????? loved the story. Seriously, how?
:)
Valerie

Leave-Room-for-Dessert said...

Thanks everyone! I'm so glad you like them!

Bonnie: No, sadly I did not paint them all, but I'm quite pleased with the ones I did.

Valerie: I just used Wilton food colouring gel (dark brown), a steady hand and a really really tiny paintbrush.

Woof!

Shannon said...

These are amazing, Julia! And the last photo made me cry...

oneordinaryday said...

What a great post. I had to smile because my sister used to get in trouble even when she was totally innocent. She just always smiled and looked too guilty. : ) Good times, good times!

Love your take on this challenge. Those macarons are a great tribute to Cliffords everywhere.