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.