I’ll spare you my generally jaded feelings about St. Valentine’s Day.. It could be because I am in love – engaged – or simply because my fiancé & I have extremely busy schedules in which there will be days where we don’t see each other for more than half an hour (if at all) – despite the fact that we co-habitate!! Therefore, we were especially looking forward to having a nice date night! We don’t do the silly commercialised elaborate gift-giving; it’s often been exchanges of the following: a sweet valentine love note to a single-stemmed rose & in years past, accompanied by Theo Chocolate confections or a bottle of port. Our tradition would be to have an amazing dinner at our favourite French café in Seattle called Le Pichet. As this was our first Valentine’s Day in SoCal; I decided to bring a bit o’ Seattle to us: I ordered the Casanova caramel collection & the FareStart mirepoix caramel collection from Theo Chocolate. I was particularly excited about the mirepoix caramels, they are in the following savoury+sweet flavours: celery herb, caramelized onion, carrot coriander & bay fennel. Needless to say, the fiancé was pleasantly surprised to see these treats.
Pictured are some of the Casanova caramels: (clockwise from top right) honey saffron, lavender jalapeño, pink salted vanilla & last but not least, ginger rose. Exquisitely delicious.
Since I was in the spirit of elegant treats, I made macarons to share with my co-workers, friends & family. I made two varieties: honey rose & toasted coconut + burnt sugar. They were promptly devoured & next time, I really ought to make more.. (but can there ever be enough macarons to satiate everyone? Doubtful!) Stay tuned for a future macaron recipe post (:
What could invoke romance more than honey & rosewater? These turned out beautifully – I made sure to go gently with the rosewater – no one likes to bite into rose potpourri (blech!) I would like to note that the awesome pale pink hue of the macarons is from India Tree’s natural food colouring/decorating set that I procured from Sur la Table (both are Seattle companies; what a coincidence (: ) The red colouring is actually from beet juice !! Pretty awesome as I am never keen on red dye 40.. India Tree’s Nature’s Colours decorating set is a bit pricey but I think it’s worth the investment, as a few drops go a long way – you should be able to use this amount for most of a year (unless you use food colouring a LOT..)
Somewhat romantic. However, definitely delightful. These were made out of whimsy to accompany the honey rose macarons. I had a lot of fun making the toasted coconut macaron shells & assembling them with toasted coconut & burnt sugar Italian buttercream & burnt sugar caramel centres. The macaron shells are not tinted by any sort of food coloring – but rather, blessed by the oven! As nerdy as it may sound, this is one of the many reasons why I love baking & pastry. Practically magical.
Whether you had a nice Valentine’s Day.. Or if it was just another Thursday.. I hope & encourage you to treat yourself. Either way, that was two weeks ago. I’m having a hard time believing how February, in all its brevity, is really over!