It’s been quite some time since I have posted anything. The past few months (and all of 2017 actually) has been a terrible roller-coaster ride of hopes and fears as I watched my Mom’s life slowly slip away.
I didn’t bake anything for a long time, but with Christmas fast approaching I started feeling the creative urge to bake some goodies… traditional goodies. So here is the first of three traditional recipes I’m going to share with you all as we make our way through December. The first is these delectable and delicate hazelnut macaroons. My Oma has been making them at Christmastime for as long as I can remember and they would always arrive as perfect little mounds in the prized cookie tin I was gifted each year. Mom and I on the other hand struggled year after year making these as they always spread flat and ended up looking like we were trying to make boob cookies.
Last year, my Mom, Oma and I all got together and made them while I took very detailed notes to make sure we would have it down pat this time. Well, sure enough when I made them for the first time this year they all flattened out just like before. So frustrating! Oma came over to make them again with me and of course there were more tricks I discovered but they still weren’t quite right. More nuts and lemon extract instead of lemon juice later and they finally turned out the way I remember. Third time is a charm right? 😉
I am just thrilled that I FINALLY figured out how to make these hazelnut macaroons just like Oma’s. I know my Mom would be proud.
Below is the tribute that I wrote for the beautiful soul whom I had the chance to call my Mom. I hope you all take the time to squeeze those who are close to you a little harder this Christmas season.
The day after Mom passed was another glorious, clear blue day. Jordan and I went for a hike in the woods where the maple trees had turned the forest floor brilliant shades of gold, bright orange and deep red. As we walked along one single maple leaf fluttered past my face. It was so close it was impossible not to notice. When we arrived back at the car, which was parked on and surrounded by hundreds of fiery leaves, we found one single maple leaf on the car clinging to the middle of the windshield. Then I knew… Mom had been with us the whole time.
That moment and experience inspired this poem in the days to follow:
I Feel You Everywhere
I feel you in the warmth of the sunshine as it illuminates my face.
I feel you as I watch a maple leaf flutter down in front of me.
I feel you in the forest where the sun streams through to warm the soil.
I feel you at the ocean’s edge where the soft waves hug the earth and the sun casts millions of diamonds upon the water.
I feel you in the soft, clear moonlight and in the star that twinkles and blinks down at me.
I feel you in my eyes that are yours looking back at me and in the beat of my heart for you are a part of me.
I feel you everywhere for you have become everything.
My mom’s life is one to celebrate! Although she had many struggles, I know there were times where she felt deep happiness, especially when cooking or baking something delicious and immersing herself in her garden. Those traditions run deep in me and I will carry them on not only for me, but for her.
As my Mom would say, happy baking!
- 220 grams hazelnuts roasted, cooled and finely ground
- 25 whole hazelnuts for decoration
- 2 large egg whites
- 125 grams icing sugar sifted
- 6 drops lemon extract
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl with hand held mixer, beat the eggs whites on high until very stiff. They should be so stiff that they pull away from each other when sliced with a knife.
Add the sifted icing sugar and lemon extract and beat on high until mixture is stiff, holds its shape like stiffly whipped cream and does not move when picked up with a spoon. Remove 3 tablespoons of this mixture into a small bowl and set aside.
Gently fold in the finely ground hazelnuts until evenly incorporated. Drop approximately 1 tablespoon sized mounds onto the parchment lined baking sheets. The cookies can be spaced close together as they should not spread. Add approximately 1/4 teaspoon of the egg white/icing sugar mixture on top of each cookie and gently press one whole hazelnut on top (pointed side up). Let the cookies dry at room temperature until they are dull and dry to the touch.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Let cool completely before removing from the baking sheets.
Store in an air tight container. These cookies also freeze well.