The single mom thing has been getting to me lately. I would imagine a lot of you read my blog and think I have a perfect life, or that I’m trying to make you think I do. The truth is, I take many a photograph around here after I just shoved crumbs or unfinished homework out of the way to take a picture.My life is messy. And most days I wonder how I’ll ever be enough. In a few years, my oldest will be leaving the house, and I wonder if he’ll ever know what stability actually feels like. I worry I’ll never get everything together . . . or not even everything! I’d be happy happy with just having a few things together! Like my laundry, for example. I think I’d like to actually get it all folded one of these days . . . that would be good.I keep stumbling upon articles that talk about how stress makes it hard to lose weight, and then they go on to make suggestions about eliminating things that stress you out!! That’s when I break into a manic laugh. Oh right!! I’ll just cut back on my stress!! Why didn’t I think of that before!!

Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!So as I was saying, I need a vacation. I need the real kind with palm trees and soft white sand and towels and beach umbrellas. No cell phones. No computers. No cooking. Come to think of it, I’ve never had a vacation like that. The kind I usually take involves going to a city and walking around and eating a bunch of things that look interesting. And those are fun, too, and rare, and I love them when I can get them.A couple months ago I got to go on a little trip like that (and since I’m already talking about needing a vacation again, it must not have been quite long enough!). Remember a couple months ago I told you about those doughnuts from The Doughnut Plant?? That was right after I got back from New York. I didn’t want to spill about the whole trip because I wanted to wait until I could show you these videos. I collaborated with Martha Stewart’s people and the Crocs shoes company to make a couple little videos about exploring New York and all the best places Martha loves. I got to try all my favorite foods and meet a bunch of fascinating people. You can see the videos Shooting those was a lot of work, but really fun. It’s hard to explain why so many people love New York, but it’s so full of life and energy.  I’m sorry I couldn’t bring you back a treat from all the great places I visited, but I thought you might like a recipe you can try for yourself. These French macarons are based on a macaron I tried from a French bakery. They had used un-blanched almond flour and then I think they only used butter as the filling. This is my version. Oh, and one more thing: don’t you think a vacation to Paris—with one whole day going from bakery to bakery to try all the different macarons—would be great?

The single mom thing has been getting to me lately. I would imagine a lot of you read my blog and think I have a perfect life, or that I’m trying to make you think I do. The truth is, I take many a photograph around here after I just shoved crumbs or unfinished homework out of the way to take a picture.My life is messy. And most days I wonder how I’ll ever be enough. In a few years, my oldest will be leaving the house, and I wonder if he’ll ever know what stability actually feels like. I worry I’ll never get everything together . . . or not even everything! I’d be happy happy with just having a few things together! Like my laundry, for example. I think I’d like to actually get it all folded one of these days . . . that would be good.I keep stumbling upon articles that talk about how stress makes it hard to lose weight, and then they go on to make suggestions about eliminating things that stress you out!! That’s when I break into a manic laugh. Oh right!! I’ll just cut back on my stress!! Why didn’t I think of that before!! Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!

Oh, I’m fine. I’m fine. Seriously. I’m fine.

So as I was saying, I need a vacation. I need the real kind with palm trees and soft white sand and towels and beach umbrellas. No cell phones. No computers. No cooking. Come to think of it, I’ve never had a vacation like that. The kind I usually take involves going to a city and walking around and eating a bunch of things that look interesting. And those are fun, too, and rare, and I love them when I can get them. A couple months ago I got to go on a little trip like that (and since I’m already talking about needing a vacation again, it must not have been quite long enough!). Remember a couple months ago I told you about those doughnuts from  That was right after I got back from New York. I didn’t want to spill about the whole trip because I wanted to wait until I could show you these videos. I collaborated with Martha Stewart’s people and the Crocs shoes company to make a couple little videos about exploring New York and all the best places Martha loves. I got to try all my favorite foods and meet a bunch of fascinating people. Shooting those was a lot of work, but really fun. It’s hard to explain why so many people love New York, but it’s so full of life and energy.  I’m sorry I couldn’t bring you back a treat from all the great places I visited, but I thought you might like a recipe you can try for yourself. These French macarons are based on a macaron I tried from a French bakery. They had used un-blanched almond flour and then I think they only used butter as the filling. This is my version. Oh, and one more thing: don’t you think a vacation to Paris—with one whole day going from bakery to bakery to try all the different macarons—would be great?

Brown Sugar Macarons

  • 1 cup un-blanched almond flour (or 1 cup raw almonds, finely ground)
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 egg whites, left in an open container overnight in the refrigerator, or for 2-3 hours at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • brown buttercream (recipe follows)

1. In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together almond flour and confectioner’s sugar, until finely ground. Sift once and discard the pieces of almond that don’t sift through. In a separate bowl (one that is scrupulously clean and free of grease—don’t use plastic), beat the eggs with an electric mixer to form soft peaks. Gradually add the brown sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is incorporated and dissolved. Beat until thick and glossy, 2-3 minutes. Stir in extracts.

2. Add in about half of the almond mixture to the egg white mixture. Do not fold the two mixtures—stir it as you would stir a brownie mix. Add in more of the almond mixture as necessary to achieve a thick, glossy, grainy mixture. If you tilt the bowl, the mixture should slowly slide down the sides of the bowl. Or, scoop up some of the mixture and let it fall back into the bowl. It should fall in a thick ribbon that holds its shape on the surface of the mixture for a second or two, and then slowly “melts” back into the bowl.

3. Fit a large pastry bag with a round tip, fill with the mixture, and pipe 1 inch circles—2 centimeters apart—on 3-4 Silpat lined baking trays. Allow the macarons to set out at room temperature for 2-3 hours (this drying process is crucial, as this is what creates the smooth top, and the characteristic ruffled foot on the bottom of each cookie half). Set the oven to 250 degrees. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp but not brown. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets. Gently twist each cookie half to release it from the baking sheet. Fill cookies with brown buttercream frosting.

Brown Buttercream

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • a drop or two of heavy cream as needed to make a smooth consistency
  • 1 cup un-blanched almond flour (or 1 cup raw almonds, finely ground)
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 egg whites, left in an open container overnight in the refrigerator, or for 2-3 hours at room
  • temperature
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • brown buttercream (recipe follows)

1. In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together almond flour and confectioner’s sugar, until finely ground. Sift once and discard the pieces of almond that don’t sift through. In a separate bowl (one that is scrupulously clean and free of grease—don’t use plastic), beat the eggs with an electric mixer to form soft peaks. Gradually add the brown sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is incorporated and dissolved. Beat until thick and glossy, 2-3 minutes. Stir in extracts.
2. Add in about half of the almond mixture to the egg white mixture. Do not fold the two mixtures—stir it as you would stir a brownie mix. Add in more of the almond mixture as necessary to achieve a thick, glossy, grainy mixture. If you tilt the bowl, the mixture should slowly slide down the sides of the bowl. Or, scoop up some of the mixture and let it fall back into the bowl. It should fall in a thick ribbon that holds its shape on the surface of the mixture for a second or two, and then slowly “melts” back into the bowl.
3. Fit a large pastry bag with a round tip, fill with the mixture, and pipe 1 inch circles—2 centimeters apart—on 3-4 Silpat lined baking trays. Allow the macarons to set out at room temperature for 2-3 hours (this drying process is crucial, as this is what creates the smooth top, and the characteristic ruffled foot on the bottom of each cookie half). Set the oven to 250 degrees. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp but not brown. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets. Gently twist each cookie half to release it from the baking sheet. Fill cookies with brown buttercream frosting.

Brown Buttercream

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • a drop or two of heavy cream as needed to make a smooth consistency

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