The Handmade Hog Linky Party and French Macarons

Please join me and link up ANYTHING handmade or homemade. I would love to see recipes, DIY projects, party planning, and craft projects of all kinds!!!
And if you didn't make anything this week, no worries, link up an old favorite!!!
There are no rules! Feel free to grab the Handmade Hog button and place it in your post or on your sidebar but it is absolutely NOT required!! EVERYONE is welcome to participate!!! This is just supposed to be a fun way to share your ideas and pick up some new ones !! 
So, please join me! LINK UP!!! I can't wait to see what you have in store!!!

Today I am going to share a recipe and a method for making French Macarons.  I have recently become a bit obsessed with them. They are so intriguing and gorgeous; like little magical cookies with their perfect shells and radiant colors. I just L*O*V*E them! 
Let me start by saying these are not for the faint of heart. It took me 3 tries to get these right so don't be discouraged if you try once and they don't turn out. As you can see in some of my photos the lavender macarons did not turn out perfect because they are missing the "feet". That's because I under beat the egg whites. I decided to showcase them anyway because they were still pretty. Macarons are like riding a bicycle, once you get it, you'll be a be a macaron fool! I promise just me patient. 

The recipe and method I am going to share with you today is a compilation of recipes that I tried. It is a hybrid version that I found worked best for me. The recipes I used were this {RECIPE} from Martha Stewart and the recipes from {THIS BOOK}.

Recipe for Mango Mascarpone Macarons
(will yield 8-18 macarons )

Ingredients for shells:
The whites from 2 large eggs
3/4 cup ground almonds
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
food coloring of your choice to match the flavor (for this recipe yellow and red)

Ingredients for the mango mascarpone filling:
(please see method below for instructions)
1/2 a packet of unflavored gelatin
1 ripe cubed mango
1 egg
4 tablespoons of superfine sugar
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
pinch of salt

 Recipe for Mango Mascarpone Filling:
Puree mango cubes and place in small pot. Heat gently on medium and sprinkle in gelatin. Once gelatin is mixed in and dissolved remove from heat and set aside. Separate the egg with the yolk in one bowl and the white in the other. Add the superfine sugar to the yolk and mix well. Now add the salt to the egg white and beat until medium peaks form. Now gently fold in the egg yolk and the mango puree. Chill in refrigerator. Now simply place in piping bag and fill macarons.

Helpful Hints About Egg Whites:
1."aged" egg whites work much better so separate the egg white from the yolk and set aside in refrigerator at least 24 hours in advance but can be up to 4 days.
2. Egg Whites must be room temperature before beating. Set out for at least 30 minuets prior to using. 
3. Use a copper or glass bowl for best whipping results. 
4. Insure your bowl and beaters are squeaky clean. Any residue or oils will interfere with beating.
5. Do not over beat egg whites as they will fall apart and become liquid again. I found 4 minuets was perfect. 

Here are 2 of the specialty products you will need to make the macarons. You can buy the almond flour at a whole foods market or a specialty grocer. You can buy the super fine sugar {HERE}

#1. The first thing you need to do it put the almond flour and the confectioners sugar into a Cuisinart or blender and mix thoroughly.

#2. Next you need to place the almond flour and confectioners sugar mixture onto a cookie sheet and bake @ 300 degrees for 7 minuets. Remove, cool and put through a sifter or strainer TWICE!! 

#3 Set the 1/4 cup of superfine sugar in a small container on the side so it's ready to go. Place the room temperature egg whites into a bowl and beat until foamy. Now add the cream of tartar. When soft snowy peaks begin to emerge, add the superfine sugar slowly and  DO NOT stop beating (use one hand to pour in the sugar that you set aside before you started).  As soon as the egg white form stiff peaks STOP beating!! You can easily over beat egg whites.For me this was exactly 4 minuets. If you over beat the egg whites the macaron will fall flat. You may add food coloring towards the end of your beating process. Gel food coloring works best and you can get it at Hobby Lobby or similar craft stores (if all you have is water based grocery store food coloring it will still work fine).

#4. Next take the cooled almond flour and confectioners sugar mixture and sift it into the egg white mixture (this will be the 3rd time you've sifted). Do not use the beater. Simply fold in with a silicone spatula once you have sifted the entire portion of flour and sugar into the whites. You should fold somewhere between 40-65 times. This is the most important step in the entire process. The batter should be smooth and shiny!! When you put it in the pasty bag it should begin to ooze out of the tip but not drip. It should appear like hot magma. If it doesn't ooze then you need to fold it just a few more times. My experience was just a few folds made a BIG difference here so be careful..

#5. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and place mixture into a piping bag. If you don't have a piping bag, no worries, simply get a gallon zip lock bag and snip a little hole in the corner to insert piping tip. Now pipe uniform circles onto the cookie sheet. Try to place the tip to the side to avoid a peak in the center of the macaron. Now let the macarons rest for 1 hour prior to cooking! They should form a nice crust prior to baking. When ready you will bake at 300 degrees for 10-12 minuets. They should never brown and you should see the little "feet" emerge within a few minuets of baking.

#6. Now once they are finished, let them cool almost completely and now drizzle water under the wax paper. This seems a bit ridiculous but trust me it will make lifting the macarons off the wax paper MUCH easier. I tried it skipping this step and I tore the inside out of the macaron. If you do tear the inside out of the macaron don't panic. Once you fill it you can mask that part.

Now simply pipe the filling onto one half and top with another macaroon! VOILA! 
Enjoy this magical creation that you've worked long and hard to make! Aren't they beautiful?

Chocolate Malt Cookie Sandwiches

    • I found this recipe on Martha Stewart and it is A*M*A*Z*I*N*G. If you love chocolate malts you will love these little cookie sandwiches. The filling was amazing. In fact it makes an excellent hot fudge topping for ice cream sundaes too. YUM. YUM. YUM.

    • For Cookies:
    • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    • 1/4 cup plain malted milk powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 3/4 cups sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
    • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • For The Filling

    • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1 cup plain malted milk powder
    • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons half-and-half
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make cookies: Sift together flour, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, baking soda, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg, creme fraiche, and hot water. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture.
  2. Space tablespoon-size balls of dough 3 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake until flat and just firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on parchment on wire racks.
  3. Making filling: Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simming water, stirring. Let cool. With an electric mixer, beat malted milk powder and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually mix in half-and-half, chocolate mixture, and vanilla. Refrigerate, covered, until thick, about 30 minutes. Mix on high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Assemble cookies: Spread a heaping tablespoon filling on the bottom of one cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat. Cookies can be refrigerated between layers of parchment in airtight containers up to 3 days.


What I Wore

Tunic: TJ Maxx
Leggings: Forever 21
Sandals: Kork Ease
Sunglasses: Lauren Conrad for Kohl's

I'm linking up here
Momma Go Round

Weight Loss Update:
I have officially lost 30 pounds and I am at the half way mark!!! I have 30 pounds to go until my goal weight. I am THRILLED!!!! I am actually 70 pounds lighter than after I had little Milton so once I reach my goal I will have actually lost 100 pounds. Somehow I managed to loose 40 pounds between pregnancies. I was only not pregnant for 5 short months out of the last 2 years:) I'm saving that dreaded "before" photo for the big reveal once I get to my goal. You won't believe how big I was. 
I can't wait until I can fit into all my clothes. I am sooooo tired of old baggy maternity clothes. I'm getting there, slowly but surely.

Side Note:
I also wanted to add a side note about the Kork Ease Sandals I am wearing. They are by far the best heels I own. I have recently been replacing all my old 4 inch heels with lower ones. I recently purchased these and I can't say enough good things about these. The heel is only 2 inches but because of the platform look much higher. These are SUPER comfortable. I actually wore them all day the first day I got them, taking care of babies, running around outside and all. No blisters, no aching foot. Seriously comfortable and really well made. I love them so much I am saving up for another pair in black and I have my eye on a pair of their boots too. You can find the sandal I bought {HERE}

My Technique:
I also wanted to share with you how I do my "what I wore" posts. My husband hates it when I ask him to take photos of me because the entire time I am knit picking and driving him crazy and making him take like one million photos sooooooooo I decided to take my own photos. That way I can take as many as I want and nobody's going to complain. I bought a tripod and a  remote control for my camera. It's tiny and it works great. I just thought I'd share just in case any of you also have irritated hubbys:)


Zucchini Banana Bread

I L*O*V*E this banana bread recipe from Savuer. In fact I probably make it twice a month whenever we have over ripe bananas. So I decided to thrown in some zucchini and it came out great!!! 
Give it a try. You'll love it. I promise! 

Butter, for greasing pan
1 cup flour, plus more for pan
3⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup canola oil
1⁄3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2⁄3 cup chopped pecans
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1.5 cups finely grated zucchini, squeezed and drained in a dish towel
3 tablespoons sugar in the raw (sprinkle on top prior to baking)

1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" x 5" x 
2 3⁄4" loaf pan with butter and dust with flour; set pan aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

3. Whisk together sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Add pecans, zucchini and mashed bananas and whisk gently to combine.   Pour batter into prepared pan and  
sprinkle sugar in the raw on top to form a lovely sweet crust.
Bake until golden brown
 and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean, 60–65 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

SERVES 6 – 8


Hoisin glazed Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients for Hoisin:
    10 tablespoons soy sauce
    6 tablespoons peanut butter
    3 tablespoons honey
    2 tablespoons white vinegar
    4 tablespoons sesame oil
    2 tablespoons Siracha
    1 tablespoon Thai chile hot sauce
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    dash of pepper white or black

Recipe: Mix all ingredients together in small bowl and whisk until smooth. Place sauce into a gallon size zip lock bag with one pork tenderloin to marinate along with 3 crushed garlic cloves and 3 sliced green onions. Marinate pork loin for 2-24 hours. Remove from bag and place on wire rack. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minuets. Remove and sprinkle sesame seeds on top of pork loin. Place back in oven until meat reaches 160 degrees. Around 35 more minuets. IN the meantime. Place hoisin marinade in a small sauce pan on low and reduce until thick. Serve with meat.

    I got the idea for this recipe from {The Noble Pig}. I decided to make my own Hoisin. I highly recommend it.

I served the pork loin with some garlic, butter, Parmesan asparagus and it was delightful. For this simply place asparagus in a baking dish and top with a few cloves of crushed garlic, butter and greated parmesan cheese. Bake 20 minuets and squeeze lemon juice over the top when finished. Delicious!


Homemade Marshmallow Milkshakes

I got the idea to make these from my friend Val. Please go check out her blog ValSoCal. You will find so many delicious recipes and so much great inspiration. 

These milkshakes turned out divine by the way! I added a little malt powder to mine too and it was extra delicious.

This is Alton Brown's Homemade Marshmallow recipe. 


  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray


Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whiskattachment standing by.
In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue towhip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

For regular marshmallows:

Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

For Milkshakes:
3 cups vanilla bean Haagen Daz ice cream
3/4 cup milk
4 toasted marshmallows (toast under broiler)
2 tablespoons malt powder (optional)
Place everything in the blender and enjoy! 


Wedding Favors and Weekend Recap

Our dear friends Carlos and Lillie got married on Saturday and I made my first ever wedding favors. A few months back I made Brown Butter apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust that I L*O*V*E*D so I decided to use that {RECIPE} for these little wedding favors. 
What do you think? I think these would be fantastic if I started up a catering business. They would be so adorable for a baby shower, bridal shower or rehearsal dinner or a small wedding.

And here's a few shots from the wedding. It was a BIG trip for us. It was 3 hours each way and we had 2 babies, a drum set and my 30 pies. We were EXHAUSTED when we got home.

The Happy Couple!!!



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