Freckles in April: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Style Challenge Link Up


It's been kind of hot around here. Like, our car has said 120 more than once.

ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DEGREES.

Anyway, my hair has GOT to be up and off my neck and shoulders at all times. It's the only way I can avoid getting overheated and chopping all my hair off in a moment of desperation.

What I really want to do is a braidhawk-

Kind of cool, right?

Well, I've attempted it a handful of times thus far aaaand it mostly just looks like a braid. My hair refuses to get any kind of real height.


The sad thing is, it took me a long time and some very complex hair maneuvering to get to this braid (there are 5 pony tails in there!). My arms were really tired. I think I need to try it on someone else's head.



Let's see that hair! Link it up!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Babble Roundup

A bit of sidewalk art I stumbled upon (literally) at BYU last week
Thank you thank you thank you to everyone for reading and sharing my posts over at Babble! I had a really great first month and have learned a lot. I also really appreciate the post suggestions! It's hard writing with such a narrow focus, so it's nice to know what people want to see. Keep 'em coming!

Here's what I wrote in July:

Fashion Trends: Love It or Leave it?
5 Questions to Ask When Cleaning Out Your Closet
Back to School Gear for Kids
8 Ways to Wear a Tube Skirt
15 Trendy Geometric Jewelry Pieces
How to Wear Faux Leather (and Not Look Like a Biker)
6 DIY Skirts for All Skill Levels
Shade is Going Out of Business! Clearance Alert!
21 Dreamy White Dresses for Summer (and Beyond!)
13 Stylish Companies that Give Back
8 Great Weekender Bags for Under $120
Take Another Look | 12 Things to Pick Up from Delia's
6 Quick 4th of July Outfits
11 Swimsuits for Mom Bods

PS Don't forget! Freckles in April Style Challenge link-up is TOMORROW! Get the prompt right here.


You can also find me on Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | Instagram

Monday, July 29, 2013

Blog Therapy | Custom Page Not Found Message




When people get turned around on your blog and somehow end up on a page that doesn't exist or has been removed, it's fun to have a custom message awaiting instead of the standard "Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist."

Here's how to set up a custom error message:

(click to enlarge any of my screenshots)

From your dashboard go to Settings > Search Preferences then look for "Custom Page Not Found" and click edit.



Type your error message in the box. This function supports HTML, so you can include an image or a link, if you'd like. I've got both. If you'd like to include an image, you'll need to host it elsewhere (I show you how to do that right here). Then, grab your image link.

The HTML for an image is:

<img src="imagelink.jpg">

The HTML for a link is

<a href="url.com">Link Text!</a>

So my code looks like this:

<img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZMqpBJVK434/UcnqsKAKndI/AAAAAAAAJDY/CMgyTEstdEw/s400/OopsIBroketheInternet.jpg"> <br/>
Oh dang! Something is broken. <a href="http://frecklesinapril.com">Go back home!</a>

Here's what my custom error page looks like (before I updated the look of my blog, anyway)-

Or click right here to see it live!

Questions? Concerns? Leave them in the comments.




__________________________________

Let's socialize // IG // FB // Tw // Pin //



Sunday, July 28, 2013

From the Archives: Final Wishes

Pretend I'm dead.

Still true. I want gluten. Lots and lots of gluten!

__________________________________________________________________

A sweet older lady from my church passed away this week. Due to the rather large numbers of grandchildren and great grandchildren that will be attending the funeral I was asked to provide some cupcakes for the funeral luncheon. While I was mixing and pouring and whatnot, I got to thinking.

If I die, I want a completely ridiculous dessert table at my funeral. Like, dig up my recipe binder and make every single thing in the dessert section and maybe even skip the actual luncheon part so everyone has enough room for lots of dessert. Funerals should be a reflection of what mattered to the person in life, right? So have a short, Christ-centered service with lots of beautiful music by people who can actually sing. Follow that up with a massive dessert party decorated with pictures of my babies. And..that about sums up my life.

Also, while eating the desserts at my post-departure dessert party you must take bites and, even if it's not true, say things like, "You know, this is a dang good brownie but Kayla made them better." And everyone else will nod all solemnly and someone needs to say, "Yep, I reckon she shore did" (because for some reason there are hillbillies at my funeral in my daydreaming). And I will beam down on you from above.



You can also find me on:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ara Nicole Jewelry GIVEAWAY

Calvin Klein Dress (via Ross. Or Marshalls. One of those), ASOS skirt, thrifted belt, H&M booties, bracelet c/o Ara Nicole


I am pretty DONE with summer right about now. I'm tired of sweating. Tired of not being able to send my boys outside to play. Tired of my hair being in a chronic state of chlorination.

Also, very angry that taking my family of four to Disneyland for 2 days will cost almost SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS. Just for tickets. As the Disney execs snuggle into their money-beds each night I hope a vengeful Walt haunts their dreams. He's gotta be pissed about this.

Anyway, I'm a little less than sunshiney lately, is what I'm saying. So I should probably just go on ahead and do a giveaway and then go take a nap or something.

Want a new, pretty piece of jewelry for yourself? Well then, hustle your buns on down to the rafflecopter widget below because Ara Nicole Boutique has generously offered TWO $35 gift cards to their shop!

I hope you win.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written lately:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dreaming.

This is a sponsored post. To read my full disclosure policy, please click here.

It's inevitable. Every July the thermometer shows something like 118 or "Run for your life, why do you live here?!?" or something like that, and I start jacket shopping. Every. freaking. year. Wishful thinking maybe? I don't know, but I just bought a gorgeous blazer with faux leather shoulders and sleeves on clearance at H&M and I'm window shopping other jackets like a crazy person.

On the plus side, buying jackets in July means stuff is on sale! I'm a total sucker for off season shopping. Just in case you're the same way, here are some gorgeous winter pieces (all on sale!) I want to get my sweaty hands on-



1. Studded Boyfriend Cardigan- I have zero boyfriend cardigans but every winter I think about how much I need one. They're such a great shape for house-lounging (which is basically my whole life). I love that this one is studded, since I haven't outgrown my wannabe badass phase.

2.  Drape Front Jacket- THIS is gorgeous. I could pretend I like motorcycles while wearing this jacket. Imagine it with skinny jeans and thigh-high boots. Yup.

3. Riley Jacket- This is an almost exact replica of my extremely beloved Gap jacket that is sloooowly falling apart because I wear it all day, every day all winter long. Seriously considering picking this one up as a back-up for when it finally bites the dust.

Is anyone else SO very ready for cooler weather?

</whining>

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Spiegel. The opinions are my own. Rest assured that I only accept sponsored post opportunities from companies I would give my own hard-earned cash to.


I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written lately:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

From the Archives: Geckos and Lizards

I was actually just thinking about this the other day. We left a little surprise for the new owners of our old house....

______________________________________________________________________

I apologize ahead of time for doing this to your eyeballs.

My feelings concerning the geckos around our house are well documented. If you're new around here, let me sum up:

I do not like the geckos. They make me feel twitchy and ill. It's something about their squishy little see-through bodies and the way they move and...vomit. Just thinking about them long enough to write this post will have me shuddering and cringing and checking the ceiling for geckos poised to drop down the back of my shirt for the rest of the day.

So yes, I heartily dislike the geckos. However, I do not mind the two lizards who have made our backyard their home. They mostly stick to the block wall and have yet to try to come in the house. They're just back there eating bugs and minding their own business and I like that in a backyard dweller.

So I'm really hoping that whatever tried to enter our home via the door jamb was a gecko and not one of our lovely lizards. But I can't really tell.





I really don't want to clean that up.
(edit: and I never did.)



You can also find me on:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Blog Love: Alt Design Blog


Whether or not you've ever attended, I'm sure you're probably at least vaguely familiar with Alt Summit, the annual design and blogging conference that takes place in SLC (though they've since expanded and have a couple other conferences in different locations). Every year my Instagram and Twitter erupts with seriously envy-inducing photos and snippets. They aim to be the "definitive resource for the very serious business of beautiful, brilliant blogging."

Five reasons you should add the Alt Design Blog to your reader:




1. There is a fantastic team behind it. The bloggers behind Alt are all long-time bloggers with more talent in their little fingers than I can hope to accumulate in my whole life. When there's that much talent gathered in one place, you should probably go and learn.

2. You can be a part of that team. They accept submissions! If you're a designer, blogging guru, photographer, etc. and have wisdom to share with the world, they can help you do that.

3. It's pretty. I know aesthetics don't matter to some people but to me? It matters. A blog with useful content that is also pretty? Goldmine.

4. They introduce you to great new blogs. I'm in the market for new blogs at the moment and I've loved every single one that Alt has directed me to. They're all beautiful, useful, or both.

5. High usefulness factor. This, for me, is actually reasons 1-5. None of the other stuff matters when you find something that is so full of things you can use. When I first subscribed I was looking at posts on my phone and kept marking them as saved so I could come back to them later on my desktop. I'd read through the first paragraph and think, "OH! This is something I need for my blog!" Content creation tips, writing ideas, tricks for better photography and photo styling- they have it all.

(also, they give away tickets to Alt Summit. Hopehopehopehope....)

If you're looking at creating a prettier, better blog, Alt Design Blog is one you'll want to look at!


You can also find me on:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Faux Leather


Sooo my first personal style post is up over at Babble. There was a strangely high amount of hyperventilating over this post.

("What if I offend bikers??")

("Do I really want that many people seeing me in faux leather leggings???")

("Why can't I stop making stupid faces in my pictures?!?")

But it's done and it's up. And now I feel like I need a nap and a reality check (no on cares about your stupid faces, Kayla).

How to Wear Faux Leather (and Not Look Like a Biker)

(Not that there's anything wrong with bikers!)


I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written lately:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Style Challenge Link-Up



Welcome to the first Freckles in April Style Challenge link-up! The prompt for this round was to take something from your inspiration board and DO IT!

Here was my inspiration:


My hair is super boring in the summer. The heat saps any desire I have to get creative and I pretty much stick to loose curls for church + anything I need to look nice for and a bun for everything else.

When I saw this on Pinterest I thought, "Hm, I should really try that."

Plus I have a chambray shirt that Aaron has started referring to it as my "safety blanket shirt" because, when in doubt, it's what I reach for.

I just really like it, ok?

(predictabllllle)

Anyway, here's what I did with it-


Target shirt, DownEast Basics skirt (old), American Eagle for Payless moccs (why yes, I AM wearing these into the ground), headscarf from fabric a friend gave me, necklace c/o Hello Fab.

Loving my new necklace c/o Hello Fab! I recently did her blog design and she sent me a necklace to say thanks. Because she is sweet like that.

It felt a bit turban-y but it felt like it kicked my outfit up a notch. I wear this skirt with this top pretty much all the time (safety blanket shirt + safety blanket skirt), so a fresh take was welcome.

Remember: You've only got 3 days to link up below! I'll be changing the prompt on the Style Challenge page this Sunday. So check over there if you want to participate in the next link-up on July 31!

Did you participate? Let's see it!


I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written lately:



Monday, July 15, 2013

Blog Therapy | Instagram Widget


Want one of those pretty rotating slideshows in your sidebar displaying your latest Insta-masterpieces?

Hop on over to Snap Widget. Click "Get your free widget." You should see a form like this:


Insert your username. Change widget to "slideshow" and your thumbnail size to the width of your sidebar (mine is 250px)(I think). I like a nice little border around my pics but you can change this option to no, if you' d like. I also like my background transparent and no hover effect. Then click "Get Widget."

You'll get a little popup window with your code all written and ready. Copy it then navigate over to your Blogger dashboard.



Click "Layout" then "Add a Gadget." Scroll down to "HTML/JavaScript" and click the plus sign to add the widget. Paste in your code. Add a title, if you're inclined. Click "OK" then drag your widget down to where you want it in your sidebar. Click "Save Arrangement" up top then click over to your blog to admire your handiwork!

Questions? Comments? Flattery? Leave them in the comments.

*Remember! First Style Challenge linkup is on Wednesday! I'd love to have you participate!*

**ALSO! Calling all stylish book-lovers! National Book Lovers Day is Aug 9 and I'm looking for people who are willing to put together an outfit based on a favorite book or character. It will be featured on Babble! I'm a bit limited as far as space, so if that sounds like fun to you, let me know asap!**


I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written lately:

Friday, July 12, 2013

Out for a Spin: Nail Decals



This month Janssen and I took different brands of nail decals out for a spin! I tried out 4 different brands: Nail Rock, Sally Hansen, Forever 21, and Essie. Read on for my experiences with each:

Nail Rock

($8ish)
From Wal Mart. The irony of my chipped polish in this photo is not lost on me.

I'd seen nail decals around the web but it wasn't until a (ridiculously stylish) friend of mine showed up sporting some on her toes that I decided I had to give them a try. I did a set for Paris and could not. stop. looking. at my hands.

I got this robin's egg pattern specifically because it was the one my friend had. They stayed on her toes for AGES. I mean...it was like 3 months. They didn't enjoy quite the same longevity on my hands, unfortunately. I KNEW I should have brought my clear polish to Paris but packing space was tight and I was nervous about bottle breakage. These were definitely the thickest decals I tried and that thickness made them a bit difficult to file off at the edges. AND they had the hardest time conforming to the curvature of my nails- they lifted at the edges more than any other brand. However, had I packed some clear polish, I think they could have lasted MUCH longer than the (almost) week I got out of them. They were sturdy, ya know? I quite liked them and would like to try them again.

Something that I really liked is that they are packaged on clear backing, which makes it really easy to compare and trim down to your nail size before peeling off and applying. With a thicker decal, getting the proper fit is really important and the clear backing made that easy.

Verdict: Give them a go!





Sally Hansen

($9)
Found these at Target

This is kind of a cheat since these are the ones my sister wore to Paris (see above). BUT! I put them on her so the experience counts. These were thin, like the F21 ones below, but much higher quality. Being thin meant they were easier to file off at the edges and easily conformed to Nikki's nail. They lasted pretty well through our trip.

Nikki experienced the same problem I did toward the end- hair getting caught in cuticle end. As your nail grows out, the cuticle end of the sticker seems to become this little lip where your hair gets caught as soon as you put your hands anywhere near your head. I had this problem with every brand I tried (well, except for the F21 ones. They didn't last long enough for me to notice).

Verdict: An excellent, affordable option.




F21 Nail Stickers

($1.80)


I'm really glad that I had done some nail decals before my Paris trip because if these had been my first experience I would have been put off from the whole concept immediately. The pro here is that they are cheap. At $1.80 a pop you can afford to at least give them a try.

The con is that they probably aren't even worth your buck eighty. I am going to make an allowance here- nail decals, even within the same brand, can be made of different materials. It depends on the pattern. Mine were super thin (think plastic wrap) so a different material may lend a different experience.

These decals ripped ridiculously easily. Even with the most careful filing, my tips looked a little jagged. They run larger than the other brands, making it so I had to cut down every. single. one. to fit. This was hugely time consuming. Also, they were on opaque backing so when I cut them down I was just sort of winging it.

And, weirdly, they reacted to clear nail polish. Putting a clear coat on top seems like a logical step for decals. I did a clear coat on the Nail Rock and Sally Hansen ones and had no problems. The F21 ones bubbled, rippled and even tore a bit after I applied my topcoat. After noticing this on my first hand, I decided to forgo the topcoat on my other hand. About 20 minutes later I put lotion on my hands and was surprised to see that my topcoat-less decals slid right off with the lotion. So, essentially, I have no idea how you're supposed to keep these things ON.

Click to enlarge and see the awfulness.
Verdict: PASS




Essie
($10.25 at Kohls. Also available at Wal Mart and Target, I believe.)

 The selection isn't huge but I actually like almost all of them. Which is to be expected, considering these are from Essie.

These were my favorite decals to put on. Clear backing made for easy nail comparison. They included smaller sizes so I only had to cut down ONE of them (because, apparently, my left pinky nail is quite a bit smaller than my right? Now I'm all self conscious about it). They were a little on the thinner side so they were easy to file off at the ends. Stuff like that cuts way down on the time it takes to do your nails. I put these on and was off to church in just a few minutes. They even include some slightly more square shapes in the larger sizes, which was perfect for my thumb. Well played, Essie.

They DID, however, react to the clear nail polish. I tested the polish on a spare decal and it was fine. Then I did both my hands aaand wrinkling. Argh. Darn you, misleading test decal! It was not nearly as bad as with the F21 decals though. It actually looked like it could have been intentional (a friend I showed them to thought it was) so it didn't bother me too much. If and when I do these in the future, though, I won't do a topcoat. Unlike the F21 ones, these would stay on just fine without one.


Verdict: If you'd like to give decals a try, these should be your first shot. Minus a topcoat!



What brand did Janssen love? Did she think Forever 21 was worth your $1.80? Go find out!

Have you tried nail decals? What did you think? What are your fav brands?



I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written lately:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Babbling

A few weeks ago you may have heard a very loud scream emanating from the general vicinity of Mesa, AZ. That would have been me, totally freaking out. But in a good way.

I'm one of the new style bloggers for Babble!!




This is big for me. BIG. I've wanted to do something like this for a very long time but I didn't start actively pursuing it until a couple months ago. And a style position? With Babble?

Eeeeeeee!!!

Pretty much all my wildest dreams are coming true.

I'll be writing over there 3 times a week. If you're interested in reading, I will include links to my latest posts in my post footer.

I'd love your support over at Babble! Being part of a blog like that is super intimidating (a lot of their current bloggers are total big time) so it would be awfully nice to have my friends reading and sharing my posts!

Here's what I've written so far:

11 Swimsuits for Mom Bods  | My very first post for Babble and it got some backlash in the comments! Feeling very legit over that.

Take Another Look | 12 Things to Pick Up from dELiA's | For those who loved the catalog in the 90s.

6 Quick 4th of July Outfits | Featuring inspiration from real women! Sydney, Janssen, Kate, Kimmie, and Ashley all make an appearance!

8 Great Weekender Bags Under $120 | Wish I had a trip coming up...

13 Stylish Companies that Give Back | I'll be honest, I'm really proud of this one. I spotlighted some amazing companies!

Do you have any topics you'd like to see me tackle over at Babble? Let me know!!


You can also find me on:

Monday, July 8, 2013

DIY Swimsuit Cover-up



While looking for swimsuit cover-ups I came across this pin and though, "Huh. That looks easy."

Spoiler: it is. It took me about an hour. Including taking pictures.

You need two shirts: one tank top that fits around your upper chest and an extra large button up shirt. These cost me $6 combined at Goodwill.


Wash, iron, etc.

Cut the tank top under the arm holes. I made a serious rookie mistake here: I forgot to account for the seam allowance. DON'T DO THAT. Remember to add an extra half inch or so!


Cut your big shirt like so:


Then put right sides together and sew a seam down each side.


Trim any top unevenness.

Then take your tank top and pin it, right sides together, inside your other shirt.


I was prepared to do some gathering on the front of the orange shirt to get it to match up to my tank, but somehow my front sides matched up perfectly. I added a pleat in the back to take up the extra fabric in back. Due to the lack of seam allowance on my tank top, I used a tight zig zag and a very small seam allowance to attach mine.


Back pleat

And...done!

Necklace c/o Style Lately

Our big Ikea print is the closest this swimsuit cover up will come to the ocean this summer. Sigh.

I've worn it to the pool a handful of times now and so far it has been great! I always worry my sewing projects will fall apart :)

Want to see a way cooler swimsuit cover-up? Melissa never fails to rock my world with her sewing projects!

Have you ever DIYed a swimsuit cover-up? How did it turn out?


Like this post? You may also enjoy my DIY kimono sundress!

__________________________________

Let's socialize // IG // FB // Tw // Pin //



Posts may contain affiliate links. Thanks for helping me support my blogging habit!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

From the Archives: Photo Essay

Several years ago, on my old blog, I asked for writing prompt suggestions to get me through some serious writer's block. A friend of mine suggested a wordless photo essay about my life. This is what I posted.

______________________________________________________________________





You can also find me on:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Recipe: Chocolate Macarons with Cream Cheese Filling




Here's the thing about macarons: it's not difficult to make a delicious macaron. It IS difficult to make a perfect looking macaron. Mine never look quite right but they taste divine. I've made my peace.

There are a lot of different tutorials and methods out there for making macarons. Some are CRAZY time and labor intensive. Some are bare minimum. Having tried both the max and the min I can very confusedly tell you that my results were the exact same. Honestly. So this method tends toward the minimum end of the spectrum. Feel free to seek out a more complex method from someone who actually knows what they're doing, if you wish. Perhaps you will be able to produce a macaron worthy of the Laduree display window.

Ingredients:

Shells
-3/4 cup ground almonds (I will show you how to make this but feel free to buy it!)
-scant 1 c powdered sugar
-2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
-2 egg whites (let them sit at room temperature for a couple hours before you begin)
-1/4 c granulated sugar

Filling
-1 block cream cheese, softened
-1 stick butter, softened
-1-3 cups powdered sugar (depends on how sweet you want it...I always do this to taste. Sometimes I want a sweeter filling and sometimes I prefer a tangier filling)
-a sprinkle of salt
-dash vanilla extract

I'm a firm believer in doing stuff from scratch for yourself at least once before going with the shortcuts. So I start by grinding my almonds. Start with a cup or two in a bowl. I usually do a lot more than I need then keep the extra in a tupperware in the fridge. Save myself a step the next time!


Cover in boiling water for a minute or two.


 Then dump in a colander and run cold water over them.


The skins should come off pretty easily. If they don't, repeat the process (I usually have to).


Peel those almonds. I always slip the skin off starting at the pointy end and going toward the rounded end. It seems to be the cleanest way to get the skin off.


Let them dry on a towel for a few minutes once they've all been peeled.


Dump in a food processor and give them a whirl until nicely ground.


Dump all the ground almonds into a tupperware then measure out 3/4 cup. Add it back into the food processor with the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.


Let it whirl around for a bit (all the recipes I've seen say something like 30 seconds. I have much better results with a good long processing. Like several minutes) then sift the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. It's kind of a pain but it's important. I've forgotten the sifting step a couple times and those batches were mediocre.


Macarons can't handle much chunky stuff. I usually have quite a bit of stuff that doesn't make it through the sieve so I dump that back in my food processor and give it another whirl. Back to the sieve.

You should have a nice, fine chocolate/almond mixture.


Set that aside for a minute and dump your egg whites and granulated sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Use the wire whip to bring the mixture to stiff peaks.

The first time I made these I used a bowl and my hand mixer and it was actually the best batch I've made. So fancy tools do not necessarily make the cookie here.

Also, we're talking real stiff peaks here. If you were to tilt your bowl all over the place that meringue should go nowhere. The meringue is one of two really critical steps to successful macarons so Google a picture of stiff peaks if you need to know what you're looking for.


The second really critical step is called the macaronage, or the folding of the meringue into the almond mixture. There are all kinds of opinions on the best way to do this. My best results have come with adding a third of the meringue at a time and carefully folding each in until almost combined. After you get all the meringue mixed in, continue mixing for a minute to loosen the mixture a bit. It's ready when it's smooth, glossy, and a thick ribbon falls from the spatula into the bowl and disappears after about 30 seconds. Specific, I know, but the batter needs to be the right consistency.

Again, even if you don't end up with the perfect batter, they will still taste really good. Don't lose sleep over this.

Dump the batter into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip (a #12, if you're wondering).


Pipe circles onto parchment paper. My favorite size is 1 1/2 inches. You get a lot of cookies out of a batch at that size, they're perfectly bite sized, and they seem to bake more evenly. I have successfully made bigger though.


When you finish piping, take your cookie sheet and give it 3 or 4 good solid taps against the counter to encourage any air bubbles in the batter to rise to the surface. Otherwise you might get hollow shells. Sad face.

If you're putting anything on your macaron (a sprinkle of sea salt, chocolate powder, etc.) now's the time to do it.

Let the macarons stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. You should be able to touch them without any batter sticking to your finger. I've read several blog posts lately that say this step is unnecessary. I decided to put that to the test. It's the only batch I've ever made that came out cracked.


So, for me, letting them stand is not optional.

Bake at 325 for 10-15 minutes. Check at 5-6 minutes. You may need to reduce the temperature a bit if they look like they're baking too quickly. I DID overbake a batch last week (a chronic problem with me and baking in general. I think my oven runs hot) and they were kind of sad and crunchy. No bueno.

Pretty!

The filling is where you can get creative! I've done chocolate ganache and salted caramel with these chocolate macarons. Aaron, being a total weirdo, does NOT enjoy the salted caramel filling. As much as I enjoy a good salted caramel, I don't have a great track record with it. It's one of those things that I can only get right once out of every three (...or four) attempts. I don't know why. It's kind of a pain.

One day, after ruining two batches of salted caramel, I stumbled upon a bag of leftover cream cheese frosting in my freezer. I thawed it out, snipped a corner off the bag, then piped it onto the macarons. It was the first batch Aaron ever actually liked. I have to admit that it was my favorite as well. Plus: no burned sugar smell!

To make the filling, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar and salt until it's your desired sweetness then add the vanilla. Fill and sandwich the cookies and freeze any leftover filling. And then....

Don't eat your macarons.

I know, I'm sorry. I put you through all that effort only to tell you that you need to put them aside. Macarons need to mature. Give them at least 24 hours to sit and become one with their filling. I promise, they are so much more amazing that second day. Pop them in an airtight container and stick it in the fridge for a day. It's worth it.


Also, if you need a little baking music, I've got you covered. Awkward dancing optional:

Happy baking!

You can also find me on:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...