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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 08/29/12

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

PEPPERMINT MARCARONS!

   This recipe comes form www.studiodiy.com .  These looked very nice and festive!




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Ingredients

200g almond flour
200g powdered sugar
80g egg whites
80g egg whites
200g regular sugar
80 ml water
1 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped out
2-3 drops of peppermint extract
Red food coloring (optional)
Crushed Candy Canes (optional, for finishing)

Directions

Heat oven to 355F
Separate egg whites ensuring there is absolutely no egg yolk. You may set the egg whites aside for 2-3 days in a refrigerator to “age”.
Measure out egg whites into two small containers with 80g in each.









Measure out almond flour and powdered sugar; add to food processer or spice grinder and pulse. Once the sugar and almond flour is a fine texture, sift 2 times; add
the vanilla seed scrapings, peppermint extract, and 80g of egg white, set aside.





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Cook sugar with water in a pot over medium heat with candy thermometer. Gently swirl the water and sugar a few times so it cooks evenly. When the temperature reaches 230F take the pot off the oven.
While sugar is cooking, Begin whipping the other 80g of egg whites with stand or hand held mixer. When eggs are in a soft peak drizzle the 230F hot sugar syrup down the bowl in a thin stream and continue beating until you get a firm, shiny meringue.






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Pour half of the almond/powered sugar ingredients into meringue and stir ensuring you scrape the sides and bottom. Add the second half and stir. Note: do not over stir. You want the batter to look like a thick magma that when dropped in the bowl slowly absorbs into batter. Over stirring creates flat, pancake, cracked cookies.
Place parchment on a cookie sheet and trace 1 inch circles on the parchment then flip the parchment as you do not want pen marks on the cookie.










In a pastry bag use a plain round tip and pipe out circles on your parchment. You can create swirled color by adding a few drops down the side of the pastry bag or a solid color by adding a few drops of color while mixing the egg white/almond/sugar ingredients. Once you have your circles piped, firmly hold the cookie sheet and rap the sheet against a counter a couple times. This is done to help form the foot/pied bottom of the macaron.




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Let the dough sit for 15-30 minutes to form a soft non sticky shell.
Place in oven for 11 minutes and put a wooden spoon or chopstick in the door to let some heat escape. Note- this will produce a slightly chewy Macaron which is traditional without browning the cookie. If you’d like them done slightly more you can cook at 300 for 20-25 minutes.
Once cookies are done, pull them out of the oven and let them cool. Do not remove from parchment until cool as they may stick. Pull up the corner and gently peel from the Macaron or use a metal spatula to gently remove shells.
To complete the cookie, make a simple butter cream and add a few drops of flavoring. For this recipe, we used a few drops of peppermint extract. Spoon icing onto macaron shell and gently press the two sides together.




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Roll the cookie into crushed candy canes.




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Macaron shells will last 3-4 days if left on the counter. If unfilled you can freeze the cookies then thaw and fill for an instant glamorous treat.





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DIY HOW TO MAKE A DECORATIVE CHOCOLATE BOWL!

   This was found at www.craftzine.com .  This would make a nice centerpiece at your next party or get together.



How-To: Chocolate Bowl





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THE PUCK FAIR, IRELANDS OLDEST FAIR!



Killorglin

    For communities like Killorglin to survive against the often overpowering commercial pressures imposed by their larger, urbanised neighbours it takes an inherent, deep seated tenacity. To say that the industrial and economic success of the town came about as a result of being ably represented politically, at the right time - is true - but only part of the overall picture. This train of thought displays an ignorance of how these market towns, strategically set down at cross-roads, not only survive against fierce odds but indeed thrive. A cursory glance at the history of any such town will reveal the growing pains and battle scars endured by generations to get us to where we are today.








    Rivers played a huge role in the establishment of trade centres and in Killorglin's case the Laune with its link and proximity to the well sheltered Castlemaine Harbour must have presented a very attractive location to the first travellers - commercial or otherwise. Political historians will recall the late Timothy Chub O'Connor extolling the virtues of his native patch and he painted a picture with the kind of infectious enthusiasm that industrialists found impossible to ignore.









    The vibrancy of the community is marked by the ever increasing list of events sprinkled throughout the year and the world famous Puck Fair has been added to by festivals like the 'The Wild Flower of the Laune Vintage Harvest Festival' and the recently revived Head of the River Regatta. The mammoth, annual undertaking that is the pantomime is yet another of the great logistical wonders so crucial to the survival of the spirit of community involvement.

History/Origins

    The most widely mentioned story relating to the origin of King Puck, associates him with the English Ironside Leader Oliver Cromwell. It is related that while the "Roundheads" were pillaging the countryside around Shanara and Kilgobnet at the foot of the McGillycuddy Reeks, they routed a herd of goats grazing on the upland. The animals took flight before the raiders, and the he-goat or "Puck" broke away on his own and lost contact with the herd. While the others headed for the mountains he went








towards Cill Orglain (Killorglin) on the banks of the Laune. His arrival there in a state of semi exhaustion alerted the inhabitants of the approaching danger and they immediately set about protecting themselves and their stock.
    It is said that in recognition of the service rendered by the goat, the people decided to institute a special festival in his honour and this festival has been held ever since.
Other legends regarding the origin of "King Puck" relates to the time of Daniel O'Connell, who in 1808 was an unknown barrister. It seems that before that year, the August fair held in Killorglin had been a toll fair, but an Act of the British Parliament empowered the Viceroy or Lord Lieutenant in Dublin to make an order, at his own discretion, making it unlawful to levy tolls at cattle, horse or sheep fairs. Tolls in










Killorglin at this time were collected by the local landlord - Mr Harman Blennerhassett - who had fallen into bad graces with the authorities in Dublin Castle and as a result the Viceroy robbed him of his right to levy tolls. Blennerhassett enlisted the services of the young Daniel O'Connell, who in an effort to reverse the decision decided that goats were not covered by the document and that the landlord would be legally entitled to hold a goat fair, and levy his tolls as usual. Thus the fair was promptly advertised as taking place on August 10th, 1808, and on that day a goat was hoisted on a stage to show to all attending that the fair was indeed a goat fair - thus Blennerhassett collected his toll money and Killorglin gained a King.
    Whatever its origins, the fair has long been and continues to be the main social, economic and cultural event in the Killorglin Calendar. It is a time when old friends meet, when new friendships are forged and the cares of everyday living are put on hold.



1613 to Today

    There are many legends which suggest an origin for the Fair, many of which are wildly inventive, but there is no written record stating when the Fair started. It can however be traced back to a charter from 1603 by King James I granting legal status to the existing fair in Killorglin.
    It has been suggested that it is linked to pre-Christian celebrations of a fruitful harvest and that the male goat or "Puck" was a pagan symbol of fertility, like the pagan god Pan.










    The origins of the fair have thus been lost in the midst of antiquity, and various commissions set up over the past two hundred years have tried in vain to date them. Evidence suggests that the fair existed long before written record of everyday occurrences were kept as there is one written reference from the 17th Century in existence which grants Jenkins Conway, the local landlord at the time, the right to collect a sum for every animal brought to the August Fair. This would suggest that the Fair was something already well established in the local community.