Intimidation Level: Macaroons

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I stopped into Whole Foods yesterday, and of course I had to swing by the bakery section to see what they had going on. Usually there are a few vegan options, like the chocolate mousse and parfait I’ve mentioned before. But not this time. Of course I’ve got to get a chocolate fix, and my dad had settled on getting a few tartlets (which had a curd or filling that I couldn’t eat), so this led me to staring down a selection of macaroons.

I’ve tried a few of their flavors before, and I would not repeat most of them. I had a raspberry that was pretty tart, and a vanilla that had a strange flavor I can’t quite describe. But it’s pretty hard to screw up chocolate, so that’s my go to macaroon. They are a bit pricey ($1.99 each where I live), but the two chocolates I got were totally worth it (one of which is pictured above). But as much as they rock, they’re too expensive to get often. Coincidentally, my grandmother bought me a macaroon backing set (silicone mat, recipe book, and piping bag with pieces) for Christmas.

I started looking into making the macaroons myself. I bought the almond flour, some flavorings, and I already have some food coloring. But the recipe book that came with the kit doesn’t make the instructions all that clear. So I started poking around online and found a few places that have videos about making the cookies and how to fill them.

It’s never fun seeing “level: advanced” on a recipe. But I’m determined to actually make some, so I thought I’d ask if any of you have tips or experience making macaroons. Any tips fellow foodies?

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New dairy-free finds

This past week I made my trek out to Whole Foods, and boy, did I ever find some cool dairy-free foods. For whatever reason, desserts are sometimes the hardest foods for me to find. Unlike main courses, cheese is not my enemy here. Cream is. If I were to spontaneously be able to eat dairy again, cheesecake is the first thing I would go for. But in the unlikelihood of that happening, I’ve thankfully got some good options now.

The in-house bakery at the store makes a killer vegan chocolate mouse. It’s smooth, but also very rich. I can only handle a few bites at a time. What I really like about it is that it’s also made with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. They aren’t an overwhelming presence but they add nicely to the flavor profile. My mom, who shies away from most of my dairy alternative foods, even said it tasted great.

My other great find was a carrot cake with a dairy alternative cream cheese frosting. This time I enlisted my grandmother to try the frosting to confirm that I was not crazy to think the frosting was indistinguishable from the real, dairy-full thing. Again, a thumbs up. Yay!

I also got a small stock going to eggnog and mint chocolate milk. Yes, I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. Trust me when I say that I am the LAST person you need to remind of that. I regularly refuse to engage in any holiday related things until at least a couple of days after Thanksgiving. But this year I have run into a snag. Usually this time of year I stock up on So Delicious’s Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk. It is hands down the most delicious drink (more so than even my beloved Pumpkin Spice Lattes). But for some reason, Whole Foods hasn’t ordered it! I know it’s still being made because it’s still listed on the company’s website. And I know other people are still interested in it because the checker I asked about it said that they had gotten a good number of calls from people looking for it. I have been checking the store every few weeks since mid-September when I make the trek to restock my usual things. There’s no space for it. There are other pumpkin drinks, but they are either dairy or have caffeine (which I can’t have), so I’m left out so far. In its absence, I have turned to the nog and the mint. Don’t judge.

But, dear readers, this may be an opportunity for you to lend a helping hand to a fellow foodie: do you know of any trusty recipe to make a Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk drink? Or do you know of a way to order it online? I would be very, very grateful!