I have no idea why or how, but I came up with an idea to make bear-shaped macarons. I've seen heart-shaped ones, but never bears and I don't know why! They turned out so stinking cute!! Could other animals work as well?!
I originally planned on doing these for the baby shower, but decided that one type of macaron would be enough. To be honest, I was also kind of worried they would flop and given the lack of time I had, I didn't want to risk it. Instead, I figured I'd give them to Brandon after the baby is born, knowing that even if they turned out as mutants, she would 1) get a good laugh out of it and 2) appreciate the effort regardless.
I started with my tried and true recipe from Cecile Cannone's book. Since Brandon's baby is a boy, I thought blue bears would be appropriate.
Once the batter was all mixed up, I got to piping. I was a bit worried about how to get a bear shape, but I just went ahead and did it. I started with the left ear, piping just a tiny bit and then dragging the tip over to do the right ear. Then I picked it up and piped a standard circle.
Some of the bears had a bit of a cone head. I think it was from the ears pushing down on the face and then leaving no where for the batter to flow, except for up, between the ears. I was really bummed, but just kept on piping.
They baked quite nicely, and held the shape which is what I was most worried about. A few of them, like the bottom center one in the above photo turned a bit blobby, but they can't all be perfect, right?
Plus when they are all lined up like that, few of them are really perfect. But, most are close enough.
I was also stoked that they got a little foot on them. Always important in a good macaron. That being said, while they are in the oven, the foot is huge! Then they always fall a bit when they cool. Bummer.
I figured it would be too difficult to make sure the front and back ears matched up perfectly, so decided against even trying. Instead I piped standard circles for the back. The ears are pretty tiny, so I didn't think they would fall off - and they didn't.
The next step was to fill them. I went with a coconut ganache (also from the book, but tweaked a bit beacause I thought it might be too runny and added more chocolate) because it is always delicious and also keeps it's shape a bit more than buttercream. Additionally, I think I had made coconut ganache macarons before, and seem to remember both Brandon and her husband liking them, although this is a memory from K's first birthday party, so it may be off.
I loved how they looked all filled and put together, but could not wait to get their faces on!
I melted a tiny bit of milk chocolate and put it into a piping bag with a small round tip (#2, I think). The first part I piped was their snout (is that the right word?!?). Then I let them dry for an hour or two. I really wanted the nose to stick up from the snout, so I wanted to make sure it was fully dry first.
Then I melted some dark chocolate and used an even smaller tip (#1) to pipe dots for the nose and eyes. After the first few, I played around a bit making some with really round noses and others with more oval noses. I can't decide which one I like better. I love them both!
Eeeek! I love how they look like a tiny army of little blue bears when they are all lined up like that. Seriously, I am in love with these!!!!
The unfortunate bit is that they don't look cute at all once you bite into them. In fact, they look kind of sad.
All the more reason to eat them quickly, I suppose! An added bonus is that K seems to get sad when he eats the bears and has only asked for "mama's special cookies" on two occasions. Usually he would sit down and eat the whole batch if I would let him.