Easter Egg French Macarons

This year will be a different Easter for people all over the world. Most churches will not be holding in person services, and so many people will be at home in their Easter bonnets and dresses (or, more likely, their comfy clothes) watching a screen and singing along in their living room.

My family went to church every Sunday growing up, so of course we went on Easter too. In fact, we spent much of Easter morning at church because my dad led the church choir, and my sisters and I sang in the children’s choir at both services. I remember going shopping to pick out our Easter dresses; coming down the hall on Easter morning to check out what awaited us in our fluffy, pastel-colored Easter baskets; and the way it felt to sing Hallelujah for the first time in weeks on Easter Sunday. Our church always hosted a big breakfast for the choir members in between services and I always looked forward to the Cheesy Egg Casseroles, the sweet baked goods, and the chocolate candies we would later get to eat.

After mixing the batter and piping them out, the macarons rest for 20-40 minutes

I grew up knowing the meaning of Easter was more than candy and the Easter bunny, but like any kid I looked forward to the tangible pleasures of the occasion – the treats, the egg hunt, and the pretty dress. Though as an adult I haven’t gone to church every Sunday, I still look forward to Easter. It often marks the arrival of spring, and the chance for hope, renewal, and growth.

This year there will likely be no in-person egg hunts and definitely no big Easter breakfast at church for me. Maybe we’ll do a small egg hunt in the backyard for my daughter and a nice breakfast, but it will definitely be different. I don’t know about you, but I am still struggling with how to help and connect with my neighbors and my community in this time of social distancing. In a normal time I would bake cookies and treats and share them with my neighbors, but instead now I just bake to distract myself.

Nonetheless, I’m still going to hold on to the hope that comes with the Easter season. Hope that we as a country will come together and take care of each other as best as we can during this crisis. Hope that we will come out a better nation (and world) at the end of this. Hope that this time of social distancing will help us to reach out to each other more and appreciate the simple things in life.

For this occasion of Easter, I made these Easter Egg Macarons from Tessa Huff’s book Icing on the Cake. Mine did not turn out nearly as beautiful as hers, but I was still happy with the result. Making macarons is no easy task, but even if the results are somewhat misshapen and puffy, hopefully you will still find comfort in the whipping and the stirring, the resting of the batter, and filling of little sandwich cookies. Leave me a comment if you want the recipe.

The baked shells

Happy Easter! Sending everyone peace!

Halloween Cookies & Parenthood

Before my daughter was born, a part of me thought I would have more time to do things like write a blog post. I mean babies sleep a lot, right? So couldn’t I just whip up a blog post during one of her frequent naps? Well, sometimes babies fall asleep on you or sometimes you need to eat while she sleeps. Sometimes I have had time to write, but I was too tired to write anything. Or sometimes I haven’t had the time because my child takes mostly half hour naps, and by the time I put her down and go to the bathroom and brush my teeth and get dressed and whatever basic things I need to accomplish, five minutes are left. Continue reading

Post 110 – You are what you cook?

To get the results you want, it all depends what you’re aiming for. The best recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies. The all organic recipe. The natural foods recipe. The healthy recipe. The sustainable recipe. The list goes on and on. There are so many times when choosing a recipe that these are the types of question I face. Do I want my ingredients to convey how “good this cookie is or do I want the taste of my cookie to speak for itself?


At any one point in time we are trying to define ourselves: a neat freak, a runner, a healthy eater, a minimalist. We do all the research to find out how to be that person, what to buy and what not to buy and how to show ourselves to the world. We convince ourselves that it’s a goal worth pursuing, that it’s the right thing to do, and why haven’t we been doing it all along? A week later, a month later, it’s a different story. Things fall apart, we get out of the habit and it’s back to the self we were before (which isn’t necessarily a bad one). The next week it’s something new that we’ve discovered and we’re off again pursuing the new version of me. That’s how it is for me anyway, especially when it comes to food.

Once-baked biscotti (which means twice-cooked)

Once-baked biscotti (a cookie whose name means twice-cooked)

This month I began the Cookbook Challenge – a self-imposed challenge to cook at least one recipe from every cookbook that I own. I didn’t start off with a lot of written rules, other than stating that the majority of my recipes should come from cookbooks and not the Internet. I also told myself that I had to follow the recipes as closely as possible, only substituting or changing ingredients if I thought it would greatly affect the dish or if I did not have that ingredient on hand. I started this challenge wanting every recipe to be a stunning, new fan favorite, but also to reflect something positive about me as a cook. My cooking persona has taken on the personality of whatever cookbook I choose that day. Sometimes it’s telling me to indulge in coffee-flavored cookies for breakfast and other times it’s telling me that love is its own special ingredient.


In the past few days I have baked Whole Wheat Bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (delicious fresh from the oven and slathered with butter); “Chicken Limon” from Seasoned with Love (another community cookbook from my aunt in Georgia – the recipe was fairly bland and unlikely to be repeated); and Cranberry Breakfast Biscotti from Maxwell House Coffee Drinks and Desserts Cookbook (crunchy Italian cookies with a slight coffee flavor. Sam enjoyed them, though I wasn’t a big fan, so he took them to work to share).

IMG_1356Unfortunately none of these recipes felt very much like me. But then again who am I?

Since writing this blog, I have oscillated between gourmande and ascetic, baking elaborate desserts just for the joy of making them and giving up whole categories of food just to feel better. I have spent so much time trying to define who I am and trying to show you who I am through my food and yet I still go back and forth in deciding what kind of cook I want to be and the food I want to make.

I love food. I love the tactile feel of it beneath my fingers and the magic of transformation on the stove and in the oven. I love connection. I love sharing a good meal with someone, sharing the experience of eating that first delicious bite, or seeing someone enjoy food that I’ve made. But how do I translate this love for food and love for feeding people into something real? Into something that reflects me? I want to taste all of the flavors, try all the recipes that seduce me with their perfected photographs, and in the end still feel vibrant and healthy and fulfilled. Is that so much to ask?


In the end, perhaps it is better not to define ourselves by the food that we eat or cook. Anyway, who says we can only be one type of person? More and more lately I have realized the importance of being yourself and accepting yourself as you are (as cliche and unexciting as it sounds). Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project puts it nicely in this article. In it she says that ultimately we must acknowledge who we are, the very essence that makes me Erin, the you-ness that makes you you, and in recognizing ourselves we must also recognize the things that are not us. Maybe I’m not the health guru I want to be or the gourmet baker, but that is okay. I am more than the food that I cook or the food that I eat.

When we try new things (recipes, hobbies, habits) we discover other possibilities for ourselves (or rule them out) and there is no one perfect answer for anyone. It takes time to figure ourselves out and to answer the many questions in our lives. If nothing else, we are asking the questions.

More recipes to come (hopefully ones worth sharing!)