Friday, February 3, 2012

Chewy macaroons + "J. Edgar"

Chewy macaroons / Macaroons de amêndoa

The first time I saw Leonardo DiCaprio was in his – and mine – teenage years: I’d rented "This Boy's Life" expecting to watch another great performance by Robert DeNiro (back in the day when he was a wonderful actor) but what really took me by storm was this boy’s performance, this boy I’d never heard of before, whose face or name I did not recognize (that was way before the whole “Romeo and Juliet” hysteria). I started to pay attention to that talented boy and I wasn’t the only one: after "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" everyone was talking about Leonardo, and I knew for sure that he would become one of the greatest. Ever since, he’s portrayed several fantastic characters and I’ve become a huge fan – that is why I watched "J. Edgar" last night (spoilers below for the ones who haven’t watched the movie yet).

Let’s forget, at least for 5 minutes, the bizarre makeup – it really pisses me off that the minute the movie is mentioned everyone starts talking about the makeup and how bad it looked; yes, it looked awful, but I cannot understand how people can focus on that – and only that – while both DiCaprio and the always fantastic Judi Dench kick some serious ass onscreen – I mean, really? Give me a break.
The way DiCaprio moves around, always holding so much within – especially around his mother – made me claustrophobic; it must be so hard to hide your true essence all the time, so tiring. We all have been there somewhere in our lives, haven’t we? The herculean effort to please our parents, the fear of disappointing them. Throughout the film we see his need to hide behind a façade and the responsibility that comes with it; the power his mother had over him and how he reacts to that – the scene where she tells him that she’d rather have a dead son than a homosexual son and then insists on teaching him how to dance brought tears to my eyes: only a talented actor could portray feelings like those without being exaggerated or sappy, and that kind of subtlety is really hard to find. I haven’t watched "Moneyball" yet but to me Brad Pitt stole DiCaprio’s Oscar nomination – in my world Pitt would never, EVER, be superior to DiCaprio.

From one favorite to another: Nigella Lawson. I’m a huge, huge fan. And if you make these cookies – which are as simple and easy as they’re addictively delicious – you’ll understand why I like her so much. :)

Chewy macaroons
from the always gorgeous and delicious Feast: Food to Celebrate Life

2 cups (200g) almond meal
1 cup (200g) superfine sugar – I used granulated
¼ teaspoon finely ground cardamom
2 egg whites
1-2 tablespoons rosewater
about 28 whole blanched almonds

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F and line two baking sheets with baking parchment*.
Mix together the ground almonds, sugar, ground cardamom and egg whites and knead with your hands or use the flat beater in a freestanding mixer until you have a coherent paste – the dough is very thick, that is why I recommend using the mixer.

Sprinkle some rose water onto your hands and roll the dough into little balls, about the size of smallish walnuts. Place onto prepared sheets 2.5cm (1in) apart and squish them down slightly so they are no longer balls but fat patties – sprinkle more rose water on your palms throughout the process of rolling the dough balls. Stud the center of each disc with a blanched almond and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden at the edges. Cool completely on the baking sheets over a wire rack.
When cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

* some of the cookies stuck to the paper – I think foil would be a better alternative here

Makes about 28 – I made the exact recipe above, used 1 leveled tablespoon of dough per cookie and got 24

1 comment:

Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

I love almond macaroons - these look delicious.

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