That being said, I have another exciting thing to share with you all; a guest blog post from one of my fellow foodies and wonderful friends, Alexandra. She's a mastermind in the kitchen, and I wanted to see if she would share a recipe (and hopefully many more) with you all. You can check out her photography here, and her blog here.
Cold Brew and Macaroons
Intro: I met Ariel in my school’s NYC studio study away program for fashion merchandising and design majors. I don’t remember what it was initially that bonded us, but our mutual love of all things epicurean and sartorial took root in a friendship that has stuck over 3 years and the milage between Ohio and New York. We are relentlessly in each other’s corners, so when she asked me if I’d be willing to write a guest post for her blog I leapt at the offer like a New York foodie on a cronut.
II Cold Brew
They say a sucker is born every minute. Well, I think the collective consumption of store-bought cold brew coffee perfectly exemplifies that statement. Cold Brew coffee has become a fixture of the coffee-conscious New Yorker. And I don’t just mean the bearded brogue-wearing, fixed gear bike riders or the Edie Sedgwick knockoffs with their artfully messy hair and faux ennui - but, like any joe schmoe walking along 8th avenue is toting an artisan glass bottle with old-time americana hand lettering boasting COLD BREW COFFEE. Even my main squeeze Trader Joe has started to supply it. The thing of it is, though, is that cold brew is so ridiculously easy to make that once you do it you’ll recognize the absurdity of purchasing it as being akin to paying for designer air.
First: Choose a coarsely ground medium roast. Anything ground too fine with produce a bitter brew because of the generous steeping time we are allowing to make this concentrate.
Then: combine 5oz coffee and 3.5 cups of cold water or room temperature water in a container. Grady Laird of Grady’s Cold brew recommends room temperature to bring out the nuances of the coffee. A large french press is ideal for this because the grounds can be easily separated at the end of brewing, but a mason jar is fine. Do not use anything metallic or plastic that could conflict with the flavor profiles of the coffee. Let this sit at least 12 hours, but you can forget about it for up to three days if you’re feeling brave.
Finally: strain and enjoy! This is a concentrate. Black lightening. It’s ideal to cut it 1:1 with milk if you like it light or water if you’re hardcore.
Don’t be afraid to combine flavors with your brew, cinnamon and cocoa powder with the grounds for instance. Because NYC demands all of the stamina I can give I like to also brew a pot of espresso and throw it in with my cold brew. Its basically a liquid difribulator.
Macaroons are a quick, easy and versatile cookie to make. If you’re not a skilled baker, start out with these as your first project to build your confidence before taking on grander endeavors. While I love to bake, cakes are definitely my forte while cookies taunt me with their alleged simplicity and never come out quite how I want them. In fact, midway through baking the first batch I lost my nerve and texted Ariel to let her know that my macaroons were spreading and how sorry I was that I produced unphotogenic cookies that would undoubtedly bring down the reputation of her blog that she worked so hard on. The fact that they came out well for me is indicative of their superior simplicity.
I carefully read recipes by Ina Garten and David Lebovitz to muster my nerve and bring some nobility to my apartment kitchen before ultimately winging it.
14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- I also used semi-sweet chips for dipping, but indulge at your own pace.
First: Combine your coconut, vanilla, and condensed milk. If you have a stand mixer, this is also a good time to whip your egg whites into medium-stiff peaks. If you have a friend, it’s just like having a stand mixer.
Then: gently fold in your egg whites, ideally using a rubber spatula to lift and fold the mixture from the sides of the bowl to the center, turning the bowl throughout the process. Do this until just combined, be careful not to overmix.
Then: spoon your batter onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I didn’t use parchment paper and the macaroons pictured are the only two that made it out without any battle scars. Luckily I had friends around to eat the uglies between reruns to America’s Next Top Model. Great people. Love em to death. ANYWAY
Finally: I used bittersweet chocolate chips melted over a double boiler to dip my cookies, followed by a sprinkling of Himalayan sea salt so that people might think they were from Balthazar. Oh these? Just something I threw together.