Who hates exams? Or despises test? You would think even after 16 years of formal education I would be used to them by now. Not to mention the outside exams that I had to take when I did tutoring (shudders, bad, bad times). Honestly a test, more than ANYTHING (even being eaten alive by insects or bugs), I am horrified at siting exams. The mere suggestion that I have to sit in an exam room with questions that have set in stone answers terrifies me. I would rather write a 5000 word thesis on a topic I just learnt yesterday than do an exam. Really everything about it is terrible and painful.
Now because of this I have successfully avoided taking a sit down exam for 2 and half years. Yes, me, someone at university has managed to be selective in my subjects in order to pick ones that only require assessments or group projects in order to pass. Sneaky? yes; Cheating? Maybe; Down right cowardly? You bet
Whatever you want to call me, it was working for me. However this term, this tiny last term to my degree just had to come with an exam. Yes not just one but 4 exams written exams. The ones were you have answer an essay question are the worse. I do not mind multiple choices but that has the increased effect of after exam guilt.
The whole process gives me the chills, from the pre study anxiety to the after exam guilt hang over. What is the exam guilt hang over? In my opinion the worse part of taking an exam.
You know when you finish you get a sense of relief (good) then you see your notes. It calls you to read them to find out if you done the question right, it lures you in to a false sense of security, “oh you will be ok, I am sure you wrote that exact same thing down”. 99% of the time this is a white lie. SO you look and instantly you spot a point in your exam when you went wrong; your mind panics; You go to look more, you answered wrong; find more wrong answers etc. Basically repeat this until you cannot take anymore and reach for burning hot shower to wash way the dirty guilty feeling.
I actually sat one today (which is why this post is a tiny bit delayed). So right now sea of woe that only time can get me out of. I am wondering if you guys have any tips for a nervous nanny like me?
I need all the help I can get.
Macarons actually bring that same anxiety as exams do but at least there is always something tasty to eat after wards (even if they do fail). Now I have a soft spot for honey, no secret as I just did two recipes which used honey roasted veggies, however honey means more to me than just a tasty syrup. It reminds me of home style comfort. I am not sure you get told to do this when you are sick. You mix tea with hot water, lemon slices and a generous amount of honey; it is meant to cure the cold. I have no idea if it works but it taste pretty good.
I am sure you guys are tired of the description for macarons, so I will skip to the flavour combo. Lemon, thyme and honey are a classic combination but add salt and you have whole new flavour. I never tried honey with salt before, straight up it is an acquired taste but delicious none the less. The addition of thyme with its floral undertones helps the lemon mellow out a bit and means the butter cream is not as heavy tasting as it sounds. Crisp, chewy lemon scented shells with a creamy salted honey and thyme inflused filling.
What more can you ask from a French macaron?
Maybe besides doing my exams for me.
Macaron recipe from Tartelette
Flavour Inspired by krispie treats from Raspberri cupcakes
110gram almond meal
90g egg whites
25g raw caster sugar
200g icing sugar
½ tsp lemon zest
If you want to colour you may I used yellow
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream
Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets.
Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 280F/150C. When ready, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture.
Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.
Thyme and salted honey butter cream
From brave tart’s swiss butter cream recipe
140g egg whites
140g caster sugar
7g sea salt flakes
¼ tsp dried thyme
1 teaspoon of clear vanilla extract
210g unsalted, cubed, softish butter.
200g floral honey
In medium bowl whisk together your egg whites and caster sugar.
Place bowl over a saucepan of simmer water. Whisk continuously until the sugar is fully dissolved. Rub a bit of mix between your fingers to test.
Transfer mix to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat until it becomes a big fluffy and white. At this point it should take about 8 minutes for the meringue to come to room temperature.
Change to paddle mix. While beating the mix on medium with the paddle add the butter a cube at a time until it fully combined. GO slowly here and scrape down the bowl frequently. Once butter is all added, beat on medium high till it is fluffy and pale.
Add vanilla, salt, thyme and honey beat again.
Set aside for later use