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grand marnier macaroons + mini photography crash course

Posted on May 17th, 2012  |  4 Comments

Sometimes I get done writing a blog post, hit publish, get dressed, drive to work – and in the car (that blasting thinking machine that she is) come to the realization that I totally didn’t mention that super funny joke I came up with in the post. Nor did I remember to write the recipe for the frosting (read: banana cake with lemon cheese frosting,) explain why my cat was in the picture, or even glaze over my inspiration for the dish.

By sometimes, I mean a lot of the time.

Knock, knock, anybody home… this is a food blog right?

Yes. ‘Tis true. I’m not one for labels but this here space in the world wide web is a blerg of gibber gabber – mainly about food, and that my friends, is apparently called a food blog, and I’m one of them. Albeit a flighty one at times.

But this time, I think I got it right.

Let’s see:

Inspiration–>; From Megan over at Detoxinista, who (coincidentally) was the one to mention the frosting in a comment and make me realize I’d totally left it out of the recipe. Whoops. Thanks for the heads up Megan. And THANK YOU for this recipe.

Lui took one bite, marched out of the kitchen and declared, “Whooooaaa!” No joke, it was still in his mouth.

These are the best dessert ever. I cannot wait to make them a kadrabillion different ways, and am thinking of combinations as we speak (through the screen.)

Photography–>; I’ve been thinking about doing a photography post, share the little that I know of how to use the camera contraption, what I’ve learned in the past 10 months of blogging, what I’m interested in learning more about… but I never get to it, so here’s a little sneak peak into a (hopefully) future post.

I use a Canon Rebel xsi DSLR with either the 18-55 mm IS lens or 50 mm f/1.8 II lens.

I mainly use the 18-55 mm IS lens for overhead shots like this:

..when I want to get everybody in the picture, but not lose anybody in the mix. Since the f stop (I’ll get to this later…) only goes down to 3.5, I can’t get fuzzy backgrounds like this..

..which are fun but not always needed.

For the fuzzy background, I use the 50 mm f/1.8 II lens. I also like this lens for more up close, intimate shots. It’s my best friend lens, until I meet a macro… :)

If I’m going out for a walk I take my 18-55 mm IS lens… don’t have a reason for that, other than I’ve never tried the other lens for regular day shots.. perhaps that will change soon. I will report back.

AV vs. Manual

This post was shot pretty much all AV mode, except the blender and bowl shot. This post, on the otherhand – an and equally delicious dessert if I might say so myself- was shot all in Manual mode. I can’t really tell the difference, but I feel like the AV mode catches the light different and seems darker, more shadow-ish.

When I first got my DSLR, I started out using AV, but found it quite fickle. So, I switched to Manual mode, bought myself a tripod (totally important unless you’re always free between the hours of 12-4 pm to have a photo shoot with your food,) and have since only dabbled with AV every so often. I actually like the AV shots a lot in this post, perhaps I just need to get to know AV better… who’s the fickle one again. :)

That said, getting to know Manual mode isn’t too scary, and I highly suggest it.

Lauren’s Manual Mode (f stop/shutter speed) Crash Course:

~~>;the smaller the f-stop (e.g. 1.8) the smaller the focal point, the less in focus, the more blur in the background, better for level shots, there’s also more light coming through because the lens has a wider opening {aperture.}

~~>;the larger the f-stop (e.g. 12) the larger the focal point, the more in focus, the less blur in the background, better for overhead shots, there’s less light coming through the lens due to the more narrow opening {aperture.}

~~>;the slower the shutter speed (e.g. 1/4) the longer the shutter is open – which allows for more light to come in and reach the film, essentially exposing it and making it brighter. {if the shutter speed is too slow, you’ll see more camera shake – especially if there isn’t enough light}

~~>;the faster the shutter speed (e.g. 1/600) the shorter time the shutter remains open – which allows for less light to come in and reach the film.

Here are a few photo examples:

f-stop: 3.5

shutter speed: 1/15 sec

ISO: 200

f-stop: 5.0

shutter speed: 1/8

ISO: 400

And that’s about all I’ve got for you this time.. this was fun, perhaps we shall do it again over another batch of macaroons.

Oh wait, did I forget the macaroons!?! They are crunchy on the outside (be sure to let them set at least 20 minutes, ya hear!) and sweetly moist on the inside with a bit of crumbley texture to make you think your eating a truffle cookie love child.

Pretty much I think they’re the bees knees, a breeze on a hot sunny day, a coconut delight in your mouth – leaving you feeling light as a feather, not down and out.

How’s that for a macaroon pitch?

They’ve also only got 5 ingredients, alcohol (totally optional but fun,) and minimal sugar – but are seriously sweet (like next time I’m going for less sugar!)

Make them. Double it. Enjoy life. :)


What’s your favorite dessert?

Photographers: AV or Manual?

Grand Marnier Macaroons

by The Talking Kitchen

inspired by this recipe from Detoxinista

Prep Time: 5 -10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 -25 minutes

Ingredients (13 macaroons)

  • 1.5 c. + 1 c. organic unsweetened coconut flakes, fancy grade (if using shredded, I would use about 2 c. + 1.5 c. in total)
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Grand Marnier
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. In a vitamix or blender, blend 1.5 cups unsweetened coconut flakes on low speed until ground texture, then add the syrup and blend until smooth-ish consistency.

Add the Grand Marnier, vanilla extract and salt, blend for another few seconds.

Remove mixture to medium bowl.

In a small food processor, pulse the remaining cup of coconut flakes to a shredded like texture, then add to the coconut syrup mixture in the bowl. Stir to combine.

Roll into balls, about a tablespoon in size each.

Place on parchment paper, bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly golden brown on top.

Remove from oven and let sit for at least 20 minutes until set.

Enjoy warm, cold, frozen or room temp!

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4 Responses

  1. These are great tips! I’m going to have to refer to it later!

  2. [...] probably shouldn’t use to photograph your food… blast! I forgot to mention that in my photography crash course post. Oh well, here it is: Flash and food are [...]

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