Coffee macarons with espresso ganache

 

Although running has always been such a large part of my life, that hasn’t been the case for the last ~4 months. I’ve been sidelined for what seems like forever because of a tibial stress fracture and it has been really, really hard adjusting to life without my daily run(s). It all started in late June or early July. I went for a simple 8 mile run with some friends from the Stanford Running Club, chatting away some rolling hills at a leisurely pace. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until I tried to stand up after spending a couple hours studying organic chemistry. There was a sharp pain in my right shin and I could barely walk a few steps.

“Not again”, I thought, “story of my life”. Running injuries crop up every now and then, so some shin pain didn’t seem out of the ordinary. I took it easy for a couple of days, either using the elliptical or swimming laps to keep in shape, and after a week I tried running again. For some proud or illogical reason, I thought I was immune to stress fractures. I have been running for 11 years now and I’ve been at a fairly high mileage for about 8, so I convinced myself that if I was susceptible to fractures, then I would have already gotten one. Wrong.

So what did I do? I kept running. On and off for ten weeks. In retrospect, it sounds crazy that I kept running on a broken leg for over two months, but the pain was dull and completely tolerable compared to the muscle strains I’d experienced previously. I finally broke down and saw an orthopedic sports medicine doctor, who took some x-rays and had an MRI, and diagnosed me will a stress fracture on the spot.

It was hard at first, not running. This summer, I had so much on my mind–I was taking a year’s worth of organic chemistry lectures and labs crammed into 9 weeks–that I had no time to miss running. But when I graduated in September and began my job search, I had too much time on my hands. To be completely honest, I have been feeling very unproductive recently and somewhat removed from society. Running has always been my stronghold, something that makes me feel good and purposeful and accomplished. If I’ve had a bad or lazy day, well, at least I went on a run. If I’ve had a good day, well, I went on a run then too.

Fast forward to today. I have taken the last 8 weeks off from running, which is the longest period of time I’ve been away from the sport since I started it in middle school. Today, I laced up my trainers and I set out for a 20 minute run. It was slow, my lungs were burning, and I am definitely out of shape, but my legs didn’t forget how to move as I thought they would and nothing could have wiped the off my face. It’s good to be back.

Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt

Ganache Ingredients

  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp instant coffee

Directions

  1. Making the cookies – Sift almond flour, granulated sugar, confectioner’s sugar, and instant coffee in a large bowl.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  3. Fold together the dry mixture and egg white mixture, making sure the batter remains light and airy.
  4. Use a pastry bag to form dots of batter that are ~1 inch in diameter on a cookie sheet. A ziploc bac with the tip cut off is an acceptable alternative to a pastry bag.
  5. Bake cookies at 275 F for about 30 minutes.
  6. Making the ganache – Heat the heavy cream and instant coffee in a small sauce pan on low. Once hot, turn off the heat and add the semi-sweet chocolate. Stir until ganache forms.
  7. Assembly of sandwich cookies – Once the cookies have become firm and the ganache has cooled, form sandwich cookies as shown in the pictures.

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