easy desserts & recipes: kony 2012 ugandan coffee macaron’s

Ugandan Coffee Macaron

A few days ago I heard the name Joseph Kony for the first time. As I was sitting at my computer my son walked over and said that he had to show me something on you tube. Typically it is either a song or something comedic so what I expected was a quick video. However, I spent the next 30 minutes watching a riveting video about a monster named Joseph Kony and the amazing people trying to end his reign of terror.

My son plays soccer (or football as it is known in most countries). He plays soccer with several young men from Africa. I knew these young men and their mothers fled from various countries in Africa to escape the indescribably horrific conditions under which they were living. These young men were raised in refugee camps and did not know of another life until they came to America. One of my son’s friends came from Uganda with his mother and sister. It wasn’t until I watched the video that I realized the absolute nightmare from which these young men and families (mostly without fathers) had escaped.

I’m not asking you to do anything but watch this inspiring and moving video that 71 million people have already watched. Perhaps you will look at a loved one with new appreciation for their existence. Perhaps you will speak words of gratitude for living in a country where you feel safe from unthinkable acts of violence. And, if you are moved to do more, check out Kony 2012/Invisible Children for a variety of ways to support the removal of Joseph Kony. {Video}

My son and I are participating to the fullest extent that we can. My son has grown up in a world that is continually shrinking. We live in a world that thinks globally. The whole world is our neighborhood. To let the monster, Joseph Kony, continue would be equivalent to watching the neighborhood bully pick on a small child. We can make a difference. Social action is alive and it works. To quote the video:
NOTHING IS MORE POWERFUL THAN AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME… WHOSE TIME IS NOW

Uganda Coffee

There are plenty of critics regarding Kony 2012. They say that the problems in Uganda, in Africa are more complex than stopping this one man. I agree. However, Kony 2012 will bring more attention to a region of the world that needs more attention. Even though I don’t understand the dynamics of Africa I do know that shining the spotlight on one vile war criminal will hopefully bring attention to problems that led to the rise of a beast that has terrorized a region for the last 30 years.

Having said that and since we are a food blog, let’s talk about Ugandan coffee. Coffees from politically unstable regions, especially East Africa and Uganda make us wonder about the ethical implications of buying that coffee. But, at the end of the day coffee is a cash crop and hundreds of thousands of small farms exist in Uganda. Over 2 million people rely on coffee to make a living.

A small company called 44 North deals in Organic and Fair Trade coffees. 44 North Coffee is owned and operated by Melissa Raftery and Megan Wood. They purchase only organic and fairly-traded green beans. Try a cup of 44 North Uganda. Or, try one of their other organic/fair trade coffees. Knowing you are making an ethically sound purchase will make your cup of coffee taste that much better.

Enjoy a delicious coffee macaron while you sip on a delicious cup of Ugandan coffee.

Parisian Coffee Macaron’s
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions

To make the macarons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners’ sugar mixture until completely incorporated.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macarons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.

Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macarons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macarons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

To fill the macarons: Fill a pastry bag with the filling. Turn macarons so their flat bottoms face up. On half of them, pipe about 1 teaspoon filling. Sandwich these with the remaining macarons, flat-side down, pressing slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Variations: To make coffee-flavored macarons: In step 1, add 2 drops brown food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped (We used all natural brown coloring and a few tablespoons of Chocolate Powder to give it a Mocha taste). In step 4, blend 1/2 cup macaron filling with 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder dissolved in 1/2 teaspoon warm water for the filling. To make cassis-flavored macarons: In step 1, add 2 drops purple food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped. In step 4, use 1/3 cup good-quality cassis jam for the filling. To make pistachio-flavored macarons: In step 1, add 2 drops green food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped. In step 4, combine 1/2 cup macaron filling with 1 tablespoon pistachio paste for the filling.

Macaron Filling

Ingredients

3 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
Directions

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar. Set mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat mixture, whisking often, until it feels warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until mixture is stiff and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Add butter, one piece at a time, and continue mixing until butter is thoroughly incorporated. The filling can be kept, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before stirring.

Variations: To make hazelnut-honey filling: In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of macaron filling with 1/3 cup finely ground hazelnuts and 2 tablespoons good-quality honey. (We used chocolate flavored mascarpone cheese)


Photography Data:
Featured Photographer
Nikuwka
ApertureFNumber: f/4.5
Make: Canon
Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ExposureTime: 1/125
FNumber: 45/10
ExposureProgram: 3
ISOSpeedRatings: 640
MaxApertureValue: 3/1
MeteringMode: 5
Flash: 16
FocalLength: 100/1

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11 comments

  • March 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm //

    Nice Read…
    I had no idea about this video, sometime we all so involve in our life we tend to miss whats happening around us..Sad.
    These macaroons sounds delicious!!
    Beautiful pic.

    • March 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm //

      Isn’t J. Kony a monster? Just unbelievable how some can view human life like it’s nothing. On a lighter note, thank you so much for commenting.

  • March 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm //

    Oh wow!! I’ve watched that video…so incredibly horrible!! Hopefully Kony will be arrested soon. So very sad….

    On a happier note..WHOA! These macarons are fabulous! I would kill for a coffee macaron! I’ve never had one….do you deliver??

    • March 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm //

      Hi Katie, thank you so much for the vote on baked goods, we don’t deliver, but you might be able to grab a coffee one at your local pastry shop?

  • March 15, 2012 at 1:26 am //

    Thank you for visiting my site! I saw these macarons on foodgawker and thought they were beautiful. I am terrified of making macarons, but I love to eat them!

    • March 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm //

      Brooke, have no fear, we had a few epic fails with macaron’s but once you have a recipe that works for you, they will become second nature. I like both recipes, this one, and the recipe in our Cherry Blossom Macaron post. Give it a try, and have fun with it.

  • March 15, 2012 at 7:26 am //

    Wow…that looks so good, love the photography here!

    • March 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm //

      Thank you so much for commenting Betty.

  • March 16, 2012 at 9:26 am //

    Beautiful macaroons. Haven’t seen the video but have heard about the controversy. Thank you for bringing attention about the coffee!

    • March 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm //

      Hello Melissa, thank you so much for commenting. I realized that sometimes we forget that coffee comes from politically unstable regions.

  • August 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm //

    These look absolutely deiloicus!! Carolyn is clearly not Madame but QUEEN!!!!!!!How about Lady Grey to compliment Earl Grey?? I love Lady Grey do you have that tea in US? If not let me know and I shall send some to you ))xxx