Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Saffron Macarons with Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache

Saffron Cardamom Macarons (06) by MeetaK 

Well I have to say I got lucky this time. Imagine my surprise at seeing that this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge was to be gorgeous macarons. If I was poetic enough I would write an Ode to Macarons. That’s how much I am liking making macarons at the moment. It’s probably because of the success I experienced the very first time I made the pistachio lemon cream macarons not too long ago.

So, yes it’s true - I went into this challenge fairly relaxed. I knew what to expect and what tweaks I wanted to make to improve the macarons from the first time around. The only difficulty was on deciding what flavors to go with. My head is full of macaron flavors and if given the chance I would make a flavor a week, but I do not want to overkill my macaron love affair.

Then my dear Persian friend B. brought a big packet of the finest Iranian saffron from her recent trip to Iran and when she placed it in my hands I knew straight away how I would flavor my macarons.

Give this Indian girl a French delicacy and this is how she’ll spice it up! I adore the subtle and rich flavors of saffron intermingled with the unique, slightly sweet with a hint of savory aromatic cardamom. Together the flavors are incredibly exquisite and enticing.

Saffron Cardamom Macarons (04) by MeetaK

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

The challenge called for making the macaron shells as given in the recipe, flavoring and filling them however we wished to. I grinded my own almonds to make almond flour and slightly deviated from the recipe. Instead of using 5 egg whites I used only about 4 and as my first macarons were fairly successful I used that as a rough guideline for the ingredient amounts. The egg whites aged in the fridge for 5 days this time and then for a day on the countertop to come down to room temperature. 
 Saffron Cardamom Macarons (05) by MeetaK

For the filling I used a simple white chocolate ganache recipe, a recipe I often use as a basis to make pralines and truffles, flavoring the ganache with bold Indian cardamom pods.

As I gently crushed the saffron strands the beautiful scented spice filled my nostrils with pure pleasure, which turned into true excitement as the rich color melted into the egg whites turning them into a warm sunny yellow.

Then as the cardamom steeped in the cream a second intense perfume filled the kitchen interlacing with the aromatic saffron. I knew then that these macarons were going to be good.

Saffron Cardamom Macarons Collage by MeetaK

Just like the last time, I did my prep work by making a stencil to help me pipe perfect round shells and as the macaron batter rested to dry I noticed that they were gorgeously sprinkled with bright orange speckles of ground saffron. Delightful! 

As they went into the oven, Soeren and I had our noses stuck to the oven window waiting for the true sign of great macarons. And soon enough we had macaron feet! Phew!

Saffron Cardamom Macarons (01) by MeetaK 

The recipe below is the one with my tweaks but you'll find the original to print here.

Saffron Macarons with Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache

Printable version of recipe here.

Ingredients

For the saffron macaron shells

3-4 egg whites (approx. 90g), aged for at least 24 hours or a max of 5 days
200g icing sugar
110g  almonds, without skins 
1/2 tsp saffron strands, crushed
40g granulated sugar

For the cardamom white chocolate ganache

250g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 cardamom pods, cracked
100 ml cream

Method

For the saffron macaron shells

  1. Prepare your baking tray and baking sheets with a stencil of circles. Draw circles on some baking paper using a (mathematical) compass about 3.5 cm in diameter. Then place some white parchment paper on the baking tray and flip the baking paper back around.

  2. In a large mixing bowl mix the egg whites with an electric hand beater (alternatively you can use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment) until it is thick and frothy. Sprinkle in the crushed saffron strands, then gradually add the granulated sugar, whisking all the while, until the mixture turns into a thick glossy meringue. The consistency should be similar to hair mousse or shaving foam. Make sure the meringue is not over-beaten or else it will be too dry.

  3. In a food processor pulse together icing sugar and almonds until the nuts are finely ground and powdery. Sift the mixture to make sure there are no lumps.

  4. Place the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the meringue and give it a quick fold using the macronnage technique described in my macaron tips section. Fold a few times to break the air. Continue until you get a smooth and supple mixture, thick in consistency so that when you lift the spatula it flows back in thick ribbons. Test a small amount on a plate – should the tops fall back and flatten by themselves then it is ready, if not give it a few more folds. 

  5. Fill a piping bag with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (3.5 cm in diameter) on your prepared baking paper. Leave the macarons to rest and dry for about 30 - 45 minutes.

  6. In the meantime preheat the the oven to 140 degrees C. When the macarons are ready bake the shells for 10–15 minutes depending on their size. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Use a flat offset spatula to gently remove the shells from the baking paper and allow to cool further on a rack.

Sticky Note 1 notes

Storing Macarons
If you are not going to be using them right away you can store the shells in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.
They freeze well too but it is recommended to freeze them unfilled. To fill them take the shells out of the freezer 48 hours prior to serving and without defrosting fill them. This way the flavors will be allowed to blend as they thaw.

For the cardamom white chocolate ganache

  1. Place the cream and the cardamom in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to stand for at least 20 minutes.

  2. Carefully reheat the cream and discard the cardamom pods.

  3. Slowly pour the cream into a bowl with the chopped chocolate, stirring to dissolve the chocolate. Continue stirring gently until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly. The ganache will thicken as it cools.

Assembling the macarons
Fill the cardamom white chocolate ganache in a plain tipped piping bag and pipe small dollops on one of the shells then gently cover with another. Do not press. Continue to do this until you have used up all of the filling and shells.

The Food Guide_1

 

Food Guide Tips:
- Making perfect macarons – helpful tips and tricks

- Saffron – the Queen of Spices

- Cardamom – a sensational and versatile spice

- White Chocolate – decadent and rich

 

 


Verdict

Saffron Cardamom Macarons (09) by MeetaK

On the first day these macarons tasted good Soeren and I happily munched away breaking every eloquent macaron eating rule. But the next day they tasted even better. The cardamom flavor was more intense and the saffron aroma deep and refined.  I took the remaining few to a little get-together and had to coax my Japanese friend to eat them. She said “They were too pretty to eat!” Finally when she did take a delicate bite I could literally see how she savored each minute bite.

These macarons were wonderfully flavored, had a great texture and the perfect bite. I thank Ami with all my heart for choosing macarons for this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge. Any excuse to make macarons is always welcome. Please head on over to the Daring Kitchen to check out many more magical macaron creations.

You might like these Saffron delights from WFLH:

Saffron and Cardamom Panna Cotta Saffron Coconut Ice Cream Saffron Rice Pudding

MMBRUNCHMonthly Mingle Reminder

I would like to invite you all to a fantastic party this mingle. Come and join me for a grand Brunch.

Make your favorite brunch recipes and bring send your creations to me by November 16th.

See you there!




European Food Blogger Connect Update
November 28th is the day to circle in your calendars. That's when the first European Food Bloggers Connect is taking place in London. I've booked my tickets already and am looking forward to seeing many fantastic fellow food bloggers there. Hope you'll be able to make it. So far the response has been amazing and foodies are coming from all over the world to be there. Besides just good food there'll be a few brilliant presentations of a selection of talented bloggers. Subjects like basic food photography and food styling, social networking and writing style are just a few topics that will be presented. Check out the updated Food Blogger Connect flyer for more information on speakers and presentations.

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2009 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

83 comments :

  1. WOW! Such brilliant color -- just beautiful. And the flavors really sound wonderful. Cardamom is a favorite and I'd happily break all the rules munching into one of these!

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  2. Beautiful colour. And i totally agree aobut a indian gril spicing up the french creation.
    Wish i could get my hands on such good quality of saffron.

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  3. What a neat twist to the macaron! Not only are the colors so happy, I can imagine how great they tasted almonds, sugar, saffron and cardamom. Bliss!

    You are so innovative!

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  4. Stunning colour Meeta, would delight in having one of these for my very own!

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  5. So vibrant and colourful. The flavour combination sounds divine!

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  6. What an inviting color.. I am just imagining me in place of ur Japanese friend,eating those lovely macarons.

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  7. The saffron gives them a wonderful colour! So beautiful. I am so jealous I just could not get feet on mine, maybe next time...

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  8. Meeta! What a wonderful color to wake up to, especially here in sunny london ;) Stunning and what a combination! You'd have to throw me out of your kitchen kicking and screaming or else you'll have none left :) I really do love saffron; I always pick some up when in Leb. I've noticed everyone has gone "mac crazy" and I have been contemplating getting in on all the fun-I've never made macs- these have just totally inspired me!

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  9. The yellow looks so vibrant in the white background. I loved the fusion of macaron with the Indian spices, its unique, hats off to you Meeta.

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  10. Beautiful macs and stunning, lively photos as always, Meeta! I was thrilled to hear that Macs were the challenge, too. I so want to try your flavor combination! I'll bet they taste wonderful!

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  11. OMG Meeta they are beautiful. Your photography skills are stunning too.

    Love the Indian take on the French classic, amazing.

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  12. Meeetaaaa,

    I simply love you for these beauties. they are so positive, bright and absolutely ravishing...

    Latha

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  13. Wow Wow WOW! Saffron macarons and look at how beautiful they turned out! simply Superb Meeta!!

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  14. These macarons look utterly amazing!

    Your creations are always so delicate and the presentation is also well-thought and beautiful.
    Amazing! :)

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  15. Stunning Meeta! Your macs have brightened our neck of the woods; no sun here today!Can't wait to carry on the 'mac attack' :-)

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  16. What a great combination - saffron and cardamom - another classic! And the pictures - the colours are gorgeous!

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  17. Lovely pictures and your macarons are perfect!! Very very nicely done!

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  18. How gorgeous do those look Meeta! And you're sweet to say that mine had feet (where did they go I ask you...lol) but yours look like a zillion times better! and those flavors must be fantastic too!

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  19. Thank you all for your comments. Glad you like the flavors in this.

    Manisha - what can i do i have to add the desi twist to almost everything LOL!

    Bron - you know how i would love to give you a few of these!

    Julia - thanks for the motivation!

    Beth - I would not throw you out girl - we'd just bake more together! LOL!

    Jamie - you have to try these these were fantastic!

    Simone - they were there I saw them. they were tiny but you had feet. thanks for your compliment!

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  20. So pretty! I love the round bubbles on the napkin, what a fun print!

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  21. I really want to pluck out off of the screen and put it in the sky - it's so rainy here today and they look sunny and warm!

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  22. Such beautiful macarons and the colours are simply brilliant. I love it all.

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  23. I love the colors and what unique flavors!

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  24. They look so pretty! And saffron and cardamom! What a flavour pairing!

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  25. yours are seriously perfect. and as another indian girl, i had to hold myself back from doing cardamom and saffron, b/c my husband says i put it in every dessert i make. I just love that combo.

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  26. They are seriously too pretty to eat. The saffron hue is simply stunning! They sound delicious too :)

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  27. Ohh! Ahhh! Ohh!

    Err..That's as articulate as I'm managing today. Gosh! What a GREAT combination!

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  28. Beautiful.I'm glad you had the foresight to tweak the recipe. Cardamon and saffron make a wonderful pairing in taste and presentation.

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  29. What these are beyond the pale - that colour is unbelievable and the flavour sounds exquisite. Beautiful wonderful bravo to you the nicest I have seen so far. Cheers and kudos to you from Audax in Australia

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  30. Such a beautiful color! I have yet to try saffron but am in love with caradmon. They sound amazing!

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  31. A real success! Your macarons are perfect, beautiful and mouthwatering! I love that flavor combo. So original!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  32. They're amazing! such vibrant color and you made a little tower too (Twin Powers Activate!) You know I am going to have to make these now as A. loves cardamom (like a good Indian/Pakistani) and I love saffron.

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  33. Meeta you are a true mac diva. Your pictures are exquisitely beautiful, just like your choice of flavours...delicate & regal! SENSATIONAL!

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  34. oot they are like little suns! so pretty and bright.

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  35. Meeta, they are stunning! I love saffron for its flavor and for the lovely sunshine it brings to everything.. gorgeous macs!! :))

    btw, where do you get the jute strip?

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  36. You have outdone yourself! These macarons have got to be some of the best-looking ones I've seen. And so cheerful!

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  37. WOW Looks at those Macs! So vibrant and beautiful - I wish mine looked that good :)

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  38. Beautiful Meeta! Glad to see having so much fun and rocking the macarons!

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  39. No surprise, yours are just perfect! :-)

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  40. And if I were poetic enough, I would write an Ode to your photography. This is food porn at its best! When it comes to desserts and sweet treats, nothing exemplifies Indianness than saffron and cardamom.

    Mamatha

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  41. Wow. These sound superbly decadent. Wonderful flavours & the photos are stunning =D.

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  42. Love the color, the flavors, the end product - everything! Great job!

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  43. You have outdone yourself this time! Amazing flavors and colors that look like a midsummer day. Absolutly stunning work this month!

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  44. beautiful color meeta! must have smelled amazing!

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  45. Beautiful, your photos are always sooo full of life and colours! :)
    I must admit I have never tried to make macaroons yet... I think it is high time, especially that now they are recipes all over the blogosphere thanks to Daring Bakers challenge.
    Enjoy your week, Margot

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  46. Good gracious you have outdone yourself!!! Gorgeous macs as usual!! The color of these is absolutely STUNNING!!!

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  47. Safforn were also one of my fav.,only if I could grow the feet.Yours look fascinating :D

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  48. Meeta! Your macarons look gorgeous! I adore saffron and I've made a macaron with saffron before. I shall give your cardamom ganache a try.

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  49. Hey Meeta your choice of Flavours is exceptionallly good and the pictures are out of this world...Have no words for those gorgeous pics!Great..great job.

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  50. A happy confluence of saffron gift, macrons as the challenge and your own brilliance in choosing to pair the saffron with cardamom. I can almost smell the rich aromas. Gorgeous photos as always Meeta!

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  51. Just beautiful! I love saffron and cardomom flavours but would never have thought of putting them into a macaron. They look stunning

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  52. this has to be one of the most colourful macarons I've seen and love the saffron and cardamom combo, sounds delish!

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  53. Thank you everyone for all your wonderful comments and feedback. So glad you liked these flavors and hope you come back to tell me all about it if you should make it.

    Hugs!

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  54. meeta, your macarons are perfect, i have no words, and the photos, stunning, i love the colors, well done, as always, cheers from london

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  55. Meeta, these look so lovely! And you always come up with flavor combinations that I would never dream of - I'm always so intrigued and inspired by your ideas!

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  56. whoa--look at that intense color from the saffron! gorgeous! and i love cardamom...one of my favorite spices. nice work!!

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  57. Excellent flavor combination, sounds fantastic!
    They're so beautifully attractive too!

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  58. Love the bright lemon yellow color! And the spicy twists- love them!! :)

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  59. Infusion of the flavours is marvelous!!. Absolutely loved all ur clicks. Fell for the first one though!.

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  60. Wow Meeta, lovely color Meeta, I am sure it must be tasting great as well....I wish, I could bake these one day....I am allergic to dairy and hence, savor them all through your pics :) never mind, when Adithi grows up to have cookies..will definitely give it a shot :)

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  61. Your macarons are a beauty!!! really really nice.
    nico

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  62. This is one of the most creative (and exotic) flavor combinations I've seen yet! I can't believe how vibrant that color is, it's outstanding.

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  63. Friggin' stunning Meeta, the yellow sunshine from the macarons is blinding me. You have done such a brilliant job.

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  64. Totally awesome macarons.
    As was to be expected from you.:)

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  65. Ohhh my... your macarons look soooooo nice!! I love the colour!!

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  66. Wow! You did good. Real good. ;-) Who are the lucky ones who got to enjoy your macarons?

    Paz

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  67. So pretty! I hope someday to try Macs. I had them for the first time in SF while there for the BlogHer Food conference. My fav of the flavors I sampled were the pistachio, though there weren't really any exotic flavors available where I purchased them. Nice job!

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  68. Meeta, these are SO incredibly lovely! I agree with your friend, it's too pretty to it. I would have just had them in a museum. Beautiful bold color to match a delicately colored filling.

    I would break a lot of rules just to have a taste of these. :)

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  69. Cardamom is one of favorite spices. And pairing it with white chocolate is exquisite. WOnderful job!

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  70. Perfect Meeta! I'm so jealous, mine are drying right now and as it seems, won't be even close to yours :)

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  71. Meeeeetaaa,
    I totally agree with your Japanese friend . Thay are so pretty that I would be afraid to even touch them forget eating them. I am sure they must be delicious with a capital D.

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  72. These are absolutely stunning, Meeta! Gorgeous little things, and I adore the cardamom white chocolate filling. A unique and perfect combination.

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  73. They look so beautiful Meeta. The colors are so vibrant and I can virtually smell the cardamon and saffron.

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  74. Meeta, yours are some of the most beautiful macarons I have ever see, the saffron color is stunning, and the white chocolate cardamom ganache has me salivating..since I'm a white chocolate junkie. I'm so so awed in every aspect of your macalicious endeavor :)

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  75. folks i appreciate all your great comments and am so excited that you liked this flavor combination. for those who have never made macarons before all i can say is go for it it's not rocket science and even if it takes two or three tries these babies are worth it!

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  76. Oh wow! Beautiful job! Your macarons look stunning! And I so wish I could try one - the flavor combination sounds delightful! Splendid job!

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  77. Beautiful! And a Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache? I am drooling at the thought of that. YUM!

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  78. These look gorgeous Meeta, and I can imagine how good the saffron and cardamom must have tasted together..very nicely done!

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  79. Ahhh! The colors! The flavours!! Such perfect feet! You've hit the bullseye with this one!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta