I Finally Cut My Hair!

haircut things // mocha and moccasins haircut things // mocha and moccasins

I had a thing going where I avoided cutting my hair because I wanted it to grow so long, but after a while I realized my hair was not growing, but my ends were just getting more damaged as the seasons changed. Despite the “good quality” masks I lathered my ends in, and the expensive oils I would apply, it seemed like nothing was chaining my hair.

It was time for a change.

Before

haircut things // mocha and moccasins haircut things // mocha and moccasins

After

haircut things // mocha and moccasins haircut things // mocha and moccasins

Ok, so it’s not THAT drastic, but when you haven’t cut your hair in years, getting it cut near chest length seems like an adjustment. You can definitely notice the blonder bits were cut off because they were the most fried. My ends look much healthier too. My hair looks more shiny too, probably thanks to the good shampoo and conditioner my hairdresser used.

haircut things // mocha and moccasins

ps – i will never stop rocking the top knot.

I plan on doing an updated hair care routine soon because I’ve switched up a few products, so stay tuned! Do you have any product recommendations? 

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M.

Posted in beauty | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Vanilla Bean French Macarons

vanilla bean french macaroons // mocha & moccasins

When it comes to baking macarons, it’s like preforming a scientific experiment in the kitchen. There are so many variables you need to consider, such as temperature, whipping egg whites until they are just right, but then making sure you don’t fold the mixture too much when incorporating other ingredients… who knew a recipe with 4 main ingredients be so challenging? But, I promise you the challenge is so worth it!

vanilla bean french macaroons // mocha & moccasins

Yes, making macarons is a daunting task, but once you get it right, they are the perfect treat, especially for impressing a crowd. When you bite into a macaron, you are hit with a crisp shell that cracks effortlessly, and melts into chewy center surrounding a soft filling, instantly feeling like a fluffy cloud melting into your tastebuds. When made right, these are truly decadent. For the ideal texture, scroll down to the bottom for an inside bite shot.

vanilla bean french macaroons // mocha & moccasins

Before we get dive into the recipe, I want to share some useful tips that have helped me, and will hopefully also help you make the perfect macaron:

  • All of the ingredients are measured by weight for accuracy. This method works!
  • Egg whites whip up best when they sit in room temperature for a few hours.
  • Do not over fold the flour/sugar mix into the egg whites. The macarons will not rise nicely. However, you do not want to under fold either. Incorporate ingredients to combine.
  • If you pipe the macarons and a tip/peak is visible, dip your finger in a small amount of water and press it down to flatten it.
  • As you pipe, do not lift your piping bag up until you have reached the right size and you are no longer squeezing batter out. Think of it this way: when you pipe, do not move the bag, but only squeeze it. This creates the nice flat and round shape of the cookie.
  • Before baking the cookies, tap the sheets on a counter to expel any air bubbles.
  • Keep a close eye on these in the oven because they are very temperature and time sensitive. The original recipe said to bake these for 13 minutes, but mine burnt at 13 minutes, so the remaining cookies were baked for 10.
  • I used this vanilla bean paste, rather than vanilla extract for a more developed flavour.  I also like the tiny black flecks of vanilla that are visible in this recipe (not as much in the photos, but prominent in person).

vanilla bean french macaroons // mocha & moccasins

Vanilla Bean French Macarons
adapted from Martha Stewart // yield: 40-50 cookies or about 25 sandwiched cookies

Ingredients

  • 142g almond flour
  • 234g confectioners’ sugar
  • 60g egg whites (aprx. 2)
  • 106g granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 drop gold food colouring
  • 1 + 1/2 cup of filling (I used swiss meringue buttercream)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift almond flour and confectioners’ sugar together to remove amy clumps. Set aside.
  2. Whisk egg whites until foamy (approximately 60 seconds) on medium high speed.  Add 1/3 of the granulated sugar and continue whisking. 30 seconds later, add another 1/3 of the sugar. Repeat until the sugar is mixed in. Increase speed to high and whisk until peaks are glossy and stiff.
  3. Add gold food colouring and vanilla paste. Beat on high speed 30 seconds.
  4. Add dry ingredients all at once. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press flat side of spatula firmly through middle of mixture. Finish when you have done 35 to 40 complete strokes.
  5. Rest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip (I used Ateco #804) inside a glass. Transfer batter to bag; secure top. Dab some batter remaining in bowl onto corners of 2 heavy baking sheets; line with parchment.
  6. With piping tip 1/2 inch above sheet, pipe batter into a 3/4-inch round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing rounds 1 inch apart. Tap sheets firmly against counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.
  7. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, 10 minutes or until edges have slightly browned.
  8. Let cool. Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of cookies; top with remaining half.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling
recipe from Martha Stewart // yield: 5 cups

Ingredients

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used Madagascar vanilla bean paste)

Directions

  1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the metal mixing bowl. Using the double boiler method, set the bowl over a pot of simmering hot water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
  2. Whisk the mixture (using a handheld mixer or stand mixer), starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisking until stiff peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool, about 10 minutes.
  3. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day.

vanilla bean french macaroons // mocha & moccasins

I’ve shared my recipe for strawberry macarons on the blog. They’re a great summer treat!

Have you tried making french macarons? I’ve failed more times than I’ve succeeded, but they always seem to work when I use this recipe and method.

I love experimenting with different recipes and flavours, so if you have any ideas or requests, please leave them in the comments!

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M.

Posted in recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Graduation Ceremony

graduation // mocha & moccasins

It’s crazy to think I graduated from high school 3 years ago. Yesterday, when my family attended my brother’s high school graduation, it was filled with nostalgia, memorable faces, names and some not so pleasant hot, sticky air. However, the sun was out and it was a gorgeous day for a celebration. My dad is currently overseas working, but we did have a small celebration with my mom and siblings, which included celebratory fast food for lunch. We’re fancy like that (thanks, Wendys).

In the picture below, you can see me, my brother, my older sister and my youngest brother. I think the height differences are funny because my 16 year old brother is the tallest out of all of us, even before my 22 year old sister. He always makes fun of me for being short, but I’m 5’5″ which is pretty average, so… I’m not sure how he finds humour in that!

graduation // mocha & moccasins

I haven’t gotten dressed up in a long time, so this outfit seemed fancy to me. Looking back on it, it doesn’t look very fancy at all. It was definitely more on the casual side!

Top, Pants, Clutch: Zara // Shoes: Spring // Cardigan: Brandy Melville

graduation // mocha & moccasins

Deuces.
Have a great weekend, everyone!

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M.

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