Archives: May 2015

  • Thursday, May 14, 2015

    Macaron vs. Macaroon: The confusion between macarons (pronounced mah-kah-ROHN) and macaroons (pronounced mah-kah-ROON) happens all the time. But is it just a difference of spelling or of pronunciation? Not at all! And if you have a sweet tooth like us, we thought you would want the patissiere expertise to tell the difference between these sugary confections.

    Let’s start with the aesthetics: macarons look nothing like macaroons. Clearly there is something besides an extra o that makes these two cookies so different. But despite appearances, macarons and macaroons are distant cookie cousins with a shared past!

    History Lesson: According to popular myth, the macaron, despite being most popular with the French, was created circa 1533 in Italy by the chef of Catherine de Medici, who brought her sweet tooth indulgence to France when she married the French king. Since macarons bear a striking resemblance to the Italian cookie amaretti, and share the same origin as the Italian word “macaroni”, this version of history sounds good to us!

    Regardless of who baked a macaron first, this simple cookie gained fame in France in 1792 when two nuns baked and sold macarons to support themselves. Suddenly the French couldn’t get enough of these delightful cookies, and street vendors popped up in Paris to meet the increasing demand. But it was only at the beginning of the 20th century that the macaron took on its modern appearnce, when the cousin of Louis Ernest Laduree (of the famous Laduree pastry and salon de the in Paris) had the inspired idea to put two cookies together, with a chocolate ganache filling in the middle.

    So the question is, when did macaroons arrive on the scene? Depending on the baking history you read, some will say that coconut was added to the macaron recipe in Europe, becoming particularly popular with European Jews as a Passover food since the recipe doesn’t call for flour, and diverging into a different kind of cookie altogether. Another theory points to Scotland as the origin of the coconut macaroon. And yet another baking tradition describes the coconut macaroon as a thoroughly American cookie, created in the late 1800s when the exotic coconut arrived in America from India. It became trendy to include coconut in desserts, from coconut cream pie to custard, and it’s thought that around this time, coconut went into macarons, replacing the traditional almond paste.

    Macaron: Think artisanal, dainty, and charming! Macarons are the most elegant sandwich cookie you will ever meet, a delicate meringue that comes in a variety of creative flavors with decadent fillings like high quality chocolate, ganache, and buttercream. Beloved by the French, especially in Paris, macarons have become trendy to serve, popping up at brunches, bridal showers, and wedding dessert tables. And they make a delightful morning treat with a cup of tea!

    Made with egg whites, powdered sugar, sugar, and almond flour, macarons require more pastry chef finesse to make than most cookie recipes. There is even a special word (macaronage) for folding the dry ingredients in with the egg whites because it’s such a difficult craft to master! Achieving the perfect texture, domed tops and the crinkled ruffle (called a foot in baking terms) can be difficult if any little element is off in this complicated recipe. Even if you’re an experienced baker and follow a recipe down to the letter, don’t be disappointed if it takes you a few batches to get it right.

    Macaroon: Think homemade, chewy, and coconutty goodness! Our love for coconut macaroons is tinged with sweet nostalgia: they are the cookies we think of our moms making at home, whipping up a batch on a whim because they come together in a jiffy. These delightfully sweet confections are known for their golden crisp outside and chewy soft inside.

    Made with egg whites, shredded coconut, and sugar, the recipe could not be simpler. They take about ten minutes to prepare and you don’t need a pastry course to achieve the sweet toasted crunch and pillowy center. Since they don’t require the precision and science that macarons do, macaroons are a more approachable, friendly cookie. While they don’t come in all the dazzling varieties as macarons, you can dip them in chocolate, and get creative with baking something in the center (again, might we suggest chocolate?) 

    Wondering which cookie you prefer? Why not get baking with some of the cute baking essentials in our kitchen collection to try them both! Measure your ingredients out with cute measuring spoons, mix them up in colorful bowls, and then store them safely in a darling canister to keep them fresh! Be sure to take a peek at our darling kitchen collection for cute baking accessories and even this cute book dedicated to the macaron! And for a deliciously unique recipe, follow us to The Perfect Little Cookie recipe!


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  • Monday, May 4, 2015

    For our summer lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco, we asked a few food bloggers to send us their favorite recipe of a summer soiree. Kelsey of The Farmer’s Daughter stunned us with her Earl Grey Lavender Ice Cream, and we were immediately inspired to whip up something for a backyard summer party. You can learn more about Kelsey in her Ruchette of the Month interview! We're so thankful we were able to team up with an amazing group of talented ladies, and you can see all of the recipes featured in An Afternoon Alfresco here.

    hannahs fave (2)

    Earl Grey Lavender Ice Cream

    2 cups heavy cream
    2 cups light cream
    1/4 cup loose leaf Earl Grey lavender tea
    4 egg yolks
    1/3 cup sugar
    A few drops of purple food coloring

    hannahs fave (1)

    In a small saucepan, combine creams and heat until steaming (but not boiling).

    Remove from heat, and steep the Earl Grey lavender tea for 4 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool.

    In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar.

    Very gradually, whisk in the warm cream mixture (not too fast, or you'll cook the eggs).

    Pour the mixture back into a saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.

    Remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature. Add a few drops of food coloring for the purple color.

    Pour into your ice cream machine, and follow your machine's directions.

    Once it's done, place your ice cream in an airtight container, and freeze for a couple of hours before serving.

    -- Jordyn & Kelsey Siemens, The Farmer’s Daughter

    hannahs fave (3)

    Now that you have a tasty recipe for your next summer soiree, shop our summer lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco and head over to The Farmer’s Daughter for even more inspiration!


  • Monday, May 4, 2015

    Emily of Whisk & Whittle has taken everything we thought we knew about popsicles to the next level with her Rosé Sangria Popsicles! A must-have summer treat, we love this fruity and fresh twist on the classic popsicle featuring lush summer fruits like kiwi, blueberries, and raspberries. Easy to prepare and even easier to devour, we adored featuring these gorgeous summer popsicles in our summer lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco. Scroll down for the recipe, and don't forget to peruse the other equally lovely and tasty recipes from An Afternoon Alfresco!


    Rosé Sangria Popsicles

    Half a bottle of Rosé Wine (about 1 3/4 cups)
    2 tsp. Raspberry Liqueur
    1/4 Cup Peach Nectar
    1/2 Cup Water
    1/2 Granulated Sugar
    About 1 Cup Fresh Cut Fruit (I used raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, kiwis and candied kumquats)

    Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool.

    Combine rosé, liqueur, nectar, and cooled sugar/water in a bowl.

    Drop fruit into popsicle molds. Pour the wine mixture into the popsicle molds.

    Insert the popsicle sticks and freeze until solid.

    -- Emily, Whisk & Whittle


    Shop our summer lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco and head over to Whisk & Whittle for more amazing recipes to try!


  • Monday, May 4, 2015

    There's nothing like spending a warm night under the setting sun with a refreshing beverage in hand. For your next outdoor shindig, try whipping up a few of Lauren Kelp's Grapefruit Mint Mojitos for a delightful libation that's sure to please! If this recipe looks familiar, you may have seen it in our summer lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco! Lauren was one of the food bloggers who contributed their favorite summer recipe that we later recreated just for our shoot. You can check out the lookbook here, and learn more about Lauren in her Ruchette of the Month interview! 

    hannahs fave (2)

    Grapefruit Mint Mojito

    2 sprigs fresh mint leaves (about 8 leaves)
    2 oz rum
    2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
    1/2 oz lime juice
    1 oz club soda
    Grapefruit wedge or wheel for garnish

    hannahs fave (3)

    Place 1/2 of the mint leaves in your glass and muddle gently.

    Stir together the rum, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and ice until the drink has chilled.

    Top with a splash of club soda.

    Garnish with fresh mint sprig and grapefruit wedge or wheel.

    -- Lauren, Lauren Kelp

    hannahs fave (1)

    Shop our stylish and summer-ready lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco and head over to Lauren Kelp for beauty, food, and lifestyle advice and inspiration!


    *Photography Credit: Constance Higley

  • Monday, May 4, 2015

    When you think of food to enjoy under the setting summer sun, grilled cheese may not be the first dish to enter your mind. Well, all that is about to change with Kara of Willow & Niche's Summer Raspberry Grilled Cheese! The food blogger sent us this delightful recipe to be featured in our summer lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco. The subtle sweetness of the raspberries paired with the crunchy bread and melted Goat cheese make these sandwiches perfect finger foods for a summer soiree. If you're on the hunt for the perfect side dish for these summery grilled cheese sandwiches, try pairing them with Kara's Apricot, Stilton and Couscous Salad for your very own backyard party! 

    hannahs fave (1)

    Summer Raspberry Grilled Cheese
    The recipe for this one is simple- and you can be creative with it! Change up breads, fruits, and cheeses and experiment with the flavor!

    4 Slices thick cut grainy bread
    2 Tablespoons raspberry preserves
    3 oz Goat cheese
    A handful of fresh raspberries
    Olive Oil

    hannahs fave (2)

    Start with the bread: Spread a tablespoon raspberry preserves on two pieces. On the other two pieces, evenly spread the goat cheese. Press a couple fresh raspberries into the goat cheese, and top with the other two pieces of bread.

    Heat a skillet or frying pan and loosely drizzle with olive oil. Cook the sandwiches on medium heat until bread is golden. Flip the sandwiches and cook until the other side is golden. Let them cool a bit before biting in.

    -- Kara, Willow & Niche

    hannahs fave (3)

    Shop our summer lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco and head over to Willow & Niche for more amazing recipes to try!


    *Photography Credit: Paper Antler

  • Monday, May 4, 2015

    Nothing says "summer" like dining alfresco with fresh salad featuring delicate fruit and crisp produce. The Apricot, Stilton, and Couscous salad by Willow & Niche is the perfect solution to any culinary conundrum - we adore the colorful presentation along with the hearty helpings of couscous and arugula! This lovely dish was featured in our summer lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco, and it was not only simple to recreate for our shoot, but our staff couldn't help but keep taking bites of the salad in passing because it was so good! Kara of Willow and Niche also submitted a captivating Summer Raspberry Grilled Cheese recipe that was also used in our lookbook shoot, so if you're looking for the perfect complement to your new favorite salad, check out the recipe now!

    hannahs fave (5)

    Apricot, Stilton and Couscous Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

    4 cups arugula
    4oz crumbled stilton cheese
    1 cup couscous, cooked and cooled
    1 avocado diced
    1 cup dried apricots, chopped
    2 Tablespoons honey
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    2 teaspoons dijon mustard
    1 teaspoon salt

    In a large salad bowl, toss arugula, cheese, couscous, avocado, and chopped apricots.

    In a large mason jar, combine honey, oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt. Place lid on top and shake until well mixed.

    Toss the salad in the dressing and serve!

    -- Kara, Willow & Niche

    hannahs fave (4)

    Shop our summer lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco and head over to Willow & Niche for more amazing recipes to try!


    *Photography Credit: Alyse Gilbert

  • Monday, May 4, 2015

    A beautiful summer backyard afternoon, we'd look something like this:

    backyard-party (2)

    See more photos from our summer lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco and get all the recipes from our lookbook on our blog, Summer Lookbook Recipes!


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  • Sunday, May 3, 2015

    If delightful outfits, inspiring recipes, and easy hair tutorials are you're thing, you're going to adore Kelsey of The Farmer's Daughter! This Vancouver local looks stylish all year round, and is an expert when it comes to whipping up a recipe on the fly. We adore her sophisticated-rustic style, thirst for adventure, and we were so excited to have her collaborate with us by providing us with her Earl Grey Lavender Ice Cream for our summer lookbook!


    You currently reside in British Columbia's gorgeous Fraser Valley. With summer just around the corner, are there any styles you're looking forward to wearing?
    Dresses! Dresses without tights! I'm really into classic/retro shapes right now, and I recently picked up the sweetest vintage dress at a consignment shop in Vancouver! 

    We can't get enough of your beautiful (and delicious!) recipes. Do you have a favorite dish you've crafted lately?
    Ooohhh...that's a tough one! I think my favorite recipe would have to be my raspberry macarons with coconut butter cream filling. Macarons are so tricky, and I had been wanting to attempt them for quite a while but was too scared to! I finally mustered up enough courage to try them, and I am so proud of how they turned out (although there were a couple of failed attempts along the way).

    We were so excited for you to share your Earl Grey Lavender Ice Cream with us for our summer lookbook. Can you tell us a little about your creative process when whipping up a new recipe for a blog post?
    Most of my recipes on my blog are created with (or by) my younger sister Jordyn. She's always been adventurous in the kitchen, and loves trying new things. Sometimes we'll try something unique at a restaurant or see something on pinterest that looks interesting, and we'll often discuss how we could recreate it and give it our own spin. We also love themes, which will often provide inspiration unexpectedly. We once did a whole series on drink themed cupcakes! They ranged from your classic peppermint mocha, to chai cupcakes with a cardamom icing. Once we have an idea, we'll come up with a recipe, test it, tweak it if we need to, and then blog it once we're happy with the end product!


    Which summer ingredients are you the most excited for? Are there any specific spices, herbs, or produce you're loving right now?
    I am so blessed to live on a berry, rhubarb, apple, pumpkin, potato and more farm! That means that I have so many fresh and delicious things on my doorstep once summer arrives. Lucky me! Right now, I'm all about rhubarb. I just love it's unique tartness, and our rhubarb coffee cake might be my favorite cake in the world (don't tell my chocolate cake recipe that I said that!). I'm also excited for fresh herbs. Basil and mint are my two faves!

    We adore your feminine, yet rustic style. Can you tell us your go-to outfit?
    Hmm...that's a tough one! I'd have to say a chambray shirt, colored pants (likely mustard or maroon), oxfords, and my favorite leather messenger bag!

    Your blog is filled with your gorgeous adventures. While you've traveled across the globe, what are some of your favorite places to visit in your hometown?
    I live in Abbotsford, which is about an hour away from Vancouver (in British Columbia!), and it's known as "The City in the Country". Our farm is one of my favorite spots in the world, and I feel so lucky to get to live here! Other than that, I love supporting local businesses in Abbotsford, and have been so happy to see more and more pop up lately!

    To shop: Spruce Collective is hands down my favorite shop in the city. A group of local girls opened it a few years ago, and focus on vintage treasures, home decor, and dreamy clothes. They love selling locally, hand-made items, and it is the very best place to find something unique and they have an online shop!

    To eat: Bow and Stern. A new seafood restaurant that has the most gorgeous interior....and their fish tacos are the bomb!

    To drink: Oldhand Coffee. A young family just opened this shop, and it is the cutest. Carefully crafted drinks, homemade treats, and a careful attention to details, this cafe is something special.


    Is there anything at the very top of your Ruche wishlist? Can I say everything?
    If I have to choose, I would have to say the Sirmione Dress, and the June Bug Oxfords are at the top of my list! I think they'd look darling together, so I might have to get them both!

    Lastly, our motto is #LiveBeautifully. How do you live beautifully?
    I could definitely write an essay on this, so I'll try and keep it short! There are so many ways to live beautifully, from doing more of what makes you happy, dressing up in something pretty for nobody but yourself, slowing down and remembering to live in the moment... and the list goes on. At the top of my list though, is to live out each day with kindness. Doing things for others just because, and treating everyone you meet with respect are such simple things to do, and brings joy to others as well as yourself. The most beautiful people I know are the ones who are kind and encouraging and selfless!

    Quick Fire!
    Ice Cream or popsicles? Ice cream!
    Summer or winter? Summer.
    Tote or clutch? Tote.
    Sunrise or sunset? Sunset.
    Keys, wallet, phone, and....Camera!

    We hope you're just as in adoration of Kelsey as we are! Don't forget to stop by her blog for oodles of inspiration, and you can view past Ruchettes of the Month here


  • Friday, May 1, 2015


    The month of May brings all the blooming flowers from April's sprinkle of showers. Bask in the sun and enjoy the blissful days of spring with this month's free desktop calendar! This month's calendar was designed by our incredibly talented Ruchette, Kelsey DeLange of Honey and the Hive. Check out her Etsy shop and follow her Instagram to see more artful creations and wonderful paintings. Read more about Kelsey and her creative inspirations in our interview with the artist herself here. Stop by our wallpapers page to download the free wallpaper for all of your devices. We hope you're just as smitten as we are!


    Comments (0)
  • Friday, May 1, 2015

    You can never go wrong with a veggie pizza, and our in-house photographer, Megan of Megan Jeanne Photography, crafted this one specially for our lookbook (which she shot)! If you're lucky enough, you can pick the tomatoes right out of your summer garden.


    Tomato, Fennel & Pine Nut  Flatbread Pizza

    Pizza dough (I use this recipe from NY Times)
    3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (and extra for greasing baking sheet)
    1 tsp tomato paste
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
    15 oz. mini heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly (about 25-30
    mini tomatoes)
    3/4 cup fresh shaved parmesan
    2 tbsp. pine nuts
    ½ cup fennel fronds, chopped
    1 tsp Kosher salt
    ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

    Follow instructions for the pizza dough above.

    Preheat oven to 525 degrees.

    Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

    Stretch dough on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 9 inches by 13 inches.

    Place the dough on the greased baking sheet and brush with 2 tbsp. of the olive oil and the tomato paste. Sprinkle garlic and thyme on top. Reserve the remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil.

    Begin layering the sliced tomatoes on the dough, starting at the bottom and working your way up in rows, allowing the tomatoes to slightly overlap and leaving a ½ inch border. Repeat until entire surface is covered.

    Brush tomatoes with remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil and top with the shaved Parmesan.

    Leaving the flatbread on the baking sheet, place it in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Crust should be golden.

    Remove flatbread from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Leave the oven on.

    After flatbread has cooled, top with fennel fronds, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Carefully lift it from the baking sheet and place directly on a rack in the center of the oven. Allow to bake an additional 2-3 minutes (until underside of crust has crisped and pine nuts are lightly toasted). The fennel and pine nuts can burn quickly so keep watch.

    Remove the flatbread from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

    Slice into rectangles and serve warm.

    -- Megan, Megan Jeanne Photography


    Shop our summer lookbook, An Afternoon Alfresco and head over to Megan Jeanne Photography if you're looking for an amazing local photographer!


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