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Celebrating the "Kentucky Derby" with Jim Hewes & Chef Jason Jimenez of "The Willard"

Bonnets and bowties and Mint Juleps OH MY! (ABC 7)

In 1874 Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark (of the famed pair Lewis and Clark) traveled to Europe and was inspired to create a spectacular horse race after attending Epsom Derby in England. He returned home, acquired land for a racetrack from his uncles John & Henry Churchill and the rest as they say is history, in this case of the "Kentucky Derby" Jim Hewes and Chef Jason Jimenez of "The Willard Hotel" joined us now to dish on where the bowties, bonnets and mint juleps came into play plus shared a new way for us to enjoy the Mint Julep!


Mint Julep Macarons with Bourbon Chocolate Ganache (makes about 24 1-inch macarons shells)

Mint Julep Macaron Shells

Ingredients:

2/3 cup almond meal or ground almonds

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3 large egg whites, room temperature

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

Mint extract

Green food color

Prepared Bourbon chocolate ganache (recipe below)

Recipe Directions:

-Preheat the oven to 280 degree Fahrenheit. Line 1 baking sheets with parchment paper. Tip: If using parchment paper, draw 1-inch circles on the back of each sheet, spacing the circles at least 1/2-inch apart.

-Tip: If your almond meal is very coarse, grind it with the powdered sugar in a food processor until fine. Sift the almond meal-powdered sugar mixture twice through a mesh sieve.

-Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer a hand mixer, and begin to beat on medium-high. When the eggs are frothy, gradually add granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Continue to beat the egg white mixture until the mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters. Gently stir in the mint extract(2 drops) and add green food color, one drop at a time(fully incorporating each drop of color until the desired shade is achieved. Be careful to not over whip the meringue or else the meringue takes on a clumpy texture.

-Add half of the sifted almond mixture, and gently fold it into the meringue using a rubber spatula. Lift from the bottom, up around the sides, and toward the middle, being careful to not over mix the meringue and lose too much air. Once the almond mixture is almost fully incorporated, add the second half and repeat the folding technique.

-When all of the almond mixture is incorporated, you will need to transform the batter into the appropriate texture. Using the flat of the spatula, "punch" down into the center of the batter, then scrape more batter from the sides to the center, and punch again. Keep mixing with the spatula until the batter slowly and continuously drips back into the bowl when you scoop it up with the spatula. Do not make the batter too runny or the macarons won't rise as they should.

-Pour batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Tip: you can also use a gallon-size Ziploc bag. All you need to do is just cut a small piece from one of the bottom corners. Twist and clip the top of the bag to avoid overflow. On your prepared baking sheets, pipe out 1-inch rounds in the circles you drew, remembering to use the back side of the parchment paper.

-Holding the baking sheet in both hands, tap the baking sheet firmly on the counter two or three times. This smooths out the tops and helps form the characteristic "feet" on the bottoms of the macarons. Allow the piped macarons to dry, uncovered, for at least an 45 minutes. The macarons should form a very thin, smooth "skin" and if you tap it lightly with your finger, the batter should not stick to your finger. If after the 45 minutes, the batter is still sticky, let it dry longer. This may take up to an hour on humid days.

-Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. Tip: After the first 2 minutes, open the oven to allow any excess humidity to escape. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the pan for even baking. The macarons are done when they are baked all the way through and the shells are just hard. Do not under bake or the insides will still be mushy. If they are over baked, the tops will begin to brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on baking sheet placed on a wire rack.

-When fully cooled, assemble the macarons with the prepared Bourbon chocolate ganache filling. The assembled macarons can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for up to 1 month.

Bourbon Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

11 oz. dark chocolate (chopped into pea size pieces)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 oz. butter(cut into small cubes)

2 Tablespoons Bourbon

Directions:

-Add heavy cream and butter to a medium sized pot

-Melt the two ingredients and bring to a simmer using medium-high heat

-Turn off stove and add the chocolate

-Stir to melt the chocolate until all is melted

-Add Bourbon

-Let cool for 6-8 hours or overnight covered at room temperature

-The ganache is ready to use once fully cooled

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