Archive | April, 2014

Donut Macarons

20 Apr

April 20th, 2014

Happy Easter Sunday! To celebrate the Easter weekend I made donut shaped macarons. These were quite fun and fairly easy to make if you’ve made traditional macarons before. I also had a lot of egg whites from another project that I wanted to use up, and the most appropriate thing that came to mind was macarons. I wanted to experiment with the shape of the macarons, as I have been seeing very unique ones on Pinterest.

I am not a big donut person, but also not against eating them. I just don’t go out of my way for them. Even though these macarons do not taste like actual donuts, they really do look like them! I wanted to go for the vanilla glazed-Funfetti look. I used royal icing as the glaze, topped with colored sprinkles and chocolate ganache as the filling.

Hope you had a great Easter celebration! We kept it mellow and took our puppy to the beach for the very first time…he loved it and definitely got chased by the waves a few times. He found a few crabs that washed up and was very intrigued by them. Overall, a great weekend!

190g almond flour
375g powdered sugar
155g egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
45g sugar
2 tsp vanilla powder
Y= about 36 sandwiched macarons, 1.5 inches in diameter

1. In a food processor, pulse together almond flour, powdered sugar and vanilla powder for about 30 seconds. Divide in parts if food processor is not large enough to fit everything at once.
2. Sift the mixture into a clean bowl.
3. Place egg whites in a mixer bowl. Whisk until slightly foamy on medium speed.
4. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and whisk to incorporate.
5. In a steady stream, add sugar to the egg whites. Once all the sugar is added, increase speed to high.
6. Continue to whisk the mixture until stiff peaks have formed. Peaks should be shiny and smooth. (If using fresh egg whites vs. carton egg whites, the peaks should form fairly quickly).
7. Transfer the egg whites to a clean bowl.
8. Sift a third of the dries into the egg white mixture. Carefully fold the dries into the egg whites. The dries do not have to be fully incorporated.
9. Sift the next third of the dries into the mixture. Continue to fold.
10. Lastly, sift the remaining of the dries and fold.
11. Continue to fold until the dries are incorporated with the egg whites. Be careful not to over-fold, otherwise the batter will be too runny.
12. Line sheet pans with silpat (or parchment paper).
13. Using a piping bag fitted with an Ateco 304 tip, pipe 1.5 inch circles. To make the donut shape, pipe as if you’re writing the letter “O”, leaving the center unfilled. If you’re batter is on the runny side, use a smaller tip. Tap the bottom of the sheet pan to get rid of any air bubbles.
14. Once all the batter has been piped, allow macarons to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
15. Bake at 300F for 10 minutes. Rotate and bake for another 6.5 to 7 minutes.
16. All to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache
160g dark heavy whipping cream
160 g dark chocolate

1. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
2. Heat the heavy cream to a simmer.
3. Pour heated cream over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 30 seconds before whisking to combine.
4. Allow the ganache to set up before filling the macarons. Note: You can make this ahead of time when the macarons are resting. You can also place the ganache in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to help it firm up quicker.

Powdered Sugar
Pasteurized egg whites
Vanilla extract (optional)
Note: Ingredients for the glaze were eye-balled.

1. Sift powdered sugar into a mixer bowl. I started with about 1 cup of powdered sugar.
2. Add egg whites a little at a time. Whisk to combine. Start with about 1 tablespoon.
3. If the glaze is too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it is too stiff, add more egg whites. Continue to do so until the right consistency is reached. You want the glaze to be somewhat on the runny side.

1. Once the macarons shells have cooled, place about half the shells on a wire rack. Spoon a small amount of the glaze over the shells. Alternatively, you can dip the shells into the glaze.
2. Sprinkle colored sprinkles over the glaze and allow the glaze to completely dry, about 15-20 minutes.
3. Fill the center of the unglazed shells with the chocolate ganache. Sandwich the macarons together.
4. Filled macarons can be kept in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for a few days.

2014-04-18 03.51.30Allow the glaze to dry completely before filling the macarons.

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Berry Galette

14 Apr

April 14th, 2014

The one thing I cannot wait to upgrade is a bigger freezer so that I can make and freeze unlimited amounts of pie dough and have them readily available so that whenever I’m craving dessert I can just whip something up. But alas, my freezer is tiny and it’s already filled with my  macarons (saving them for a special project). I did, however, managed to find the half recipe of dough I had left from another pie I made. So instead of tossing it out, or letting it sit in the freezer any longer, I decided to make a berry galette.

Conveniently, we visited the farmer’s market and picked up our favorite strawberries from Rodriguez’s Farm. They were still a bit tiny, so not as sweet to eat on it’s own, but tasted great in the dessert. This recipe is great because it can save you time in many ways. First, if you don’t have time to make the pie dough, you can buy store bought pie dough and just make the filling. Or if you already have pie dough frozen from a previous project, you just need to make the easy filling. Lastly, you don’t need any special baking pans, as long as you have a baking sheet of some sort and parchment paper, then you’re good to go. Galettes are also free-form, which makes it even simpler to shape and there is no need for any special techniques.

This dessert sits well in room temperature once it’s cooled and can last a few days if you don’t get to finish it all in one sitting. I bet it would even pair well with some vanilla ice cream! My lucky coworkers were able to enjoy some of the galette, otherwise, it would have been a dangerous situation if I left it at home!

Pie Dough
12oz flour
2 sticks cold, cubed butter
7T cold water
1T cider vinegar
1tsp lemon zest

Yield: Two 9-inch pies. Each pie dough yielded two medium-sized galettes

1. In a food processor with dough attachment, combine flour, salt, zest and butter. Pulse until mixture becomes crumbly.
2. Add the water and vinegar in thirds, pulsing in between.
3. Finish mixing the dough by hand on a floured surface. Divide dough into two. Wrap, refrigerate and allow dough to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Almond Filling (optional)
3 Tbs softened butter
1/8C sugar
1 egg
1 Tbs AP flour
1/2C almond flour

Yield: enough to spread onto two medium-sized galettes.

1. Cream butter and sugar together.
2. Add the egg. Mix.
3. Add AP and almond flour. Mix to combine.

Fruit Filling
1 ½ C Strawberries, washed & cut
1 C frozen Blueberries
½ C Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Vanilla Powder
2 Tbs Cornstarch

1. In a bowl, combine berries, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.
2. Toss together to mix evenly, being careful not to crush the berries
3. The mixture will become liquid as it sits. Add cornstarch to absorb the liquid. Add more if needed.

Assemble the Galette
1. Cut pie dough in half.
2. Carefully roll out each half of the dough to a circle, making sure it fits in the baking sheet. Place on top of parchment paper on the baking sheet.
3. Divide almond filling between the two doughs. Using an off-set spatula spread the filling around the center, leaving a 1-in border along the outside edges.
4. Divide fruit filling between the two galettes. Spread fruits so that it covers the almond filling.
5. Carefully fold the border up and over, towards the center of the galette. Slightly push the border of the dough down into the fruits.
6. Brush edges with egg wash
7. Bake at 375F until edges are browned, about 20-25 minutes.
8. Optional: Once cooled, dust powder sugar along the edges.

2014-03-26 00.06.47It’s ok if these aren’t rolled out to be perfect circles.

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If you don’t have blueberries or strawberries, you can substitute with raspberries. Better yet, you can even use all three types of berries.

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S’mores Birthday Cupcakes

3 Apr

April 3rd, 2014

I had my first ever Smores pretty late in the game. If I remember correctly, it was well after college. I mean, I’ve had marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate and graham crackers before, but all on separate occasions. Plus, I was never a camping person, which I assume is when most S’mores are eaten, near the bonfire.

When I finally had a S’mores, I was blown away. The gooey marshmallow mixed with the slightly melted chocolate, accompanied by the crunchy graham cracker was a definite explosion. I was definitely hooked. So for a friend’s birthday brunch, I decided to make a cupcake version of S’mores, with all 3 essential components. A graham cracker crust at the bottom, moist chocolate cake, topped with marshmallow meringue. The great thing about the meringue is it can be torched, creating the toasted marshmallow flavor.

Be warned though, if you make the meringue, it’s not as sturdy as buttercream. Keep frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator overnight. If you must travel with the cupcakes, try to keep them in a cool area.

Graham Cracker Crust
1 sleeve of graham crackers
5 Tb melted butter
2 Tb sugar

1. Place crackers and sugar in a food processor. Process until crumbly and no large pieces exist.
2. Add melted butter and mix until the mixture comes together.
3. Divide mixture among lined cupcake pan.
4. Using the bottom of a shot glass, or whatever object that is the same size of the cupcake pan, press the crumbs into the pan so that there are no loose pieces.
5. Place in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes to set the crust.
6. Allow to cool.

Chocolate Devil’s Food Cupcakes
16.5 oz sugar
3 oz cocoa powder
18 oz boiling water
3/4 C vegetable Oil
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla powder
12 oz AP flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt

Yield= 32 cupcakes

1. In a mixer bowl, mix sugar and cocoa powder together using the paddle attachment.
2. Add the hot water. Mix on low-speed until cooled. As this is cooling, gather the rest of the ingredients.
3. Add the oil, eggs, vanilla.
4. Sift dries and add to the wet mixture. Mix until incorporated.
5. Scoop batter into the cooled graham cracker crust.
6. Bake at 350 12-15 minutes, or until cupcakes bounce back from touch. Allow to cool completely.

Note: This recipe works well for cupcakes and cakes.

Marshmallow Meringue:
4 egg whites
1 C sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
2. Place bowl over a pot of boiling water.
3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer.
5.Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture has increased in volume and is stiff and shiny.
6. If using vanilla extract, add it last.

Assemble the Cupcakes:
1. Using a piping bag, attach round piping tip (I used Ateco 807).
2. Once cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe meringue.
3. Using a handheld torch, carefully torch the tops of the meringue.
4. Piped cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

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