Archive | July, 2014

Hazelnut Macarons

26 Jul

July 26th, 2014

These macarons were made specifically for my husband’s co-worker’s surprise bridal party. He originally wanted to order some desserts, but I volunteered to bake some treats for the special occasion. The team surprised the bride with macarons, cupcakes, and champagne and decorated her cube with confetti and paper streamers. She was definitely taken by surprise and did not expect it at all.

2014-07-11 12.42.31                 Chocolate Cupcakes and Hazelnut Macarons for the bride-to-be2014-07-11 12.42.49My plan was to make hazelnut macarons by substituting some of the almond flour with hazelnut flour. I have done this in the past before, but with a different ratio of the flours. This time, I replaced most of the almond flour with the hazelnut flour and the outcome of these little rounds of joys was a tasty surprise. Upon first bite, these macarons reminded me very much of the chocolate candies we ate as kids- Ferrero Rocher. The crisp, nutty shell along with the chocolate buttercream filling was very similar to the tastes of the chocolate candy. Ferrero Rochers consists of a hazelnut in the center, filled with hazelnut cream, enclosed within a wafer shell, and a chocolate outer coating.

I loved these candies and these were always a treat when we were younger. I rarely eat them now since I don’t eat much candy in general, but I will keep this recipe in rotation to get my hazelnut-chocolate combo fix. Next time though, I will have to incorporate hazelnut flavor into the filling.

2014-07-13 06.16.012014-07-13 06.39.482014-07-13 06.30.29

Tip: When I have extra macarons that I want to save, I put them (sandwiched with the filling) in an air-tight container and freeze them. They last for a few weeks and when ready to be served, take them out and allow them to come to room temperature. Otherwise, if you know they will be gone within a few days, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Hazelnut Macarons:
125g almond flour
65g hazelnut flour
375g powdered sugar
155g egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
45g sugar

Y= about 60 sandwiched macarons, about 1 inches in diameter

1. In a food processor, pulse together flours, and powdered sugar 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. Set aside.
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. Once all the sugar is added, increase speed to high.
6. Continue to whisk 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 using a spatula fold the dries into the egg whites. The dries do not have to be fully incorporated at this point.
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 inch circles. Once the sheet pan is full, 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.
17. Once cooled, fill with chocolate buttercream.

9 oz Sugar
3/4 C Egg whites
1 lb butter, softened and cut into pieces.
5 oz dark chocolate, melted, cooled

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. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
6. Once the butter is all in, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape sides down if necessary.
7. Slowly add the cooled chocolate to the buttercream. If you like a more chocolatey flavor, add more chocolate. If your chocolate is not cool enough it can melt the buttercream. I always melt my chocolate before I pipe the macarons. That way it will have sufficient time to cool.

2014-07-13 06.14.482014-07-13 06.22.162014-07-13 06.28.09


Classic Apple Pie

6 Jul

July 6th, 2014

Happy 4th of July Weekend! I had a nice, long, much-needed 4-day weekend of hanging out and doing random things around town. We spent a lot of time with our puppy, who turned 8-months today! To celebrate the actual holiday though, we hung out with a couple of friends over barbecue, drinks and of course, dessert. The gathering was a potluck, so I decided to make a pie to bring. The original plan was a peach pie since stone fruits are in season right now. Unfortunately, after a small mishap, plans changed; just as I was pulling the peach pie out of the oven, my sticky fingers dropped the pie dish and the entire thing flipped upside down onto the oven door! This was a first for me and it was quite devastating. Sadly enough, the pie was not salvageable.

So the back up plan was a classic apple pie. I could have scrambled and rushed to the market for more peaches, but I had plenty of apples already in the refrigerator, so I opted to make an apple pie instead. I love making this pie because it’s simple and you can’t go wrong with it. I mean, who doesn’t love an apple pie, right? This was served within two hours after it came out of the oven, and it was still warm. However, if you need to make it ahead of time, you can bake it, let it cool to room temperature, and slightly cover and leave it until the next day to serve.

The best part of apple pies, or any other pies, is having a slice with some vanilla ice cream!

2014-07-04 04.37.03Pie Dough:
12oz flour
2 sticks cold, cubed butter
7T cold water
1T cider vinegar
Y= enough to cover the bottom & top of a 9-inch pie pan

1. In a food processor with the dough attachment, combine flour, salt and butter. Pulse until mixture becomes crumbly.
2. Add the water and vinegar mixture in thirds, pulsing in between.
3. Finish mixing the dough by hand on a floured surface. Divide dough in two pieces. Wrap, refrigerate and allow dough to rest for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
4. At this point, you can also freeze the dough.
5. Roll out one half of the dough on a floured surface. Transfer the rolled out dough to the pie pan by carefully rolling it onto your rolling pin and laying it in the pie pan. Press the dough into the pan. Refrigerate pie pan to set the dough.

Apple Pie Filling:
10 apples (Gala); washed, dried, peeled, sliced
Juice of ½ a lemon
1C white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
optional: ½ tsp vanilla powder
3T cornstarch

1. Toss sliced apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla together.
2. Add cornstarch. Mix to coat evenly.
3. Pour mixture into pie pan.
4. Carefully roll out the second half of the dough. Place on top of apples and seal edges.
5. Make a few slits in the center of the pie.
6. Egg wash the top of the pie and sprinkle with sugar.
7. Bake at 400F for 40 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Halfway through baking, I place a piece of foil over the top since I didn’t want the tops to get too dark.

2014-07-04 04.33.52 2014-07-04 04.42.57 2014-07-04 21.54.132014-07-04 22.02.26  Paired with leftover homemade vanilla ice cream!

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