Archive | November, 2014

Hazelnut-Salted Caramel Macarons

24 Nov

   November 24th, 2014

2014-11-23 05.02.53This weekend I spent some time preparing for the Holidays including making pie dough, pie filling, cookie dough and macarons. Thanksgiving is in two days and Christmas is just around the corner. To save myself time, I try to make whatever I can ahead of time. Macarons are one of the things that I usually make ahead and they keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days, and even longer in the freezer. I decided on a hazelnut shell filled with salted caramel buttercream. The homemade salted-caramel was very easy and the taste by itself was irresistible! A little bit of salted-caramel in the buttercream goes a long way, so I still have a jar of it left. Perhaps salted caramel ice cream is in the future?

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Hazelnut Macarons: Recipe can be found here

Salted Caramel:
½ C sugar
⅛ C water
¼ C heavy cream
1T butter
¼ tsp – ½ tsp sea salt

Y= about ½ C

Directions:

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Slightly whisk to mix.
  2. Heat on medium until the mixture turns a deep amber color. Do not stir when the mixture is heating up. Keep an eye out on the mixture and do not let it burn.
  3. Remove saucepan from the heat once desired color of the caramel is reached. Add the heavy cream (mixture will slightly bubble up). Slightly whisk to combine.
  4. Add the butter and sea salt. Add more salt for a saltier taste.
  5. Allow caramel to cool.

Salted Caramel Buttercream:
4.5 oz sugar
¼ C + ⅛ C egg whites
8 oz butter, softened and cut into pieces.
1-2 tsp salted caramel (adjust as needed)

Y= this was more than enough to fill 60 macarons. I have about half of the buttercream left.

Directions:

  1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of simmering hot 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. Add salted caramel, ½ tsp at a time to the buttercream. If you like a more salty, caramel flavor, add more caramel.2014-11-23 05.41.502014-11-23 05.57.41

Homemade Graham Crackers

20 Nov

November 20, 2014

I’m use to eating store-bought graham crackers and have been using store-bought ones when I make a graham cracker crust for cheesecakes. I didn’t realize how easy it is to make homemade graham crackers until I stumbled upon the recipe in Miette’s recipe book. Miette is located in San Francisco and I love everything about the store- their beautiful cakes and confectionaries, and the Parisian-like shop. Literally, I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I’m in Miette.

The graham crackers are on the crispy and buttery side, tasty enough to eat on it’s own, or sandwiched between ice cream, which was what I did since I had some homemade vanilla bourbon ice cream left. I do have a few more cookies left, which I will experiment in making a homemade graham cracker crust.

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Graham Crackers, recipe from Miette’s book
7 ½ oz AP Flour
1 ½ oz Whole-wheat Flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
6 oz unsalted butter
4 oz light brown sugar
2 T Honey

Yield= about 20 3-inch cookies

Directions:

  1. Sift flours, salt, cinnamon together. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter, sugar and honey together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the sifted dry ingredients into the butter mixture in three additions. Mix to incorporate after each addition.
  4. Once the dough comes together, remove from the mixer and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight before rolling.
  5. When the dough is ready to be rolled out, unwrap and place dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Use a rolling-pin to roll dough out to desired thickness.
  6. Using a 3-inch round scalloped cookie cutter, cut the graham crackers.
  7. Arrange cut cookies, evenly spaced apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Using a fork, gently dock the cookies.
  8. Bake cookies at 350 degrees, 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool completely.

2014-11-16 02.41.162014-11-16 03.13.02Have left over ice cream? If so, the graham crackers held up well when sandwiched between ice cream.

 

 

Apple-Persimmon Hand Pies

16 Nov

 November 16th, 2014

Each year around this time, I receive a LARGE bag full of Fuyu persimmons from my parents. They have a huge persimmon tree in their backyard and I am the lucky one who gets to enjoy the fruits. I always end up getting more than what my refrigerator can store and even after I handed some out to my coworkers, I was left with plenty more.

So instead of letting them go to waste by slowly rotting away at the bottom of my fruit drawer, I made an apple-persimmon pie filling for some hand pies. Since I had some pie dough left in my freezer, this was a quick dessert.  I made cinnamon apple hand pies before and they tasted great. However, having never baked with persimmons before this was a long shot.

Needless to say, the apple-persimmon combination works well! For this recipe I used the Fuyu persimmons, NOT the Hachiya, astringent variety. Years ago, I made the mistake of biting into a not so ripe Hachiya persimmon and was left with a mouth-puckering surprise – it was quite bitter and very unpleasant!

2014-11-09 05.59.022014-11-09 05.57.502014-11-09 06.01.13Pie Dough:
Pie dough recipe can be found here. For this recipe I used half the dough and got 15 hand pies.

Apple-Persimmon Pie Filling:
1 large apple (I used Gala); peeled and diced into small pieces

3-4 persimmons, depending on the size; peeled and diced into small pieces
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
juice of half a lemon

Yield= enough for 15-18 hand pies

Directions:

  1. Place diced apples and persimmons in a bowl.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix to combine.

Assemble:

  1. Roll out pie dough and use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut rounds out.
  2. Spoon mixture in the center of the pie dough.
  3. Brush some egg wash along the edges and bring opposite ends together to seal.
  4. Place onto parchment-lined sheet pan. Using a fork, crimp along the sealed edges.
  5. Once all hand pies are assembled, use a pairing knife to make 3 small slits on top.
  6. Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle sugar on top before baking.
  7. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes, rotating half way through. Pies are done when they are golden in color, but not burnt.

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