S’mores Macarons

20 May

May 20th 2015 

Who doesn’t love S’mores? The combination of graham crackers, toasted marshmallow and chocolate in one bite is to die for. Growing up I never went camping, so I can’t say S’mores remind me of camping trips; however, they do remind of bonfires during my college days.

These are by far one of my favorite macaron flavors. What are your favorite flavors?

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Graham Macaron

120 g almond flour
22 g graham cracker crumbs
281 g powdered sugar
116 g egg whites
33 g sugar

Y= sixty-eight 2-inch cookies (makes 34 sandwiched macarons)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse together almond flour, graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar for about 30 seconds.
  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.
  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 1-1.5 inch circles. Once the sheet pan is full, tap the bottom of the sheet pan against the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
  14. 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 8 minutes.
  16. All to cool completely.

Marshmallow Meringue
60 g egg whites
½ C sugar

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.
  5. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes stiff and meringue-like.

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To Assemble

  1. Once the macarons shells have cooled, pipe meringue in the center and slightly torch the meringue.
  2. Sprinkle some graham cracker crumbs and drizzle melted chocolate (I used a chocolate sauce I purchased from Oliver Napa Valley).
  3. Filled macarons can be kept in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for a few days.

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Raspberry Curd Tartlets

13 May

May 13th, 2015

I made a very similar flavor tart a few posts back using a raspberry-lemon curd; however, this time I used only raspberries. The tartlet crust is also the same shortbread crust recipe, except I made these bite-sized — 2 inches in diameter. I found the tartlet molds at a local baking supply store and I couldn’t resist. My collection of baking supplies is forever growing, but that just means more reasons to bake!

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Shortbread Crust (AKA Pate Sablee), recipe from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts book

90 g sugar
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
255 g cake flour

Y= twenty-four 2-inch mini tart shells

Directions:

  1. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar and salt together, until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg yolks. Mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Add the flour at once. Mix until dough comes together.
  4. If dough is dry and crumbly, add 1-3 tsp of cold water. Add 1 tsp at a time.
  5. Wrap and rest dough in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
  6. Once the dough has rested in the refrigerator, roll out the dough and press into the tartlet  molds.
  7. If dough feels a bit soft, refrigerate the lined molds for about 10 minutes before baking.
  8. Using a fork, slightly dock the dough.
  9. Bake at 340F for 14-16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before unmolding and filling.

Raspberry Curd

⅔ C raspberry juice (See my previous post for instructions on how to prepare raspberry juice)
4 oz sugar
4 egg yolks
3 oz softened butter

Y = enough to fill 15 mini tartlets (recipe can be doubled to have enough to fill all twenty-four tartlet shells)

Directions

  1. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan heat the raspberry juice to a boil. Remove from heat.
  3. Temper the yolk-sugar mixture by adding half of the heated raspberry juice to the yolks, while whisking to prevent the yolks from curdling.
  4. Add the tempered yolks back to the saucepan and heat on medium.
  5. Continue to heat until the mixture thickens, while whisking to prevent the bottom from burning.
  6. Once the mixture thickens, strain into a clean bowl over the butter.
  7. Whisk to combine.
  8. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to cool.

Meringue
60 g egg whites
½ C sugar

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.
  5. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.

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To Assemble

  1. Pipe or spoon the raspberry curd filling into the tartlet shells.
  2. Pipe a dollop of meringue in the center of the curd.
  3. Carefully torch the meringue.
  4. Refrigerate tartlets until ready to serve.

Individual Tiramisu Cakes

10 May

May 10th, 2015 

Hope everyone is have a great Mother’s Day weekend! We celebrated with our moms yesterday and today I am making up for a late post on these wonderful individual tiramisu cakes I made about two weeks ago. Tiramisu has been on my to-bake list for some time now and I’m glad I got around to them. I don’t order tiramisu for dessert at restaurants or buy them often, but when I do have the opportunity to eat them, I am reminded of how much I actually enjoy them. The combination of the rum-coffee soaked ladyfingers and the light Mascarpone filling makes it a delectable treat. I’m a big fan of coffee flavored desserts, so it also explains why I like tiramisu.

I didn’t look too hard to find lady fingers in the stores. I only checked Trader Joe’s and was told ladyfingers are a seasonal item, around Thanksgiving and Christmas. People did tell me that Whole Foods might have them, but I didn’t bother checking and decided to make them instead. The recipe I used yielded softer ladyfingers, almost like a sponge cake. I found a Mascarpone filling recipe from Pretty.Simple.Sweet blog, which called for cooked egg yolks. Most recipes use raw egg yolks, but I preferred to use a recipe with cooked egg yolks.

Ladyfingers, recipe from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts book
3 egg whites
75 g powdered sugar
3 egg yolks
¼ tsp vanilla extract
75 g cake flour

Y= Twenty-nine 4-inch ladyfingers; this is enough for four 4-inch round individual tiramisu cakes.

Directions:

  1. In a mixer bowl with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites until slightly foamy.
  2. Add powdered sugar and continue to whisk until meringue reaches stiff peaks.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and vanilla. Carefully fold the egg yolk mixture into the meringue using a spatula.
  4. Add the flour into the mixture in 3 additions, folding after each addition.
  5. Line sheet pans with parchment paper. Lightly coat parchment paper with non-stick spray.
  6. Using a round Ateco 805 tip, pipe 4 inch ladyfingers so that each ladyfinger touches the adjacent ladyfinger. Make 2 strips of batter along the length of the sheet pan.
  7. Optional: lightly dust piped batter with powdered sugar.
  8. Bake at 350F 10-13 minutes, or until ladyfingers spring back from touch.

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Tiramisu Recipe, adapted from Pretty.Simple.Sweet blog

Coffee Rum Syrup
1 C hot water
2 T instant coffee
2 T sugar
2 T dark rum

Y= this is more than enough to soak the ladyfingers. You can reduce the recipe in half.

Directions

  1. Combine the hot water with the instant coffee, sugar and dark rum.
  2. Stir to combine and allow the mixture to cool.

Mascarpone Filling
3 egg yolks
70 g sugar
2 T dark rum
¾ C heavy cream
8 oz Mascarpone cheese, room temperature

Y= enough filling to make four 4-inch round individual tiramisu cakes

Directions

  1. Combine egg yolks, sugar and dark rum in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of water, simmering on low heat. Cook the mixture while constantly whisking until it becomes thick and foamy.
  3. Remove from heat and allow the egg mixture to cool.
  4. In a mixer bowl, whisk the heavy cream until stiff peaks.
  5. Add the room temperature Mascarpone cheese to the cooled yolk mixture. Gently whisk to combine.
  6. Fold the whipped cream into the yolk-Mascarpone mixture. Continue to fold until mixture is smooth in consistency.

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To Assemble

    1. Line cake rings with acetate strips.
    2. Line the bottom of the cake ring with lady fingers. You will need to trim off any excess to fit the round bottom of the rings.
    3. Since the ladyfingers are soft, I used a pastry brush to soak them with the coffee-rum syrup.
    4. Pipe some of the Mascarpone filling over the ladyfingers. (I prefer to pipe the filling to avoid major air bubbles; otherwise you can spoon the filling in).
    5. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers, coffee syrup and filling. Smooth out the top layer of the Mascarpone filling.
    6. Allow the tiramisu to set in the refrigerator overnight before unmolding.
    7. Carefully unmold on the next day. Dust with cocoa powder and serve cold.

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Raspberry-Lemon Tarts with a Shortbread Crust

19 Apr

April 19th, 2015

One of my favorite online home cooking websites I follow is called The Kitchn, and when I came across their raspberry lemon curd recipe, I knew I had to try it. Although I have been using a lot of berries lately, I couldn’t pass up this recipe, as it was appropriate for the Springtime weather. Plus, I absolutely love the color of the curd from the raspberry and lemon combination.

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Shortbread Crust (AKA Pate Sablee), recipe from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts book
90g sugar
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
255g cake flour (I used AP flour)

Y= lines eight 4-in tart molds

Directions:

  1. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar and salt together, until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg yolks. Mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Add the flour at once. Mix until dough comes together.
  4. If dough is dry and crumbly, add 1-3 tsp of cold water. Add 1 tsp at a time.
  5. Wrap and rest dough in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
  6. Once the dough has rested in the refrigerator, roll out the dough and press into the tart molds.
  7. If dough feels a bit soft, refrigerate the lined tart molds for about 10 minutes before baking.
  8. Using a fork, slightly dock the dough.
  9. Bake at 350F for 17-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before unmolding and filling.

Raspberry-Lemon Curd, recipe adapted from The Kitchn
1 ¼ C fresh raspberries, or 1 bag of frozen raspberries
¼ C fresh lemon juice
4 egg yolks
1 egg
1 C sugar (I reduced to ¾ C)
6 T cubed, unsalted butter

Y= enough to fill eight 4-in tarts

Directions:

  1. Heat the raspberries in a sauce pan. Allow to come to a boil and reduce to low heat. Stir occasionally to break raspberries apart. Continue to heat until raspberries become juicy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Strain the raspberry juice into a clean bowl. Discard raspberry pulp.
  3. Return ¼ C + 2 T of the raspberry juice with the lemon juice, eggs, and sugar to the saucepan. Stir to combine.
  4. Cook the mixture until it thickens, stirring to prevent the bottom from burning.
  5. Once the mixture thickens, strain into a clean bowl over the cubed butter.
  6. Slightly whisk together to melt the butter.
  7. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to cool.

To Assemble:

  1. Whip ¼ C of heavy cream until medium peaks.
  2. Fold the whipped cream into the raspberry-lemon curd to lighten.
  3. Using a spoon, fill the baked tart crust with the lightened curd.
  4. Alternatively, you can omit the whipped cream.
  5. Garnish and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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I folded in whipped cream to the curd, which lightened the consistency and color of the curd…still so pretty!

Oreo Cheesecakes

12 Apr

April 12th, 2015

The way I used to eat Oreos was dunking them in a glass of milk for a few seconds so that the cookies soften up. The best part was when the glass of milk gets flavored with the Oreo cookies, which reminded me of a chocolate Oreo shake. It’s been awhile since I actually bought a package of Oreos, until now, to make these mini Oreo cheesecakes. The Oreo crust was amazing and adding crushed Oreos to the cheesecake filling intensified the flavor even more.

These Oreo cheesecakes are a great alternative if you’re looking for other flavors of cheesecakes. Since I have been using a lot of berries lately in my desserts, I wanted to try a different flavor. Not to mention, one of my favorite ice cream flavors is cookies and cream, so these cheesecakes are up there in terms of one of my favorites.

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Oreo Crust
215 g Oreos (no white filling)
25g sugar
60g butter, melted
 
Y= 12 mini cheesecake rounds

Directions:

  1. Separate Oreo cookies and scrape out the white filling.
  2. In a food processor, pulse Oreos and sugar together until finely crumbled.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine Oreo crumbs and melted butter.
  4. Mix to fully coat the crumbs.
  5. Divide crumb mixture evenly into mini cheesecake pan. Press crumbs firmly into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Bake at 275F for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Set aside to cool. In the meantime, prepare the cheesecake filling.

Oreo Cheesecake Filling
2- 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3 oz sugar
2 eggs
1 T sour cream
⅔ tsp vanilla extract
crushed Oreos

Directions:

  1. Combine cream cheese and sugar in a mixer bowl. Mix until combined. Scrape bottom of the bowl as needed.
  2. Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract.
  3. Add sour cream and vanilla extract.
  4. Using a spatula, fold in crushed Oreos.
  5. Divide filling in the mini cheesecake pan.
  6. Bake at 275F for 30 minutes. Cheesecake is done when it is firmly set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  7. Once cooled, refrigerate overnight and unmold the next day.
  8. Garnish with whipped cream and more Oreos.

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Triple Berry Pies

2 Apr

April 2nd, 2015

I picked up some super sweet strawberries at the Farmer’s Market last weekend since they are back in season. I love the combination of berries so I threw in some frozen blueberries and raspberries that I already had in my freezer along with the strawberries to make these triple berry pies. I have also been on a craze of making individual size desserts lately, so I used 4-inch ring molds for these pies. Of course, it is also possible to make a whole pie instead of individual ones. The pie dough recipe below will yield enough for 1 whole pie, and the filling recipe may have to be increased.

These pies taste best when fresh out of the oven. O, and if you have vanilla ice cream, I highly recommend slathering some on the pie. I guarantee you won’t regret it. So if you don’t have any ice cream in your freezer, pick some up before you make these pies.

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Pie Dough
12 oz flour
2 sticks cold, cubed butter
7T cold water
1T cider vinegar
 
Y= eight 4-inch pies (I used only half the pie dough to get 4 pies)

Directions:

  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 halves. Wrap, refrigerate and allow dough to rest for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
  4. At this point, you can also freeze the dough if not using immediately.

Triple Berry Filling
1 bag of frozen blueberries
½ bag of frozen raspberries
1 pint of fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ C sugar
1 T cornstarch
juice of ½ lemon
zest of 1 orange

Y= enough to fill four 4-inch pies.

Directions:

  1. Combine berries in a bowl.
  2. Add all other ingredients. Mix to combine.

To Assemble:

  1. Roll out one half of the dough on a floured surface. Cut pie dough to fit individual ring molds. Reserve some dough to seal the top of the pie.
  2. Fill lined ring with berries. Seal pie with the reserved dough. Trim off any excess dough along the edges and seal.
  3. Make a few slits in the center of the pie.
  4. Egg wash the top of the pie and sprinkle with sugar.
  5. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes then rotate and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until browned.

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Individual Chocolate Mousse Cakes

29 Mar

March 29th, 2015

These individual mousse cakes have been on my to-do list for a while and I finally got around to them. I used a thin layer of chocolate cake as the base, but any cake flavor will do. I just happened to have chocolate cake left in my freezer and put that to use. Mousse, in general, have a lighter and airy texture because whipped creamed is used and folded into the chocolate mixture. For this reason, I am a fan of mousse desserts- whether it is chocolate mousse or a fruit-based mousse.

The next time I make this recipe, I will be sure to double the ingredients, as the following recipe yielded only three 3×3 inch rounds.

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Chocolate Mousse
216g dark chocolate, chopped
432g heavy cream
48g yolks
48g sugar
water

Y= enough to make 3- 3×3 inch individual cakes.

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Whisk heavy cream until soft peaks. Set aside and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and just enough water to coat the sugar. Stir to combine. Using a wet brush, brush the sides of the pan to remove any sugar.
  4. Heat the sugar-water mixture until the temperature reaches 240F (soft-boil).
  5. As the sugar-water mixture is heating, place egg yolks in a mixer bowl and whisk on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  6. Once the sugar-water mixture reaches 240F, carefully pour the mixture to the whisking egg yolks. Be sure to turn the mixer to the lowest speed to prevent the hot sugar mixture from splashing. Once all the sugar is added, whisk for a few seconds to combine.
  7. Add the yolk-sugar mixture to the melted chocolate. Use a spatula to fold together.
  8. Start folding in some of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture.
  9. Continue to fold in the rest of the whipped cream.
  10. Pipe the mousse into prepared cake rings. (I prefer to pipe the mousse to avoid major air bubbles).
  11. Allow the mousse to set in the refrigerator for about an hour (or overnight) before unmolding.
  12. Carefully unmold. Garnish with cocoa powder, dollop of whipped cream and cocoa nibs if desired. Keep mousse cakes refrigerated. Remove and allow them to come to room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.
  13. Note:  I used 3×3 inch cake rings and lined them with clear acetate strips.

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