almonds


Let’s take this cookie trail back a little shall we? Back to this past Wednesday, before I headed into the woods.

Camp Blogaway
While tweeting with my good foodie friend Rachael from La Fuji Mama, we decided we didn’t want to show up empty handed to Camp Blogaway (the Food Blogger conference we attended this weekend) then Greg from SippitySup asked Rachael if she was brining Macarons.

Since Rachael was “out of aged egg whites” (or, so she said…) she asked if I happened to have any. What are the odds right? Well in my case the odds are pretty high that I might just have some ready for a quick batch of macarons. So it was decided, Rachael would bring a batch of her Deaddly Chocolate Almond Toffee and I would bring a few Macarons.

Thursday night, I got home from work, had dinner and started making the Macaron shells. I decided I was going to make two flavors, Pistachio, and S’mores.

The cookie trail continues…

Friday morning I finished up the S’mores macarons and decided to make a quick batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies for the boys to enjoy while I was gone, then I quickly packed my bag, got my pillow and sleeping bag ready, and made my way up the mountain to Camp Blogaway.

Cookie Trail and More
While at camp we made sure we got enough exersise.

Take a hike
We lounged, chatted, laughed, smiled, acted silly, and even sang the Camp Blogaway theme song to the tune of Gilligan’s Island.

Smiling Foodies
We learned a lot from our fabulous guest speakers who had so much insightful information to share with us.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Camp Trail

Our fearless leader PR expert and fellow blogger Patti Londre from Worth the Whisk Spoke to us about the benefits of running our blog like a business and how to work with PR folks. Very, very, insightful!

It was truly a treat to have Barbara Gibbs Ostmann Award-winning journalist and co-author of The Recipe Writer’s Handbook speak to us on the topic of recipe writing essentials, copyright & attribution.

Denise Vivaldo gave a very funny and lively speach on Food Styling Tips and Tricks for Bloggers.

Art Ramirez gave two excellent presentations. One to help improve our photographing skills and the other on quick and easy Photoshop food fixes. – Priceless!

Danny Jauregui from Over The Hill and On A Roll and Food Bloggers Unite Wowed us with his SEO knowledge.

Casey Benedict from Tastestopping brough with her a lovely slide show of Food Porn at it’s best and worst, and not only that she also treated us to the most delicious S’mores, made with her famous Vanilla Marshmallows. YUM!

Just like at camp… a few bloggers were the recipients of some well deserved awards.

Camp Blogaway Award Recipients
Greg from SippitySup received the Camp Cheerleader award. Marla of Family Fresh Cooking received the “Best Overall Athlete” award. And last but certainly not least Rachael of La Fuji Mama received the “The Golden Pinecone” award. She’s so awesome she even shared her award with Jen from Savor the Thyme.

After awards were handed out, props were swapped and good-bye’s were said we each headed down the mountain.

Once I got home two days later to my surprise, there wasn’t a single chocolate chip cookie in sight. I did however find half a batch of brownies and a burnt pastry bag.

Note to self: Don’t use the oven to help dry pastry bags and then go out of town.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

2 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 ounces semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
5 ounces milk chocolate chips
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and place oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven.

Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

In a medium size bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter for approximately 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down if necessary, or if you have one of these you need not worry much about having to scrape down your bowl.

Add eggs one at a time mix until incorporated before adding the second, continue mixing until the second egg is well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed to combine. Mix in the chocolate chips.

With a spatula give the dough a quick mix by hand to ensure the chocolate has been well incorporated.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Trail into the woods
Using a tablespoon size ice cream scooper, scoop out cookie dough balls and place twelve on each sheet, this will yield close to 4 dozen cookies. Or, you can also double the cookies size (2 tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie).

Chocolate Chip Cookie Trail into the woods
Bake for 10-11 minutes rotating pans (top to bottom and front to back) half-way through.

Cool the cookies on the pans on cooling racks for about 2 minutes. Once they have firmed up, you can finish cooling them directly on the cooling racks.

Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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Orange-Lime Margarita Macarons

Happy pre-Cinco de Mayo everyone!

To bypass the “mini” history lesson, scroll down to: “OK, now for the fun part!” :)

I wanted to share just a little bit of history for those that may be unfamiliar with the origins of this holiday.

Contrary to popular belief, this holiday is not a major holiday in Mexico, it is mainly only celebrated or observed in the state of Puebla. Unlike September 16th Mexico’s Independance Day, which is the biggest patriotic holiday in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo conmemorates the victory over the French during the Battle of Puebla. Here in the US and in other parts of the world, this day is seen as a day to celebrate Mexican Culture and Heritage.

OK, now for the fun part!

We all know very well there is no better way to celebrate a holiday than with a little F & B (food & beverage) right?

So…….. I made these just for you, a little F & B rolled into one. Enjoy!

Orange-Lime Margarita Macarons
Orange-Lime Margarita Macarons

Orange-Lime Margarita Macarons

Orange-Lime Margarita Macarons

Orange-Lime Macaron Shells

90 grams aged egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
25 grams granulated sugar
200 grams powdered sugar
70 grams blanched almonds
40 grams ground pine nuts (pignolias)
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon grated key lime peel

Place the powdered sugar, almonds, and pine nuts in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Sift a couple of time to remove bits and pieces. Regrind if necessary.

Once your nuts, and powdered sugar are mixed together, rub them in between your fingertips to break the bigger pieces.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.

Add the dry ingredients to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit.

If using convection: preheat the oven to 280F. If using regular electric or gas, preheat the oven to 300F.

When ready, bake for 18 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool

Orange-Lime Buttercream

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon tequila sauza gold
1/2 teaspoon cointreau
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon key lime zest

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated.

How to age egg whites:

Separate the egg whites from the yolks and place the whites in a clean bowl. Leave out at room temperature, uncovered or loosely covered with a towel for 24-48 hours. At this point the whites can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Bring egg whites to room temperature before making the macaron shells.

Pipe macarons onto shells, top and refrigerate. Remove macarons from refrigerator 1 hour before serving.

Orange-Lime Margarita Macarons

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Sumac Macarons with Orange Buttercream

Well the day has finally arrived… Today I get to announce the lucky winner of my Ice Cream Maker Giveaway!

Good news for one lucky reader and for everyone else something yummy to look at and/or try out.

I know you weren’t expecting a Mac post to go along the Ice Cream Maker Winner announcement. But when you visit me, I want to you to expect the unexpected.

Sumac Macarons filled with Orange ButtercreamSumac Macarons filled with Orange Buttercream

Sumac Macarons with Orange Buttercream
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 90 grams egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
  • 25 grams granulated sugar
  • 200 grams confectioners' sugar
  • 100 grams almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
  • 10 grams sumac
Instructions
  1. Prep the eggs: 48 hrs in advance, separate the whites from the yolks and place the whites in a super clean bowl. Leave at room temp, uncovered or loosely covered with a towel at least 24 hrs. Refrigerate after that if desired. You can use eggs that have been “aging” for up to 5 days.
  2. Prepare the macarons:Place the powdered sugar, almonds, and sumac in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Sift a couple of time to remove bits and pieces. Regrind if necessary. You can also use a coffee grinder for the nuts.
  3. Once your nuts and powdered sugar are mixed together, rub them in between your fingertips to break the bigger pieces.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.
  5. Add the ground almond mixture to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
  6. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit.
  7. If using convection: preheat the oven to 280F. If using regular electric or gas, preheat the oven to 300F.
  8. When ready, bake for 18 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.

 

Sumac, Ground Almonds, & Confectioner's SugarSumac, Ground Almonds, & Confectioner's SugarSumac Macaron BatterPiped Sumac Macaron ShellsSumac Macaron Shells

Orange Buttercream
 
Ingredients
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ⅔ cup sifted confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1½ ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Beat all of the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer or with a hand beater for about 5 minutes at medium speed, until creamy and light. Chill until cold, but still spreadable, before using.


 
A little orange zestOrange Buttercream piped onto Sumac Macaron ShellsSumac Macarons filled with Orange ButtercreamSumac Macarons filled with Orange Buttercream

OK, OK, enough with the torture… let’s announce the winner of the Ice Cream Maker Giveaway shall we?

Our lucky winner is SGS from Correspondence Committee Congratulations!!

I also wanted to share the stats I collected. If you chose more than one flavor I selected the very first one you mentioned. :)

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor Stats

Thanks to everyone who participated!

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Piña Colada French Macarons

What’s my holiday?

This is the Mac Theme Deeba and Jamie choose for this month’s Mac Attack on”Mac Tweets“.

Sure there is Easter, Passover, and April Fool’s as obvious choices. I however, decided my holiday theme was going to be “Spring Break”.

It’s been a while since I’ve personally had a “Spring Break” or, any break for that matter. But what comes to mind are sunny days at the beach, relaxing and enjoying good times with friends and/or family.

Since I grew up in Mexico we had plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from. We would usually go those that were within a semi-short driving distance such as Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, Guayabitos and as far south as Acapulco. Good Times… but I digress.

Perhaps for most college students the drink of choice would be an ice cold beer, but I think most will agree with me that enjoying at least one ice cold Piña Colada on a beautiful sandy Mexican beach on Spring Break is a must!

For those of us that are unable to get to a Mexican beach any time soon… we can still enjoy a little bit of the experience by having one of these yummy Piña Colada Macarons.

240080410

Piña Colada Macarons
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 90 grams egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
  • 25 grams granulated sugar
  • 200 grams confectioners' sugar
  • 90 grams almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
  • 20 grams dessicated coconut
Instructions
  1. Prep the eggs: 48 hrs in advance, separate the whites from the yolks and place the whites in a super clean bowl. Leave at room temp, uncovered or loosely covered with a towel at least 24 hrs. Refrigerate after that if desired. You can use eggs that have been “aging” for up to 5 days.
  2. Prepare the macarons:
  3. Place the powdered sugar, almonds, and desiccated coconut in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Sift a couple of time to remove bits and pieces. Regrind if necessary.
  4. Once your nuts, desiccated coconut and powdered sugar are mixed together, rub them in between your fingertips to break the bigger pieces.
  5. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.
  6. Add the ground nuts, powdered sugar, and desiccated coconut to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
  7. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit.
  8. If using convection: preheat the oven to 280F. If using regular electric or gas, preheat the oven to 300F.
  9. When ready, bake for 18 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.


 
052080410044080410
Piña Colada Buttercream
 
Ingredients
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ⅔ cup sifted confectioner's sugar
  • 1½ ounces pineapple puree
  • ½ ounce rum
  • ½ ounce pineapple schnapps
  • ¼ tsp coconut extract (I would have used Coco Loco, but ran out so I had to improvise.)
Instructions
  1. Beat all of the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer or with a hand beater for about 5 minutes at medium speed, until creamy and light. Chill until cold, but still spreadable, before using.


 
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Chocolate Caramel Macarons

Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes, it was so interesting to learn what everyone’s favorite birthday dessert was, as expected there were a wide variety of treats mentioned.

I had a great birthday yesterday. Oh, but the festivities haven’t ended there is more planned for today… I guess I’m still a little spoiled.

I’m working on tabulating the results to share with you on Monday when I post the winner of the Daydreamer Birthday Giveaway who will win a beautiful copy of “The Modern Cafe” by Francisco J. Migoya one of the fabulous professors at the Culinary Institute of America.

But, today we are here to celebrate the Beautiful Macaron, for today is Le Jour du Macaron!

I chose to make Choclate Caramel Macarons…

Chocolate Macaron Shells

Chocolate Caramel Macarons

Chocolate Caramel Macarons

Chocolate Caramel Macarons
Chocolate Caramel Macaron stairway to heaven
Chocolate Caramel Macarons
Chocolate Caramel Macarons

Chocolate Caramel Macarons

Adapted from Tartelette’s basic recipe

Chocolate Macaron Shells
90 grams egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
25 grams granulated sugar
200 grams powdered sugar
94 grams blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Prepare the eggs:
48 hrs in advance, separate the whites from the yolks and place the whites in a super clean bowl. Leave at room temp, uncovered or loosely covered with a towel at least 24 hrs. Refrigerate after that if desired. You can use eggs that have been “aging” for up to 5 days.

Prepare the macarons:
Place the powdered sugar, almonds, and cocoa powder in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Sift a couple of time to remove bits and pieces. Regrind if necessary. You can also use a coffee grinder for the nuts.

Once your nuts and powdered sugar are mixed together, rub them in between your fingertips to break the bigger pieces.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not over beat your meringue or it will be too dry.

Add the nut, powdered sugar, and cocoa mix to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit.

If using convection: preheat the oven to 280F. If using regular electric or gas, preheat the oven to 300F.

When ready, bake for 18 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.

My initial intention was to make these chocolate caramel macarons as a chocolate macaron shell filled with fleur de sel caramel sauce.

But after my taste test, I felt they needed a little kick, so I decided to whip up a little dark chocolate ganache. The result… think Rolo in macaron form. Yumm!

Here is the recipe for the Fleur De Sel Caramel sauce.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
1/2 cup bittersweet (60% cocoa) chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and the heavy cream. Microwave in 30 second intervals at 50% power until the chocolate has melted making sure to stir the ganache in between each interval.

Chocolate Caramel Macarons

Chocolate Caramel Macarons

Chocolate Caramel Macarons

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