Fall

Maple Walnut Leaf Cookies

Although the thermostat may not indicate that fall is just upon us here in Southern California, the slightly shorter days, the number of leaves I’ve seen scattered on the sidewalks during my morning run these past few days, and the fall decoration displays at my local art supply store, are proving otherwise.

Now, when I think of Fall there are a few flavor combinations that come to mind… you have pumpkin and peanut butter haven’t tried it? Oh yeah… its good!! Apple and Cinnamon, and then there is Maple and Walnut.

As I was reviewing Baking Unplugged I came across this recipe and thought it would be a great recipe for my youngest to try out.

Hungry for more Maple Walnut Leaves…?

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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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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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Stacked Pistachio Macarons
OK, only a few days left before St. Patrick’s Day so I thought I would share a somewhat green dessert (I tried…). And since I want to keep newly learned macaron making skills sharp I decided it would be another Macaron recipe. You don’t mind do you?

I was having a hard time trying to decide what to name this post so I hopped onto my favorite search engine Google for some inspiration.

Since both the macaron shells and the buttercream contain pistachio I thought Pistachio² would be a clever title.

I’m some what of a geek, but not geek enough to know the ASCII code for “²” so I of course had to “Google it”. It was then that I stumbled upon this little baby:

Google squared

I tried this search out just for fun… St. Patrick’s Day Dessert if you have time, you should check it out.

Well, enough geek/tech talk… after all, you’re here for dessert.

Pistachio Macarons





Pistachio² + White Chocolate Macarons
Adapted from Tartelette’s basic recipe

Pistachio Macaron shells

90 gr egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
25 gr to 50gr (2 Tb to 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
200 gr ( 1.5 cups + 2Tb) powdered sugar
55 gr almonds ( 3/4 cup) (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
55 gr pistachios (Helene [Tartelette] usually uses raw, I only had roasted on hand so that’s what I used)

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.

Prepare the macarons:
Place the powdered sugar, almonds, and pistachios 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 overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.

Pistachio Macaron Batter
Add the nuts and pwdered sugar 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.

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

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

PistachioMacaronShells

Pistachio White Chocolate Buttercream
Adapted from Tartelette’s Vanilla Buttercream

1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (75gr) white chocolate chips
1/4 cup (55gr) ground pistachios

Place the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.

The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream temperature should be about 235-238F). Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes.

Buttercream

Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-8 minutes.

Add ground pistachio to the buttercream and mix well.

Melt white chocolate in 40 second increments @ 50% power in the microwave let it cool slightly add to buttercream and mix well.

Fill a pastry bag with it and pipe onto the macaron shells.

Pistachio Macarons Filled with Pistachio White Chocolate Buttercream

Pistachio Macarons Filled with Pistachio White Chocolate Buttercream

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Or more appropriately… How to give new life to an over-baked flourless chocolate cake.


The story started off with the best of intentions.

The plan was to make a luscious flourless chocolate cake for one of my colleagues who recently accepted a new job in NY.

I pulled out this baby off the cookbook bookshelf, looked through the index and found the perfect recipe.

As I was reading through the recipe I discovered I would need a pair of 6-inch round cake pans which I didn’t have. (I usually bake my cakes using 9-inch rounds)

I continued reading and was relieved when I got to the “TIPS” section which noted the following: This recipe can be used to make a 17 1/4-by-11 1/2-by-1-inch cake. (Using a standard sheet pan) Perfect!






So, I proceeded with the plan at hand… Oh one other thing I should mention.

The recipe called for almond flour, which I didn’t have either. But, I did have ground almond meal and when reading the bag it said it could be interchanged for almond flour.

OK, moving on… I proceeded with the plan and began making the cake.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
adapted from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts

Equipment
Two 6-inch round cake pans or a 17 1/4 by 11 1/2 by 1 inch pan.
Saucepan
Heat-proof bowl to fit saucepan
Wooden spoon
standing electric mixer fitted with whip attachment
Rubber spatula
Cake tester
Wire racks

Ingredients
Butter and flour for pans

For the Batter
115 gr (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
80 g (2 1/4 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
15 ml (1 tablespoon) borghetti espresso liquour (My contribution to the recipe)
80 g (2 1/4 ounces) almond flour
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature

For the French meringue
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
150 g (5 1/3 ounces) sugar

Prepare you mise en place.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Fill a saucepan large enough to allow your heat-proof bowl to fit snugly into it without touching the water with about 7.5 centimeters (3 inches) of water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat.


Combine the butter and chocolate in the heat-proof bowl and place the bowl into the pan, checking to make sure that the bottom is not resting in the hot water. Using a wooden spoon, stir to blend as the butter melts.

When the butter and chocolate have melted and the mixture is homogeneous, stir in the almond flour.


Then stir in the egg yolks. The mixture will be warm, but should not be hot. If it is too hot, the yolks will cook and congeal and render the mixture unsuable.

Remove the bowl. from the heat and set it aside.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on low to aerate. Add the sugar, raise the speed to high, and beat for about 5 minutes, or until firm peaks form.


The peaks should not be too stiff or dry.

Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the meringue into the chocolate batter.

Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing it into an even layer.

Bake the cakes for 20-30 minutes, or until a caketester inserted into the center comes out clean. The tester can be moist or shiny but it should have no crumbs attached.

Place the cake pans on wire racks to cool completely before unmolding. The cake will fall as it cools.

Serve as is, with crème chantilly

“The finished cake should be very moist, with a tight, dense crumb and a strong chocolate aroma and flavor.”

Hence, it SHOULD NOT look like the image below:


Coffee Syrup & Chocolate Ganache to the rescue!

Coffee Syrup
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brewed espresso

In a small sauce pan pour the brewed espresso, water and sugar and place over medium heat. Stir to combine, and remove from heat once sugar has dissolved.

Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

Chocolate Ganache
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

Place chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl.

Pour heavy cream into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Carefully pour cream over chocolate let it rest a few seconds then begin to stir until all the chocolate has melted, and has a glossy finish.

Set aside to cool until it becomes thick enough to spread.


Assembling the Dobos Torte

Once the cake has cooled place on a large cutting board, and cut into six equal sized rectangles.

Take your sheet pan and place it upsidedown. Place a sheet of parchment paper over it.

Carefully take your first later of cake and place it on the parchment paper.

With a pastry brush the coffee syrup over the cake and let it absorb for a minute.

Apply a thin layer of the chocolate ganache over the cake with an angled spatula.

Repeat with the remaining cake rectangles.

Top with the remaining ganache.

Lessons learned:

I should have checked the cake much sooner since the layer was so thin compared to what it would have been in the round cake pans.

You can always “artificially” moisten a dried out cake.

Chocolate Ganache is a lifesaver.


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