Happy Mother’s Day!

So my boyfriend found an array of extracts and picked me up several different flavors. After a 2 week hiatus from baking due to being sick, I knew I had to get a batch for Mother’s Day. It was also coincidentally a friend’s birthday so 2 birds/1 stone.

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I wanted to make something with the rum extract. Initially it was supposed to be rum chocolate ganache with peanut butter, but with my array of new flavors I decided to throw in some hazelnut and made a hazelnut rum bittersweet chocolate ganache.

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I’m quite sad that this is the only pic I have of the macarons as it was an extremely busy weekend. Maybe I’ll stop by my mom’s and nab another pic if she hasn’t eaten all of them yet. This was also my first successful attempt at a chocolate ganache.

I was overall very pleased with the outcome of the flavors. I will definitely be making more ganaches in the future. Hope everyone had a fantastic Mother’s Day!

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Ugly Yet Delicious

Well, I decided to take a stab at chocolate macarons. I did not take into account the extra oil it would introduce into the batter and I absolutely used way too much cocoa powder. The result was wrinkly macarons.

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Had I not gone crazy with the cocoa powder, I think they may have turned out better. The batter was extremely thick as well, I thought for sure that they wouldn’t bake up. At least they still had feet.

I made a cream cheese buttercream for the filling. They tasted delicious, like tiny little brownies.

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I love the colors brown and blue together, so I used sky blue icing gel dye by Wilton. The beauty of a messed up French macaron is that they’re still delicious so no wasted cookies!

Macaron Free Weekend

It was not my intention to skip this weekend. In fact, my baking sheets are still lined with parchment paper right now. But, when your sister asks to bake with you then cancels Sunday night at 8 p.m., you just have to forgo it for the week. Sigh

Instead of macarons, I premade some garlic bread for my mom. She absolutely loves garlic bread in the morning with coffee so once every couple of weeks, I make and freeze a batch for her.

Recipe
Half a stick of butter softened
1 loaf French bread
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Cut bread lengthwise, and spread with garlic butter.

If I were serving the bread, I’d bake it at 350°F, then I finish it off under the broiler until golden brown. But for my mom, I cut them into smaller servings.

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Then I sandwich them back together.

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This gets wrapped in foil and placed in a ziploc bag for freezing.

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And that’s my non macaron baking weekend!

Durian Macarons

I promised my mom that I’d make her durian flavored macarons once I perfected the cookie.  So naturally, this weekend was dedicated to durian.

If you don’t know what durian is, it is not for the faint of heart.  It is nicknamed the king of fruit, with a hard, spiky rind.  It bears a pungent and potent scent, and its taste is incomparable to anything you’ve ever had.  Its texture is soft, almost yogurt or butter like.

I’d been saving some fresh ones in my freezer for this endeavor, but fearing that I wouldn’t have enough, I ran out to the store and purchased some pre-packaged ones as well.

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I’m actually still fiddling with oven temperatures this week.  Although last week seemed perfect, this week the cookies browned too fast.  I’m sure the coloring I used had a huge affect on it, but someday I’ll figure it out.  My cookies were still (almost) perfect though, feet and no hollows.

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Quite delicious if you’re a durian lover.  My brother loved them.  My boyfriend, having never even seen durian, did not.  I’m just happy to not have hollow cookies anymore.

On an unrelated note, we made king crab eggs Benedict for breakfast and it was pretty amazing.  I kinda love poaching eggs now, I think I just enjoy seeing a perfect yolk when I cut into it.  We served it on top of fresh baked biscuits.

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Time to figure out what flavor macarons to bake next weekend!

My first post

My first post!  Let me start by chronicling my past 6 weekends of French macaroning adventures.

Oh French macarons, you finicky little creatures.  How I love and loathe you at the same time.  I had been procrastinating making macarons for the longest time.  I wanted my first to be rose flavored, and when my best friend found and bought me rose water, I knew it was go-time.

My first week, raspberry-rose, was a hot mess.  They tasted amazing but I was ill prepared.  I also tried to make a white ganache and it was awful.  So I had to pull a last minute buttercream which was a lifesaver.

Expectations (courtesy of Laduree) vs Reality

 

Week 1’s lesson: Do not add any liquids to the macaronage batter, you will utterly ruin your cookies – domed cookie, no feet.  Also, quality chocolates are a must for ganache.

Let me tell you, I spend most of my week after work/during lunch break researching and troubleshooting macarons.  Week 2, I’d already been obsessed.  I needed to perfect these little delicacies.  The flavor this weekend was going to be salted caramel.  As quoted by my sister “Salted caramel anything is the effing bomb.”

 

 

That’s right, I finally have liftoff!  FEET!!!  YESSS!  Look at the perfection, I thought I had done it.  But I was wrong, these babies were hollow.  They sure did look pretty though, and I purchased boxes to give away to friends because there was no way I was going to eat all these cookies.

Week 2’s lesson: when you’re banging the trays to knock out the excess air, do not be afraid to drop them and make some noise!  Time to research hollows.

Week 3, inspired by Stan’s donuts, I decided to make pistachio lime macarons.  There are no pictures this week, they were a complete disaster.  Watching videos and reading blogs, someone suggested to continue the macaronage until you can write a number 8 with one continues batter stream.  The batter was too far at that point.  Result: flat macarons.  Delicious though, my favorite buttercream flavor by far.

Week 3’s lesson: “When in doubt, lime buttercream” is my new motto.  Seriously, that sh*t is delicious.

Week 4, oh boy.  As I write this, I’ve come to the realization that I’m devoting a lot of my life to these little cookies!  They have definitely become a passion of mine.  This week, I made 2 flavors: Saturday was Passionfruit and Sunday was Taro/Coconut.

 

Oh they were beautiful and tasted amazing.  My official taste tester (my bf, not my dog) said they were the best flavors I’d made.  Oh but the hollows!  After all my research, reading that my batter still had too much air, I thought I had finally defied all odds!  They looked really cute in the macaron boxes I had just acquired though.

Week 4’s lesson: DAMN YOU, HOLLOWS!  Also, nuts.com is amazing.  Look at all the amazing loot I got (below) from them at affordable prices.  And everything comes in a resealable bag – a baker’s dream come true.

Week 5, had a pint of fresh strawberries, so decided to keep it simple.  Cooked down and strained my strawberries for the buttercream the day before.  I read that my cookies were rising too fast and decided to cut the baking temp to 275°F.  Results: still hollow.  No pictures because I was starting to become disheartened.  I began to think about giving up.

Week 5’s lesson: Cook down your fruit more til they’re really thick, or else it will be too runny for the buttercream and cause you to use more sugar.

Week 6, my bf’s birthday.  I thought by now, I would have mastered the cookie for my bf’s birthday.  I had this planned from week 1, pb&j macarons since those were his favorite sandwiches.  This week, I decided to turn on the convection option on my oven at 300°F.  The first tray, I could tell right away they were hollow.  I was beginning to lose hope.  Then I remembered a tip from the very first macaron recipe I tried “when you get hollows, turn up your oven temp.”  So I went for it, 320°F convection.  I should’ve listened to Miss Ann Reardon from the get-go (https://www.howtocookthat.net/public_html/easy-macaron-macaroon-recipe/) because this batch, it was perfect.  I sacrificed a shell and cracked it open: no hollow, macaron perfection.

 

I made a buttercream from the previous week’s strawberry reduction and swirled it with a peanut buttercream.  It was tough keeping my bf out of the kitchen for his pb&j surprise.

Week 6’s lesson: If there’s hollows, turn up your oven temp!

Why didn’t I turn up the temp before?  Well I tried but my cookies browned (lime pistachio).  Turns out I was using the wrong food coloring.  I bought the first gel coloring I saw and it was for icing.  Icing coloring is not meant to be cooked, so they will brown faster than your cookie.  Buy yourself some proper Americolor.

Also, here’s the recipe I use:
30g granulated sugar
100g egg whites
200g powdered sugar
120g almond flour
pinch of salt

When making a different nut flavored shell, substitute half of the almond flour w/ the flour of your choosing.

That’s all for my first post!  Doubt this will get much traction but I just had to write this all down.  It was like a constant battle/argument with myself these past 6 weeks trying to figure all this out.