If It Isn’t Broken …

So my last batch of French macarons, I wanted to try a recipe I had seen.  Users commented that it was a “fool-proof” recipe.  Seeing that it made slightly more macarons than my current recipe, I figured I’d give it a shot.  Results (for me, at least): Awful.  I’m sure the recipe was great for some people but it did not turn out for me.  I wish I had taken pictures of the hollow and cracked mess that resulted, but I don’t think anyone wants memories of their failures haha.

So I went back to my tried-and-true recipe, the one that I had experimented with for so long and is my very own fool-proof macaron.  Stick with what works for you!  I also did some experimenting still with the baking time.  Instead of baking it the usual 20 minutes that I normally do, I decided to do 16 minutes, rotating at the midway mark.  They are even better than before.  Normally I’d have to let my macarons “mature” for a day prior to serving but these were ready to be eaten immediately.

I wish I had cut one open just so you could see how beautifully un-hollow they are.  Oh, I filled them with strawberry buttercream and mocha buttercream.  Yes, those are my leftover buttercreams from the holidays but they hold up well in the freezer when sealed tight!

And then there’s my Cubs cake that I made for my brother’s birthday.  This was my first attempt at cake decorating, so yes it’s not very pretty.  And yes, I noticed the crack on the face but I absolutely hate fondant so I used gum paste instead.  I’ll probably do fondant next time though and just stop complaining about it.

When I walked in with the cake, he didn’t seem very pleased at receiving just a cake.  But when I told him to look closer, his eyes just lit up.  He immediately took a bunch of pictures and started sending them to friends and coworkers.  He has been a Cubs fan since as long as I can remember, so when they won the world series, you could imagine the elation.  This Cubs cake was going to happen either way though, win or lose.  Very happy they won.

Advertisements

Oh Goodness!

Oh my, it has been so long since I’ve posted.  A lot has happened since my last entry but the short of it is that my mom got very sick so the stress built up.  We are dealing with it but things are slightly better now.

On to baking!

So I started getting really into baking cakes.  Seeing gorgeously decorated cakes really inspired me.  So during the holiday season, I just decided to go for it!

For Thanksgiving, I made a chocolate cake loaded with fresh strawberries and pastry cream.  I wanted to do an ombre rose top and the results are below!  It wasn’t perfect and there are gaps between some of the petals.  I also ran out of pink buttercream (Swiss) so I finished it off with the natural white.  It was still pretty though!

Then Christmas rolled around, the holiday for baking.

My friends and I don’t do Friendsgiving.  Instead, we do Friendsmas which has been tradition for quite a few years now.  And honestly, I just wanted to have another excuse to bake more.  After racking my brain for weeks trying to come up with a flavor, I decided to do a red velvet cheesecake-cake!  Yes, I got lazy in blending the blues on the icing but those sugar snowflakes took a lot of time to color/glitter.  It was delicious, but next time instead of baking the layers separately, I may just bake 2 and slice them up afterwards.  The cake was a bit dry/overcooked.

Then came family Christmas.  By request, I made the chocolate strawberry cake again but decided to use a mocha buttercream instead and OH MY, mocha buttercream has got to be my fave.  This was definitely one of my better looking cakes.  The layers baked up evenly and make frosting it a breeze.

And then NYE rolled around, my last bit of baking for the year.  By request, I made my mom a rum cake.  And for a friend’s NYE party, I made pink champagne cupcakes.

I decided to make a strawberry buttercream for my cupcakes; cooked down some fresh strawberries, pureed then tossed them in with some pink gel color.  Topped them off with some sugar star confetti and sugar pearls I had laying around.

And then there was this beauty – the rum cake.  Hello gorgeous!  I used a recipe on King Arthur Flour’s site.  I was very afraid that this would taste too liquor-y but it doesn’t.  It is delicious and wonderful to look at.

That’s all I have for now.  I just realized I missed posting another cake but that will have to wait until next time.

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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