Friday, September 23, 2011

Mint Chocolate Macarons

I made some more macarons. In my defense, Matt is visiting and he didn't get to try any of the other batches I made. The macarons themselves are mint and they have a chocolate ganache filling. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

French Crullers with Orange Blossom Honey Glaze

So...these happened today.

They're from that Doughnuts book I showed you on Friday. They're really good.

French crullers are made from pate a choux, which is the cooked French dough that is the basis of creme puffs as well as many other pastries. I've never made it before, so that was it's own party. Then you pipe the dough onto parchment paper and fry the donuts one-by-one.

The glaze is really what made this. I have some orange blossom honey, and Alton Brown taught me that the type of flower gives the honey a subtle flavor of that flower, so the orange blossom honey tastes a little bit orange-y.

I am in a sugar coma right now. And I have to go to two meetings and finish my homework.

I'll add the recipe later...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lavender Orange Macarons with Lemon Curd Filling

So, I might be addicted to making macarons. I also might have a problem with doing nothing but stare at them while they're baking and pray that they come out. When the first cookie sheet of these gave the slightest indication that they were getting feet, I felt like dancing. My macarons are working, my macarons are working!


These macarons have ground culinary lavender in them as well as some orange extract. Matt showed up with both of these items from an awesome market he went to in Atlanta while he was helping his brother move back in August. I have a pint of lavender and it cost just over two dollars. Now I just need to think of more lavender things to bake.

Lavender Macarons
If you can actually pipe uniformly, this should make about 15 total macarons (30 shells)
  • 3/4 C Almond Flour
  • 1 C Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Large Egg Whites
  • 1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/4 C Granulated Sugar 
  • 1 TBSP Culinary Lavender
  • 1/2 tsp Orange Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
I'm still not going to include the directions for making the macarons because I'm so not confident in my strategy yet. But, for this recipe, I pureed the lavender in my food processor along with the almonds and powdered sugar. 

Lemon/Citrus Curd
  •  3 TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 3 TBSP Granulated Sugar
  • 2 TBSP Butter
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Orange Extract 
  1. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and cook over medium. Stir consistently with a whisk. Try to encourage the butter to melt - you can expedite this by cutting up the butter before putting it in the saucepan. 
  2. Cook until it the mixture starts to thicken and as you bring your whisk across the bottom of the saucepan lines in the curd remain visible. 
  3. Place in a container in the refrigerator and cover the surface with plastic wrap.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Stuff at My House!

The yellow metal container is a vintage West End cake carrier. I thought maybe it was a reproduction because of the modern-looking "cake" decal, but it's not! Now I need to think of some more excuses to bake cakes.

The books is a book I had to have about doughnuts. I've made two kinds in the last two weeks - the pumpkin ones I shared with you and some chocolate ones that didn't really float my boat. I can't wait to try out some of these recipes!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My First Macarons

Today I feel like a real baker. While I've definitely grown in my baking ability over the last three years, I still consider myself mostly a person who just follows the recipes and achieves results. These macarons are the first thing I've ever baked that required technique - lots of technique - and that actually came out.

Back in 2007, the Christmas before I graduated from high school, I asked my grandfather to send me a couple of my grandmother's recipes. I had this grand idea that I was going to make everyone's favorite cookies of hers and send them out. When she was alive, everyone always got a tin of their favorite cookies at Christmas. I did manage to bake a few of them, but in the wake of finals I didn't manage to send them. my mom discovered two or three tins of cookies somewhere during winter break and we all devoured them without ever putting them in the mail.

Anyway, one of my grandmother's cookies was a vanilla creation that required making a dough that I now know to be very similar to croissant dough. My cookies ended up being more like shortbread, with none of the wonderful flakiness I remembered. Technique fail.

Since then, I have baked a great amount more and definitely have a better grasp on how ingredients work together and such. I still haven't reattempted those particular cookies (have you seen the price of butter these days?!), but maybe it will happen this year.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have never actually had a macaron before. I've only seen them in real life one time in Des Moines. I had wanted to bake french macarons for a couple of years, but knew they were out of my league from all the blog posts I've seen on them.  I didn't have a food processor and didn't know where to find almond flour near me. Since I snatched up the food processor late this past summer, I've had macarons on the brain.

Today seemed like a good day because it's finally cooled off here and I had nothing else I wanted to be doing - plenty to procrastinate on though, that's for sure. I've read a number of tutorials online about how to make macarons, but I couldn't find most of them today. I ended up trying to remember as much as I could from the past and following this tutorial. Yes, I microwaved my egg whites (in fact, I went a little long and a little bit cooked - eep!). No, I didn't use any food coloring. Yes, my powdered sugar had cornstarch in it. Yes, I used slivered almonds.

Basic Macarons
  • 3/4 C Almond Flour
  • 1 C Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Large Egg Whites
  • 1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/4 C Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
In terms of technique, I'm really not good enough yet to give it, so check one of the awesome tutorial's that's out there. I will say that I found the hardest part to be piping the macarons out and only a handful of mine were appropriately sized and matchable to another half.

I filled these babies with some South Carolina peach jam that Matt brought me back from his vacation. Yum!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Welcome Fall: Orange Pumpkin Donuts, Oktoberfest, and Football

Today was the first University of Iowa football game of the season. I live very close to the stadium (though less close than I did for the past two years) so of course the tailgaters woke me up.

For me, football season means fall. It's fall now, damn it. I don't care that Iowa City felt like a tropical rainforest as recently as Thursday. It is fall and I am going to make pumpkin things.

Matt and I went to the store once the game had gotten going and Iowa was basically assured a win and I got what I was missing in order to make my very favorite pumpkin donuts. This recipe is one of the most popular on my blog and they are absolutely delicious. Important tip: get a candy thermometer that goes up to 400 degrees so you can make sure your oil stays at the correct temperature of 375.

I coated half of these donuts in cinnamon sugar and half of them in orange glaze. I can't decide which one I like better. Both are delicious. 

Matt was also very excited when we were at the store because Sam Adams Oktoberfest was available. Fall! Fall things!

Also, we are puppysitting for my mom this week. Puppy makes it difficult to take photos because she wants to eat everything. But she is so frickin' cute.

Also, this weekend is another Saturday Show Off.

A Law Student's Journey

Go check out what other people created on this gorgeous faux fall day!