Wednesday, 19 September 2012

“...nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.” ― Julia Child

The French Macaron has been my arch nemesis for quite some time now. They taste amazing but I find them notoriously difficult to make!

Macarons as they should be from Laudree in Paris!
                        Attempt No. 1 & 2 (June 2011)

I started out waaay too fancy attempting to create Chocolate Lime and also White Chocolate Coconut and although they tasted good they just did not look right at all. I was under prepared and in a rush (as always) and did not have the correct piping nozzle so just used what I had and hope that the would smooth out. They did not.   

Chocolate Lime!

White Choc Coconut!

Attempt 3 & 4 (July 2011)

Again for another friends birthday I tried to create Chocolate Fudge and Banoffee Pie Macarons as the two flavours remind me so much of Jenni but once again I was running before I could walk. These ones were not particularly salvageable but I took the fillings and the broken shells to the party anyway. And from what I can remember they also went down ok!

Attempt 5 & 6 (September 2012)

Attempt 5 is not worth mentioning! However attempt  was for my best and oldest friend Alex (Check out her blog!) I decided to try one last time. This time I was going for simple vanilla shells and measured out everything perfectly and was still greeted unsatisfactory shells. This attempt was definitely the best so far and yielded ONE perfect macaron...

Chocolate Baileys Ganache Macaron

Attempt 7 (September 2012)

Finally an attempt I am actually proud of! Still a few tweaks to go but for now these will do.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons 

[Recipe adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes Blog]

100g aged egg whites at room temperature 
110g ground almonds
190g icing sugar
10g cocoa powder
50g caster sugar

Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Sift all dry ingredients together and place in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until it reaches soft peaks. With the mixer on high speed, gradually add caster sugar and beat until it reaches stiff peaks.

Add the meringue to your dry mixture and mix, quickly and roughly at first to beat out as much of the air bubbles as you can out of in the egg whites, then fold carefully as the dry mixture becomes incorporated and it starts to become shiny again. Take care not to overmix, the mixture should flow like lava and a streak of mixture spread over the surface of the rest of the mixture should disappear after about a minute. Place in a piping bag with a plain round tip and pipe rounds of about 3cm diameter on lined baking sheets (or silicon baking mats), about 2cm apart. Gently rap the baking sheets on the bench top to remove any extra bubbles from your piped shells. Leave shells on bench to dry for about an hour, so that when you press the surface of one gently it does not break.

Preheat your oven to 140-150°C. Bake for 13-15 minutes, depending on the size of your shells. Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few minutes, then gently remove from the sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely. (If shells are stuck to the sheet then you may need to return the tray to the oven for a few more minutes)

Peanut Butter Buttercream

I freestyled on the filling just creaming together equal amounts of butter and peanut butter then adding enough icing sugar to create a smooth buttercream. I also added a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Pipe the buttercream onto one upturned macaron shell and sandwich together. Enjoy! 

Stress Relief

Finding a work/life/achieving dreams balance is proving to be pretty difficult right now so when things get me down I tend to bake to remind myself that life's too short to stress and cake makes everything better. Obviously. 

This recipe is from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook and its pretty damn good. Try it.

White Chocolate Pecan Bars

2 cups plain flour
226g unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

1 1/12 cups chopped whit chocolate
1/2 cup toasted pecans

[toast pecans in the oven for 15 mins or lightly browned and fragrant (I totally over did mine hence why I added cranberries to add a bit more sweetness!)]

  1. Preheat oven to 200oC and grease and lightly flour a 9x13 inch baking pan 
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Add the flour and thoroughly mix. Stir in the pecans and spread out evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 mins.
  3. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle on the white chocolate and let stand for 5 mins. Spread out the chocolate into a thin layer and sprinkle on pecans (and cranberries or other dried fruit if using) 
  4. Allow to cool at room temperature and slice into squares