Monthly Archives

September 2015

Life, Recipes

Tom Douglas Macaron Baking Class

September 23, 2015

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This last weekend I attended a macaron class at the Hot Stove Society with my granny Ann. It was taught by a French pastry chef Antoine Rondenet. We had so much fun! I have never done a class like this and I hope it is not my last. With the group of about 15-20 each table made 2 macaron flavors and then we each took a bunch of each other’s macarons home. The flavors included: pumpkin (my flavor, yay!), cream cheese, lemon, chocolate, cranberry and pistachio. I like pumpkin and pistachio the best.

So first the chef showed us how to make pistachio macarons in a demonstration and we took notes and then we all went and did it in pairs. Overall, I learned that macarons are as delicate as I originally thought and it’s not too hard to make decent looking ones. I am excited to make some fun flavors at home.

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How to make the macaron shells:

First, a few tips/facts:

  • The flavor in a macaron always comes from the filling, not the cookie. This surprised me!
  • For food coloring, for the cookie, you can use gel-based food coloring which we did in the class because it binds well with the non-fatty ingredients. Use liquid or powder for the filling though. Also, do not use the wilton brand, the best brand is Chef Master which you can buy on Amazon.
  • 1 egg white = approx. 30 grams;  400g of egg whites = 1g food coloring; 200g egg whites = 1/2g
  • If you want to use carton egg whites, just make sure they add gum into them
  1. Put almond flour and powdered sugar in a bowl together and then sift together (do it over parchment paper) and throw away any gritty leftovers.
  2. Put room temp. egg whites in the mixer bowl and mix on high until frothy, add white sugar slowly into egg whites, then add food coloring (*make sure the color is quite strong because you will lose some in the baking process!).
  3. Mix egg whites until super stiff.
  4. Put half of the powdered sugar/almond flour mix and fold it into the egg whites by hand with a spatula gently, once that is mostly incorporated, add the other half and fold until incorporated and everything is mixed together.
  5. Now it’s time to “macaron” your mixture! Keep mixing by hand to collapse egg whites so you will have a crust on your cookies instead of meringue. Batter should be shiny, runny but not liquid. It took us only about one more mixing to achieve this but it can vary.
  6. Start piping your batter onto a piece of parchment paper! 1cm 805 tip is what we used for the piping bag (*tip = tuck the bag inside the tip and use a bowl scraper to get batter in bag). To pipe, put tip down, press, release and move on, I like to do it to the side a bit. Macarons should be about the size of a quarter and if they have little peaks, shake the pan a little to get them down. If they are super peak-y, it means you over-mixed (over-macaroned).
  7. Now let them crust/dry until you can touch the middle of a blob and your finger is dry. This will work faster if you put them in a warm place like on the oven. This can take from 10mins – 24 hours. Ours took about 25 minutes, it was cold and wet outside so that factors in to.
  8. Now bake! For dark colors bake at 320 for 7 minutes; for light colors bake at 300 for 10 minutes. Rotate halfway through and if they look really un-done, leave on the pan after taking it out to bake a little more.

How to make buttercream

300g sugar

60g water

150g egg whites

350g butter * should be between 90-100 degrees F ideally. Add cold butter to hot meringue and room temp to cooled down meringue

  1. Cook water and sugar in a small pot on high to 250 degrees fahrenheit (I would use a thermometer but if you don’t have one, it is done when the liquid is white and you can make a soft ball with the sugar
  2. Mix egg whites in a mixer on high
  3. Pour cooked sugar in with egg whites while still mixing. This is an Italian meringue right now.
  4. Wash the sugar pot you used right away so it’s easy to clean!
  5. Put mixer on medium and add room temp butter, the meringue will deflate and that is okay, put mixer back up to high
  6. Mix until butter binds and mixture looks like buttercream frosting should
  7. Now is when you can add flavor! Chef added 50g pistachio paste and a little green food coloring for this one.

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Ingredients:

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Team pumpkin!

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Crusting:

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All of the macarons crusting:

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Showing us how to make chocolate-caramel filling:

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Our pumpkin filling:

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Our first tray got a little too brown!

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The second had good color but little peak-y and crack-y

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Piping the filling!

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Cuties!

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Our neighbors macaron bottoms came out perfect which chef said was very rare

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All finished!

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Macarons to take home

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Post-class lunch at The Pink Door, pesto lasagna for me

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Fresh tomato pasta with burrata cheese for Ann

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A side of yummy broccolini

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xoxo

 

 

What I Ate Wednesday

WIAW: The Busy Season

September 2, 2015

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Hello! Today I have a quick WIAW post. The busy season has started at work so my life has been a bit chaotic recently and that will continue until mid-November, ugh. It is nice to be busy because time goes by so fast. As long as I don’t get too busy that I am unable to workout, then that would be bad busy because I need to workout to keep my sanity!

Here are my upcoming trips:

trips !

 

The hardest part about traveling is finding time to workout and eating healthy (especially hard since we also have cookies lying around!).  I have been working out pretty often the last few weeks since it is a good stress-reliever. Today after work I am running up and down stairs outside with my friend! Other news in my life, I am getting a pet rat! Some people think they’re gross but I think rats (pet ones only!) are adorable and smart. I have my eye on a black and white fancy rat from Petsmart. Unfortunately I’m going to wait until November to get her because I’ll be gone for many of the weeks from now until then. But, I’m excited to get another pet and I already picked out the name: Esther Mae. I love old-fashioned, formal-sounding names for pets, they are so funny!

I used to have a hamster named Jimmy but he’s been on the ‘missing hamsters list’ for over 6 months now…He made a grand escape in my mom’s house while she was watching him and we haven’t seen the little bastard since. We looked everywhere but no trace has been found. I do hope he has a little family somewhere in the house insulation.

Okay enough rambling! On to my meals.

Breakfast: flax apple cinnamon oats with a tablespoon of hemp seeds

breakfast

Lunch: spaghetti squash with pesto sauce, carrots and a kombucha

lunch!

pesto!

Snack: these cute little desserts were at a work function and they were too cute not to try! I had the cheesecake in the back and the creme brulee.

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Dinner: a kooky quesadilla with cheese, salsa, pepper, green onion, and mushrooms

dinner!

What are YOU looking forward to this fall? I obviously, am looking forward to getting my rat 😉

XOXO