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Madagascar Vanilla Macaron

22 Jun

Hi guys! I’d been MIA forever! What have I’d been doing? Pretty much I did anything but baking macaron. I know, it was sad. The last batch I made consisted of a little over 100 macarons for a wedding and since then, I got a little overwhelmed. As much as I love baking them, I hit a road block where I like a break to get my inspiration intact and just to make sure I still have fun making them.

Anyhow, the 100 macarons I made was a little challenging considered I made them in my home kitchen, and it was toward end of the week on top of my full time job. The batch also consisted two different flavors–Madagascar vanilla and raspberry. I will give you tips on time management and what you can do to prepare everything and get them out on time in future posts.

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In the mean time, the wedding batch consist of one of my favorites (and according to my friend, also the crowd’s favorite that night), Madagascar vanilla macaron.

The recipe is just the basic Italian meringue way, found in my earlier post hereMINUS the green tea powder and food coloring.

For the buttercream, here is the recipe:

Madagascar Vanilla Buttercream

[Ingredients]

1 cup butter, room temperature
4 cups powder sugar
3 tbsp Madagascar Vanilla extract

[Instruction]
1. Sift powder sugar, and set aside.
2. In a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat butter until soft and fluffy.
3. Add in powder sugar a cup at a time.
4. Add in Madagascar Vanilla exract
5. Beat until soft and fluffy. Use spatula to scrape down the side of bowl occasionally.
7. Ready to use.

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They look so simple and clean. But as always, fill with big flavor! I hope you enjoy it!

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Happy Macaron Day!

20 Mar

Woohoo! It’s finally here, Macaron Day! Sooo…if I were in New York or Paris, I would be getting some free or discounted macarons right now, but I’m at neither. Aww.

I just got off work, and I am nowhere near a macaron shop or a bakery that sell macaron. I feel like I really should have one just for this day. What to do? Luckily, I have a few leftover chili chocolate shells, but I have no buttercream or ganache. I’m so tired that I don’t want mix up anything and clean up after either. Now what? Quick! Think of plan B! I opened the refrigerator and guess what, I have a pint of cappucino gelato in the freezer…score!

I had my first ice cream macaron cookie few years ago at Milk in LA. They put them all in a skinny tall see-through freezer. I stared and stared, and took forever to choose one flavor to eat at the shop. I ended up with the grasshopper one– it was delicious!!

Anyhow, cheers to Macaron Day with my chili chocolate macaron and cappucino ice cream sandwich, and a large cup of hot coffee!

Oh yeah, I sprinkled a dash of fresh ground coffee for that bitter coffee taste on the shell. You can also sprinkle them on top of the ice cream.

Have you ever had something cold and then hot right away? I took a bite of this and then had a gulp of coffee. Everything just melts in my mouth. It’s like drinking a root beer float!

Okay, time to go wash my ice cream scooper.

One More Day: Chili Chocolate Macaron

19 Mar

One more day until Macaron Day! In the mean time…

Who loves spicy food? I do!
Who loves chocolate? I do too!

One of my all time favorite chocolate flavors, next to hazelnut, is chocolate with chili. What really drawn me to it is the smokey and spicy aroma. I love chili powder in my meat marinade and on cheese and potato, but what makes the spicy chili even better is adding a sweet component to it, in this case, chocolate! A lot of chocolate brands such as Lindt and Vosges offer this flavor; and I’m glad I live near markets that sell them or can buy them on their website. So instead of making plain chocolate macaron, I want to make a chili chocolate one.

[ Ingredients ]

Shell:
1 batch of chocolate macaron shell
1 tsp red chili powder*

*the red chili powder I used contains ground chili pepper, ground cumin, ground oregano, garlic powder & salt

Ganache:
100g of dark chocolate
100mL of heavy cream
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp of red chili powder (adjust to your liking)

[ Instruction ]

Shell:
1. Follow the chocolate macaron shell recipe, but also add the chili powder to the dry mixture.

I get addicted to pipping macaron batter circles sometimes. I get super excited and happy when they all line up and turn out the same size and shape!

Ganache:
1. In a pot, heat the heavy cream with the chili powder on medium heat.
2. Before it starts to boil, turn off and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate.
3. Keep whisking until chocolate is melted.
4. Add in butter, and continue whisking until smooth.
5. Set aside for later, or refridgerate if using it for the next day (thaw in room temp).

Assemble:
1. Fill a piping bag with ganache. Cut a hole 1/2 inch hole at the tip of the bag.
2. Pipe ganache onto cookies.
3. Place another cookie on top of the ganache.

I think I was being too generous on the chocolate ganache. The macaron looked like it contained very little chocolate, but it actually had a lot when biten into it.  I’m not saying it’s bad, but I felt like I was eating a chocolate truffle. Note to self, maybe a little less next time.

Breakfast anyone? I love these with coffee. The dark chocolate and chili adds a hint of sweetness and spiciness to the coffee.

Fourth Time A Charm Too?

27 Feb

I’m not sure, but even though the raspberry ones I’d made last time was good. I really like the poofier Nutella & Irish cream macaron I’d made this time. It also looks rounder, thus cuter.

I wanted to make some macaron for my friend’s dinner party, but I was super pressed for time. So I wanted to make one with a simple flavor but complicated when combined with others. The first thing that came into mind was nutella since it comes in a jar. After thinking about it for a few minute, I’d decided to make a chocolate shelled macaron since I just need cocoa powder. Lastly, I want to mix the nutella with some cream cheese Irish cream filling. Each ingredient is simple and can stand on its own, but also tastes great when combined with each other.

[Ingredients]

Shell:

85g almond flour

150g powdered sugar

3 tbsp cocoa powder

3 egg whites (aged, optional*)

5 tbsp granulated sugar

Filling:

8oz cream cheese

3/4 cup butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup Bailey Irish Cream

[Instruction]

Macaron Shell/Cookie:

1. Prepare baking sheets by stacking two together and top it with parchment paper or silpat.  Preheat oven 375 degree.

2. With a stand mixer or a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites until foamy.

3. Add granulated a little at time, and whisk egg whites until stiff peak stage.

4. In another bowl, sift all the dry ingredients for the shell.

5. Add them to the egg whites by batches and mix by folding.

6. Mix all the ingredients together until a lava-liked smooth consistency is reached.

7. Pour the mixture into a piping bag and pipe 1 1/2 inch circle worth of batter about one inche apart.

8. Air dry the macaron until when you touch the top of the shell, it does not stick to your finger. Should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

9. Bake for 10 minutes and rotate the baking sheet 180 degree half way through baking.

10. After 10 minutes, open the oven door a little bit to let air out, and keep it open a bit and bake for another 2 minutes.

11. Let macaron cool before adding the filling.

Filling:

1. In a stand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until soft.

2. Meanwhile, sift powdered sugar. Add it to the creamed mixture a little at a time.

3. When sugar is combined. Add the Irish cream.

4. Pour filling into a piping bag.

Assemble:

1. Spread nutell on one of the cookie shell.

2. Pipe a bit of Irish cream cheese filling, just enough at the center. It will spread once you put the second cookie on.

3. Place another cookie onto the filling.

Viola! Chocolate shelled macaron with nutella and Irish cream cheese filling!

*Tips for Making Macarons:

  • Aging the egg whites decreases some of the moisture content. I tried both aging and non-aging, both yield a little different but still good macaron.
  • Sifting the dry ingredients helps with light and chewy texture.
  • Air drying the macaron before baking allows a crust to form for that crunchy outer layer.
  • Using silpat or two baking sheets help even out temperature, so the bottom of the cookie won’t burn as easily.
  • Letting oven door open at the last two minutes helps let out the steam and also decreases the temperature by a little so won’t overbake or brown the top.

Good Luck!

Playing wtih Flavors: Matcha & Coffee

23 Feb

I have two focuses on my second try on macarons back in December: One is texture, and two is color.

My first batch turned out okay but not great, it was chewier than I wanted it, which means I overbaked it a bit. Since I have a feel on how the process works now, I want to try making different flavor ones. My three favorite macaron flavors are hazelnut, matcha and coffee. With just matcha and coffee powder on hands, I decided to try those two.

The batter was still a bit running, thus most of them didn’t turn out as round as I want them to be.

The flavors turned out great, and what I love more about these two flavors is that the powder gives the macaron natural coloring. I did not need to add any food colorings at all.

Macaron Take One

21 Feb

I looked through my macaron books every week because I admire the works and photos in them so much. I wanted to bake macaron since the first time I had a bite of it, but I was a little intimated. The very first macaron book I bought was I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita. I bought it right when it came out, and it took me awhile to find it because it was sold out everywhere. I flipped through it over and over, and made sure I read every single word in it. I always hear that macaron consists of just a few ingredients, but the process is complicated. I finally have the courage to make my very first batch, EVER, on December 27, 2011.

The following macaron was made with the recipe from the I Love Macaron book. I started with a vanilla one because I want to make sure the simpliest flavor works before I move onto other flavors that requires other ingredients.

They don’t look perfect, but they are round enough and crunchy enough on the outside and chewy enough on the inside for the first time. It was a nice batch that I test my oven temperature and such. I didn’t experience any troubleshoot at all. It’s such excitement to know I am capable to do it.

I took my first step, and now it’s time to embark on this macaron adventure!