French Macarons

macaron 1

I’ve been baking consistently for about six years and I find myself making the same treats over and over again. While practice makes perfect, I started getting bored of making cheesecake, cinnamon rolls, and cupcakes all the time.

To remedy my ennui, I emailed close friends to solicit their favorite desserts. Perhaps they love a dessert that I haven’t tried yet. To show my appreciation for their suggestions, I gave them a sample of what I made.
One friend immediately wrote back saying his favorite dessert was French macarons. Finally a challenge!

As seasoned bakers know, it is vital to conduct research prior to making something new. It saves both time and ingredients.

I scoured the Internet, reading multiple recipes and watching various videos to learn how to make these tricky cookies. Afterwards, I decided that Beth’s Foolproof French Macarons tutorial was the best recipe to follow. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ636Y8N6E8) Beth gave me the directions necessary to ensure my macarons had feet on the first try!

macaron 2

French Macarons

3 egg whites at room temperature
¼ cup white granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups confectioners’ sugar (200 g)
1 cup almond flour (120 g)
Gel food coloring (optional)

French macarons are a finicky cookie that require a keen eye and patience.
Start by whipping your room temperature egg whites until they’re foamy, then add salt, cream of tartar and white sugar. Whip until they form a peak that stands upright.

Then add the gel food coloring. Add more than you think you need since the color fades in the cooking process.

Sift almond flour and powder sugar. Fold the flour/sugar mixture into the egg white mixture until is like lava slowly falling off the spatula. If you under-mix, your cookies will crack. If you over mix, they won’t have feet (the little ridges on the bottom of the cookie that indicate a successful bake).

Pipe dollops of batter of the same size on parchment paper. Bang the tray on the counter to release any air bubbles, and then let the tray rest for at least 20 minutes so the batter is tacky to the touch.

Put the tray in a pre-heated 300 degree F oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Afterwards, let the cookies cool completely before sandwiching them together with jelly or buttercream.

 

Advertisements

Scrumptious Seattle Scones

Last November, I took my first solo trip. After a string of bad luck including dealing with an attempted break-in to my apartment and minor heartbreak, I decided to take a respite from life in DC. Bringing up Google flights, I searched for the cheapest upcoming flights to relatively safe major cities. Seattle was the winner at only $290 for a round trip without layovers!

Next I had to secure housing. While hotels offer many amenities, I needed more budget friendly accommodations. Thus, I found a place on Airbnb that had good reviews, including some from women who also took unaccompanied trips to the Pacific Northwest.

I went to the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden, the International District, Public Market and paid respects to Bruce Lee. I took back to DC not only indelible memories, I also a new recipe!

IMG_0810
Admiring the Space Needle at Kerry Park Lookout Point

Next I had to secure housing. While hotels offer many amenities, I needed more budget friendly accommodations. Thus, I found a place on AirBnb that had good reviews, including some from women who also took unaccompanied trips to the Pacific Northwest.

I went to the Space Needle, Chuhuly Garden, the International District, Public Market and paid respects to Bruce Lee. Not only did I take back to DC with me indelible memories, I also got a new recipe!

Every morning, the Airbnb host offered guests freshly baked scones with jam. Vanilla almond scones, buttery scones with strawberry jam, lemon scones with raspberry jam, and more! These scones were not the typical dense biscuits, instead they were very buttery and flaky. I audibly groaned in pleasure when I took an initial bite on my first morning in Seattle. Thankfully they made a huge batch, so I was able to take two (let me be honest, three) scones.

I knew I had to get the recipe before I left. The host received the request multiple times, so she had copies on it on hand for guests! It was a modified version of Ina Garten’s scones!

When I got home, I recreated the scones for my colleagues. I was amazed by how quick and easy it was to make them!

Below is the base of the scones. Feel free to add dried fruit, nuts, vanilla, or citrus zest to bring more flavor or texture to the scones.

I hope you loves these scones as much as I do!

4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1.5 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
3 extra large eggs

extras
sliced almonds, dried cherries, 1 teaspoon vanilla, dark chocolate, zest or orange or lemon, dried blueberries, etc

Combine the dry ingredients. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and then mix them into the flour just until it’s the size of small peas, which is roughly for 1 minute in a standing mixer. Do not over mix. Whisk the 3 eggs and then add a cup of milk. Add the milk and egg mixture. It will be a wet dough, so mix just until combined.

Move the dough onto a floured surface. Fold and flatten the dough a few times so it will have a nice rise. Cut the 1/2 inch tall dough into triangular or circular shapes. Put the dough onto a parchment lined baking pan and place it into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. The scones are done once they have a golden top.

I love brushing melted butter on the freshly baked scones. Afterwards, I’ll drizzle on a simple glaze consisting of milk, powder sugar and vanilla or citrus juice.