Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mad about Macs!

Since my husband bought me a new oven, I've been much more enthusiastic about baking... cakes, cookies, bars, and even brought me to venture to making roast chicken, pot roast, etc. But one thing that I've been dying to experiment was making macarons.

In the past 2 1/2 years that I've lived in Indonesia, I've tried making macarons several times prior to my new oven and 8 out of 10 came out disastrous. My old oven was small and has a mind on its own when it comes to temperature. Although my new oven is not a convection oven in which one can set and maintain temperature, it's been great! I did have to do a few test runs that resulted in failed macarons, but I finally got the right formula for my oven!

Since then, I've been in macaron madness for the past month!

I'm very happy to say that now I'm not afraid of making macarons anymore. In fact, it's such a joy watching the little feet develop in the oven.

Here's the macaron recipe that I used:
(adapted from Laduree Sucre)

68g almond powder
62g powdered sugar
50g egg whites
50g granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Sift almond powder and powdered sugar together and set aside. In a very clean bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy and then slowly add in the granulated sugar. If you want to add coloring, add it now. Add the almond mixture to the meringue all at once and fold the mixture using a spatula until the batter is shiny and has the consistency of lava. Pipe the batter on a silpat or parchment paper and leave to dry for about 20 minutes (depending on the humidity, the time will vary). Bake for about 15 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before attempting to remove the macarons from the silpat or parchment.

For the filling, go wild! I've used ganache, buttercream, jams, peanut butter... whatever you feel like eating :)


Monday, June 25, 2012

Cream Scones with PB&J

This weekend has been extremely wonderful... my bff is throwing a 61st birthday party for her dad and we've decided to make a dessert corner for the event. So for the whole day saturday and half of sunday, we spent making lots of goodies that made my house smells so delicious!

We made mango cream puffs, cheese chiffon cake, carrot cake, banana cupcakes, gingerbread cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and mixed berry tart. It's really fun seeing the desserts being displayed out and guests came and try them. Unfortunately, we didn't really get to take pictures of them.

Continuing with the baking momentum, I made some cream scones this morning. I've always enjoyed reading Joe Pastry's blog because he not only provides recipes, he also writes about the process, the history, and tales behind the desserts. This cream scone recipe is from his website and it is goooooodddddd! The scones was moist and delicious with soft crumbs that absolutely melt in your mouth.

Cream Scones
adapted from Joe Pastry

280 g all-purpose flour
50 g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
80 g cold butter, cut into cubes
120 ml heavy cream
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg mixed with 2 teaspoons milk for the glaze

Peanut butter
Blackberry preserve (or any jam of your preference)

Preheat the oven to 500F. In a large bowl, sift in the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter pieces and using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture looks like corn meal. In another bowl combine the In a small bowl whisk together the cream, egg and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and gently fold them together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat it down until it’s about 1.5 cm thick. Using a round biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Push together the scraps, pat them down and repeat the process until all the dough is used.
Whisk the egg and milk together, and brush it onto the tops of the scones. Bake 8-10 minutes until they’re lightly browned on top.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chocolate Cupcake with Salted Butter Caramel Frosting

I haven't been able to sleep lately and this is very surprising for me (or anyone who knows me - because I sleep anywhere anytime). Although I feel tired in the morning as a result, I've been quite productive during those late sleepless nights. One of those result is this chocolate cupcake with salted butter caramel. It's a combination of 2 recipes from Sprinkle Bakes' blog - which is full of amazing recipes and inspirations.

I used her moist chocolate cupcake recipes (here), in which she promises that the results will be pretty rounded tops and super moist crumbs, and her salted butter caramel buttercream recipe (here).

True enough, the recipes yielded these moist chocolate cupcakes with perfectly rounded tops! :) I was so happy with the results. The frosting however, was too sweet for my preference. I think the next time I make a caramel frosting I would use an IMBC base instead of a traditional american buttercream.

Anyhow... it's now time for me to drink my tea and eat another one of these yummy cupcake :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Raspberry Mascarpone Tart

It's been almost 2 and a half years living in Indonesia, a little more than 2 years of blissful marriage, and almost one and a half years of neglecting my blog. For that, I apologize. It's not that I haven't been baking... I've been baking quite a lot actually. It's actually more on the fact that I don't have time anymore to take pictures and writing out the recipes. But I'm going to try to do better. Starting with this pretty tart I made last night.

Raspberry Mascarpone Tart
adapted from Sarabeth's Bakery and Baking at Home

1 fully baked and cooled tart shell (I used an 8-in square tart shell)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temp
1/4 cup orange flower honey
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 cups fresh raspberries
Powdered sugar, for garnish

In a bowl, whisk until smooth the mascarpone cheese, honey, and lemon juice. Set aside..

In a separate bowl, whisk the heavy cream until it reaches stiff peaks. Fold the the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture in 3 additions. Pour the cream into the cooled pastry shell and evenly distribute using an offset spatula. Cover the tart loosely with cling wrap and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.

Garnish the tart with fresh raspberries and lightly dust the raspberries with powdered sugar to create the snow effect.