Tag Archives: cookies

Macarons: Success

After the last attempt I decided to try a recipe that actually included the measures of ingredients in cups, as I don’t have a kitchen scale, and this time it worked out (for the most part, a few of the shells were still hollow so I’m in the process of perfecting it.) But I decided to do a post on the recipe, in the hopes that it will show how I’ve corrected from what I did last time. I made the same nutella-chocolate filling as last time, so if you’d like to see that click here. This time I used a Martha Stewart recipe for the cookies, although I altered the cooking time/temperature a little due to paranoia that I would burn them. This makes about 10 macarons (20 halves.)

Ingredients:

1.25 cups plus 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 cup (4 oz) almond flour
6 Tablespoons egg whites (3 large eggs)
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (although honestly how long does an oven take to heat up, I don’t think it’s necessary to do this as the very first step, considering how long it takes to whisk the egg whites, I think it’s a waste of electricity, just keep it in mind for a later.)

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour and powdered sugar.

apart

 

together

 

3. Separate your egg whites into another bowl. Whisk until frothy/foamy. This time I was very careful not to get any yolk in here…

egg whites

 

4. Gradually add your granulated sugar while whisking (so much easier with an electric mixer than by hand) and continue whisking until the white mixture forms stiff peaks.

peaking

 

5. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into your meringue until fully incorporated.

folded

 

6. Pipe your batter onto  parchment paper/wax paper or a Silpat on a cookie sheet. Make evenly spaced, similar-sized circles. Lift the cookie sheet and drop it lightly a few times after you’re done piping, in order to spread and remove air bubbles from the batter. This makes about 20 cookies halves, or 10 macarons.

allow to rest

 

7. Allow to rest about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top is no longer sticky/shiny and a skin forms over the tops. Then bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Check cookies every 3 minutes after that point. They are done when the top is hard and the bottom slides against the baking surface and removes easily (though you may need a spatula to remove them, still.)

baked them

 

they're cute

 

they're cute

 

8. Pipe/spoon in your desired filling and sandwich it up!

finished cookie

 

enjoy

 

Photos by: Melissa
Post by: Melissa

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Macaron fail (a.k.a. delicious cookies that aren’t what they’re supposed to be)

I attempted to make chocolate macarons with a nutella mousse filling. However, I shouldn’t have attempted to use this recipe. It’s a fine recipe, but I do not have a kitchen scale. And I do not feel like purchasing one for the sole purpose of making these cookies. While my mousse turned out fine, the cookies were more like… very thin chocolate cookies with a crisp outside, chewy inside, and a brownie-like taste. Still delicious, but not-so-macron-y. The nutella mousse turned out lovely though.

This can be attributed to many things. As mentioned above, I have no kitchen scale, which most likely led to me combining the wrong amount of ingredients. I also failed to make a sturdy meringue, which probably is what led to me not being able to create the cookie texture I desired. This may have been due to the non-weighing-cup-conversion-in-my-head based approach I took to the ingredient amounts, or a tiny bit of yolk in my egg whites because I’m not practiced in separating them. But, if you’d like to knowhow to create what I’d like to call crisp brownie cookies, read on!

Ingredients for cookies:

1 cup almond flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 T. cocoa powder
3 egg whites (from large eggs)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Recipe:

1. (Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.) Sift your almond flour and combine with your powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

powdered sugar and cocoa powder

combined

added to almond flour

total combination

2. Beat egg whites in another bowl until foamy.

foamy

3. Add granulated sugar and whisk until meringue-y. In my case, this never happened. (It was goopy and would not form peaks, but that’s ok if you’re not making macarons!)

sugar added

won't form peaks

4. Add the dry ingredients and fold in with a spatula.

nom nom

chocolate-y

5. Add contents of bowl to pastry piping bag (or non-fancy plastic Ziploc bag that you will cut the corner off of) and pipe even circles onto your wax paper or Silpat.

or not so even

As you can see, mine are *not so even* but this turned out to be fine. I also have an odd number, so I could eat one outside of a cookie-sandwich situation. Let these sit out for about 1 hour.

6. Bake for about 15 minutes, then check. Mine took a long time, essentially 45 minutes to bake, but as they were uneven, some were done before others, so check frequently. Leave on a wire rack to cool. These are not the prettiest cookies.

cookies wooooo

7. Done! Now make your mousse.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
3 T. nutella

Recipe:

1. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream on medium low until simmering.

creamy

2. Spoon out your nutella into a bowl and top with the broken-up chocolate.

nutella

 

chocolate pile

 

3. Pour your heavy cream over the nutella & chocolate. Leave for 20 seconds, then whisk until smooth.

stir it up

 

4. Place in fridge for 30-45 minutes (I had to leave mine for an hour) until still pourable/mixable but hardened overall. Remove and whisk until lightened in color.

looks like this then

 

whisked it

 

5. Scoop (or pipe) a dollop of this mousse onto the flat side of a cookie, and sandwich it with another cookie.

cookie pile

 

cookies!

 

all ready to eat!

 

Enjoy your cookie sandwiches! I think this would also be a good type of cookie to put ice cream inside of, in order to make ice cream sandwiches!

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Chocolate chip cookies

Recently I made some chocolate chip cookies, inspired by this youtube video.

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly and I wasn’t able to make them as perfect-looking as he could, but I’m not a professionally trained chef and I will attest to the fact that they were the best-tasting chocolate chip cookies that I’ve ever made from scratch. If you’re interested in the recipe, keep reading!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup butter (8 oz=1 cup=2 sticks of butter) ROOM TEMPERATURE
2&1/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons of water
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or any amount you wish to use in the cookies)

Recipe

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars (brown and regular granulated) together in a bowl (use a mixer if you can, otherwise this takes so much arm strength. I finally used a hand mixer after my arm started to hurt from using a fork, which works but is the wrong approach.)

butter in a bowl

butter and the sugars

mashed more than "creamed"

2. Add your flour and mix until lightly incorporated.

so much flour

incorporate that

3. Add your egg yolk and mix.

egg yolk

4. Add your vanilla and salt, and mix to incorporate.

vanilla smells so good

dough looks decent

5. Add your baking soda, stirred into/dissolved in the water.

just this much

6. Refrigerate dough if desired, around 30 minutes to make it easier to work with. If not, go ahead and roll out dough balls. I’m using my Silpat again here (as seen in use here) but you can use wax paper, pam, etc. to keep them from sticking.

dough balls

7. Flatten dough balls with the palm of your hand.

flat little cookies

8. Add your chocolate chips.

looks great right?

9. Now, I don’t know why, but these spread like CRAZY and didn’t look perfect. You’ll just have to see what works best for you… Bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes, I baked them for 10/batch and let cool on sheet for two minutes before placing on a baking rack to fully solidify.

why do they look so crazy

10. Let cool completely.

cool, cool, cool

11. Enjoy your cookies!

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


(Salted) Dark chocolate truffle cookies

I decided to try my hand at making some cookies I saw over on How Sweet it Is.

These turned out very delicious (though I only ended up salting about half of them, because I was in a hurry to get them into the oven every time I was baking a new batch) and they didn’t spread as much as I expected them to. I also experimented with using my Silpat baking mat for the first time. It was great! I didn’t have any wax paper, so I just laid this down on my baking sheet and baked the cookies on it. This made for great, easy clean-up. You just wash the mat afterward and everything is clean (minus the bowls and utensils you used for prep!) These are really rich, dark chocolate cookies and I loved them. I did not choose to dip them in chocolate and sprinkles, but I would have if I’d had more time and I might the next time I make these!
AS A WARNING, YOU WILL NEED TO LET THE DOUGH SIT FOR 4 HOURS TO OVERNIGHT BEFORE BAKING.

RECIPE FROM HOW SWEET IT IS, adapted from THIS. Makes approx 30 cookies.

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet (mine was 60%) chocolate, chopped
2 cups dark chocolate chips
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark chocolate/dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Recipe:

1. Melt your butter, bittersweet chocolate and HALF OF THE chocolate chips in a bowl. I microwaved mine in 40 second increments, stirring when necessary, until completely melted. Allow mixture to cool.

butter is healthy, not quite a whole stick

chocolate deliciousness

fancy chocolate bar

baking chocolate broken up

goopy chips

smooth and melty

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

cocoa-y

flour-y

with salt and baking powder

all mixed up

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer (if you’re lucky enough to have one!) or in a regular large bowl, add your sugar and eggs and beat/whisk on high/quickly for about two minutes or until light and fluffy.

sugars

light and fluffy

4. Add vanilla and melted butter/chocolate mix, and stir until combined  (1-2 minutes.)

vanillas

vanilla mixed in

stirred in the chocolate

5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and your whisk or mixer attachment, and add the mixed dry ingredients. Stir in with spatula until fully combined.

combining the flour

6. Fold in remaining chocolate chips.

chocolate chips for days

chocolate chips: WITH OUR POWERS COMBINED

7. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, to a maximum of overnight.

8. Remove from fridge when ready to bake. Line ungreased baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Wet hands and roll the dough between hands into 1 inch dough balls, placed 2 inches apart on baking sheet. This is when you can slightly salt them if you want. Bake for 9-10 minutes (in my experience, 10-12.) If baking in batches (which, lets face it with 30 cookies that’s pretty likely) place the dough back in the fridge, covered, between batches. When you remove the cookies, you can salt them again lightly if you want to. I did not. Be careful when removing these, you may want to let them cool a little, because they may be gooey. I placed them on a baking rack to cool, which did not take long.

six dough balls on my Silpat

with salt

cookies are delicious

9. Enjoy your cookies (WITH MILK!) These are great with milk because they’re so rich.

baking rack

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Macarons at Fresh Flours & Golden Gardens (Beach) Park

mushrooms! delightful

Ever-searching on our quest for macarons, my mom and I stopped by a bakery in Ballard called Fresh Flours. They had many delicious-looking baked goods.

assorted baked goods

 

more goods

 

the macarons! 6 flavors

 

the menu overhead

 

christmas goods 50% off

 

Don’t be alarmed by the Christmas sweets, it was much closer to Christmas when this visit occurred/pictures were taken so these were not super old cookies. They were still fresh and delicious, they had just not been sold yet.

We brought along a box of 5 to Golden Gardens and ate them there on a bench.

macaron box

Speaking of Golden Gardens, it was lovely! I’d only been here once before in the summer, and while I do prefer it then, it was not horribly cold and was still pretty to walk along near the end of December.

so many seagulls

 

boat

 

beach

 

So many footprints in the sand! This is a popular spot.

 

sand!

 

sunshine-y day

 

trees and beach

 

sometimes there are seals

 

This little bench area was pretty cute.

 

artwork by children

 

seahorses

 

other creatures

 

 

 

docks of boats

 

strip of rocks

 

the beach from the pier

 

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Lunch in West Seattle and the quest for macarons

My mom and I headed off to West Seattle so I could get my hair cut. I was very happy because I only do that about twice a year when my hair gets a bit thick and unmanageable. After that we decided to walk around a bit and stop in some shops, and we also had lunch. I really wanted to go to my favorite West Seattle bakery, Bakery Nouveau, but they were closed. It was the day after Christmas and they had given their employees the day off but I was heartbroken, until Trader Joe’s saved the day More on that after lunch.

We went to a place called Azuma Sushi and both ordered off the lunch menu.

AZUMA SUSHI

culture

It was very cute inside and although we didn’t order sushi per se, the sushi that the other people around us had looked great. Both our meals came with miso soup, though I saw no reason to photograph that. It was what you’d expect from sushi restaurant miso soup. Pretty good.

I got the chicken teriyaki lunch, though ordered it without the salad.

chicken teriyaki and rice

My mom ordered the chicken katsu bento & tempura bento box.

20121231-185041.jpg

Both our meals were good and not too filing, which is what I expect from a sushi shop lunch.

Anyway, all the bakeries we called were closed and I was disappointed to learn that no macaron-carrying bakeries around us seemed to be open, so we desperately decided to visit Trader Joe’s to pick up some almond flour in a desperate attempt to make our own. Not finding any almond flour, it was a happy coincidence that we stumbled upon some frozen French mazarons of the Trader Joe’s brand. My only complaint is that they were peppermint flavored, but I could never stay mad at that store. If you do a quick search you’ll find plenty of bloggers talking about them, but they were new to me. You put them out for half an hour to defrost and they are supposed to be ready to eat. For frozen macarons, of a flavor that’s not my favorite, I still really enjoyed them and would recommend them if you’ve got a TJ nearby and can’t get or make fresh ones. They’re very cute and I think they’d be great for a party. Keep in mind that they’re pretty tiny, but priced well as far as macarons go.

little macarons

so pepperminty and perfect

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Orlando Adventure days 3&4: Disney World, a diner, and the rest

We woke up early(ish) Sunday morning to get ready for Disney World. I’ve been to Disneyland, but never Disney World and I was pretty excited. I felt lucky to live in a place at least semi-close to such a popular tourist destination, if not in the actual BIG CITY. We stopped to get ready in the morning by picking up some Subway sandwiches, snacks and smart water from Target, and we were on our way!

Disney cast spotting (Johnny Depp impersonator/Jack Sparrow, making some great faces):

And of course, Aladdin and Jasmine (making great faces as well):

I had also not been on the It’s A Small World ride. What I learned from the ride:

Goats are all around the world.

Owls are universally adorable.

And lastly, I’ll close the Disney World section with the iconic castle:

The next morning, we started out with breakfast at 5 & Diner. I had the breakfast sandwich on an English muffin and HOME FRIES. SO good. I have been absolutely in love with home fries since having them at a continental breakfast in a hotel on my road trip. These were even better, of course.

We went out to walk around Orlando again after breakfast, and ended up eating at a Latin place downtown where a lot of business people tend to eat lunch, called Latin Square Cuisine. I had the pulled pork plate with a side of yellow rice and red beans. I wanted to try the potatoes as my side, but they had run out! It was a very popular place.

The pork was really tender and garlicky, and you can tell you get SO MUCH of your side choices. They were good too but there was no way I was going to finish all that. It’s a very good value and a quick place to stop for lunch.

Lastly, we stopped at Whole Foods before heading back to the house (and me having to make the long drive home) and I picked up some more macarons. I don’t have a Whole Foods in my area, and I was excited to try them. Normally I wouldn’t buy so many, but they were pre-packaged and so worth it.

The rosy-colored one is raspberry and pretty much that and the green one (though I can’t place its flavor) are my favorites. If you have a Whole Foods near you and like macarons or just want to give them a try, pick some up. 🙂

This concludes my Orlando mini-vacation recap. Hope you enjoyed. Did you go anywhere over the 3 day weekend? I was glad I could get out of town for a while.

Photos by: Melissa
Post by: Melissa