Lemon Macarons

Oh man. IMG_6113

Look at these!!! I had a friend (Hi Sunitha!) over to make these for another friend. We went through all the odds and ends of making macarons, including sometimes having the first batch just fail for some reason or another.

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I gave her warning that it may happen, and it did! The second batch, made exactly the same way, worked out perfectly. Not to mention, that lemon flavor! Delicious, fruity, perfect for summer. These guys are a keeper. Absolutely delicious.

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Lemon Macarons

Adapted from Sweet&Savory

For the Macarons
1 cup finely ground almond flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Yellow gel food coloring

For the lemon butter cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons heavy cream
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

To start making macarons, start fearless! Worst case scenario, they don’t grow feet, look funny, or crack. Which means you have a bunch of macaron shells to eat and you just make another batch. Start by whipping your egg whites until foamy. Add in pinch of cream of tarter. Add in your granulated sugar 1 tbsp at a time until all incorporated. At this point, your egg whites should be glossy and form stiff peaks. Add in the zest, extract, juice, and food coloring until it’s a yellow you’d like. Whip until incorporated.

Sift in your powdered sugar and almond flour. Fold your dry ingredients into your egg whites until the ribbon of batter dissolves in 10 seconds. This part is crucial. There are thousands of videos on the internet demonstrating what the perfect consistency looks like. I don’t know how to upload video so google away!

Pipe your batter onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet approximately 1 inch rounds leaving room for them to spread. You can use a #1 piping tip or simply cut a sizable hole out of the corner of a ziploc bag. Slam them on to the counter (literally) until the tops are smooth and they are sightly flattened. Let them dry on the counter for 15-30 minutes depending on the humidity of the kitchen.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Your macarons will be dry when you touch them gently and they don’t stick to your finger. Be patient and gentle when testing! If the batter still sticks to your finger, give it more time. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the macarons easily lift of the parchment paper. If you have an extra baking sheet, I like to bake them on two sheets stacked on top of each other to prevent burning. Let cool and make the buttercream.

For the buttercream, you can beat all the ingredients together all at once. Easy peasy. I would recommend starting slow so powdered sugar doesn’t get everywhere. Pipe onto a macaron cookie, starting from the edge and working in. Then, find a matching macaron and gently press on top to make a store worthy cookie.

Refrigerate several hours or overnight to let the flavors meld and let come to room temperature before serving. Don’t worry if you have some that don’t look perfect, simply eat them and don’t share those!

Enjoy!

 

 

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Blueberry Muffins

I’m not on L&D and not on night shift ANYMORE! Which means I get to be a real person! I get to run, cook, have dinner with the boy, and wake him up with baking

IMG_5833We had a ton of blueberries in the fridge and I wanted to finally fill the house with smells of baking again. These blueberry muffins were my perfect return to reality! I can’t tell you how happy it made me to pull these out of them oven and serve them warm.IMG_5838Not to mention, I am a sucker when it comes to sugar crystals on to of muffins. So I got to pull out what might be my favorite baking accessory, sugar crystal! Oh it was a good morning.

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I’m back and the oven is on!

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Blueberry Muffins

Recipe from King Arthur
Makes 12 muffins
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Sanding sugar for topping

Preheat your oven to 375 and line/spray your muffin tin.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until yellow and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine your baking powder, salt, and flour. Alternating with the milk, mix in your flour mixture into your butter mixture until well incorporated.

Smash 1/2 cup of your blueberries with a potato smasher and mix back into the rest of the blueberries. This helps give a homogenous maximum blueberry flavor. Fold into your batter.

Spoon into your muffin tin using a heaping 1/4 measuring cup. Top copiously with sanding sugar and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve warm with coffee and a pat of butter.

Ejnoy!

 

Chocolate Tart with Sugared Cranberries

Back to back labor and delivery rotations mean the blog got placed on the back burner. Thus, my return to posting photos of delectable holiday treats had to be with a bang! Hence – the chocolate tart with sugared cranberries.

IMG_5719This baked good epitomizes the holidays! Sugared cranberries! I mean, come on. They look like they fell out of a Christmas tree. IMG_5737I went to Williams Sonoma recently and they had a bunch of things on sale so I came home with a cake stand (YES!) and a tart pan (double yes!). I was so excited to use both of this for this recipe and pictures.

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This chocolate tart is perfectly lightly sweet and not at all overwhelming. Made with semi-sweet chocolate, it’s a perfect pairing with the slightly tart contrast of the sugared cranberries.

The sugared cranberries, by the way, are fresh cranberries coated in sugar. They turn fresh cranberries in a holiday treat that you can pop into your mouth. Not to mention, they make one heck of a garnish.

Chocolate Tart with Sugared Cranberries

Adapted from Tyler Florence

Tart Shell Pastry:
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
1 large egg, separated (save both parts)
2 tablespoons ice water

Combine your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt) in a bowl. Add the butter cubes and using a pastry cutter or your hands, cut into your dry ingredients until it looks like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the middle your pastry. Add in your egg yolk and ice water. Keep the egg white! Using your hands, work it into the dough and squeeze together until it comes together to form a disk. You will see still chunks of butter in the dough. Ask more ice water (1 tablespoon at a time) if you need to form the disk. Wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll out your dough into approximately a 12 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Place into a 9 inch tart pan. Press into the bottoms and sides making sure to get each nook and cranny to get a pretty edge when you take out the finished product. I also used this step to even out the dough a little bit. Take the extra dough off the edges by pressing against the sharp edge or your pan or with a knife. Cool in the fridge for 15 minutes and preheat your oven to 350.

Using pie weights or dried beans, bake for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and using your egg white, brush your tart pastry. Bake for another 8 minutes. The crust should not be golden brown, but still light in color. Let the pastry cool and reduce your oven temperature to 325.

For the chocolate filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
10 ounces semisweet chocolate (bar or chips)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten

Heat the heavy cream and milk in a pot over medium heat until it slightly bubbles at the edges. Remove from heat and add in your chocolate. Whisk until completely melted and silky smooth. Sprinkle in the salt. Very, very slowly add your eggs until completely blended. Be sure not to add it too quickly or they may scramble!

Pour into your prepared shell and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until surface is shiny. Cool while making your sugared cranberries.

Sugared Cranberries
1 package fresh cranberries, rinsed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
sugar for coating cranberries (approximately 2 cups)

Over medium heat in a medium pan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar completely dissolved to make a simple syrup. Remove from heat. Add your cranberries in until all of them are coated in the syrup. Using a slotted spoon and working in batches, toss them in sugar until completely coated. Let cool on a baking sheet for 1 hour until the sugar has hardened.

Sprinkle on top of the baked good of your choice.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Lemon Meringue Pie

Holy hiatus.

Well, I’ve been on night shift for a hot minute. That’s my excuse for not baking for the last…however many weeks its been. Argh… But I think I’m at a good place to be back at it! Although, I must say – now it’s summer and I’m going to be looking for recipes that are less oven intense to avoid cranking up the heat.

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But look…pie…
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I made this pie a few weeks back and the pictures have just been sitting on my camera for too long, I’m ashamed to say….but they’re here now! It was topped with extra-fluffy meringue and I got such a kick watching it come out perfectly browned and toasted!

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Lemon is a great summer flavor — this recipe is great for any 4th of July party coming up.

IMG_5336_2Mile high meringue! Enjoy! Get excited for some summer recipes!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Recipe from Alton Brown

For the Lemon Filling 
4 eggs (divided into yolks/whites)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1  pre-baked pie shell

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk your 4 egg yolks in a mixing bowl until a smooth, fluffy yellow consistency. Meanwhile, in a saucepan – mix together your cornstarch, water, sugar and salt. Heat over medium with frequent stirring, bring to a boil and let boil for approximately 1 minute.

Remove from heat and very slowly add in half of your hot mixture to your egg yolks so as not to scramble them. Once you have about half of it in, you can dump your egg mixture all into the sauce pan with the rest of your heated ingredients. Reduce your heat to low and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in your butter, lemon juice, and zest. Pour your lemon filing into your pie shell and top immediately with your meringue (the key to getting your meringue cooked all the way through and avoid watery meringue topping)

For the meringue
4 egg whites (from above)
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar (optional)

Whisk your egg whites until stiff peaks form (side note, I love doing this!). If it’s a humid day, or you happen to have cream of tartar – go ahead and add it to help. Once you have stiff peaks, slowly add in your sugar.

Top your hot lemon mixture with all of your meringue, making sure you get it to the edge of the crust and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cool completely to room temperature and then for at least 2 hours in the fridge before serving to ensure the smoothest cut.

Enjoy!!

Pear Galette

Being on night shift means sleeping all the time. Literally, 20 hour shifts of just sleeping. I’m like a newborn baby. Happily, I stayed awake for more than 2 hours today and baked all the fruit in the fridge that I’ve been too sleepy to eat. Namely, a bag of pears.
IMG_4833A pie crust, some cream cheese, pears and spices. It’s like a grown-up fruit pizza! Just prettier. Also, I’m still getting a huge kick out of the new camera. Trying out all kinds of lighting tricks and what-not.

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The combination of a flaky crust, delicious cream cheese and the caramelized pears was perfect for my window of being awake.

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IMG_4842Not that I had any issues before, but going to bed is even easier after eating this and filling the house with smells of the holidays. Also, I recommend baking this while Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” is playing on repeat in the background.

Pear Galette

2 pre-made pie crusts at room temperature
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
3-4 small bartlett pears
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sanding sugar for spinkling

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine your two pie crusts into one big pie crust ball. Flatten and shape gently into a pie crust rectangle. Using a rolling pin, roll into a rough rectangle shape on a lightly floured surface. Your crust should be around 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut your cream cheese into thin stripes and press onto your crust, leaving about 1 inch around the edges to fold over later.

Slice your pears into very thin slices and toss in sugar and spices. Layer your pears on top of the cream cheese. Overlaying the pears on top of each other makes for the prettiest of effects! Fold over the edges to make a rustic looking galette and bake for 30-40 minutes or until your crust is golden brown and caramelized fruit juices are spilling over the edge.

Optional: sprinkle your galette with sanding sugar for a gorgeous effect.

Enjoy!