Holiday Hot Chocolate Macarons

So this is a recipe I made a few months ago, but I haven’t had the chance to experiment over the past few weeks and wanted to give all of you a new post

I discovered French-style macarons while living in London.  For those of you only familiar with the kosher-for-passover macaroons, they are completely different cookies Until I tried a macaron, I always though of the dense coconut macaroons. Besides being spelled differently, French-style macarons are a meringue-style sandwich cookie primarily made of eggs, almonds, and a ton of powdered sugar. The filling is normally a ganache, buttercream or a jam. Macarons are ridiculously addictive. Macarons, especially the pistachio ones,  helped me get through a lot of the stresses of the dissertation-writing process.

Since I loved them so much, I decided to try and make my own batch. I made this recipe around the holidays (I said the recipe was a few months old), and decided that hot chocolate was the perfect inspiration for a cookie.

While they are incredibly tasty, they are also incredibly tricky to make. There is a reason people go to pastry school to learn how to perfect them. However, the difficulty of the recipe is worth the deliciousness of the cookie. The directions are pretty long, but I wrote down literally every single step that I took to make the cookies. Some of the steps may seem extraneous, such as putting them on a hot sheet, or whacking them against the counter-top, but according to some Internet research, they help the cookies settle or bake faster. Other websites say that all of these steps are worthless as long as you fold the egg whites properly. It’s your call. Here are some experts to help you do it:

http://www.edibletimes.com/french-macaron-recipe-and-troubleshooting/

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/09/making-french-macarons/

http://honestcooking.com/top-ten-tips-for-making-macarons/

Even though my first attempt did not turn out perfectly, they were still incredibly tasty. I bought a macaron cookbook recently, and I am looking forward to  figuring out the little tricks to make them the best that they can be.

photo (2)

The finished product!

Holiday Hot Chocolate Macarons

Cookie recipe adapted from the BBC  and marshmallow recipe adapted from Nancy’s Kitchen.

For the cookies

  • 2 ½oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 6 ½oz (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) powdered sugar
  • 6 ½oz (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) ground almonds
  • 4 medium egg whites
  • 1 drop lemon juice
  • 6½oz (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Extra powdered sugar for dusting

For the filling

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Crushed candy canes to garnish the cookie (optional)

Cookie Recipe

  1. Heat the oven to 325F and place two unlined baking trays on the middle shelves.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
  3. Sift the powdered sugar.
  4. Mix the powdered sugar, ground almonds, and two egg whites to form a paste.
  5. Fold the melted chocolate into the double boiler and set aside.
  6. Whisk two egg whites and the drop of lemon juice on medium speed until firm peaks are formed.
  7. In a small saucepan, mix the sugar and water and cook over a high heat until it has reached 242F or the soft boil stage.
  8. Carefully add the sugar syrup onto the firmly whipped egg whites with the mixer on low.
  9. Increase the speed to high and whisk for another 2-3 minutes.
  10. Fold the meringue mixture into the chocolate and almond mixture until it reaches the ribbon stage – this is when a spoonful of the mixture poured back into the bowl sits like a ribbon on the surface.
  11. Place the mixture in a piping bag and pipe 1 inch circles ¾ inches apart from each other onto parchment paper.
  12. Dust the circles with powdered sugar.
  13. Remove the hot baking sheets from the oven and carefully slide the parchment paper with the piped macaroons onto them.
  14. Tap the hot baking sheet against a heat-proof countertop a few times.
  15. Bake in the oven for twelve minutes and then completely cool on a cooling rack

 Marshmallow Filling Recipe

  1. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed, until light and foamy.
  2. With the mixer still running, slowly add the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Continue beating until soft peaks form.
  3. In a small saucepan, mix the water, corn syrup, and granulated sugar together. Cook over medium heat until it boils and comes to 246F or the firm ball stage.
  4. Carefully add the sugar syrup to the egg whites with the mixer on low.
  5. Turn the mixer to high, and beat for 5-6 minutes, or until the marshmallow is very fluffy. It will become very difficult to mix and will heavily stick to the beaters.
  6.  Mix in the vanilla extract

To Finish:

  1. Pipe the frosting on the bottom cookie and sandwich two cookies together.
  2. Dust the outside of the frosting with the crushed candy canes.

http://www.nancyskitchen.com/2012recipes/May/homemade-marshmallow-cream-recipe.html

Advertisements

Rum Butter Pecan Ice Cream

I love watching Iron Chef. It’s one of those shows that I can easily watch a full day marathon of and not realize where the time is gone. It’s my favorite Food Network show due to the incredible level of skill that the participants have. Despite the fact that everyone who competes on the show are some of the top chefs in America, I always ask “Why can’t I make that?”

The three reasons I  can’t make the things the Iron Chefs do is because I lack the 1) skill 2) ingredients or 3) equipment. However, sometimes the equipment is on sale at Kohl’s for $20.00.  That’s how I became the proud owner of my very own ice cream machine. I’ve had it since December, but haven’t had the opportunity to use it until over the weekend. For my first ice cream recipe (and blog recipe!) I wanted to make something basic, but a little more adventurous than vanilla.  My instruction booklet had a recipe for butter pecan ice cream, but everything is better with a little bit of rum. This recipe was really simple to make, especially since you can do steps 1 and 2 the night before.

Although this recipe would be much easier if you have some kind of freezing device, I’ve done some searching, and you can make your own ice cream without a machine. Here are two links that have tips on how to do it: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/07/making-ice-crea-1/ or http://www.hintsandthings.co.uk/kitchen/icecream.htm  **Note: I have not tried either of these techniques**

Enjoy!

The finished product all ready for dessert!

The  finished product all ready for dessert!

Recipe – Makes 1.5 quarts

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 generous tablespoon rum

1) Melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the pecans and 1 tsp salt. Cook over emdium0lowe heat until pecans are toasted and golden, stirring frequently, about 5-6 minutes.  Remove from the heat, strain, and save the pecans.

2) In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine the milk, pinch of salt, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved (about 3 minutes). Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or overnight

3) Turn on the ice cream maker. Pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix for 15 minutes. Add the pecans. When just about fully thickened (2-3 minutes after adding the pecans), add the rum. Mix for one more minute, and then serve.

4) Any leftovers can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container.

Adapted from the  Cuisinart Recipe Booklet, 2010

Welcome!

Hi everyone!

This is a project that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but never took the final step to actually starting it. I’ve always been exposed to the food world…both of my parents worked in the food industry, and most members of my family are excellent cooks. There has always been plenty of creative and tasty cooking recipes, but no one in my immediate family is a serious baker. The combination of my intense sweet tooth and an intense bout of mono during the rise of baking television led me to pursue trying to make many of these sweet treats on my own. Recently, I’ve tried to work on expanding my cooking skills so I’m not the third best chef in the family.  However, there is plenty of room for both culinary disciplines on one blog.

My plan is to post both cooking and baking recipes as I try to make them. Some will be successes, and some will be lessons on What Not To Do. I would also love to do some food history and food culture posts when I have enough time to do the proper research. Ideally, I would love for this to be a combination of the geniuses of Alton Brown, Iron Chef, and “The Great British Bake-off” (plus the American version called “The American Baking Competition” that is premiering next month!)

The name The Silver Lining Is comes from my outlook on life. I’m an eternal optimist, and always try to find the silver lining in whatever situation I am in.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy!