Tuesday, March 29, 2011

David Lebovitz' French Chocolate Macarons with Milo filling

This recipe from David Lebovitz was the first ever macaron recipe I baked from, almost a year ago. I'm glad to report that the look of my macs have improved quite a bit since then, if I may say so myself...

Don't believe me? Below is the proof!! Photo taken May 26, 2010!!

LOL!!!!! Don't they look like two choc chip cookies sandwiched together?? Bumpy and crispy - very cookie-like! Those were the days!! (can't stop laughing!) They tasted wonderful nevertheless!

Well, macaron recipes don't differ much from one another - the secret lies in the technique. And even after you think you've mastered one favorite technique, you may find yourself at a dead end from time to time (my experience at least!). I'd like to think macarons keep me humble!! So, thank you, Mademoiselle Macaron!!

This time around, I thought it'll be great to add a surprising twist to these macaron shells and added Milo to the chocolate ganache filling. Here's how I did it; 2 parts heavy cream, I part milk chocolate and 2 parts Milo powder. It makes a silky, smooth chocolatey filling!

Here's the recipe for the macaron shells:

Chocolate Macarons

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Macaron Batter

1 cup (100 gr) powdered sugar

½ cup powdered almonds (about 2 ounces, 50 gr, sliced almonds, pulverized)

3 tablespoons (25 gr) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

5 tablespoons (65 gr) granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready.

Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and cocoa so there are no lumps; use a blender or food processor since almond meal that you buy isn’t quite fine enough.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.

Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).

Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.

Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons, then bake them for 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sweet, Spicy and Fruity : Cinnamon Macarons with Durian Ganache for MacTweets!

This month's MacAttack on MacTweets is Sugar and Spice and Everything...Fruity!! These are definitely SWEET, with a hint of spice and FRUUUIITY!!

I am not a big fan of spice in my desserts, save for hints of allspice and cinnamon. It took me a long long while to come up with a choice of spice in my macs and... boring old me stuck to cinnamon! Having said that, I knew I wanted to have Durians as my fruity filling and since they're in season, here I am featuring South East Asia's King of Fruits! The sweet and succulent fruit"s distinct taste perks up each bite!

For those who have never seen the durian fruit, here they are:

Photo of durian taken from here...

Durians - you either love and are crazy over them, or you don't. The fruit comes with a strong, sweet and fragrant (to those who love them, like me) aroma. On the contrary, those who loathe them think they smell like a bad stench. To each their own. Truly, they are real gems and no other fruits comes close to or have similar qualities to durians.

These macs are really sweet!! The white chocolate ganache, added with the sweet and soft durian flesh makes such creamy filling!!

Baking with Dorie: Brrrrrrrownies!!

These are the coolest brownies ever! Yes, pun intended!

Fudgy and slightly chewy (I used mint chewies rather than patties as the latter wasn't available to me), they satisfied my craving for chocolatey fudge yet at the same time made me feel less guilty, thanks to the light, cooling effect from the mint chewies. Very clever!

My brrrownies look rather messy in the photo - that's because I only gave them 5 minutes to cool before cutting them! Impatient me!

This week's BWD recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours was chosen by The Rookie Baker  - you can check out the recipe at  her   blog . Check out the rest of the BWDer's Brrrrrrownies at their respective blogs here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Allspice Crumb Muffins

Fluffy and tender cake, with a hint of spice topped with just-the-right-amount-of-sweetness-streusels. A winner!!

I was looking for a simple recipe to bake for a Saturday breakfast. My criteria of a simple recipe: no mixer involved, baking time of between 15-20 minutes, no greasing any pan and if possible, a dump-all-ingredients-into-a-bowl kind of recipe!

And where should I look to for a guaranteed winner recipe - where else but Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours. I was browsing through the biscuits/scones and muffins section and voila! found a perfect recipe - simple enough but has an extra 'star' quality to it - streusels!

Wasted no time in getting all the ingredients ready and in a matter of 15 minutes, they were ready to be popped in the oven. Twenty minutes later - these babies were baked!

Allspice Crumb Muffins
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

For the Streusel

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
5 tablespoons cold butter

For the Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make streusel: put all ingredients together and work the butter with your fingers until youget irregularly shaped crumbs. Set aside in refrigerator.

To make muffins: In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, allspice, salt and brown sugar. In another bowl, whisk melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla tiogether. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and quickly stir to blend. Divide batter into muffin cups and sprinkle streusels over each muffins. Bake for 20 mins.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Belated Baking with Dorie: Honey-Nut Scones

This post is three days late and I must apologise to those who came via BWD to look for this week's recipe! I have had no luck with getting on blogger.com for days and let me tell you, boy! it's super frustrating!! I am typing this as fast as I can with the hope to publish it as soon as I can before the connection is broken. I have been told the 8.9 magnitute quake and tsunami in Japan affected the networking system in my region.

And since we're on the topic, my condolences goes out to the people of Japan especially those who are directly affected by the catastrophe, with the lost of dear ones and a place to call home. Let's pray they be given the strength and perseverence to take them through these difficult times.

And now back to this week's bake - Honey-Nut Scones chosen by yours truly! I love breakfast food and I think this is also perfect for tea, or any time of the day for that matter!

These were sooooo easy to put together too, you need not take out your mixer nor your sifter. God given fingers are all you need!

They tasted exactly how Dorie described them, "hearty, homey warmth, a light sweetness and a touch of rustic about them".

In her words again, "their texture is a bit rougher and slightly more crumbly that that of standard scones".

The walnuts added a great crunch - their scarceness provided a wonderful surprise of tasteful crunch when they finally find their way in your bite.

And one more thing I love about these is the fact that they keep well and tasted as fresh as they did out of the oven, 12 hours later! (baked these at night and brought them to work the next morning).

Honey-Nut Scones
by Dorie Greenspan

1 large egg
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup cold whole milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

GETTING READY: Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Stir the egg, honey and milk together.

Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Drop in butter and using fingers, toss to coat pieces of butter with flour and rub until mixture is pebbly. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough comes together. Don't overdo it. Stir in chopped walnuts.

Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times. Turn the dough into a lightly floured surface and divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that's about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place on the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are deeply golden and firmish to the touch. Transfer them to cool for 10 minutes before serving or wait to cool at room temperature.