Colorful Macarons

Colorful Macarons





French macarons, who is up for a challenge? Actually, they aren't really that bad to make at home. There are a lot of tips, tricks and recipes on the web so let me add mine as well.

My first recommendation is to prepare the baking sheets and piping bag before starting to make the batter. It is better to have everything ready to go once the batter is finished.

Recipe and detailed instructions are below.

Recipe
75 grams almond flour (often called almond powder)
75 grams powdered sugar
50 grams egg white (divided into 25 grams in 2 bowls)
8 grams granular sugar
75 grams granular sugar plus 25 grams water

1. In a bowl, sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar. Add 25 grams of the egg white and mix with a spatula.
2. Mix the other 25 grams egg white with a hand mixer and once the eggs start to become foamy then add the sugar. Mix until soft peaks form.
3. In a saucepan, heat the water and sugar (75 grams) on medium heat until the mixture reaches 110 degrees C.
4. Pour the hot sugar mixture into the bowl with the meringue and continue to mix while pouring in the hot sugar. While pouring the hot sugar be careful since it is very hot and you can get burned easily. Mix for about 6 - 8 minutes until the mixture starts to cool and becomes a little firm.
5. Add the powdered sugar mixture in portions and mix with a spatula. Mix gently using a circular motion just enough to combine everything well. Do not over mix.
6. Put the batter into a piping bag and squirt small circles on a baking sheet. Keep the size consistent and leave a little space between each cookie. Dip your finger lightly in water and tap down any peaks left from the piping bag.

Macarons piped on a silpat sheet
7. Bake at 150 degrees C. for about 15 - 19 minutes. Do not open oven door while they are baking.












Piping bag with nozzle

Just add coffee!
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Kathy
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Delicious Tiramisu Mousse Cake

Delicious Tiramisu Mousse Cake




This cake has several steps to it so you may be a bit hesitant to tackle this, however, if you can find a kitchen helper then the process will fly by. The cake has four steps - bake the cake, make the mascarpone mousse, coffee chocolate mousse and lastly the chocolate mousse. The finished product is very delicious and is a great dessert to impress your friends and family.

The recipe below is enough for a cake that fits a cake ring 18 cm x 6 cm.  Overall, the cake will take about 2 hours or less to put together. Each step is done separately so it is easy to do other activities around the house while making the cake. Please allow about 3 hours for the cake to set in the refrigerator before serving.

To use a baking ring for a mousse cake, you can either line the inside of the ring with mousse film for easy removal or if you don't use the film you can remove the cake by heating the outside of the ring with a kitchen torch which loosens the mousse and allows the ring to be lifted off easily.

You can put the cake together as you finish each step. For each of the mousses, once the gelatin and chocolate are combined the mixture can become firm quickly so be ready to use the mousse once you make it.

Here is the full recipe. Please feel free to use short cuts or substitutions as you like.


Genoise Cake 
 2 eggs
 45 grams sugar
 60 grams flour
 10 grams cornstarch
 1 pinch salt
 20 grams butter, melted

 1.    Mix the eggs with sugar with a hand mixer for a few minutes until tripled in volume.
 2.    Sift the flour, salt and cornstarch in a bowl together then add to the whipped eggs in portions and mix using a spatula.
 3.    Take a few spoonfuls of batter and add to the melted butter. Transfer the mix back to the batter and mix gently.
 4.    Pour the batter in an 18 cm baking ring and bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 180 C.
 5.    When done, cool and set aside.


Coffee syrup (to brush on the genoise cake)
   50 ml coffee
   5 g sugar

 1.    Prepare the coffee and let it cool before brushing on the cake.

Mascarpone mousse (spread on top of the coffee syrup)

  100 grams mascarpone cheese (room temperature)
  1 teaspoon vanilla
  4 grams gelatin sheets
  100  grams white chocolate, melted
  50 grams fresh cream

1.    Soften the gelatin in cold water. Heat the cream to lightly boiling then turn off the heat. Then add the gelatin and melt.
2.    Mix the mascarpone with vanilla then add the cream mixture in portions and mix with a spatula. Lastly add to the chocolate in portions and mix with a small whisk.

Coffee cream mousse (spread on top of the Mascarpone mousse)
  50 grams fresh cream
  1 egg yolk
  20 grams sugar
  40 grams sweet chocolate, chopped and melted
  3 grams gelatin sheets
  1 teaspoon praline mixture
  75 grams whipped fresh cream
  2 teaspoons instant coffee

1.    Mix the egg yolk and sugar in a small bowl.
2.    Soften the gelatin in cold water. Heat the cream to lightly boiling then add to the egg yolk mixture and mix. Pour back into the sauce pan and heat lightly on low heat to thicken. Lastly, add the gelatin and melt.
3.    Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and mix well with a small whisk. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
4.    Fold in the whipped cream using a spatula.


Chocolate mousse (spread on top of the Coffee Cream mousse)

  50 grams fresh cream
  1 egg yolk
  25 grams sugar
  2 grams gelatin sheets
  75 grams dark chocolate, chopped and melted
  75 grams whipped fresh cream


  1. Mix the egg yolk and sugar in a small bowl.
  2. Soften the gelatin in cold water. Heat the cream to lightly boiling with coffee then add to the egg yolk mixture and mix. Put back into the sauce pan and heat lightly on low heat to thicken. Lastly, add the gelatin and melt.
  3. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and mix well with a small whisk. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
  4. Fold in the whipped cream using a spatula.


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Kathy
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Chocolate Marshmallow Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Marshmallow Whoopie Pies



Who can't resist the two great tastes of chocolate and marshmallow. Whoopie pies are an easy way to get your homemade cake craving satisfied but without too much fuss in the kitchen. Also, they are easy an dessert to put together if you don't have the right baking pan for a full cake.

There are all sorts of flavor combinations, but here is my winter recipe for chocolate Whoopie pies with homemade marshmallow filling. Obviously, if you need to save time please substitute the homemade marshmallow for marshmallow fluff, Nutella or any flavor of your favorite jam.

Whoopie Pies
120 grams butter milk (add a few drops lemon to milk if you don't have buttermilk)-room temperature
130 grams room temperature butter
30 grams room temperature shortening
130 grams sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
200 grams flour (sifted)
1 teaspoon baking powder
60 grams cacao powder

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Sift together, the flour, cacao powder and baking powder.
3. In a large bowl, mix the butter, shortening and sugar using a hand mixer on low speed (or stand mixer) until well mixed. Add the egg in portions and mix well. Lastly, add the vanilla.
4. Add the dry ingredients and milk to the butter mixture alternately and continue to mix on a low speed with the mixer until everything is well blended.
5. Scoop the dough into a piping bag fitted with plain nozzle and pipe small mounds of dough onto the parchment paper. Tip: dip a small round cookie cutter in flour and then tap on the parchment to provide a guideline for piping the dough. Do this to make a guide for all of the pieces you need to pipe.
6. Bake 12 - 15 minutes. After removing from the oven cool completely before filling.

Whoopie pies on a silpat sheet ready for baking
Flour circles are a guide to size each piece


Marshmallow Filling
25 grams gelatin
120 grams water
80 grams water
120 grams sugar
40 grams corn syrup or equivalent (in Japan use mizu ame)
80 grams egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Soften the gelatin with the 120 grams water in a bowl.
2. Whip the egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks form.
3. Heat the 80 grams water, sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan until it reaches 110 degrees Celsius. Slowly pour this mixture into the whipped eggs and continue to mix with the mixer (or stand mixer).
4. Add the gelatin water to the saucepan and heat lightly so that the gelatin dissolves completely. Add this to the egg whites in portions and continue to mix with the hand mixer for a few minutes and then add the vanilla. Mix with the hand mixer until the mixture starts to become cool.
5. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a decorative nozzle and pipe a round circle on one side of a whoopie pie. Use another piece of whoopie pie to make a sandwich with the first.
6. Tip: after step 4 the mixture will become firm quickly since it contains a lot of gelatin so have the piping bag and whoopie pies ready. You can pipe leftover marshmallow pieces onto a baking sheet that has been dusted with cornstarch. The cornstarch will keep the marshmallow pieces from sticking to each other.


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Kathy
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Easy and quick Dutch Baby

Easy and quick Dutch Baby





It is only December 29th but time to move past the Christmas baking. Lots of cookies and cakes were baked over the holiday season. I don't have any special recipe for New Year's desserts but chocolate is always good when the weather is cold. Chocolate is a lot easier to handle when the weather is cool.

My recipe for today is a Dutch Baby. I am probably one of the last ones to know about this dish but happy I finally found it. A TV show in Japan was demonstrating recipes from the TV show Chicago Fire and the Dutch Baby was the recipe demonstrated. I grew up using cast iron skillets and I have bad memories about washing them so that is why I don't have one in my house now. Anyway, after seeing the explanation about the Dutch Baby I decided it was time to reacquaint myself with iron skillets.

Basically, the Dutch Baby has a popover like bottom and then topped with your favorite fruit or other filling.

Basic Recipe for a small 15 cm iron skillet
(15 minutes prep time and 15 minutes for baking)
Serves 2 - 3

30 grams all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg
50 grams milk

Approximately 1 teaspoon butter for coating the pan

1. In a bowl, sift together the flour and sugar then add the egg and mix with a small whisk.
2. Lastly, add in the milk in about 3 portions and mix with the whisk. Just stir enough to combine everything.
3. Preheat the over to 200 degrees Celsius then place the iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes to warm up. When heated, add the butter and swirl it around the pan to coat it entirely.
4. Pour the batter into the pan and put back into the oven and back for about 15 - 18 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and fill with your favorite filling. There is a lot of air in the Dutch Baby when it is baked so after removing it will deflate like a souffle.

For my Dutch Baby filling, I lightly sauteed an apple that was peeled & sliced  in a fry pan with about 3 tablespoons sugar and a few dashes cinnamon.

My recommendation is to serve it warm just out of the oven. Always be careful to handle the skillet since it very hot.
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Kathy
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