FOUR FESTIVE MACARONS

You can choose any filling you like, this post focuses on their shape or decoration.
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DESIGN #1
TWO-TONE FLOWER

Basic French macaron recipe (click here to retrieve it), one small portion to be dyed red, the rest dyed green). Pipe shells in green, add a few dots of red to form a full or partial flower, then pull with the needle to give the petal shape. Once the shells are baked, I sprinkled gold luster in a random pattern for added bling. Filling was peppermint buttercream (recipe here).

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DESIGN #2
LEAF BORDER

Same basic recipe, dyed with Dusty Rose pink. Once the shells are baked and cooled, a very fine black pen is used to draw a simple pattern of leaves, and they are then painted with luster powder (I used gold and bronze). Filling was hazelnut buttercream.

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DESIGN #3
SHELLS

I have used the same French meringue basic recipe, but stopped the macaronage before it was fully smooth. I divided the batter in half, left some plain and dyed some pink. Then I marbled slightly the two colors together to pipe the shells. Using a small round piping tip, I piped shells like shown below. Filling was lemon buttercream. If you have a nice sprinkle that can work as a pearl, it could be a nice finishing touch. Mine was not the right size, so I skipped it.

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DESIGN #4
AIR-BRUSHING

Basic recipe dyed orange, and air-brushed with luster gold using a stencil. It is such a nice and easy way to decorate macarons very quickly. Filling was pumpkin ganache (recipe available here). I hope you can find inspiration for your next batch of macarons, these could very well help you celebrate the New Year, using any filling you love…

ONE YEAR AGO: Cuccidati, from Tina to You

TWO YEARS AGO: Festive Macarons to Welcome 2021!

THREE YEARS AGO: Episode 6, Cookies in The Great American Baking Show

FOUR YEARS AGO: Brazilian Chicken and Heart of Palm Pie

FIVE YEARS AGO: Roasted Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Tahini Sauce

SIX YEARS AGO: The Complicit Conspiracy of Alcohol

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Candy Cane Cookies

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Macarons: Much better with a friend

NINE YEARS AGO: Our Mexican Holiday Dinner 

TEN YEARS AGO: The Ultimate Cranberry Sauce

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Edamame Dip

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Gougeres

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Beef Wellington on a Special Night

CHRISTMAS SOURDOUGH

I love it when a friend shares a baking idea with me, and in this case I am talking about Alex, my tent-baker partner of three years ago (time flies!). I gilded the lily by coupling some air-brushing with the basic scoring pattern, and I must say I’m pretty smitten by this little loaf of sourdough, perfumed with a touch of za’atar.

ZA’ATAR CHRISTMAS SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

385g white bread flour
20g whole-wheat flour
65g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
280g water
8g salt
1 tsp za’atar

Make the levain mixture about 6 hours before you plan to mix the dough. It should be very bubbly and active.

When you are ready to make the final dough, place the water in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and dissolve the starter in it, mixing with a spatula briefly, then add the two types of flour, the baharat and the salt. Turn the mixer on with the hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes at low-speed all the time. If the dough is too sticky, add 1/4 cup flour, you want the dough to start clearing the sides of the bowl, but still be sticky at the bottom.

Remove from the machine, and transfer to a container lightly coated with oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 4 hours, folding every 45 minutes or so. After four hours bulk fermentation, shape the dough as a ball, and place, seam side up, in a lightly floured banetton. Leave at room temperature one hour, and then place in the fridge overnight, from 8 to 12 hours.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F. Invert the dough over parchment paper, rub gently white flour on the surface. Score with a pine tree pattern (see picture below) and paint them with air-brush in green, then go over the center lines with gold luster powder.

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. Cool completely over a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Alex brought to my attention this post from Instagram, so you can check how it is scored by watching the reel. I used the air-brush to add some green to the trees after scoring. It worked great because it goes fast, but of course there is little precision on the edges. I then used gold to hide the green that sprayed in between the tree pattern. Just like the Instagram post, my central star also bursted in the oven, but such is the price you pay for good oven spring. The green faded a little bit during baking so next time I will use a heavier hand with the air-brush. Now that I know the colors of air-brush dyes work well, I will be playing with other patterns and bringing stencils to play too. Stay tuned!

ONE YEAR AGO: Star-Shaped Sun-dried Tomato Bread

TWO YEARS AGO: Cranberry White Chocolate Tart

THREE YEARS AGO: I dream of Madeleines and a Tower of Cheesecakes

FOUR YEARS AGO: Dominique Ansel’s Chocolate Mousse Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Slow-Roasted Eye of the Round Beef

SIX YEARS AGO: Steam-Roasted Indian-Spiced Cauliflower

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Creamy Zucchini-Mushroom Soup

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Ken Forkish’s Pain au Bacon

NINE YEARS AGO: Carrot and Cumin Hamburger Buns

TEN YEARS AGO: Potato Galettes a l’Alsacienne & Book Review

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Caramelized Carrot Soup

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Miso-Grilled Shrimp

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Pain Poilane

NINE BAKES, WITH LOVE

Time to spread some food blog love around… Today I share nine bakes that are perfect for the season and come from sites I closely follow. All recipes can be retrieved with a visit to the original post, which you will find below the pictures.



BAKE #1
HELEN FLETCHER’S PUMPKIN CAKE DONUTS

(for recipe, click here)

I know I repeat myself, but you simply cannot go wrong with Helen’s recipes. This one goes to my Personal Hall of Fame. Taste and texture could not be better. Her detailed instructions make it a breeze to make. I assume it is still ok to post pumpkin recipes, after all – according to the calendar – it is still Fall (cough, cough). Donuts get a streusel topping and need nothing but a dusting with powdered sugar to shine!


BAKE #2
CELIA’S FUDGE BROWNIES

(for recipe, click here)

Celia used to be a very active food blogger, but although she is not posting often, her recipes are still on the site and each one is a gem. If you like to learn about chocolate tempering, make sure to visit her blog and read one of her posts on the subject. These brownies received two thumbs up from the Resident Brownie Critic. Need I say more? Make them!

BAKE #3
KAREN’S DEVIL’S FOOD THUMBPRINT COOKIES

(for recipe, click here)

Amazing recipe, it is almost like having a little bite-size brownie with jam on top. Simple to make, they will make your holiday table shine, and your guests very happy!

BAKE #4
CARO’S CHOCOLATE CARDAMON CUPCAKES

(for the recipe, click here)

Aren’t those super elegant? I fell in love when Caro first shared the recipe, and could not wait to bake a batch. Cardamon and chocolate go surprisingly well together, so consider making them too… Sprinkles added just because…. sprinkles make life better!

BAKE #5
CARO’S RASPBERRY JAM AND COCONUT SPONGE SQUARES

(for the recipe, click here)

These are delicious, you cannot beat the texture of the cake… and the jam plus coconut topping is perfection. I know that some people don’t care for shredded coconut, but if your group of guests is ok with it, make sure to feature it in your holiday get-together.

BAKE #6
AMISHA’S DATE AND NUT CHOCOLATE BARS

(for recipe, click here)

Super festive, the list of ingredients is long, but it is a reasonably simple recipe to put together. It has all the flavors I adore, including a light hint of rose, that goes well with all the other flavors. You can use ruby chocolate or add pink fat soluble dye to regular white chocolate for the marbling. Check out her blog post, the instructions are very detailed. Gold leaf is optional, but if you happen to have some, it is the perfect concoction to make them shine. Literally.

BAKE #7
LINDSAY’S STUFFED CHERRY AMARETTI COOKIES

(for the recipe, click here)

These are simply amazing! I made them three times, they were originally all going for my weekly donation box, but one batch made it to my beloved husband’s golfing buddies, and they got a lot of praise… Once you bite into the cookie, the soft almond crumb gives room to the sharp cherry inside, and you are forced to close your eyes and dream. Seriously good.

BAKE #8
LINDSAY’S VEGAN AMARETTI COOKIES

(for the recipe, click here)

Another recipe from Lindsay’s blog, Love and Olive Oil. When it comes to “veganizing” a baking recipe, nothing beats macarons and amaretti type cookies, as all you need is remove the egg whites and use aquafaba instead. That is the magical ingredient, that works exactly the same, no loss of flavor, no unpleasant changes in texture. Of course, you could stick a cherry inside those too if you feel like it!

BAKE #9

HEATHER’S PEANUT BUTTER CUP COOKIES

(for the recipe, click here)

Aren’t those the most adorable little bites of heaven? If you are a lover of peanut butter, these are for you! I love Heather’s cookbooks, and her blog is always a source of inspiration, so make sure to bookmark and visit. I had to change the recipe a bit because our grocery store did not have peanut butter chips, so I used candy melts for the drizzle instead. Other than that, I followed her recipe to a T.

So there you have it, nine recipes from sites I love, as this is the season to spread love and gratitude around… I hope you can find something that inspire you to grab that bag of flour, those eggs, pull the mixer out to play, and get busy baking!

ONE YEAR AGO: Asian-Style Chicken Meatballs

TWO YEARS AGO: Cookies for the Holidays, SPRINGERLE

THREE YEARS AGO: Bread – Episode 2 of Great American Baking Show

FOUR YEARS AGO: Apple and Sobacha Caramel Dome Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Cocktail Spiced Nuts

SIX YEARS AGO: How the Mighty Have Fallen

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Festive Night at Central

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The Perfect Boiled Egg

NINE YEARS AGO: Light Rye Sourdough with Cumin and Orange

TEN YEARS AGO: Homemade Calziones

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Plum-Glazed Duck Breasts

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Holiday Double-Decker

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: New York Deli Rye

PEPPERMINT WREATH MACARONS

With this post, I share a new take on buttercream which I recently found by accident on a scroll around Youtube University. I could not wait to give it a try. You can watch her video and full explanation of the rationale behind it with a click here. If the subject appeals to you, it will be worth the few minutes of your time, I promise. And it is also a new way to pipe shells, but I cannot take credit for it, I saw some pictures on Pinterest and decided to give it a try.


PEPPERMINT WREATH MACARONS
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

for the macaron shells, use THIS RECIPE
add green gel food dye

for the buttercream mint filling:
170g unsalted butter, softened
104g light corn syrup
60g powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp mint extract (adjust amount to your liking)

Whip the butter with the WHISK attachment in medium speed until fluffy and lighter in color. With the machine running, slowly add the corn syrup. Increase speed to high and whip for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mint extract, whisk to combine and then add the powdered sugar. Whisk until combined and then switch to the paddle attachment, mixing for 30 seconds or so, to remove air bubbles.

Make the shells. Stop the macaronage before it gets fully smooth, and place half the batter in a piping bag fitted with a closed star tip (I used Wilton #25). Pipe as shown in the composite photo below. The leftover batter can be mixed further to make smoother shells, and then piped as circles of the same dimension of the wreath. If you prefer, you can use two wreath shapes to form a macaron. Add sprinkles as soon as you pipe the shells.

Bake as directed in the original recipe. Pipe the mint buttercream filling, close the shells, and allow to mature in the fridge overnight before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: These macarons turned out a little bigger than I expected, so next time I might use a smaller tip to make them a little more delicate. But the most important thing is that they hold the shape well and there were no explosions during baking. I also made smaller versions piping a sort of swirl with the same tip, pairing with a regular round shell. The buttercream worked very well, and I can tell that I’ll be using it often in the future. It has a wonderful texture and it is definitely less cloying than the traditional American version. Give a try, and you might love it too…

ONE YEAR AGO: Cornish Hens with Yogurt-Mace Marinade

TWO YEARS AGO: Cookies for the Holidays – Gingerbread

THREE YEARS AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four

FOUR YEARS AGO: White Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Cake

FIVE YEAR AGO: Panettone Time!

SIX YEARS AGO: Pistachio Creme Brulee

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Fast and Furious Bison Chili

EIGHT YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, December 2014

NINE YEARS AGO: Braised Fennel with Saffron and Tomato

TEN YEARS AGO: Revenge of the Two Derelicts

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Grilling Ribbons

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Peppery Cashew Crunch

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Baked Shrimp and Feta Pasta

BROCCOLI SLAW SALAD WITH POPPY SEED DRESSING

Do you buy packaged broccoli slaw for a stir-fry and then find yourself with bag of leftovers sitting in the fridge and getting less and less gorgeous each day? I do. This salad came to the rescue big time. I added it to mixed baby greens, but you could use kale or Romaine lettuce instead.


BROCCOLI SLAW SALAD WITH POPPY SEED DRESSING
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

for the salad:
3 cups greens of your choice
1 cup broccoli slaw
toasted slivered almonds
dried cranberries

for the dressing:
1/3 cup yogurt, full fat
water to thin yogurt (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tsp poppy seeds
salt to taste

Start by making the dressing, mixing all ingredients, and whisking well

Add the greens and broccoli slaw to a large serving bowl. Drizzle the dressing all over and gently mix to combine.

Top with almonds and dried cranberries, and serve, adjusting seasoning if needed.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: I made this salad twice so far. What I love about the broccoli slaw is the texture it gives, you “almost” don’t need the almonds, but then again, they do a great job intensifying the crunch factor. The amount of water is going to vary with the thickness of your yogurt. Start by thinning it until it is almost pourable, but not too liquid, as you will still add some liquid in the form of vinegar and syrup. If you use a sturdy green such as kale, the salad will stand in the fridge quite well for a day.

I enjoyed the salad with air-fried chicken parmigiana, a recipe I shared not too long ago, and you can find here.

ONE YEAR AGO: Vegan Blueberry-Lemon Cheesecake

TWO YEARS AGO: Green Tea Rice with Edamame and Butternut Squash

THREE YEARS AGO: Santa Hat Mini-Mousse Cakes

FOUR YEARS AGO: Fun with Sourdough

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pasteis de Nata

SIX YEARS AGO: New Mexico Pork Chile, Crockpot Version

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Chocolate on Chocolate

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Double Chocolate and Mint Cookies

NINE YEARS AGO: The Story of my first Creme Brulle’

TEN YEARS AGO: Sourdough Mini-rolls

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Mediterranean Skewers

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO Fettuccine with Shrimp, Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes