BLOOD ORANGE MACARONS

For the first post of a new year in my blogging life, I will once again feature macarons, as they are so special to me. Our grocery store had gorgeous blood oranges a couple of weeks ago, and the moment I saw them I knew resistance was futile.

BLOOD ORANGE MACARONS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

For the shells:
200g powdered sugar
115 g almond flour
115 g egg whites at room temperature (approx. 4 eggs)
1/8 tsp of cream of tartar (optional)
100 g granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla paste or extract
Tulip Red and Orange gel color
luster powder, pearl and brown (optional)
Everclear (optional)

For filling:
60 g unsalted butter softened
160 g powdered sugar
zest of 1/2 blood orange
2 tsp blood orange juice
1/8 tsp blood orange oil
pinch of salt
heavy cream if needed to adjust consistency

Line 3 heavy baking sheets with parchment/baking paper or Silpat mats. Layer the powdered sugar and ground almonds/almond meal in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine meal, about 12 pulses. Pass through a sieve and transfer to a small bowl or to a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.

Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Make sure that the bowl and the whisk are impeccably clean. Starting on medium speed, whip the whites with the cream of tartar until they look like light foam. Add all the sugar at once and keep whisking until the meringue is soft and shiny. Add vanilla and food colors.

Whip the egg whites until the mixture begins to dull and the lines of the whisk are visible on the surface of the meringue. Check the peak. It should be firm. Transfer the whites to a medium bowl.

Fold in the ground almond/almond meal mixture in two increments. Paint the mixture halfway up the side of the bowl, using the flat side of a spatula. Scrape the mixture down to the center of the bowl. Repeat two or three times, then check to see if the mixture slides slowly down the side of the bowl. Put the mixture in a piping bag fitted with your choice of piping tip (round, ¼ or ½ inch in diameter or 6 – 12 mm). Pipe shells, I like to count numbers in my head and use the same count for each shell so they end up similar in size. If making snowmen, make a template with two circles joined together to form head and body, and pipe each section.

Slam each sheet hard four to six times on the counter/worktop. Let the unbaked macarons dry until they look dull but not overly dry. Drying time depends on humidity. In a dry climate, the macarons can dry in 15 to 20 minutes; in a humid climate, it can take 35 to 40 minutes.

While the macarons are drying, heat the oven to 300 F. Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. Check in 11 minutes. If the tops slide or move (independently of the ‘feet’ when you gently twist the top), then bake for 2 to 3 more minutes. Check one or two. If they move when gently touched, put them back in the oven for 1 to 2 more minutes until they don’t move when touched. Let the macaroons cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. The macarons should release without sticking. Mix the luster dust with everclear and paint flowers in a loose design. Later add an outline with fine tip black pen.

For the filling, use a hand-held electric mixer and whisk the butter until creamy. Add the other ingredients except the heavy cream, and whisk until creamy and smooth. If needed, add a bit of heavy cream to loosen the mixture.

Assemble the macarons: find two macarons similar in size and add a good amount of filling to the bottom of one of them. Place the other on top and squeeze gently to take the filling all the way to the edge. Store in the fridge for 24 hours for perfect texture.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I did two different designs for the decoration, painting some flowers with pearl or brown luster powder. Very loose, no need for precision. The outline with the black pen brings the design together. The pictures don’t show very well, I am afraid, but I really like the dark flowers better, even if they have nothing to do with orange blossoms…

Extracts, emultions, and oils can have a bit of an artificial taste, but this product from LorAnn is very nice. A small amount added to the buttercream intensified the blood orange component without any aftertaste. It works great in ganache also.

I finally figured out a way to get the nice ridges in the filling. I was always using the wrong tip, 1M, because it is my favorite for so many piping jobs. However, I know realize that the best tip to use in macaron fillings to get the effect I like, is a French star type. Pick a size compatible with your shells.

ONE YEAR AGO: One-Two-Three Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Marshmallow Macarons

THREE YEARS AGO: Fujisan Bread

FOUR YEARS AGO: Air-Fried Tomatoes with Hazelnut Pesto & Halloumi Cheese

FIVE YEARS AGO: Red Velvet Layered Cake

SIX YEARS AGO: Lemon-Lavender Bars

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Quinoa Fried Rice

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Carrot Flan with Greens and Lemon Vinaigrette

NINE YEARS AGO: The Secret Recipe Club: Granola Bars

TEN YEARS AGO:  Awesome Broccolini

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  A Twist on Pesto

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Ciabatta: Judging a bread by its holes

THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN TURNS TWELVE!

POST #1441

A PALINDROME!


Twelve years. Hard to believe. It’s been such a journey, I sometimes don’t recognize myself in earlier posts. Like those written when I was a certified cake-o-phobe and decorated cookies were not to be found in my virtual spot. Twelve years later, I turned into a passionate baker, so much so that I started a second site just devoted to cookies. How did that happen? I have no idea, but I am having a blast with it. First things first. What is a Birthday party without cake? To celebrate this special day, I made a cake that joins my Brazilian roots (brigadeiros) with the cookies that launched me into a more serious baking path: macarons. Raspberry is the flavor. Pink and gold the colors. Happy 12th, my dear Bewitching Kitchen!

CELEBRATION PINK AND GOLDEN RASPBERRY CAKE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, cake slightly modified from My Cake School)

for one batch of cake:
(I made two batches to have 4 cake layers, used 3 in the cake)
350g) sugar
285g cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
15g baking powder
5 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup (242g) buttermilk
1/3 cup (72g) vegetable oil
140g unsalted butter, slightly softened.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 x 2 inch round cake pans. Reserve.

In the bowl of your mixer add the dry ingredients, sugar, flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk to combine. Reserve. In a separate bowl, add the egg whites, buttermilk, vanilla and oil. Stir with a fork to combine.

With the mixer on low speed, add the slices of butter a few pieces at a time to the dry ingredients. Increase the mixer to medium speed and beat until the dry ingredients look crumbly and moistened by the butter. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the egg mixture, increase to medium speed and mix for 1 1/2 minutes, the batter will become thick and fluffy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Divide the batter between the two pans.

Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool in the pans 10 minutes, then turn out.

for the raspberry filling:
2 cups ( 320g) raspberries
4 tbsp (60ml) water
1 cup ( 200g) sugar
25g cornstarch

Add the raspberries and water to a food processor and puree until smooth. If you’d like, you can strain the puree to remove the seeds, but in this case start from a bigger amount so you end up with 320g.

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Stir in the raspberry puree. Cook over medium heat, stirring consistently until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 8-10 minutes.
Allow to boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Refrigerate and allow to cool completely.

for the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon salt
2 pounds (approximately 8 cups) powdered sugar
food gel dye, Americolor Dusty Rose

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed (if you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment), beat together the butter, shortening, and extracts until smooth and creamy.

Add 2 tablespoons of the milk or water, the salt, and half the powdered sugar and mix just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, gradually add in the remaining sugar. Add more milk or water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

Divide the frosting in three bowls, and add increasing amounts of gel dye to get the ombre effect.

for decoration:
Raspberry Brigadeiros (recipe here)
Lemon Macarons (recipe here, but omit the blueberry jam)
Egyptian Gold luster powder
Everclear or vodka

Cake layers can be made a week in advance and frozen. Thaw still wrapped in plastic at room temperature. Assemble the cake by placing one layer on a rotating cake stand over a cardboard round base. A little buttercream on the cardboard helps it stay stable as you work on it.

Make a little dam with buttercream frosting (use the lighter color), then add the raspberry filling. Place the second layer on top, repeat the process and top with the third. Frost the cake first with a crumb coat, refrigerate for 30 minutes, then frost with the darkest tone at the bottom. If desired, add texture with a cake comb or spatula. Use the darker color to make rosettes on top, add the brigadeiros and macarons.

Finish the look with a few strokes of gold color on the edges of the buttercream roses and ridges on the sides of the cake. If you have golden sprinkles, put them to use…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I should thank Tanya, my tent-baking friend, for the help and advice she gave me to make this cake. It turns out that I had not baked a cake in about 10 months and was feeling pretty rusty. But I am thrilled with the way it turned out, because I had this image in my mind, and the cake came pretty close to my goal. I loved making the ombre effect with the three tones of pink. Come to think of it, Dusty Rose from Americolor is a total must-have. Pink is tricky. Just a little more than you think you need will take you into bubblegum territory. Not what I wanted for my cake. Dusty Rose gives a nice pastel tone.

For the macarons, I painted one shell in solid gold, and added a brush of gold on the other side. I think the lemon of the macaron filling was a good match for the raspberry cake. As to the frosting, I went with a type of buttercream that stands well at room temperature for several hours. It is important to use a good quality shortening, and butter. I went with Spectrum and Kerrygold.

If you’ve been following me for a while or if you are new here, thank you for your support, and thanks for leaving comments and feedback on recipes you try. I step into the 13th year of this journey with the same enthusiasm I had on the second year. Or third. Or 10th. I’ve never set goals for my blog, it is a reflex of what goes on in my life as far as cooking and baking is concerned. I just try to keep it varied and interesting, and hope that it inspires others to cook and bake.

ONE YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns 11!

TWO YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns 10, and a Giveaway…

THREE YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns 9!

FOUR YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns eight!

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Seven!

SIX YEARS AGO: Bewitching Kitchen Turns Six!

SEVEN YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Five!

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Four!

NINE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Three! 

TEN YEARS AGO:  The Bewitching Kitchen turns Two!

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Bewitching Birthday!

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Welcome to my blog!



RASPBERRY BRIGADEIROS

A departure on the Brazilian classic, I love the way these turned out. The raspberry cuts through the sweetness and gives them a little sharp bite I find quite pleasant. If brigadeiros are new to you, I urge you to make a batch. You can start from the traditional version, or go straight for this dressed up variation.

RASPBERRY BRIGADEIROS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter
100g white chocolate, cut in pieces
dash of salt
1/4 cup raspberry jam, seedless
1 tsp Amorettti raspberry flavor (optional)
nonpareils, white and pink
gold air-brush color (optional)

Grease a small baking dish with butter and set aside.

In a medium non-stick pan, combine the butter, sweetened condensed milk, and salt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Once the brigadeiro mix is warm, add the chocolate pieces, the jam and continue stirring.


The mixture thickens after about 8-10 minutes, and once you can run your spoon through the middle of it without it running back together for 2-3 seconds, it is done. When it starts to thicken, add the raspberry flavor, if using.

Pour the mixture into the greased plate, and let it chill until you can handle it with your bare hands. Form little balls and roll on nonpareils to coat. If desired, add a little gold color with an air-brush. Place them in small candy cups.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Brigadeiros are very sweet by nature (reducing condensed milk leaves you no way out of it), but even those who are against overly sweet goodies will enjoy this version. The raspberry does its magic.

I went with two colors, pink and white, and added a touch of gold because these brigadeiros had to be dressed for a special party. Have you heard that a certain food blog will turn 12 years old very soon? I say no more for the time being…

ONE YEAR AGO: Kale and Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Breasts

TWO YEARS AGO: Memories of Pasteis

THREE YEARS AGO: And now for Something Completely Different

FOUR YEARS AGO: Parsnip, Coconut, and Lemongrass Soup

FIVE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2016

SIX YEARS AGO: Paleo Moussaka

SEVEN YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2014

EIGHT YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2013

NINE YEARS AGO: Crimson and Cream Turkey Chili

TEN YEARS AGO: Taking a break from the nano-kitchen

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies


MINI-PULLMAN SOURDOUGH BREAD

First things first. Full credit to my dear friend Elaine, for inspiring me to use a pan I had bought a few months ago and was sitting in the basement, feeling neglected (the pan, not the baker). The gadget is a mini-loaf, Pullman style, that makes a cute cube-shaped bread. You can use any type of dough you like, but I went with a simple sourdough.

MINI-PULLMAN SOURDOUGH BREAD
(adapted from Elaine’s master recipe)

225g white flour
25g whole-wheat flour
40g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
175g water
5g salt

Lay a piece of parchment paper in the mini-loaf pan with a little overhang to make it easier to pull the baked bread later. Reserve.

Mix all ingredients for the dough in a medium-size bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Do a series of foldings every 45 minutes or so until you reach 5 hours bulk fermentation (so do folds for 4 more hours, don’t worry about timing, try to make 4 more cycles of folding. Shape it loosely as a ball, and place in the mini-loaf pan. Cover loosely with plastic and place in the refrigerator overnight. It should fill a little more than half the volume of the pan.

Next morning, heat the oven to 425F. When it reaches that temperature, remove the plastic cover, shut the pan with the metal lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Open the lid, and leave in the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, and invert to remove the bread. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: For this size of pan, you need to have enough dough so that during baking it will reach the top. However, if you add too much it will end up badly compressed at the top, and the texture of the crumb won’t be homogeneous. The picture above shows the dough before it went into its final fermentation in the fridge. It is perhaps 70% full.


I don’t think you need to add the parchment paper, but it was my first time using this method and I was afraid of the dough sticking to the pan. Not at all the case. I did not grease the pan, and the dough stayed inside overnight in the fridge without any issues.

This recipe makes a small loaf perfect for a family of two or three. Another great advantage is that leftovers will be perfect for cutting as croutons, something we do often. I know I will be using my pan all the time now, not only with sourdough but other types of bread too. I am thinking a marbled charcoal and white in the near future..

Elaine, thank you for that much needed push to put my baking toy to good use!

ONE YEAR AGO: Gibassier

TWO YEARS AGO: Sundried Tomato Twist Bread

THREE YEAR AGO: And now for something completely different….

FOUR YEARS AGO: Parsnip, Coconut, and Lemongrass Soup

FIVE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2016

SIX YEARS AGO: Paleo Moussaka

SEVEN YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2014

EIGHT YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2013

NINE YEARS AGO: Crimson and Cream Turkey Chili

TEN YEARS AGO: Taking a break from the nano-kitchen

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies

PASSION FRUIT MILLIONAIRE’S SHORTBREAD

Millionaire’s Bars are undoubtedly a classic. This version brings a bright tropical twist that works quite well. Very rich, a small piece will satisfy even those with a super sweet tooth.

PASSION FRUIT MILLIONAIRE’S SHORTBREAD
(inspired by this article)

for the shortbread base:
2½ cups (312g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (226g) unsalted butter, melted

for the caramel:
1 can (396g)sweetened condensed milk
1 cup (210g) brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup passion fruit pulp
1-2 tsp passionfruit flavor from Amoretti (optional)
8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt

for the topping:
225g dark chocolate
1/4 cup Candy Melts, white dyed orange with food gel

Heat oven to 350F. Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan and line it with foil, leaving pieces hanging on both the long and short sides of the pan, for easy lifting of the bar later. Make the shortbread by combining flour, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir with a silicone spatula until no dry crumbs of flour remain. Crumble the dough evenly over the pan, and pat into even thickness with your fingers. Pierce with a fork many times all over the surface. Bake until light golden brown and firm to touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack. Let crust cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

Make the caramel: Stir all ingredients together in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 238 F. This will take around 20 minutes. Pour over crust and spread to even thickness. Let cool completely, a couple of hours.

Once set, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second bursts until glossy and smooth. Place the dyed candy melt in a piping bag and make a small hole. Smooth the chocolate over the caramel shortbread, then quickly add lines of the dyed candy melts. Do a feathering effect with a toothpick or a needle. Leave it set, then cut into squares.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I made this quite some time ago, March 2020 to be precise. It was one of the last items I was able to share with our department before Covid-19 hit. I hoped to have intense passion fruit flavor in the caramel, and that was not very easy to achieve. By mixing fruit pulp with a touch of Amoretti flavor, I think I got it as intense as it could possibly be without affecting the caramel texture. If you don’t have Amoretti products hanging around, just omit it. The passion fruit by itself will be a nice touch, taming the sweetness of the caramel layer. But, as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this is rich. They call it Millionaire’s Shortbread for good reason!

ONE YEAR AGO: Chai-Mango Rosette Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Common Table, Something New in My Life

THREE YEAR AGO: The Daisy, a Bread with Brioche Alter-Ego

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin, Braciole Style

FIVE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Buckle

SIX YEARS AGO: Seafood Gratin for a Special Dinner

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-Vide: Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Loin

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Farewell to a Bewitching Kitchen

NINE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen. June 2012

TEN YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: 7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin