PRIDE MACARONS

With Pride Month in mind, I made a batch of colorful macarons, filled with raspberry jam and lemon-flavored buttercream. The universe conspired so that in that exact week I had a maintenance appointment with my orthodontist. And to my surprise, they were “wigging it”: every staff member, orthodontists included, went to work wearing a colorful wig. They asked the patients to do the same, if they were so inclined… I was more than happy to comply (see the end of this post).

For the macaron shells, follow this recipe (I added 1/4 tsp egg white powder to the granulated sugar, whisked very well, before incorporating into the meringue, because humidity was at 58% the day I made the macarons)

LEMON-BUTTERCREAM MULTICOLOR FILLING

120g butter, softened
320g powdered sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
heavy cream to adjust consistency

Whisk the butter for 30 seconds or so, then add all other ingredients except the heavy cream. Whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved, then adjust the consistency with heavy cream. Divide the buttercream in 5 or more little bowls, add gel color to each bowl. Place lines of buttercream in different colors over plastic wrap, then roll them together as a little sausage. Cut one end, and place the roll inside a piping bag with a star tip. To assemble the macarons, add a circle of buttercream and a small dollop of seedless raspberry jam in the center.

ENJOY!

to print the buttercream recipe, click here

Comments: These were a lot of fun to make. After the shells were assembled, I used different luster powder colors diluted with vodka to pain a stripe for a simple, but effective decoration. They were delivered to the staff at Hayden and Kholmeier office with proper wig, as required…

ONE YEAR AGO: Blood Orange Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: One-Two-Three Macarons

THREE YEARS AGO: Marshmallow Macarons

FOUR YEARS AGO: Fujisan Bread

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

SIX YEARS AGO: Red Velvet Layered Cake

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Lemon-Lavender Bars

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Quinoa Fried Rice

NINE YEARS AGO: Carrot Flan with Greens and Lemon Vinaigrette

TEN YEARS AGO: The Secret Recipe Club: Granola Bars

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Awesome Broccolini

TWELVE YEARS AGO:  A Twist on Pesto

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

UKRAINE, NO WORDS NEEDED

ONE YEAR AGO: Mini-Pullman Sourdough Bread

TWO YEARS AGO: Gibassier

THREE YEARS AGO: Sundried Tomato Twist Bread

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

FIVE YEARS AGO: Parsnip, Coconut, and Lemongrass Soup

SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2016

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Paleo Moussaka

EIGHT YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2014

NINE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2013

TEN YEARS AGO: Crimson and Cream Turkey Chili

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

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies

A TRIO OF COOKIES

As you may remember, I have a blog dedicated exclusively for cookies (click here), but it does not include recipes. It is a venue to document my path through cookie decorating. Come to think of it, check out my 3D macs that were published yesterday...) When I try a new, blog-worthy recipe, it will be shared right here. Today I offer you three recipes, all from bloggers I follow and love. They are listed in chronological order, the last one I made last weekend.

SPRITZ BARS
(from Helen Fletcher)

I made these cookies in October last year, and they were a huge hit. The instructions in Helen’s site are super detailed, and you’ll end up with little cookies that look very professional, uniform in size, the type of bake that makes me think of a certain tent of my past. For the full recipe, visit this post. I just love the use of Swedish pearl sugar.

CREAM CHEESE SUGAR COOKIES
(by Tanya Ott)

When Tanya raves about a sugar cookie, I listen. She knows her cookies well… The addition of cream cheese tames the sweetness and gives it a wonderful texture. She mentioned they hold the shape well – notice the recipe does not call for leavening agents – so I put it to a harsh test, using a patterned rolling pin. As you can see, the recipe passed the test with no issues! This batch was made in November last year, right after Tanya blogged about it (for the full recipe, click here)

The cookies would be perfect without any adornment, but I could not resist brushing a little pink luster dust and then some pearl. Just because…

TOFFEE SANDWICH COOKIES WITH BROWN BUTTER BUTTERCREAM FILLING
(from Josette, TheBrookCook)

If you read Josette’s post about it, you’ll understand why I jumped on making them right away. I was intrigued by the use of Toffee bits in the dough. Works like a charm. And the combination of cookie plus brown butter buttercream is outstanding. Make them, you won’t be disappointed. I changed the decoration to a drizzle of chocolate, but check her version for the authentic recipe (click here).

These three blogs are a constant source of inspiration for me,
and I am sure they will be for you also!

ONE YEAR AGO: The Many Faces of Brownie Cupcakes

TWO YEARS AGO: Olive Oil Brioche

THREE YEARS AGO: Coconut and Lime Macarons

FOUR YEAR AGO: Flank Steak Carnitas

FIVE YEARS AGO: Sesame and Poppy Seed Sourdough

SIX YEARS AGO: Pecan-Crusted Chicken from Southern at Heart

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Lamb Shanks en Papillote with Cauliflower-Celeriac Purée

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chestnut Brownies and a Blog Award!

NINE YEARS AGO: Quinoa with Cider-Glazed Carrots

TEN YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday: Heirloom Tomatoes Steal the Show

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Pain de Provence

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Golspie Loaf, from the Scottish Highlands

CUCCIDATI, FROM TINA TO YOU

Remember Tina, the winner of The Great American Baking Show, season 4? She is still baking up a storm, doing TV cooking demos, sharing recipes on her blog, and interacting with her fans online. She is not only a superb baker, but a wonderful person! One of the great things about that “tent adventure” is that I got to interact with several of the previous contestants, both in the American and the British show. I think once you go through that experience, a surprising bonding takes place. But I digress. Today I share one of Tina’s many Italian recipes from the holiday season: Cuccidati. They are delicious bar cookies, but can you believe that she forgot to add one important step in the recipe? Do not try the filling before using. You may not have enough left…

CUCCIDATI BAR COOKIES
(very slightly modified from Augustina Zaccardi)

Pasta Frolla Dough:
260 Grams of All-Purpose Flour
60 Grams of Granulated Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
114 Grams of Cold Unsalted Butter
2 Large Eggs

Filling:
1/4 Cup of Toasted Almonds
2 Tablespoons of Toasted Pine Nuts (I used sunflower seeds)
1 Cup of Diced Dried Figs (stems removed)
2 Teaspoons of Orange Zest
1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Cup of Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tablespoons of Honey
2 Tablespoons of Apricot Preserves
2 Tablespoons of Water
1/2 Teaspoon Rum Extract

Icing:
3/4 Cup of Powdered Sugar
3-4 Teaspoons of Milk
2-3 Tablespoons of multicolored sprinkles

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a food processor and pulse about 5 times until combined. Cut the butter into 6 pieces and add to the flour. Pulse 10-15 times until the butter is incorporated and the mixture looks powdery or sandy. Add the eggs and pulse until the dough comes together. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5-6 times to form a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece between 2 pieces of parchment paper to an approximately 8” square. The thickness should be about 3/16”. Place both pieces on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes.

Make the filling: Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process until all the ingredients are combined and the mixture is a paste but with still some visible pieces of chocolate and almonds. Set aside. AVOID SAMPLING IT.

Assemble the cookies: Spread the filling as a 8 inch square over plastic wrap over a cookie sheet. Place in the fridge as you prepare the cookie component. Line the bottom of an 8” square pan with parchment paper so that some of the paper overhangs the sides. Remove one piece of the dough from the freezer and trim it into an 8” square or the size of the bottom of your pan. Place it in the bottom of the pan. If the dough softens a bit place it back in the freezer. You want the dough to firm when you spread the filling or it could tear. Carefully lay the filling over the dough, using the plastic wrap to help you out. Gently spread the filling to the edges with a spatula. Remove the second piece of dough from the freezer and trim it to the size of the pan and place it on top of the filling and gently press.

Bake for 23-25 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.

Remove from the oven and place the pan on a rack to cool. When completely cool, remove the bars form the pan, peel off the parchment paper and place on a board. Mix together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Pour the icing on top of the bars and spread with an offset spatula. Scatter the sprinkles over the top. When fully set, cut in diamond shapes or any other shape you prefer.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I tell you one thing, the filling is spectacular. I envision it in small tartlets, bite-size, in a future adventure. It is sweet, nutty, complex. This was my first time making cuccidati, so I was not quite sure if the amount of filling was too much but I am glad with the way it turned out. I used the full amount for the 8-inch square pan. These are cookies perfect for the holiday season, but if you change the color of the sprinkles, it will be a Birthday-Easter-4th of July-Valentine’s-whatever you feel like it cookie. It is that good!

Tina, thank you for the constant inspiration!

ONE YEAR AGO: Festive Macarons to Welcome 2021!

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

THREE YEARS AGO: Brazilian Chicken and Heart of Palm Pie

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

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Complicit Conspiracy of Alcohol

SIX YEARS AGO: Candy Cane Cookies

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Macarons: Much better with a friend

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Our Mexican Holiday Dinner 

NINE YEARS AGO: The Ultimate Cranberry Sauce

TEN YEARS AGO: Edamame Dip

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Gougeres

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Beef Wellington on a Special Night