Sunday, May 22, 2011

Orange Macarons with Creamsicle Frosting

They keep getting better.

When I first made macarons I fell in love with them. Not only are they adorable, they are delicious and the flavor combinations are endless. I am also really proud of myself since they seem to be a more challenging recipe. This time around I chose to make Orange Macarons because I love citrus flavored desserts this time of year. These flavor combination is right up there with the espresso caramel macarons I made with my friend Ellen earlier. I plan to try out many more combination in the future. I am lucky enough to have an AMAZING mother-in-law and she sent me a macaron cookbook for Easter. I can't wait to test out the recipes in there.

Remember, have no fear. These are not as hard as or scary as they look!

Orange Macarons with Creamsicle Frosting
macaron recipe adapted from Tartelette, buttercream recipe from Baked Perfection

makes approximately 20 - 25 macarons

For the shells:

90 grams egg whites (use egg whites that have been left in the fridge 3-5 days)
25 grams granulated sugar
200 grams powdered sugar
110 grams almond meal/flour
orange powder food coloring
zest of one large orange

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, white the egg whites to a foam. Gradually add the granulated sugar and food coloring until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not over bear your meringue or it will be too dry. Place the powdered sugar, almond meal, and orange zest in a food processor and pulse until well mixed. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first and then slow down. The batter should fall back on itself and flatten (about 50 strokes). Fill a pastry bag with a plain tip (I used an Ateco #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1 in in diameter, as they will spread) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with lavender petals. Let the macarons sit out for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour to harden their shells a bit. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (285 if your oven runs hot like mine) and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely before filling.

Creamsicle Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 stick butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
zest of one orange
11/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons orange juice
pinch of salt

Cream, butter, orange zest, vanilla, and salt. Slowly add sugar, one cup at a time. Add 2 tablespoons of orange juice and beat until fluffy, adding more if needed.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mocha Toffee Baby Cupcakes

Adorable and Delicious

I am honestly sorry that I did not share this recipe with you earlier because these cupcakes are delicious. I never thought I liked coffee flavored things because I don't like coffee. I learned I was mistaken when I made these Coffee Kisses. I became a little obsessed with my Mocha Frosting after those cookies and knew I had to make cupcakes for the frosting. Zack and I love toffee and thought it would pair perfectly with the mocha and we were right. I have made this recipe as mini cupcakes and full size and they worked great both ways. I really can't express who delicious these cupcakes were and this is coming from a girl who prefers vanilla cake and does not like toffee. Make these for somebody you love.

Mocha Toffee Cupcakes
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes 24 cupcakes

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons instant espresso
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cups semisweet chocolate chips, dusted in flour
1 1/2 cup frozen toffee bits, dusted in flour(can you chopped heath bar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Dissolve the instant espresso in the 1/2 cup warm water. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, sour cream, oil, espresso, vanilla, eggs, and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and 1 cup frozen toffee bits and pour batter into 24 lined muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. Frost with Mocha Buttercream and top with reserved toffee bits.

*Note - If doing miniature cupcakes bake approximately 15 minutes.

Mocha Buttercream
recipe from Baked Perfection

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
4 rounded teaspoons instant espresso dissolved in 4 teaspoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
5 cups powdered sugar
generous pinch of salt

Beat together the butter, espresso mixture, and vanilla extract until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar until completely combined. If the mixture is too thick, add milk to thin.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Savannah Style Pralines

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

These little treats may not look impressive, but believe me they are absolutely divine. Growing up in Georgia, Pralines are very much part of the culture. It really surprises me how hard they are to find once you leave the South. They are an incredibly sweet candy that taste like brown sugar and pecans and I just adore them. If have ever been to Savannah, you know they are a staple of every candy shop and they make them in large copper kettles. I never made them assuming they were quite complicated. Boy was I wrong! These are super easy and are much less expensive than flying down to Savannah. I made them with my friend Ellen the day we made these caramels and they really took no time and barely any effort. These will definitely be making many more appearances in our house.

Savannah Style Pralines
recipe adapted from

1 3/4 cups toasted pecans
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/8 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk (we used whole)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.

In large saucepan over medium heat, combine pecans, sugar, butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla. Stirring frequently, heat to between 234 and 240 degrees Fahrenheit, or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface.
Remove from heat and stir continuously until mixture has thickened slightly and lighted in color.

Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chocoate Rose topped Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Perfect for Mother's Day

How many of you buy your mom flowers for Mother's Day? I know in the past I have sent flowers, but you know what is better than flowers...cupcakes with edible roses. What you see pictured here are Vanilla Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes topped with my favorite Vanilla Frosting and an edible chocolate rose. I actually made these cupcakes for a baby shower, hence the blue roses, but I think they would be adorable in assorted colors for mom. What mom doesn't want a dozen edible roses? To make the chocolate roses I piped melted chocolate (using a plastic baggie with the tip cut off) onto wax paper. I drew a template on a piece of paper and then placed the wax paper over it to pipe the roses. I used a toothpick to pre-poke holes in the top of the cupcake to make sure the stem did not break when I inserted the roses. I think they turned out perfectly.

See the recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes here.

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
recipe inspired by

1 package yellow or white cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (dust these in flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, sour cream, oil, vanilla extract, eggs, and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into 24 lined muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Very Vanilla Frosting Recipe

Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lemon Curd

Sweet, Tangy, and Delicious.

I have wanted to make Lemon Curd for a while and am so glad I finally had the chance. It was much easier than I thought, but did take some patience. In other words, I had to stand at the stove for 20 minutes whisking. It was completely worth all the effort. I used some of the curd for on Lemon Macarons (Photo Below), put some on toast, ate some straight from the jar, and gave a jar to my friend Ellen who used it to top a Strawberry Cheesecake.

In other news, my oven died Friday night. I think I was working it too hard. We are debating whether to get it repaired or to get a new one. I don't know how long I will be able to make it without baking.

Lemon Curd
recipe adapted from Alton Brown

5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
zest of 4 lemons
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pats
pinch of salt

Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk constantly until thickened, approximately 15-20 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon. Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Remove to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.