Monday, June 20, 2011

French Macarons

Not to be confused with coconut macaroons.

Have you ever seen these little cookies? I think they are becoming trendy. Maybe they'll be the next fad. Like cake pops. But better.

Max and I first tried macarons last year when I bought a box of them from a local French cafe. We were instant fans. We have been wanting to try making some for awhile, but I'd heard they are tricky. So we studied up a little before attempting to make them.

I don't know what all the potential pitfalls are, but I thought they were actually fairly easy. Our batter came together just fine, and piping them onto the pan was easy enough (although messy). I have large tube cake decorating tips, but I imagine you could just cut the corner off of a zip lock bag and that would work fine.

We did have one problem when it came to baking. Our first pan of cookies, baked on a dark teflon coated pan, came out perfectly. Our second and third pans, light-colored aluminum pans, came out gooey and we couldn't get all of them off the pans without destroying them. We cooked them longer, but I think we still didn't cook them long enough. They looked set, but they sank as they cooled. So make sure you wait till they are brown around the bottom edges. Next time, we'll err on the side of overcooking instead of undercooking our cookies.

If you're interested in trying them, these are helpful resources.

Demystifying Macarons (PDF -- Includes recipe we used)
Joanne Chang demonstrates (YouTube)

We added lemon zest to our batter and made lemon buttercream frosting and lemon cream cheese frosting to go on them. I preferred the lemon cream cheese frosting because it wasn't quite as sweet. I also tried using some leftover chocolate ganache frosting I had in the fridge and it went together surprisingly well. I think some kind of a raspberry frosting filling would have been fantastic. Maybe we'll try that next time.

There are so many flavor possibilities with macarons that I can't wait to try them again!

Monday, June 13, 2011

California Eggs Benedict

A few months ago my husband made the poached eggs from Good Eats. He makes them almost every Saturday now and the whole family loves them. I occasionally make mine into Eggs Benedict, which is great but a little heavy. I found this amazing recipe for California Eggs Benedict and wanted to share. It is amazing. You really can't go wrong with avocado, basil, roasted tomatoes and cheese sauce. Check it out. 

California Benedict
From Katie Sweeney

6 roma tomatoes, sliced lengthwise into four thick slices
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flesh of 1 1/2 avocados, diced
3 tablespoons basil, julienned
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/3 cup white cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Nutemg, for sprinkling
4 large slices of sliced sourdough, lightly toasted
4 poached or fried eggs

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the tomato slices on a baking pan covered with foil. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40-45 minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  2. In a small bowl mash the avocados to make a spreadable paste. Mix in the basil, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly for 2 minutes.
  4. Slowly add the milk and cook, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. It will thicken. Remove from heat and add the cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  5. To assemble, spread each piece of toast with a thick layer of mashed avocado (about 2-3 heaping tablespoons). Cover with 4-6 slices of tomato. Top with a poached or fried egg. Drizzle 1/4 cup of the cheese sauce over the top of each egg. Enjoy with a knife and fork immediately.
Serves 2-4.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Melanie's Root Beer Bundt Cake

I decided to go back to the beginning of Delish time and try the Root Beer Bundt Cake. I think it was the first recipe posted? I was living in Ecuador at the time and I didn't have a bundt cake pan, plus root beer was very difficult to find, so I wasn't able to make it. Recently, I saw it pop up on a couple food blogs that I follow which was a reminder to try it out!

This past weekend we had some friends over for a BBQ so I figured it would be a great opportunity to make it (because as much fun as it would be, I just can't eat a whole cake by myself!). Everyone said they really liked it and they all ate it, but maybe they were just being nice because it wasn't my favorite cake.

First of all, like others said, you just can't taste the root beer (I used IBC brand). The chocolate is just too overpowering, but yummy though! Also, the instructions say not to overmix and that it should be lumpy, but to me that was a bad idea because I had little flour clumps in my cake piece. Not pretty or appetizing. The frosting was yummy, but I put it on while the cake was still warm (they suggest to cook it the day before- I wasn't that organized) so the frosting sort of slid down the cake. It tasted ok, it just didn't look as pretty as the picture in the book.

So, despite it not tasting like root beer, having flour clumps, and melty frosting, it still got eaten up. It was a decent chocolate cake, I just don't think I'll make it again. Oh, and serving it with vanilla ice cream is absolutely essential!

that's a ton of frosting!