Disaster strikes, thanks Martha!

Pink and pinker!

Uggggh.  I should have known it was begginers luck.  Attempt two of the macarons was…not so good.  Try a different recipe I thought, well if I’m completely honest it’s because my book calls for 2 egg whites and I had three in one bowl.  I hate to waste.  I had used three egg yolks for a different recipe and here I was left with three egg whites.  So like any logical person, I looked for a new macaron recipe that called for 3.  Enter Martha Stewart. I searched online and there she was with a macaron recipe that called for three egg whites!  I should have known better.  Does Martha actually, personally test her recipes?  I doubt it. So:

Ingredients

  •                                         1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon confectioners sugar
  •                                         1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
  •                                         6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
  •                                         Pinch of salt
  •                                         1/4 cup granulated sugar

And arrogantly I didn’t read the rest of the recipe. I know what I’m doing right?  I’ve made these all of one time before.  Nevertheless, I am confident.

I’m making vanilla flavor with eggnogg filling. ” Jason, what color should we make these?” ” Oh, Christmas red”.  So I add Christmas red food coloring paste and it’s a bit old, and it’s not mixing in properly, so I add more.  There are chunks of it in the merengue!  I try to pipe the circles and I have chunks of almond blocking the tip. Disastrous, frustration,… why do I want to make these anyway? But I persevere, how bad could it be?  On the second batch I see a big chunk of color so I mix it in, half of my macarons are light pink, half will be shocking pink.  The extra coloring must have affected the mix because these are sticking to the silicone pad and half of them are breaking up.  D*@# and other bad works escape my mouth. Jason makes a comment about bad moods. Lalala… I’m not listening!   And viola!  They taste waaaay too sweet, they have a nice chewy texture though…..back to the drawing board.

First Macaron attempt

Oh Macaron, how I love you. I first discovered these little delicio delights while visiting my sister in Paris. All I knew before was coconut macaroons, which can be delightful as well.  But these were something else altogether, light, crispy, chewy.  Well one day back here I found a book with 30 macaron recipes. For my sister, that was my thought, until I got home and showed Jason and we decided we had to test the recipes out first. I mean, that’s only proper right?  Anyway, Jason picked the flavor of our first ever macaron.  Saffron with Cardamom filling.

The guide. 3/4 c ground almonds ( must be finely ground) 1 c confectioners sugar 2 extra large egg whites 1/4 tsp crushed saffron strands 1/4 c superfine sugar yellow food coloring Filling 4 Tb butter seeds from 4 cardamom pods crushed (I used 1/2 tsp powder) 1 c confectioners sugarProcess the almonds & confectioners sugar in a food processor. Sift into a bowl. In a separate bowl whip the egg whites with saffron until holding soft peaks. Gradually add superfine sugar to make a glossy meringue. Beat in food coloring to make a pale yellow.Using a spatula, fold the almond mix into the meringue one third at a time. When all the ingredients are incorporated continue to cut and fold until it forms a shiny batter with a thick ribbonlike consistency.Pour the batter into a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch plain tip. Pipe small circles onto the baking sheets. Use parchment paper or silicone mat. Tap the baking sheets firmly onto a work surface to remove air bubbles. Let stand at room temp for 30 mins. I did one batch without waiting and one with. I didn't notice much of a difference. Preheat over to 325, bake for 10-15 mins. I did 10. Cool for 10 minutes and remove to rack. Make the filling and sandwich between two cookies.Out of the oven.

  It must have been beginners luck, because I’ve heard these are very tricky to make. They turned out really well  although I must say that when I left them out for 30 mins prior to baking, they cracked more and seemed to slide off their bottoms? I must learn how to pipe a more consistent sized circle as well, I had many different sizes! I also think the filling needs lots of work. It was too buttery and thick.  I’m not sure what but I didn’t like it much. For my debut however, I was pleased with the result.
  More work will have to be done in the lab before the definitive macaron is made.

Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins!

Oh my! I’m reading a new cookbook called “Baked Explorations” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  The writer I believe is Matt and I love his writing style.  The recipes are intriguing.  Today being a lazy Sunday, I decided to pick a recipe and make it for breakfast. Don’t feel sorry for Jason, he gets to eat all my experiments and mostly they turn out well. (Except for the seafood Coconut curry that I still can’t figure out what went wrong, it was truly inedible)

So it was a toss up between the Pumpkin Cheddar muffins or the Carrot Coconut scones with citrus glaze.  It was decided by my not having orange juice in the house and being too lazy to go to the store. I did have canned pumpkin.  I did not have sour cream but Greek yoghurt was a reasonable substitute in my lazy, not wanting to go to the store, opinion. I did some research and Greek yoghurt plus a pinch of baking soda is allowed. On to the recipe!

PUMPKIN CHEDDAR MUFFINS

1 cup canned pumpkin (Oops I used the whole 15 oz can!)

3 Tb sour cream (I used 3 Tb Greek yoghurt with pinch of baking soda)

2 large eggs

1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled

2 c flour

1 1/2 ts baking powder

1/4 tsp cayenne (I think next time I’ll add some more)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp black peper

1/2 c brown sugar

1 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar (I only had medium)

2 Tb pumpkin seeds (I didn’t have those)

Preheat oven to 400. Spray or butter 12 muffin tins.  Whisk together pumpkin & sour cream, add eggs and butter and whisk until combined.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, cayenne, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Make a well in the middle and pour in the wet ingredients. Fold until combined and then fold in 3/4 of the cheese.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, sprinkle the remaining cheese and pumpkin seeds on top. Bake for 20 mins. Cool on rack for 10 mins then remove muffins and cool or eat warm.

I love the word muffin!

They were really good. Peppery, cheesy and warm. They did not seem to be harmed by almost doubling the pumpkin so….maybe next time I’ll use the correct amount of pumpkin…or not.