Macarons Galore

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My blog is so awfully neglected, but I made it a goal today to make a come back and post another macaron recipe! I’m a lot better at posting my pics on Instagram. So if you miss me you can follow me there. ūüôā

If you love to bake, it’s best if you own a food scale. I own this one that was purchased at Target:

OXO Good Grips Food Scale

Ingredients:

  • 100 Grams Egg Whites (3 egg whites)
  • 50 Grams White Sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 200 Grams Confectioner’s Sugar (1 and 2/3 cups)
  • 110 Grams Ground Almond Flour (1 cup)

Directions

  • Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
  • Beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until whites are foamy; beat in white sugar and continue beating until egg whites are glossy, fluffy, and hold soft peaks. Sift confectioners’ sugar and ground almonds in a separate bowl and quickly fold the almond mixture into the egg whites, about 30 strokes.
  • Spoon a small amount of batter into a plastic bag with a small corner cut off and pipe a test disk of batter, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, onto prepared baking sheet. If the disk of batter holds a peak instead of flattening immediately, gently fold the batter a few more times and retest.
  • When batter is mixed enough to flatten immediately into an even disk, spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet in rounds, leaving space between the disks. Let the piped cookies stand out at room temperature until they form a hard skin on top, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 285 degrees F (140 degrees C).
  • Bake cookies until set but not browned, about 10 minutes; let cookies cool completely before filling.

My Notes:
It’s best if you can weigh out your ingredients for exact measurements every time. If you’re using a dark non-stick cookie sheet it takes 10 minutes. Also, reynolds non-stick wrap works really well, they pretty much slide off when they’re done. If you’re using a professional heavy duty baking sheet and silicone mat it takes 17 minutes to finish baking. I am also using a gas oven, depending on what kind of oven you’re baking in times may also vary.

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Simple and Moist Banana Bread

I know it’s been quite some time since my last post, but with school, baby Elsa, the hubby, work and trying to make time for my parents and in-laws, I barely have time to sleep!

Anyhow, enough of me feeling guilty! Let’s get to the good stuff, moist banana bread.

My mother-in-law has a habit of buying way too much produce and then tries to force everyone to eat it before it goes bad. Well you guessed it, this time she bought way too many bananas and we didn’t eat them fast enough so they got extremely ripe. The only thing I could think of using ripe bananas for was banana bread. I got this recipe from joyofbaking.com¬†and I ‘m so glad I did. If you ever get the banana bread from Starbucks… well let’s just say the Starbucks version is crap compared to this. ūüôā

Ingredients:

1 cup (115 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ripe large bananas (approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set aside.

Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.  

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightlyfoldthe wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread.) Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until bread is golden brown and a  toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to60 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. This bread can be frozen.

Macaron Failure


Macarons are the new craze. Forget about cupcakes and cake pops, I want a macaron!!! I lived in LA and that’s where I heard about them first. Paulette’s Macarons in Beverly Hills introduced these sweet Parisian treats to California. Last year when I was residing in San Francisco, I discovered Miette, which is the cutest little cake and macaron shop in Hayes Valley. Closest thing I could get to a ‘lette’s macaron. Here in Sacramento, there is only one place that I would consider getting this delicious cookie, Ginger Elizabeth in downtown. Ginger Elizabeth is a chocolatier that also happens to sell macarons and a delicious salted caramel macaron ice cream sandwich. Anyway, these tiny little cookie sandwiches are quite expensive. Average price for one: $1.75.

So you can see why I would want to make them myself. When I was still living in San Francisco I attempted to bake a batch. I tried blanching sliced almonds and grinding them myself. I had no idea how much you had to process them. I also did not beat the egg whites enough so the dough/batter (whatever you wanna call it) was extremely runny. I tried baking them anyway, no bueno.

After that massive failure, I googled, googled and googled. I then found a recipe with great directions. I tried last week. Although it’s not the prettiest attempt, they at least tasted good and had decent texture. I’m pretty sure I know how to fix what I did wrong.

I am going to attempt another batch today, wish me luck. I’ll be posting pics later tonight.

Banh Bo Nuong: Updated!

Okay… Last time I made banh bo, it tasted good, but it came out flat. I tried baking it again, same problem. I did some major research… and I figured it out, the recipes I had been using call for a convection oven. I don’t know about you, but I had no idea there was that much of a difference between con-VEC-tion and con-VEN-tion ovens. Once I figured this out, I asked others if they knew of the difference, no one knew! Because I had to explain to a few different people, I thought I should also share this with all of you, just in case.

Here’s a convection oven:

Notice anything? It’s got a freaking fan in the back of the oven. If your oven does not have a fan it is a conventional oven. So if you’re trying this recipe, you have to up the temperature from 350ňöF to 375ňöF.

Here I am at it again:

Sifted the tapioca flour/starch, baking powder and salt together. I think you could probably use less salt or forget about it all together.

Stirred, NOT WHISKED, eggs, sugar, coconut cream/milk, pandan and vanilla extract.

After STIRRING the wet and dry ingredients together, it will be lumpy, pour it through a strainer to get rid of all the lumps. Do this once or twice, it’s up to you.

After the mixture has been strained, pour it in the baking pan that’s been heating in the oven. You should hear a sizzle. I have a convention oven so I baked it at 375ňö for 10 minutes and 305ňö for an additional 30 minutes.

This is what it should look like when it’s done. Flip the pan upside down and let it cool over a cooling rack. It’ll most likely unmold itself, mine did!

Perfection! Look at the texture, this is why they call it a honeycomb cake in English. There’s no honey involved, it just looks like a honeycomb. ūüôā

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. coconut cream
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 6 eggs large eggs
  • 1 1/4 c. tapioca starch
  • 1 package of ALSA single acting baking powder (make your own with 1 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar + 3/4 tsp. baking soda)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
  • 1 tsp pandan extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • vegetable oil for brushing
  • Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 350ňöF for convection or 375ňöF for convention ovens. Brush vegetable oil on the bottom portion of the baking pan and heat it in the oven. Sift the flour, baking powder and optional salt together. In a large bowl, gently stir¬†the eggs, sugar, coconut milk, pandan and vanilla with a whisk or a fork¬†so that no bubbles form. Remember to stir just enough to homogenize the whites and yolks. Over stirring the eggs can cause the cake to be flat. Use a strainer to strain the mixture into another bowl and use a spoon to help break the lumps up.

    Pour the mixture into the preheated baking pan of your choice. You should hear it sizzle! Bake it for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 305ňö F.¬† Bake for another 30 minutes or until golden. If you can’t tell when it’s done, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake to test for doneness. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. Place the pan upside down over a cooling rack. It will probably unmold itself, when it’s cooled, slice and enjoy!

    Banh Bo Nuong (Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake/Pandan Coconut Tapioca Cake)

    I know I haven’t been posting that much. I feel kind of guilty! I always take pictures of my food, post them on Instagram, tell myself I’ll post the recipe, then never get to it! Lemme tell ya, with a young baby to take care of, cooking mostly everything from scratch and keeping my Instagram account active, it’s hard to find the time to sit down and just… write. I’m even starting school up again on Monday. Time is going to seem minimal, but I will try my best to keep up with my posts.

    Anyhow, A couple weeks ago my mother-in-law made banh bo from a prepared package of flour she brought back from Vietnam, the results were good. Then last week she made banh bo from a package she bought at an Asian store here I don’t know what she did to it but it was like eating plain old tapioca. She also tried to use the same package to make banh bo nuong, It was interesting, in a bad way. Anyhow, I told her I’d find a recipe and make it. She said I wouldn’t be able to do it because she’s tried many times and can never get it right. That’s something I really dislike, when someone says I’m not able to do something. I always prove them wrong, just like this time… I’ve proved her wrong. I searched and researched about making this snack/dessert and found a really great recipe. Mine didn’t rise as much as it’s supposed to, I think perhaps it needed to be baked a little longer even though after the initial 10 minutes at 350ňö and 30 minutes at 300ňö I added another 15, to make a total of 45 minutes at 300ňö (the oven at my mother-in-law’s is really small and old so that could’ve contributed to the non-rising factor). Mine still came out good, but hopefully yours will come out better!

    Ingredients:

    • 1¬†1/4 cups Tapioca flour
    • 4¬†oz (1/2 cup) Coconut Milk
    • 1¬†bag¬†Alsa Brand Single Acting Baking Powder, 11grs¬†(use any brand you prefer but it has to be Single Acting)
    • 6 large Eggs or 7¬†small Eggs
    • 1¬†cup Sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon Pandan Extract¬†(l√° dŠĽ©a) and 1/2 bag Vanilla Sugar or use only Pandan Extract or Pure Vanilla Extract
    • 2 teaspoons roasted¬†sesame seeds, optional

    Directions:

    Turn on the oven and preheat to 350′ F. Brush oil on the ¬†baking pan and heat it in the oven on the 2nd lowest rack.
    Sift the flour and baking powder together.
    In a large bowl, lightly stir the egg and sugar with a whisk or a fork so that no bubbles form. Remember to stir just enough to homogenize the whites and yolks. Over stirring the eggs can cause the cake to be flat. Then stir in flour mixture, coconut milk, pandan or vanilla. Break up any lumps with the back of a spoon. Use a strainer to strain the mixture into another bowl.
    Pour the mixture into the hot baking pan that is still in the oven.¬† You should hear the sizzling sound.¬†¬†If you like sesame seeds, sprinkle some on top of the mixture. Bake it for about¬†10 minutes then reduce the heat to 300′ F.¬† Bake for another 30 minutes or until golden.¬† If your oven is not convection, bake it for a little bit longer. Insert a toothpick in the center of a cake to test for quick cake doneness. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.

    Turn off oven and let the cake sit in there for a few minutes before taking it out.  Let it cool for a little bit before removing it from the baking pan.

    Chocolate Cupcakes Mmmmm

    I went to a baby shower on Saturday and I thought bringing cupcakes would be a nice gesture. I used this recipe before and loved it!!! These chocolatey, heavenly, little cakes are very moist and scrumptious. The frosting is a chocolate butter cream recipe that I made up, but tweaked it a little bit at the end but that’ll be up to you whether or not you want to. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do. ūüôā

    Ingredients:

    Chocolate Cupcakes:

    • 3ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
    • 1/3cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
    • 3/4cup hot coffee
    • 3/4cup (4 1/8 ounces) bread flour
    • 3/4cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
    • 1/2teaspoon table salt
    • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
    • 6tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2large eggs
    • 2teaspoons white vinegar
    • 1teaspoon vanilla extract

    Frosting:

    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
    • 3 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (optional)

    Directions:

    Chocolate Cupcakes:

    Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan
    (cups have ¬Ĺ-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

    Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

    Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.

    Frosting:

    In a medium bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until light and smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

    Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and place over a small pan of barely simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the melted chocolate to the vanilla frosting and stir until smooth. Add the extra unsweetened cocoa powder if desired.