Category Archives: Macaroons

Macarrrrrrrrons

Macarons…one of the hardest things I have ever made, yet made to look so easy.   A few weeks ago I embarked on a macaron challenge.  I had all I needed…almond flour, egg whites, powdered sugar and a recipe by Chef Thomas Keller.
Painstakingly, I measured out each ingredient on a scale by grams.  I made a meringue using heat for the first time and was super excited when I piped out my first beautiful circles of macaron cookie.  I popped them in the oven and waited.  They looked like they were rising!  When I heard the alarm go off that they were done, I took the macarons out of the oven and placed them on a cooling rack.  My excitement quickly diminished when they began to flatten…and stick to the parchment paper.  Upset, but hope yet not dwindled, I embarked on another recipe.
I watched the YouTube recipe video numerous amounts of time until I perfected each step in my head.  I had in mind to make mint cookies with a chocolate ganache.  As I waited for the cookies to come out of the oven I made the ganache.  There was no way in my mind that these weren’t going to turn out perfect!  As you can probably guess, they turned out less then perfect.  Lopsided to be exact.  I tried the recipe yet again…and they were lopsided…yet again.
I read and watched youtube videos and blogs about possible reasons why I failed at making these cookies.  But, alas, I could not figure it out!
My spirits were down and my motivation needed to be rejuvenated.  I gave it a few days and vented to some friends of mine until one piped up and said their mother was a macaron genius.  I needed her to teach me!  Yesterday, she came in and showed me and my friend the ropes.  They turned out PERFECT!  Thank you to my friend Sara Scheinbach and her mother-in-law Judy Scheinbach for taking time out of their busy days to show me how it’s done.

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Those light and airy cookies are just a whip of an egg white away and I can proudly say that I can now make macarons!  The world is whole again!macarons1macarons2

French Macarons (Credit: San Antonio Cooking School) 
Makes about 45 Filled Cookies

1 1/4 Cup (120 Grams) Almond Flour, ground up in a food processor
1 2/3 Cup (200 Grams) Powdered Sugar
1/3 Cup (100 Grams) Large Egg Whites
Pinch of Salt
2 Tablespoons (35 Grams) Granulated Sugar
Food Coloring (optional) – a few drop is all you need

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  You can make your own macaron stencil by placing the cap of a gallon of water or milk and tracing 20 circles with a pencil or marker.  Place the stenciled macaron paper another piece of parchment paper on the cookie sheet.  After you are done making your cooking with the stencil, simply slide out the stencil and use it for additional cookie sheets.
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Have a pastry bag fitted with a1/4 inch plain tip ready.

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a bowl.  You will have leftover almond clumps.  Dispose of those clumps or sprinkle over yogurt.

In another bowl, whip egg whites and salt.  Begin whipping on medium speed until foamy.  Gradually increase the speed to medium high and slowly stream in the granulated sugar.  Whipping until the whites form a stiff peak when lifted.  Fold in the food coloring.

Add about 1/4 of the dry ingredients and fold in.  Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients in two to three more equal additions.  Fold until the dry ingredients are well mixed and the batter is smooth and forms a quickly dissolving peak when tapped with your fingertip.

Transfer the batter to the piping bag.  Hold the bag perpendicular to the parchment paper about 1/4 inch above.  Use even pressure to squeeze out enough batter to form a 1 inch circle.  Pipe all of the cookies.

Lift each baking sheet about one inch front the counter and drop it to knock the air bubbles out of the cookie batter.  Let the batter rest for 15 minutes at room temperature allowing the tops to dry slightly.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time on the center rack for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are smooth and just firm to the touch. Cool.
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Carefully peel the paper away from the cookies and place them back on the wire racks until you are ready to fill or store them.

Pipe a small amount of filling onto the bottom center of a cookie.  Gently press the bottom of another cookie of the same size onto the filling, allowing the filling to spread just to the edges.  Repeat with all of the cookies. Can be made one day in advance.  They can also be frozen until ready to enjoy.

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Charo”Set” For Dessert

What’s better than a dainty and delicious macaron? A macaron tart!  Much less time consuming, this dessert feeds a full table of guests and is the perfect sweet ending to beautiful seder.  Keeping with the Passover theme, I thought it would be so much fun to create a macaron inspired with the flavors of the seder.  Horseradish, parsley, egg and potato were all out…but charoset caught my attention.  Apples, walnuts and cinnamon…now that is something I can work with!
A cinnamon macaron crust, apple buttercream frosting, all accompanied by a ground walnut and apple butter compote…the result is amazing!
Enjoy and have a very happy Pesach!

Charoset Macaron Tart

Serves 6-8

Cinnamon Macaron Crust

4 Egg Whites
1 2/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 1/3 Cup Almond Flour
Pinch of Salt
¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Apple Butter Buttercream

½ Cup Butter or margarine, softened
1 ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
¼ Cup Apple Butter

Walnut and Apple Butter Compote

½ Cup Ground Walnuts
½ Cup Apple Butter
 
Preheat oven to 280 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  With an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy, slowly add in granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until the egg whites reach stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, almond flour, salt and cinnamon together.  Fold the flour mixture into the egg whites until thoroughly combined. 

On one cookie sheet, scoop out ½ the batter, about 1 ¼ cups.  Scoop the other half on the other sheet. With a spatula, carefully spread each of the mixtures into an 8 inch circle.  With the back of a spoon, try to even out the top.  Let sit for 15 minutes to dry and develop a crust.  Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

In a bowl add the butter, powdered sugar and apple butter.  With an electric mixer, beat until the mixture is combined and it becomes soft and spreadable.

Carefully turn one of the macarons over and peel the parchment paper of the bottom.  This will be the bottom of your tart.  Evenly spread the buttercream over the macaron.  Carefully flip the other macaron over and peel off the parchment paper.  Place the side facing the pan on top of the buttercream.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar

Combine the walnuts and apple butter in a separate bowl and serve a few tablespoons with each serving of the macaron tart.

 

 

 

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bread!

“Wow!  Are you sure this is Kosher for Passover?”
Why are Passover foods known to be stale and tasteless?  

From the time Jews left Egypt, Passover  has had a reputation for producing sub-par and “Pesach tasting” food.  There is no reason why this should be the norm because recipe searchers, like myself,  have an extensive list of great “Kosher for Passover” recipes just a mouse click away.
Some of you may have realized  that I did not contribute to Kosher food blogs and websites for Passover. You may have thought I wouldn’t want to waste my time posting about Passover food. However, the real reason I did not share my recipes before or during Passover was because I was just plain ol’ busy cooking them!
Passover (or in hebrew Pesach) is a great time for experimenting in the kitchen.  The forbidden grains, wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt helped me get creative, improving and challenging my culinary skills. My goal was to keep it tasty, healthy and gluten free.
Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas
5 Bananas, sliced 1/2 – 1 inch thick
1 Package of Chocolate Chips
1 TBS Oil
Toppings of your choice (sprinkles, coconut, chopped nuts, white chocolate, dried fruit, etc)
In a double boiler (google a picture if you want to see what it looks like), melt chocolate chips and oil (can also be melted directly on stove top but keep a close eye on it so as not to burn).  When melted, dip sliced bananas in the chocolate and pick up with a fork by scooping under the banana and shake off excess chocolate.  Lay on parchment paper and add toppings.  Freeze the bananas overnight and enjoy!  Serve Frozen.

Orange-Almond Cake Pops
Makes 20 Pops
2 Oranges
4 Eggs
¾ C. Agave
2 C. Almonds
½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
Wash oranges and boil them whole (peel and all) for 1 hour or until soft.  Blend 2 Cups of  almonds until it turns into a flour texture.  Remove and blend oranges till smooth.  Process in eggs, agave, almond flour, salt and baking soda until blended.  Pour into a greased 9 inch round cake pan or spring form.  Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes until center comes out clean. Take cake apart and roll into 1- 2 inch balls. 
Roasted Zucchini with Sweet and Sour Onions
Make 20 Side Servings
5 Green Zucchinis, ½ “ sliced on a bias
5 Yellow Zucchinis, ½ “ sliced on a bias
Olive Oil 
Salt
Pepper
7 Yellow Onions, sliced
2-3 TBS. Apple Cider Vinegar
Preheat oven to 400.  Coat the zucchini on both sides and roast for 15-25 minutes till the zucchini has a slight caramel color and is soft.  Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. 
In a preheated sauté pan, heat 3-4 TBS. of oil.  Add onions and cook at a medium low heat for about 30-45 minutes.  The key to caramelization is to go caramelize the onions nice and slow so the sugars in the onion can release and not burn.  When caramelized, add the vinegar, salt and pepper.
To serve, spread the caramelized onions on the bottom of a plate and layer the zucchini on top of the onion.
Balsamic Glazed Chicken Kabobs
Makes 20 or more Skewers
I really like the recipe because it takes a very minimal amount of ingredients to feed a lot of people. 
8 Chicken Breasts, cut into 2 “ pieces
3 Red Onions, cut into 8 pieces
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
1-2 Containers of Fresh Mushroom, White or Portobello, cleaned and stems removed
½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
½ Cup Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder
Wooden Skewers
Preheat oven to 350. Skewer the mushrooms, chicken, onions and cherry tomatoes.  Put in pan and pour oil and balsamic vinegar on top.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder and rotate to coat the other side in the marinade.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.  Enjoy hot or cold.  
Pictures and Ideas Worth Sharing:
Almond Chocolate Macaroons
Chocolate Cake  (Sugar and Gluten Free)
Quinoa – Broccoli Burgers   


Quinoa and Salmon Fried “Rice” (not pictured)
The Best Brisket (not pictured but recipe coming soon in another blog post)