It was recently brought to my attention that I hadn’t posted on this site in over a year. Well, that’s not good. To be honest, I have no excuse, but I will throw some out there. I haven’t really made anything different or post-worthy in a long time. I also had a crappy camera for a while (I was stuck with my old iPhone 3 – and yep, not even 3G) and the few things that may have been somewhat decent, I didn’t have good pictures of anyway.
But now I have a OnePlus (love this phone, by the way) and laziness should no longer be an excuse. Right? Right!
A couple of months ago, my boss ordered 50 french macarons for her family trip to Lake Tahoe. Well, that was one helluva weekend of baking. And waiting. And mixing. And waiting. I decided on 3 flavors, 2 of which needed to be kid friendly. Chocolate is always a favorite. The kids also love watermelon. That was easy because I decided to make those pink and blue. So the third one? I wanted to do something different, something that this group hadn’t tried before. So I went with a traditional Filipino flavor, buko pandan. That makes green!
Basically, buko is young coconut and pandan is a type of leaf with a distinct aroma. They make quite the perfect pairing and can be found as a flavor in many Filipino desserts from sticky rice to ice cream.
One of my favorite desserts when I go to yum cha (or dim sum for you Yanks!) is the Black Sesame Lei Sha Tang Yuan (Glutinous Rice Balls). It’s like a chewy mochi ball filled with black sesame and then covered in ground peanuts (side note: the recipe linked above uses soybean powder instead of peanuts). It is DELISH. Every time I have yum cha, if I don’t see it on the carts, I always ask for it.
I loved it so much that I figured there must be a way to get that delicious flavor into a macaron! I definitely had to try it. I made the shells just like normal, but substituting a little bit of the sugar for black sesame powder, which you can make from scratch or find at your local Asian store. If you do buy a packet, make sure you find one that contains only black sesame and not any additional sugars or preservatives. For the filling, I mixed some of the same black sesame powder with melted dark chocolate.
I had been trying to make macarons all year and at the end of it, I was headed to the Philippines for a vacation and of course, to see my family. Well, let’s just say that I received numerous requests to bring some home for them to try. I had a few different families to bring boxes to and each box that I found at Daiso held 16 pieces. That’s 64 macarons…IF I didn’t mess any of them up!
I decided to make my most requested flavors: pistachio, pink velvet and calamansi. Either luck was on my side or the extra love that went into making these three batches for my family resulted in almost perfect shells each time. Which was great, because I didn’t need to re-do any of the batches! Thank you, Lord!
Let’s combine the last two color themes into one great box of japsierons.
Green: pistachio – this is probably my most ordered flavor. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of pistachio but a wide range of people like it and I am quite happy to make it.
Pink: pink velvet – this is my velvet-y chocolate flavor. I initially made the color of it pink because I thought it was much cuter, but I recently found some brown color at one of my favorite stores, Sur La Table, so I am going to slowly transition chocolate into brown colored macarons. But first, I must think of a new flavor for the pink ones.
I always see those macarons with the design on the shell but was really scared to try it because well, I mean, we all know how temperamental those shells can be…what more when you add something on them? Anyway, so I made the bestie some pink velvet macarons for his birthday and decided that it would be the perfect to try a little decoration. Needless to say, it was quite a success and I am now not afraid to experiment with adding just a little something to my macaron shells.
I got this cute little box to put them in (ok, maybe not so little ‘cuz it fit almost 3 dozen) and I must say, they turned out great. And delish!
I also think that they are great colors for Easter too! Is anyone making pastel colored macarons this Easter?
Last week was my birthday! I didn’t do anything extravagant like last year (my friends and I took a beach trip to surf in San Diego), just a little dinner with family. Luckily, it was also another friend’s birthday party so I just piggybacked on the celebration and we spent it dancing the night away. Great times.
My mom made a simple marble bundt cake (which was really yummy) and my 11 year old cousin, Dani, decorated it. Of course, she used sugar crystals in all of our favorite colors.
Anyway, in honor of my birthday, I thought it would be nice to give y’all a little birthday present. Ok, so we all know how cute and perfect macarons can look. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what size or even shape macarons are as long as two important things are met:
They taste amazing, and
Each batch has a consistent look
Since most of us struggle trying to pipe macarons into perfect little circles, a good way to keep the shell sizes consistent is to use a template. I find that two sheets of paper fit almost perfectly on a 11″ x 15″ tray under your silicone mat and that is what I do. So here is my birthday present to you – a couple of my personal macaron templates! Just print off a couple of sheets and you’re well on your way to making some wonderfully looking macarons.
After a strenuating impacted summer anatomy course, I rewarded myself with a road trip down to LA with my gbf. We drove down to visit one of our friends (and had a mini Sydney reunion) and stayed with her for the weekend. It was a short trip – we drove down Friday, spent Saturday at the house and drove back up on Sunday – but it was definitely worth it. BBQ, pool, alcohol and friends was the best way to spend that Saturday under the sun. I mean, look at the place that we stayed! Who wouldn’t love that?
Now back to the macarons. I knew I had to make some summer flavors for the party and my friend wanted to try some Filipino flavors, so I decided to try pastillias de leche (sweet cream/sugar), buko (young coconut) and the summer classic, neopolitan. First, I had to gather some great ingredients and make some ganache.
Then, of course, I had to make some shells. I decided to make some plain shells for the pastillias, one plain and one chocolate shell for the neopolitan, and I added some dried coconut (you can use desiccated for those living down under!) for the buko ones. Any additional flavors that I add to the shells, I usually substitute for about 10% of the almond flour in the recipe.
Then it was time to assemble. I didn’t use any coloring in the shells because I wanted to keep the colors natural for the summer, but if you want a better contrast, I would definitely add some red coloring to the strawberry ganache, as well as adding some brown to the chocolate. It’s currently only colored by the cocoa powder.
The chocolate didn’t rise as much as the other shells (I think I put too much cocoa in there), but the tops were still smooth and of course, they were yummy! So finally, all three flavors together for my summer macaron ideas!
P.S. I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures!