My phone gave me a little blast from the past this morning: On this day last year I was in my favourite town, living the good life with a christmassy food tour with French Foodie in Dublin. I have explained my love to Dublin with a lot of words last year, so I spare you a rerun. I rather share some thoughts on the wonderful Instagram photo challenge Ketty initiated with you. I must say I don’t feel ready for christmas yet, but the #FFIDXMAS15 get’s me there. So many beautiful pictures and so many creative people and it’s only day 7. So thanks Ketty for being an inspiration and hosting this challenge. I am dying to see more pictures to inspire until Christmas.
As you might have seen already, todays Motto is “White” and as December is particularly warm this year (Sunny 13°C today), I let it snow myself with some oats and coconut. I picked up the recipe from my little sister some years back and I love how these cookies are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. Continue reading »
Can you believe it, Christmas is only 1 week away. Nothing says “I care about you” better that a homemade gift. It shows that you rather invest some of your precious time to delight your beloved ones than just ordering a gift online. There is nothing wrong with buying gifts, don’t get me wrong, but I love to give a little personal touch with something crafted or homemade and you should consider that too. So get into the kitchen or at your craft table and whip, glue or paint something for the ones that you love!
I know I promised my German readers to start blogging in German. I know some of you hav been waiting for this for a long time, but still I am trying to tackle some technical obstacles. But today is your lucky day as this Christmas Macaron recipe is part of the Advent calendar over at Kuchenbäcker blog. I am really excited about this and I hope you enjoy the read and of course the making of these wonderful Christmas treats. I put them in selfmade matchbox-like boxes or painted egg boxes, nicely decorated and with colourful ribbons. If you want to gift them for Christmas, here is a useful bit of information: They keep fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days or you can freeze them in ziplock bags. If you have never done Macarons before, you might want to look into my basic macaron recipe for some general tipps.
For the Lemon Curd:
5 egg yolks
150 g sugar
Zest of 2 organic lemons
250 g freshly squeezed lemon juice
150 g butter (at room temperature)
Necessary equipment: sauce pan, heatproof bowl that fits above your sauce pan, silicon spatula, thermometer, siev, immersion blender
Mix sugar and lemon zest and let the zest infuse the sugar for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile you can weigh the other ingredients and do your preperations for the Macaron shells.
Place the heatproof bowl over simmering water, the bowl shouldn’t touch the water. In order to make the curd creamy you should not work in too much air, that’s why using a rubber spatula instead of a whisk is advised. Mix egg yolks, eggs, lemon juice and lemon infused sugar with the spatula in your bowl. Place the butter in another bowl that the siev fits onto. Keep the mixture in your heatproof bowl in motion so it doesn’t burn on the sides. The mixture must reach a temperature of 85°C. Once the temperature is reached, pour the mixture into the siev over the butter-bowl. This helps to get rid of the egg crumbles and results in a smooth and silky curd. Use the immersion blender to work in the butter, hold it upright to prevent too much air and keep blending until the mixture turns whiter. Cover and refrigerate while making the Macaron shells. For the Macarons:
185 g confectioners sugar
185 g ground almonds
4-5 tsp Gingerbread spice (or a little more if you like a stronger taste) + as much strongly deoiled cocoa powder to make 30 g in total
50 g water
200 g fine sugar
2 x 75 g egg white (equals ca 5 egg whites, but exact weighing is essential)
red gel food colouring
Necessary equipment: Food processor, 4 sheets of parchment paper,2 € coin, pencil, siev, candy thermometer, heavy saucepan, spatula, piping bag with round tip
Cut 4 sheets of parchment paper to fit your tray. With pencil and 2€ coin draw circles on your parchment and leave some space in between. You need an even number as each Macaon is a sandwich of 2 shells. The lines should be thick enough that you can see them through the parchment when you turn it upside down on your tray. Preheat the oven to 170° C with fan.
Place ground almonds, confectioners sugar, gingerbread spice and cocoa in the food preocessor and process in pulse mode. The resulting mixture is called Tant-pour-Tant. Sift the mixture into a bowl to prevent crumbs and set aside.
If you do not own a stand mixer, you will need a helping hand for the next steps. Put 75 g egg white in a heatproof bowl that fits in your stand mixer. Place water and sugar in the sauce pan and cook to syrup over medium heat. Use the candy thermometer to check the temperature, it must reach 118°C. As soon as 114° are reached, you can start the stand mixer or your helper to beat the egg whites until stiff at medium speed. As tempting as it may seem don’t put on highspeed as it will result in a heavy foam but we want silky smooth foam. Once the sugar syrup has reached the temperature you can remove it from the heat and let it sit until the bubbles disappear. Slowly pour the syrup into the stiff egg whites while constantly beating at medium speed, once all syrup is in there, you can put the mixer to high speed and beat until the meringue is lukewarm. While the meringue is beaten, you may mix the second 75 g of egg white with the Tant-pour-Tant with a rubber spatula until completly blend. Once the meringue is cooled, you should add a little red food colouring to intensify the brown colour of your Macarons. The meringue should be light rosé before you add a bit of it to your Tant-pour-Tant to blend. Then fold in the rest of the Meringue -et voilá your Macaron mass is ready to go. Transfer to a piping bag with round tip and fill the circles on your parchment paper as exact as possible without causing noses and bumps on the surface of your Macaron. Use your flat hand to slighty beat the bottom of your tray in order to get air bubbles out of the Macarons. Place the tray in the oven and set a timer for 6 minutes. If you look into the oven you can see your Macarons rise and get those typical little feet while the surface gets a lifting. When your timer buzzes it is time to turn the tray by 180° and give them another 6 minutes in the oven. Once they are done directly pull the parchment from the tray and let the shells cool. Please don’t let them remain on the hot tray as they will become too dry. Repeat the procedure until your piping bag is empty and all shells have been baked.
Now it is time to sort your shells and be a matchmaker. Find a sizeable match for each shell and carefully push your thumb on the inside without breaking it. Fill a piping bag with the lemon curd and bring a dot on one half of your Macaron-couple. Sandwich them together and push slighty to spread the curd evenly between the two shells. Store them in a cookie tin in the fridge and separte each layer with parchment paper. Give them a night to develop their full flavour and enjoy with a spicy hot chocolate or a glass of mulled wine. The Macarons can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or can be frozen. If you have leftover curd, you can transfer it into a sterilized jar and keep it in the fridge for 1 week. Enjoy as spread or as a sour ice cream topping. If you need the Macarons to last longer, you can also fill them with a dark chocolate ganache instead of curd.
And aren’t these little gingerbread ma(n)carons adorable?
I don’t know how many times I told myself to sit down and get writing. But with a lot of stuff going on and so many things to do and a complete lack of structure it never happens. When I set up my Laptop on the Dining Table, opening the blinds to let the sunshine in, the first thing I notice is, that the windows need a clean-up. There are only a few tasks in the house that I hate more than window cleaning and I don’t care about clean windows at any other time of the year but now I feel the urge to clean them RIGHT NOW. I must force myself to ignore the stainy window and sit down to write. If you look up Procrastination in Wikipedia, you may find my photo on there as a bright example of that common species: The Procrastinator. I have been one all my live, even before this fancy word made it into a dictionary.
I am easy to distract, even years of training could only milden my short attention-span. -Oh wait, my coffee mug is empty, I need a refill.- I’ve always needed hard deadlines and pressure to function, for finishing school projects, for picking my study subject or even for the major part of my Master thesis that I wrote in the 2 weeks before hand-in. Germans even have a word for what holds me back: innerer Schweinehund (find the explanation and more hilarious word-by-word-translations of German idioms here).
Blogging regularly is an ongoing struggle with myself and I envy those bloggers that have all posts planned, blog more often than once in a week and are so disciplined. In the past few months I have met a few and I wish I was more like them. I have to remind myself from time to time in order to get things done. I have to train to have patience with things and with myself and cinnamon stars are the perfect excercise for this. Cinnamon stars are delicious and not that hard to make but the dough is sticky, needs to cool overnight, the icing needs to be piped on every single star if you want them to look good and to top all this, they need to dry overnight before baking. And that’s why you need patience (and space…).
For the cookies:
400 g ground almonds (with skin) + 100 g as backup
375 g confectioners sugar
15 g ceylon cinnamon
4 egg whites (125 g total)
For the icing:
500 g confectioners sugar
2 egg whites
Mix all ingredients for the cookies together, if it is too sticky you can add some more almonds but don’t overdo. If you add too much almond they will turn out hard as stones, my Mum and Sister have been down this road… Split the dough in 4 parts and roll each part between thick cling film or freezer bags that you cut open on 2 sides with 0.5 cm thickness. As the dough is rather sticky, it is better to process it in small batches.
Let the dough cool in the fridge for some hours, better overnight. After rest-time take the first batch off the fridge, loosen the cling film/freezer bag on both sides of the dough and remove on one side completely. Then cut out stars with a starshaped cookie cutter. A wooden toothpick, a teaspoon and a small bowl of water are helpful tools to get the stars out of the cutter from time to time too. Dip your cutter into the water from time to time and remove sticky stars with the back of the teaspoon or the toothpick. Transfer your stars onto baking trays lined with parchment paper. You can roll up the rest of the dough in 0.5 cm thickness and put it back in the fridge while you proceed with the next batch and so on until you used up the dough.
If you haven’t lost patince until now, you are on a good path and have quallified for the next level: Icing. Beat egg whites and sifted confectioners sugar until the icing is smooth and thick. You can now either brush the icing onto your stars or use a piping bag with a small round nozzle. I used to brush mine but it always ended in one great big mess and the stars didn’t look as good as they look piped. Now look at the sheer masses of cookies lying in front of you, tell yourself that they are worth the work and believe me, they are going to taste even better, when you only keep going now. Brush/Pipe the icing on the stars, try to be as accurate as you can with each and every cookie. This is were the patience needs to kick in, if not, remember to listen to the guys of Take That: “Have a little patieeeence”.
Once you iced them all, you can be proud of yourself and pat yourself on the shoulder -yeah another German idiom- because YOU MADE IT. Now you leave these suckers to dry until the icing is completely firm for at least 2 hours, better over night. It is time to pour yourself a drink of whatever you like and be proud of yourself because you tackled the next level. The rest is going to be a walk in the park, trust me.
Preheat the oven to 130°C with fan and bake for 12-15 minutes. Better check on them after 10 minutes and turn the tray if necessary as the icing should remain white. Once they are baked, let them cool on a whire rack. Keep them in a cookie tin for up to 4 weeks.
You can pimp these cookies by adding the zest of 1 organic orange or other spices to the dough for an extra christmassy flavour.
Wow! I can’t believe one year has already passed. This Sunday is our first Wedding anniversary and the date coming closer filled me with mixed emotions. On one hand it makes me really happy because we spent a fantastic day with friends & family and had a wonderful ceremony & party. On the other hand it makes me sad, because my grandpa couldn’t be with us and died a few weeks after our Wedding. But I’ll stick to those happy memories for now, because everything else would make me burst in tears. Continue reading »
I know, I am quite early with this but… I set myself on diet for some time as I twisted my ankle once too many and suffer from a sports-ban until Christmas. So I won’t be baking much at all in the next time and thought it would be a good idea to blog some of the recipes of my repertoire.
This is the recipe that I’ve been loving all my live. When I was a kid, my Mom always prepared the dough a day in advance. The next day, every one of us got his share of the dough and was responsible for rolling it, cutting out cookies transferring them on the baking tray and decorating them. My Mom then took care of the baking and we had so much fun. Good old days 🙂
I know, it is only october but today is a bank holiday in Germany and we started the day lazy on the couch. Around 3, after the second lazy sunday movie, my boyfriend had a craving for christmas cookies. If supermarkets start to sell christmas stuff in early septermber, why not bake my first own christmas cookies in october?! So I went into the kitchen to see which ingredients I had at hand. After another quick look in my recipe collection I decided to make my grandma’s coconut macaroons.
It is a very simple and quick recipe but soooo delicous!
175-200 g sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
250 g grated coconut
Beat the eggs and the sugar together to a thick and solid cream. This takes around 5-10 minutes. Whisk in the honey and gradually add the grated coconut until it reaches a doughy consistency, but not too soft.
Preheat the oven to 150° C/ 300° F and line two baking trays with parchment paper. Take two teaspoons and spoon the dough onto the parchment paper. My grandma used to put the dough on wafers but I don’t like wafers myself so I do it without them.
Bake them for 15-20 minutes and enjoy already hot from tray 😉