I know that a lot of people want the unicorn buzz to be over already, but I can’t overcome it. Main reason is that I do believe in unicorns and for me they are not just a trend, unicorns are more. Unicorns are a symbol, they stand for power, grace and the undying magic of fairy tales. Life is complex and in our daily hamster wheel, we often forget to appreciate the little things. No matter the circumstances, no matter how rough the times are, no matter the stress level, no matter how unfair life seems to be, I believe in unicorns, that all obstacles can be overcome and that it’s all going to be alright in the end.
That and coffee is what keeps me going. And it may not come as a surprise that I celebrate the international day of Macarons with a coffee Macaron in the shape of unicorns. The goodie bag of the last foodblogger camp came with a package of Tchibo blonde roast, which should also be available in Stores and online as of this week, and that inspired me flavourwise. I tasted the coffee during a hand filtering session with Karen at the camp and found it to not be my cup for drinking but the flavour pairs well with the white chocolate in the Macaron filling. Continue reading »
Yes, I’m trying to be punny here. But this is as good as it gets right now. I have been troubled with baking and writing reluctance for a while. I tried a lot of things, all those pieces of advice you get from fellow bloggers, friends, family and professional writers. It seems that nothing could help me, neither letting it be, taking a break nor just forcing myself. I have had a lot of those phases before, where I couldn’t bring up the time or the energy to write. It simply wasn’t my priority then. But this time it’s different. I know I want to go on with this blog, but don’t really know what to say any more. Writing mostly came easy to me as soon as I sat down to do it, with every recipe there was already a story on my mind. A memory, a person, something I wanted to share with the world, to explain why I did what I did, to make my readers see and feel what I felt. Baking was some sort of therapy for me, a way to cope with stress and demotivation. When in the kitchen and whipping up some bake, I could live out my creativity, not just follow a recipe, rather give them my own twist and create something. It seems that this vibe is gone on most of the days, things don’t come easy and even when I put much effort it doesn’t feel right. But on rare occasions like today, my mind is open to be touched by the muse… Continue reading »
March 20th marks not only the beginning of Spring, it is also Macaron Day and I am honoured that today’s recipe is featured on my favourite blog and one & only fandom: Der Kuchenbäcker. The frequent readers may know that I already sang a hymn or two on him, all others are duly invited to check him out.
Macaron Day or Jour du Macaron was initiated 2005 by Pierre Hermé, the godfather of Macarons and Patissiers around the world sell Macarons on this day to fundraise for local charities. I like the concept but unfortunately there is no Patisserie around that takes part. Instead I want to bake some easter cookies again to donate them for a local group here in my town that meets every Sunday to help homeless and other people in need. It’s not just about supplying the people with food and warm beverages, it is also a communication plattform and a meeting point for people in need. None of the people organising it gets paid, everything they give out is donated and they organise via a facebook group. I have been there a few times, mostly to bring some clothes or cake, and stayed there for a while to watch and listen to the people. Most of them have been through a lot and it always reminds me of how small my own problems are. I am very thankful that those people have somewhere to go, normal people to talk to that don’t judge and give them back at least a bit of their dignity. It reminds me of how important it is to give back and to change the perspective on your own live from time to time.
Burger Macarons on Foodbloggercamp in Reutlingen 2016
But let’s get back to Macarons, because that’s what you came here for, right? I intended to host a Macaron session at Foodbloggercamp in Reutlingen because I think sharing ones knowledge is also a way of giving back. Even though I am not a master myself, a barcamp is a good plattfrom to share what I know and exchange with others. When preparing my session a bit I stumbled over a Macaron inspiration book I bought and wanted to bring to show how diversely decoration of Macarons can be. I don’t like the recipes in there but the decoration ideas are truly great. Thinking about last years cam in Reultingen to be very meaty and since I found my sister-in-meat in last years burger session, I felt I had to burger again. So I spontaneously decided to pack some sesame seeds and a packet of fresh mint I still had at home to pimp my Macarons to be Macaron burgers. Talking about my session at Foodbloggercamp, I still don’t feel good about the chaotic session I held. I really want to apologise to all attendees and thank you for your patience. I can do better than this, I hope you guys at least learned something and if you have any questions just drop me a line! Some special thanks go to Diana, for spontaneously co-hosting the session and sharing her experience, Jana & Isabel for jumping in to help me finish the Macarons, Natalie, for being super flexible and letting me block ‘her’ kitchen throughout most of her Session and Gyöngyi for putting me back together after I was really upset about my chaotic session.
What I have learned about hosting a session on the barcamp:
It’s a barcamp, so expect the unexpected!
Plan more time! After Berlin I thought doing one recipe in 45 minutes with proper preparation would be a walk in the park. Well… it wasn’t!
Team up and ask for help! Taking care of hot sugar syrup while talking is a bit of a gamble. Even though I had a spontaneous co-host, I suck at delegating, the sugar syrup got too hot and lumped which resulted in a very hard meringue mass that comes out flaky and makes ugly Macarons.
Bring a handout! It’s not the recipe, it’s all the little tips and tricks you have to share from your experience that attendees want. 45 minutes pass so fast and it’s just one of 6-8 sessions a day, so a handout helps to remember what you have shared. It also is a good preparation for the host, cause it makes you think about what you want to share in your session.
Go easy on yourself! It isn’t just you in your kitchen at home all on your own, so don’t expect perfection. This is a tough one for me because I always strive for perfection, especially with Macarons. In my session I talked about how to make perfect Macarons every time and then I deliver lumpy and bumpy Macarons?! Though ugly the Macarons tasted superb, the flavour combination was amazing and the attendees learned a bit too (at least I hope).
Last weekend was foodblogger camp time again. After I had such a fantastic time in Reutlingen beginning of the year, I couldn’t wait for the ticket sale for Foodblogger Camp Berlin (#fbcb15) to start. In Reutlingen I had a box of Blueberry and White Chocolate Macarons with me and when someone said the magic word I posted on social media, I opened my box for them. It was hella fun. Saturday night in Reutlingen over a bottle of whatever-beverage-it-was and some Macarons, Johanna of “My tasty little beauties” and I discussed about how we both don’t dare to host a Macaron Session on a barcamp, because we both have experienced Macarons bitch on us when it counts. But it seems that over the year Johanna has grown some balls and decided to offer a Macaron session at #fbcb15 and I couldn’t be happier to tag along together with my Blogsister Wienerbroed. Continue reading »
I know such a headline needs explanation and as you might already assume, this might take some more words. Dorothée of bushcooks kitchen is hosting the 110th (!) Blog-Event on Zorras blog and came up with a wonderful idea: A virtual culinary threesome! I like teaming up with other bloggers, discussing a menu and ideas, planning together and creating a special 3 course menu with one theme.
I wanted to be part of this, this is only the second Blog-Event I attend, so the subject seriously got to me. It was clear that I’d go for dessert, as I am not much of a cook and after all IT’S DESSERT!!!!! I quickly found a Starter and a Main Course as Isabel & Nata, who I also met along with Dorothée and Zorra at last years Walnut Flavour Pairing Event, were looking for a cherry on top that I gladly deliver!
Special thanks to Isabel who hands-on took over most of the planning and kickstarted my culinary dessert endeavours. I’ve been thinking about experimenting with wine for some time, but was lacking the inspiration. A chat with my go-to wine-guy on the local farmers market reveilled a potential combination and I am very happy with the outcome.
So here goes our awesome-threesome menu “Summer Colours”:
I am a summer kid, born in June and being in love with the season is in my DNA. I don’t like it particularly hot, so the beginning of summer is the best time of the year for me. It’s when you can get regional asparagus and strawberries on every corner around where I live and I can’t think of anything better. Strawberries have always been my favourite fruit and I could never ever overeat on them. Technically strawberries are not fruits. But they are high in fibre and contain a lot of antioxidants that presumably help against inflammation & cancer, and nonetheless they are simply delicious! When it comes to strawberry cake I prefer the simple option: sponge, generously topped with strawberries and a touch of glaze. I don’t turn down some fresh whipped cream on top, who could deny that?! But unlike pure strawberries I can’t eat all the same cake all the time. Sometimes I need a little twist, so I came up with the idea of a dark chocolate tarte to accompany my favourite fruits. I especially like the combination of the slightly bitter chocolate with the sweet fruitiness of the berries, a combination to win a spot in my heart! Continue reading »
Don’t get me wrong, I met a lot of bloggers that inspired me in the past year, but my one and only muse is Tobias aka Kuchenbäcker.We met at a local Foodblogger meet-up last summer and I was really blown away by this guy. Not only are guys that can bake rather rare, but also he was the first kind of famous blogger I met in person. Tobi is down-to-earth, vibrant and full of ideas, he is the brightest, most energetic and inspirational person I have ever met. Even when he is stressed, sick or in a bad mood, he still makes the sun shine through the rain what brought me to nickname him Glücksbärchi (That’s what the care bears were called in Germany). If you do not remember this 80ies cartoon series, I’m happy to fresh up your memory: It’s a bunch of cute furry guardian angels that show up to help you out with their happiness and magic whenever you’re facing problems. And that is exactly what Tobias does for me. He is generously giving advice, sharing his experience, open to any “dumb” question I may have and his enthusiasm is truly contagious. I get such a boost in motivation every time we meet and you light up my blog-world. You deserve one big fat thank you Tobi!
For his double-feature birthday bash contest he asked everyone to bake him a cake. But I couldn’t help ignoring the cake part because I am the Macaron-Girl to him. And that’s why I combined the best of us both: Care bears and Macarons in symbiosis. The biggest challenge for me was to take the stage together with my bakes. I take pictures of my food all the time, but hardly ever show my face. Thanks again Tobi for making me take the spotlight, my “About me” page is now updated with a picture. Continue reading »
I usaly don’t make promises, but if I do, I keep them, no matter what. That sometimes ends in last minute shopping just minutes to midnight and endless hours in the kitchen to get things right, especially when foolproof recipes fail in the first attempt. But I like to be challenged because it is the only way to push your boundaries and to better your best. There are a few people in my live that seem to have a greater trust in me than I have myself. I have this one colleague, I like to refer to him as “the nag”, who keeps pushing me and seems to have an unlimited belief in my baking skills. He once told another colleague that I make fantastic Macarons even though I never made them before and he didn’t know. But he extrapolated from the given data (all the cakes and stuff that I brought to the office over the year) that I must be capable of making soft French Macarons, to me the Queen of baked goods, naturally. When someone you hardly know believes in you no matter what, you start to believe that the people close to you also might have a point apart from pampering you because they like you and finally, you start to believe in yourself. I’m blessed with a wonderful family and awesome friends who give me honest and mostly good feedback all the time, but still it is this nag who pushes me over the edge and makes me bake even braver. Continue reading »
My new friend & long lost soul-sister Katharina celebrated the 2nd birthday of her Wienerbroed-Blog and invited me to make something for her birthday coffee table. Katharina is one of those few people you meet in your life that you feel instantly connected with. There might be a significant number of parallels in our lives and it feels like I’ve been knowing her forever. Denmark is to her what Ireland is to me. And she has a serious thing for blueberries and also white chocolate. When she asked me to contribute I knew it had to be Macarons with blueberries and chocolate. And the cute little Hoptimist cheering for Denmark sneaked into the picture to grab one of these delicious little things. I made them just the day before the Foodblogger Camp and again posted a Codeword on Instagram and Twitter for free Macarons. It kind of went viral (yay!) and fellow foodbloggers started to yell “Smaland” at me all day. Why I chose the codeword “Smaland”…? Where else can you jump into blueberries?! All of you IKEA-visitors may now understand 🙂
You can also check out the full German post over on Katharina’s blog or read the English recipe here.
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?