Pumpkin Spice Macarons

I can’t believe I perfected this. Is perfect too strong of a word? I think I can say that when I’ve worked and tested a recipe multiple times to get the right recipe down to share. And EUREKA! I’ve done it. It’s all pumpkin errrythang season and I’ve made pumpkin bread and will be making pumpkin creme brûlées for thanksgiving.
Pumpkin spices. Did you know you could just make your own? With stuff you probably already have in your spice cabinet?
The pumpkin spice shells were a no brainer. Making a worthy filling was the hard part. Ganache will always be the right consistency. I promise. This will be the base for all my macarons now. Sorry if you don’t like chocolate!

Pumpkin Spice Macarons

Ingredients
For Filling:
5 1/4 oz of baker’s white chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 cup cold heavy cream
1/3 cup Libby’s pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the shells:
110gm sliced blanched almonds
200gm powdered sugar (then subtract 2 TBSP)
1 TBSP ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
3 egg whites (approximately 90 gms) aged at room temperature for 24 hours
25gm granulated sugar

Directions:
Melt and stir chocolate and butter over a double boiler until completely mixed. Should be warm to the touch. Transfer to a tall plastic container that would be good for an immersion blender.

Warm corn syrup in the microwave for 10 seconds. Add to the chocolate mixture. Blend with immersion blender for a minute or so. While still blending stream in cold cream. Misture should become shiny and smooth.

Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon and salt. Blend until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

For Shells

In a food processor, grind almonds and powdered sugar until the almonds are a fine powder. Add the spices. Pulse until well mixed. Pour the dry mix through a fine mesh sieve and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip eggs until frothy. Then slowly add sugar while the eggs are still whipping. Whip until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat. Gently add the dry ingredients to the egg whites. Fold the dry ingredients in approximately 50 strokes. Batter should flow like lava. Do not over mix.

Put the batter into a piping bag, and pipe one inch circles on a silpat/parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Tap the pan a couple times to help level the tops. Let rest for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 300F. Bake the shells for 10-15 minutes (check so it doesn’t burn!) with the door of the oven propped with a wooden spoon.

Allow to cool completely before trying to take it off the mat/paper. When cool, match up the shells by size.

Take the ganache out the refrigerator and spoon into a piping bag. Pipe on one shell and top with the other. Voila!

Dana’s Bakery

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If you click the hashtag on instagram for macarons, I’m sure you’ve seen a post from Dana’s Bakery or of goods from there. As a lover and baker of macarons, I wanted to try these oh so pretty, and unique flavors. Since I was going to be out of town for my friend Deanna’s birthday, I wanted to send her a gift. After seeing so many pictures of macarons online, I figured I should send her a box, since they deliver, and because I got her some last year for her birthday.

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They come in a cute purple insulated lunchbox with an ice pack in which you have to refrigerate immediately upon opening. I suggest that you stick them in the fridge and let them cool down before you enjoy them.  They got flavors like birthday cake, peanut butter and jelly, smores, and thin mint. American flavors if that’s what you want to call them. I think they are fun.

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Visually and texture wise, they are great. The perfect size and you get that satisfying feeling when you first bite into it. I’m more of a fan of traditional flavors, so I was sad that there wasn’t pistachio or raspberry for me eat. But all of their fun flavors seem true to what they are supposed to be! A little too sweet for me though.

Not only are their macarons delicious, their customer service was great. We ran into a little shipping snafu, where the post office didn’t leave the box for Deanna, AND made her pay to pick it up. So by the time she got them, they were not refrigerated and eaten 3 days later. I immediately called the bakery, and they rectified the situation the best they can.

Definitely will order some more to try, they also have a flavor of the month club!

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Making Macarons

Don’t let the looks fool you. Yeah they are good looking. Heck they are even edible. But I didn’t like them. They were too chewy/dense flat for me. Yes I will try again. But this was my first try. I am determined to get these right. I eat them too much, to not know how to make them myself. And at two dollars EACH, it’s worth knowing how to make it with my own resources right? My batter (if that’s what you called it) made exactly a dozen macarons. That would be like $24.90 if I bought at a shop (that included taxes).

Instead of trying to start with a basic french macaron recipe, I went straight in for the kill. I made hazelnut macarons with a nutella filling. Maybe I should have learned how to make a basic macaron first. Oh well. I live dangerously. If you were to buy almond flour, it would pretty much cost about $1- $2 an ounce. I got a bag of blanched almonds, 8 oz for $3.99 and only needed 6oz for this recipe (because I made up the rest in hazelnut flour). I ground it myself with my new toy, Cuisinart Spice and Nut Grinder and it worked out fine. Everything was working out the way it should.

I aged the eggs for a day. At room temperature. Because someone said so. Is that why there was a slightly funky taste? Or was that just my nuts not meshing well together. Hm.

I had all the right tools needed. (Silpats are the best way to go, you get perfect bottoms)

and cute little feet. It all looked good. I made them a little too big though. The boo liked it, he pretty much ate them all himself.

I will try to make the basic chocolate one next. And then move on to pistachio. Once I get the technique then I can adjust the taste, right? Yeah that sounds like the best way to go!

Until then I will eat Michel Patisserie Macarons to get the right flavors in my head.

 

Homemade Funnel Cakes

This happened, at about 11:40pm. My dear little brother was craving funnel cakes so bad, that he was starting to barter for me to make them. I don’t even remember the last time I had funnel cake. I prefer my deep fried and sugar powdered goodness to come in the form of a beignet. When I think of funnel cakes, I think of my summer with a theme park season pass.

Anyhooo. I was a little daunted with the idea of making it though. Funnel cakes, there’s got to be some kind of difficulty to it right? Or else people would make it everyday instead of eating it only at county fairs and carnivals? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

I had everything to make it with in my cupboards. So simple, and quick! Whisk together your wet and dry ingredients, put it in a squeeze bottle, squirt into a design in hot oil…

..et voila! You have funnel cake. Dry on paper towels and sprinkle on powdered sugar. Enjoy while hot!

Homemade Funnel Cakes

Ingredients:

1 egg
2/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions
In a small deep pot, heat about two cups of oil over medium-high heat until hot.

While that is heating, beat egg and milk. Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly add to the wet ingredients, whisk until smooth.

Using a funnel, a squeeze bottle, or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped, drop into hot oil working from center outwards in an overlapping pattern. Flip until evenly browned on both sides. Set on a plate with paper towels to catch excess oil. Serve with powdered sugar

Macarons in France

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The big debate. Laduree or Pierre Herme. Let me just say this…its pretty much your preference, classic or modern. Maybe I don’t have the advanced palate for these delicate treats but neither of them were like, “OH MY GOD WOW I LOVE IT’. Just me. I actually prefer the ones I get at home from Michel Patisserie *gasp*.
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Laduree is a cute, old style place. You can come and have a dainty tea time with your girlfriends (pinky up of course).

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Pierre Herme is definitely “cooler”. Fancy fusion of flavors, some of the macarons even sparkle!

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But between the two, which do I prefer?

What can I say? I prefer the classic flavors!

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