Archive | June, 2012

Nutella Macarons

11 Jun

I promise I don’t have a problem.

Nope.

Okay, I admit it… if there was rehab for Nutella addiction, my friends would probably check me in.

Who cares if I’m addicted, it has resulted in Nutella Macarons!

With that being said, macroons are a PAIN IN THE BUTT. Besides being time consuming, they are frustratingly fickle….the weirdest things can go wrong! Thankfully mine worked out, more or less, although I must admit that they are not the roundest or fattest. Oh well, they taste amazing! Any now without further ado, I give you Nutella Macarons adapted from this amazing recipe (check it out for step by step pictures) and with much help from these awesome macaron tips.

Makes about 20 medium sized macarons

Nutella ganache:
½ cup of heavy cream
2 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/4 C Nutella

  • In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream over low-medium heat. Meanwhile, place chocolate and Nutella in a medium heat-proof bowl. When heavy cream reaches a simmer, remove from heat and pour over chocolate and Nutella. Let sit for 20 seconds, then whisk until ganache is smooth
  • Place ganache in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes (I kept it in there longer as I was making the shells, but it didn’t seem to affect it negatively at all), until it has thickened
  • When ready to fill cookies, take out and beat the ganache until it lightens in color and becomes more fluffy like a mousse
  • Pair up macarons of the same size. Pipe or spoon a little Nutella mousse onto one cookie. Place the other cookie on top and press down gently.

Chocolate macarons:
110g almond meal
200 grams minus 2 tbsp powdered sugar
30g cocoa powder
100g egg whites (3-3 1/2 large eggs), (I placed them in a small bowl covered with plastic wrap and left them on the counter for 36 hours)
1/8 tsp salt
50g granulated sugar

  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mats.
  • Run almond meal through a sifter. Place in food processor (I don’t have a food processor, so I used my blender and then whisked by hand a little)
  • Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder to food processor and pulse a few times until everything is incorporated. Set aside
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg whites for a few minutes until they are foamy. Immediately, place mixer on low and slowly add the granulated sugar to the foamy egg whites. Continue beating until egg whites have stiff peaks (Consistency of shaving cream)
  • The egg white beating is one of the hardest steps to nail. Even though I was happy with my macaroons, I think they were a bit under-beaten, as some of mine split in too. However, also beware of over-beating. This just takes some practice and trial and error.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg whites and fold them in with a spatula. Place a clip above the open end of your piping bag (i just cut a hole in my plastic one, but from my experience I would recommend a metal tip) so batter won’t flow out while you fill the bag. Place the bag on a tall glass to hold it up and fill it with the batter. Twist the top shut and remove the clip. Pipe small circles onto the prepared baking sheets
  • Let batter rest for around 10-30 minutes, until it feels dry (and not sticky) to the touch. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 300°F.
  • Bake for 12 minutes. Check to see if macarons are done by grabbing the top of one macaron and trying to shake it. They are done when the top barely slides against the skirt. If they are not done, extend baking time by two minutes intervals, checking after each extension. Remove from oven and let cool completely before adding filling.

Taste: 

Healthiness: 

Would I make it again? Um, YES PLEASE. These have been my favorite thing I have baked in a very long time, taste wise. Macaroons are can be semi-healthy in moderation (132 cal, 13g sugar each), but unfortunately these are addicting as all get out!

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Nutella-Banana French Toast

6 Jun

Sometimes we all need a little pick me up. I take that in the form of Nutella! While this french toast is most definetly sweet and utterly delicious, it is healthy…kinda. The egg/egg whites and whole grain bread provide a good amount of protein, espeically if devoured with half a glass of skim milk. Admitedly, it is a bit high in sugar, but most of it comes from the banana (if you really want to cut down on the sugar from the Nutella, maybe try a low-sugar chocolate hazelnut spread)

Serves one, but easily multiplied for more people.

Nutella and Banana French Toast
Crisco or small pat of butter
1 large brown egg
1~3 tbsp egg white substitute (if you need more liquid to dip the bread in)
1/8 C almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 pieces of whole wheat bread (I use Nature’s Own)
1 banana, about  80g
1/2 tbsp Nutella
1/2 tbsp cashew butter (you can use any nut butter you like)
Powdered sugar for sprinkling

  • Spray large pan with crisco and heat pan on medium high
  • Combine egg through nutmeg in a small bowl. Whisk thoroughly
  • Dip each piece of bread in bowl and coat each side. Place carefully in hot pan
  • Cook each side until done to your liking
  • Meanwhile, slice banana and combine nutella and nut butter
  • Place cooked bread on plate, spread on nutella/nut butter and top with banana slices and second piece of bread
  • Slice in half and garnish with powdered sugar if desired

Taste: 

Healthiness: 

Would I make it again? Most certainly, but I’ve got to work on my cooking time for the bread and maybe trying it out with homemade Nutella.

The Birth(day) of my Blog

6 Jun

Pink + Ombre + Roses.

How fitting that my first ever post (the birth of this blog, you might say) coincides with my own birthday. For my birthday this year, I decided to break my 6 year streak of strictly store bought (Walmart) cakes and instead bake my own cake.So with 8+ hours of work, and a ridiculous amount of help from my best-friend/neighbor, I was able to create this wonderful, Double Pink Ombre Cake!

“Double pink?!” you may ask. Yup.

Double ombre all the way!
The recipe itself is extremely simple (both adapted from The Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes), but the assembly was utterly time consuming. I was inspired by Glorious Treats and many many others!

Serves 20~24 depending on the size of your slices

White Cake (tripled):
2 3/4 C all purpose white flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C butter
1 2/3 C white sugar
5 egg whites (I used the equivalent amount but from egg white substitute)
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 C milk

  • Heat oven to 350°F (370°F for darker pans). Spray two (or more) 9 in round baking pans with Crisco spray (or wipe with a bit of melted butter) and lightly flour, making sure to tap out all the extra flour and to evenly coat all sides
  • In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt
  • In a mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 second on medium. Add sugar 1/3 C at a time, beating well after each addition and occasionally scraping the bowl. Beat for two more minutes.
  • Add egg whites one at a time. Add in vanilla.
  • On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about 1/3 at a time, and milk, 1/2 at a time, beating until just blended
  • Pour half the batter into the first pan, and then mix a small amount of dye into the rest of the batter and pour the rest into the second pan; for both, fill about 1/2 to 2/3 of the pan full
  • Place in oven and bake 22-25min or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  • Remove done cakes from the oven, let them sit in the pan to cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully flip them onto a cooling rack (easier said than done)
  • As your first two pans are baking, repeat the steps for making the batter two more times, to have three times the original recipe in total (you may have to take the pans out, remove the cake, clean and re-oil/flour the pans, and refill them after while in the midst of making more batter, unless you have 6 identical 9 in pans laying around).
  • Don’t forget to add more dye to each layer!
  • Do not try to make all your batter in one go, your mixer will most likely not be able to handle it
  • When all six layers have been baked and cooled on the rack for at least 15-25 min, wrap each one individually in sarran wrap and freeze. They must freeze for at least 24 hours before being solid enough to assemble
That’s some pink batter, I’ll say!

White Frosting (quadrupled):
5~6 C powdered sugar (I found that 5 was the magic number for my taste, but the original calls for 6)
2/3 C butter
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 C milk

  • In a large bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with an electric mixer
  • Sir in the vanilla and 3 tbsp of the milk
  • Add more milk as needed to make frosting smooth (I found I needed at least 1/4 cup, or four tbsp, to make the frosting smooth)
  • Like the cakes, I suggest you make the recipe four times and not in one go. As each batch is complete, transfer to a very large bowl and place in the fridge to firm as you make the next batch. Once all the frosting has been made, make sure it has at least a few minutes to firm up in the fridge

Assembly:
Six (frozen) cake layers
Frosting
Offset Spatula
Disposable piping bags (one with a wide hole cut in it or a #12 tip, and one with a rose tip)
Cake stand or something to assemble/decorate/serve cake from

  • Cut frozen layers so they are flat and the same diameter; feel free to cut off extra on the edges
  • Dollop frosting on cake stand and spread before placing the first layer (like glue to keep the base in place)
  • Use piping bag with large opening to pipe frosting around the circumference of the base layer
  • Pipe more frosting in the center of the layer and spread with offset spatula until even
  • Place next layer on top (making sure that frosting is even and layer is not drooping) and repeat for every layer
  •  Once all layers are placed, crumb coat the sides of cake and top of the final layer
  • Now you’re ready for the roses! Start on the top with roses (for how to do the swirl roses, look here and here)
  • For the ombre effect, I used different amounts of coloured dye (to be honest, I did not measure out equal amounts and add different amounts of dye to each…in reality I mixed more and eye balled the color as I went along….not particularly scientific at all)

Taste: 

Healthiness: 

Would I make it again? Maybe. Visually the cake was stunning, but I was personally not satisfied with the taste of the cake (maybe I’m not used to using such heavy ingredients), however I got tons and tons of compliments on the taste, so no clear verdict. The amount of time and effort also makes me wary of attempting this cake again; this took 8+ hours between two people…you have been warned.

Oh my goodness that was a long post. I promise every post will not be this ridiculously detailed, but I figured someone may want an in-depth, step by step how to on this colossal cake! I hope someone tries this, I’d love to see it!