Basic French Macarons

Makes about 50 sandwiched macarons.

Ingredients

260 g almond flour (a little less than 2 3/4 cups)
230 g icing sugar (a little more than 1 3/4 cups)
200 g egg whites, aged* (approximately 6 extra-large eggs)
200 g granulated sugar (approximately 1 cup)
2 g cream of tartar (a little less than 1/2 tsp.)
gel food colouring

*Note: Age egg whites by placing egg whites in a bowl and covering with plastic wrap. Pierce small holes in the wrap and place in the fridge for one week. Allow the egg whites to come to room temperature before using.

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Add almond flour and icing sugar in a bowl and mix. Batch by batch, grind the almond mixture in a food processor for a fine texture. Sift the ground almond mixture in a drum sieve over a bowl. Set aside.

Add egg whites to a mixing bowl and, using a mixer with whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until white and frothy. Add sugar and cream of tartar in three additions, mixing each addition until incorporated, and whip to stiff peaks.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and place on a work surface. Add the almond mixture to the egg white-sugar mixture in three additions by folding each addition with a spatula until incorporated. Add the food colouring at this time, if desired. Once all almond flour is added, continue to fold the batter until it reaches a desired piping consistency. The batter show flow like magma when folded.

Spatula the batter into a piping bag with piping tip. Pipe the batter in a 1-inch circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It is helpful to have a template with 1-inch circles drawn on it.

Tap down the baking sheet either by hitting the baking sheet against the work table or by hitting your hand under the baking sheet. This will deflate the meringue and flatten out your batter to release air bubbles.

Allow the batter to dry at room temperature for 20-40 minutes or until a skin has formed around the batter. This can be tested by gently touching the batter with your finger.

Once the batter is dry, bake for 10-13 minutes at 325 degrees F. The baking conditions are different for every oven. It may take some trial and error to get the right conditions.

Once baked, remove from oven and allow the macarons to come to room temperature before removing them from the baking sheet. The macarons are ready to be filled.

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Peanut Butter Brownies

Brownie Ingredients

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup margarine, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Brownie Directions

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, cream together peanut butter and margarine. Gradually blend in the brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix until fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture until well blended.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in preheated oven, or until the top springs back when touched. Cool, and cut into 16 squares.

Icing Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Icing Directions

Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer.

Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable.

Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

From Jaclyn Bullock

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 cups strawberries
4 cups rhubarb

Directions

Slice strawberries and rhubarb into small pieces and spoon into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

Combine butter, flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Stir approximately 1/3 of the dry mixture into the fruit. Sprinkle the rest of the topping evenly over top.

Bake, uncovered at 375°F for 40 to 45 minutes or until fruit is tender.

From Angela Crowe