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.

11156378_10100591935354805_7180783938233830920_n10689517_10100591935404705_5038811812692141802_n 11140259_10100591935509495_4312071362453299218_n11168468_10100591935629255_1397398714705380329_n

Advertisements

French Toast

Ingredients

1 large egg
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4-5 slices of day-old bread, 3/4 inch thick
unsalted butter for frying (1 Tbsp. per batch)

Directions

Heat a 10- or 12-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the egg lightly in a shallow pan or pie plate; whisk in the melted butter, then the milk and vanilla, and finally the sugar, flour, and salt, continuing to whisk until smooth. Soak the bread without oversaturating, about 40 seconds per side. Pick up the bread and allow the excess batter to drip off; repeat with remaining slices.

Swirl 1 Tbsp. of butter in the hot skillet. Transfer the prepared bread to the skillet in a single layer; cook until golden brown, about 1 minute 45 seconds on the first side and 1 minute on the second. Serve the French toast immediately. Continue, adding 1 Tbsp. of butter to the skillet for each new batch.

Adapted from The New Best Recipe

Scalloped Potatoes With Thyme and Bay

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leave, minced
1 1⁄4 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1⁄2 lbs russet potatoes or 5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, broth, cream, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender (a paring knife can be slipped into and out of a potato slice with some resistance), about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.

Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch square baking dish (or other 1 1/2 quart gratin dish). Sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Bake until the cream is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Cinnamon Waffles with Caramelized Apples

Apples

3 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Waffles

3 eggs, separated
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
8 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
whipped cream, for serving

Directions

To make the caramelized apples, in a skillet over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter.  Add the apple slices, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Mix until apples are evenly coated.  Cook about 18 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove skillet from heat and stir in vanilla.  Set aside.

To make the waffles, in a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Whisk the flour mixture into the yolk mixture until smooth.  In another clean bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute.  Gently fold 1 cup egg whites into batter; carefully fold in remaining egg whites.

Preheat waffle maker on medium-high.  Pour 1/3 cup batter into each well of waffle maker; close the lid.  Cook 5-6 minutes.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Serve waffles with caramelized apples and whipped cream.   

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

Spring Greens with Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Salad

Spring greens
Pomegranates or strawberries, sliced
Pecans, caramelized
Crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Vinaigrette

1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

To caramelize pecans: spread pecans on baking tray and roast in a 350 degree F oven until just starting to turn brown. Remove and toss with enough melted butter to lightly coat. Sprinkle nuts with 2 tsp white sugar and 1 tsp salt and toss again. Return to oven for just a few minutes, being careful not to burn them.

In a large salad bowl toss together spring greens, pomegranates or sliced strawberries, and caramelized pecans. Drizzle desired amount of dressing over salad and toss to evenly coat. Serve immediately after adding dressing.

Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing together all ingredients except olive oil, until well blended. Add oil in a slow, steady stream until incorporated.

Apple Pecan Feta Spinach Salad with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

Salad

10 oz baby spinach
3 small gala apples or 2 medium, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup pecans, toasted
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled (don’t use the pre-crumbled stuff)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oilz
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large salad bowl toss together spinach, apples, pecans, feta, and cranberries. Drizzle desired amount of dressing over salad and toss to evenly coat. Serve immediately after adding dressing.

To make vinaigrette, add all ingredients to a medium-sized jar. Cover with lid and shake to blend well (or alternately just blend well in a bowl with a whisk).

Adapted from Cooking Classy

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites

Ingredients

2-3 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts or chicken tenders
1 package sliced bacon
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If you have it, place an uncoated metal cooling rack inside a foil-lined large rimmed baking sheet and lightly coat with cooking spray. If not, line a baking pan or broiling pan with foil and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray. Cut the chicken breasts into large bite-sized pieces. If using chicken tenders, cut them in half (you can fold over the chicken tender pieces when wrapping so they’ll be thicker).

Place the chicken pieces in a medium bowl and toss with the salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic powder and red pepper. Let it hang out while preparing the rest of the ingredients (you can cover and refrigerate up to a day).

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and chili powder together. Cut the entire slab of bacon into thirds. Wrap each chicken piece with small strip of bacon and holding tightly, dredge them in the brown sugar/chili powder mixture.

Place the chicken pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet (or rack set inside the baking sheet). If the bacon isn’t staying put, you can secure with a toothpick.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and the chicken is cooked through. Flip it once if the chicken is laying directly on the baking sheet. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe