Coffee Macarons

coffee macaronsWhere in the world did the time go?? It’s a week before Thanksgiving! I always feel a little overwhelmed right before the week of Thanksgiving. Not so much the day of, because by then I have already planned and prepped for the big day. But the week before, I’m trying to figure out grocery lists, what dishes to remake from last year and try for this year, and the number of people coming while doing every day things like work, house chores and errands. This is the first time I ever felt like leaving Thanksgiving dinner to someone else (that says volumes since I’ve been doing Thanksgiving dinner since I was a junior in high school).
coffee macaron shellAs children of Korean immigrants, we didn’t celebrate American holidays like my non-Asian friends. Thanksgiving was just another day off of school (which we were more than grateful for) and we would maybe have a chicken for dinner. In hindsight, we didn’t even have chicken every year. I didn’t even care about having a Thanksgiving meal with turkey until my one friend said to me, “What?? You don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving?? No mashed potatoes? No gravy or stuffing? What about sweet potatoes with marshmallows, you must have that at least.” Mind you this was over AIM (omg remember those days?? Being on AIM was the lifeline to having a social life) and it may have sounded harsher than he intended in my mind. Either way, that night (the night before Thanksgiving) I searched high and low for a turkey recipe and in the morning, I insisted that my dad buy us a turkey. (Now that I think about it, it was a miracle in itself to have found a fresh turkey the day of Thanksgiving.) So with a fresh 12-lb. turkey with no other fixings, we made our first Thanksgiving meal. It was just salted, peppered and basted with butter and it was the most delicious turkey I’ve ever had.
coffee macaronMy meals since then have evolved and developed. We have had a variation of every side dish you can think of (mashed and roasted potatoes and vegetables, stuffing, salads, cranberry sauce, gravy, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese…). I’ve tried about every method there is to making a turkey (brined, dry-brined, roasted upside down halfway and turned over, spatchcocked, blanketed with a weave of bacon strips…) with the exception of deep frying. But nothing ever tastes as good as that first turkey I made.

keurig macaronsEither way, yes, for once in my life I feel overwhelmed with Thanksgiving. Last year, when my brother asked, “Are we having a Thanksgiving dinner with everyone?” I replied, “As long as I’m living and breathing, there is always Thanksgiving dinner.” I think I forget what we started with and it’s so easy to see the tough part of the task that it’s even easier to dismiss the highlights of the fruit of the labor. So this year, I’m so incredibly thankful for every opportunity and task that I’ve been given. Not because I’m so gung ho about the work, but because I’ve been blessed with the ability and the environment to accomplish it and that is more than enough to be thankful for.
DSC_0484*Somehow I ended up with this soliloquy about Thanksgiving. But this macaron would be the perfect ending to a meal. Thanks to the coffee emulsion (which is more potent than an extract) and a sprinkling of coffee grounds (I just opened up a fresh Keurig pod), it is bursting with coffee flavor. Also, I’m kinda macaron-ed out. Hahaha So it may be a while before you see another macaron post. But I’m looking forward to bringing different things for the blog. 🙂

Coffee Macarons

For the macaron shell:

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
fresh ground coffee (for garnish)
brown gel food coloring (for decorating the macaron)
vodka (for diluting the food coloring)

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 ˚F, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.
  11. Sprinkle coffee grounds on only 1/3 of the macaron shell.
  12. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  13. Preheat the oven to 325-350˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 325˚F, if not then 350˚F.
  14. Lower the heat to from 350˚F to 300˚F. (If starting from 325˚F, lower to 275˚F.)
  15. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macaron shell is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  16. Remove pan from oven and reheat oven to higher temperature for 10 minutes before baking the next tray, lowering the temperature when you start baking it.
  17. Continue until you bake all of the macaron shells.
  18. Once the macarons have cooled, dilute brown food coloring in some vodka to make it paint-like.
  19. With a flat brush (food-only use), draw a thick line down the middle of the macaron.
  20. Once all the macarons have been drawn, dilute food coloring with a drop or two of vodka for a stronger color and turning the flat brush to the side, draw a thin stripe down the thick light brown stripe.
  21. Let dry and fill with coffee frosting.

For the coffee frosting:

Ingredients:
1 c. whole milk
¼ c. flour
⅛ tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ c. sugar
1 – 1½ tbsp. coffee emulsion  

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add 1 tbsp. coffee emulsion and mix until combined.
  8. Taste and if you want a stronger flavor, add another ½ tbsp. coffee emulsion.

Pumpkin Crème Brulee

pumpkin creme brulee 3My favorite holiday EVER is Thanksgiving. Christmas is a close second. My argument for Thanksgiving trumping Christmas is that it is all about family time. No holiday shopping stress, crazy decorations, party obligations or unhappy people not getting what they wanted, it’s all about spending time together and relaxing and eating. I honestly think sharing a meal brings people closer together and the Thanksgiving table is a prime example. Perfectly roasted turkey, savory stuffing, crisp salads, fluffy mashed potatoes, tangy cranberry sauce and luscious gravy come together for the perfect meal. But after that perfect meal comes the pans of pumpkin, pecan and apple pies, there is probably something with chocolate on the table (because what kind of dessert menu lacks chocolate) and this pumpkin crème brulee.
egg yolkspumpkin creme brulee 4Something about crème brulee makes everyone happy. It’s sophisticated enough for the adults but is also kid-friendly because it’s pretty much a fancy pudding cup. I love the contrast of the crisp crunch of the caramelized sugar and the perfectly smooth custard. Plus that ever so slightly bitter burnt taste of the sugar pairs well with the sweetness underneath. pumpkin creme brulee 2pumpkin creme brulee 6I’ve made this recipe two Thanksgivings in a row because it’s so good, like people-are-scraping-the-bottom-of-the-ramekin good. It’s super easy but it always has that “oo la la” factor when it shows up on the table. Plus, you make it a day before so it’s one less thing you have to worry about. You just sprinkle the top with sugar and torch it before serving. I know that it’s proper for the caramelized sugar layer to be thin, but I like mine extra thick so that I get more substantial shards of sugar in my crème brulee.
pumpkin creme bruleePumpkin Crème Brulee

Ingredients:
1 ½ c. heavy cream
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated
5 egg yolks
½ c. sugar, plus extra for torching
¾ c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Boil a kettle full of water for the water bath.
2. In a medium pot, heat heavy cream, cinnamon and nutmeg together until it simmers.
3. In a separate bowl, mix egg yolks and ½ c. sugar until combined.
4. Slowly stream a ladleful of heavy cream mixture into the egg yolks, while whisking the egg yolks to avoid curdling your egg mixture.
5. Continue to slowly add the rest of the heavy cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture until completely mixed.
6. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a separate bowl.
7. Whisk in pumpkin puree and vanilla into the custard mixture.
8. In a large roasting or baking pan, arrange five 7 oz. ramekins. Split the custard mixture evenly amongst the ramekins.
9. Place the pan into the oven and pour hot water into the baking pan until it comes at least half way up the ramekins. Avoid getting water into the ramekins.
10. Bake about 30-40 minutes until the center of the custard is just set. You will know this when you jiggle the ramekin and the custard jiggles just in the center.
11. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool and cover with plastic wrap before refrigerating the ramekins for at least 4 hours or overnight.
12. When ready to serve, remove ramekins from the fridge and add a spoonful of sugar in to the ramekin, rotating it for even coverage. Use a butane torch to caramelize the sugar until dark brown and even. Serve immediately.


Recipe adapted from Use Real Butter.

Soot Sprite Macarons (Pumpkin Cookie Butter Macarons)

susuwatari macaronI’m a huge Hayao Miyazaki fan. I love the stories and character development in his films. What I appreciate the most are his strong feminine characters that often save themselves unlike so many of the Disney films I grew up with. Of course there are male protagonists, but they neither dominate nor undermine the heroine. Instead, they work in tandem with each other and both characters evolve and progress their personalities. One of my favorite films from Studio Ghibli is Spirited Away. Susuwatari (also known as Soot Sprites) are the minions of Kamaji, the boiler man. Small and furry looking, they are adorable in clusters and eat Konpeitō, which are star-shaped colorful Japanese candy. The plush with the mask is No Face who my sister deemed creepy and suggested I throw out. I think it’s adorable and I would never. Like I’ve mentioned before, we are two very different people.
soot sprite macaronThe black shells and the orange pumpkin cookie butter filling just beg these macarons to be made for Halloween. I’ve wanted to make these for October but I just ran out of time. You can always omit the black food coloring, colored sugar sprinkles and candy eyes and you would have a perfect pumpkin macaron for Thanksgiving. (As shown in the last photo of the post.) By the way, the pumpkin cookie butter filling is made with Trader Joe’s pumpkin pie spice cookie butter. (Can you tell I love Trader Joe’s yet? Hahaha Anyways…) It tastes exactly what the title says except I found that it wasn’t pumpkin-y enough. So I added pumpkin puree to the frosting base to up the pumpkin factor.
soot sprite macaronsIf you do decide to make it with the black food coloring and sugar sprinkles, I should warn you that these macarons WILL turn your mouth and teeth black. And if you have several of them, (this may be TMI but) you may or may not have green stool. Kind of like that black burger bun situation that Burger King had a month ago. It’s not harmful to your body, but I didn’t want to give anyone a surprise scare. Hahaha
pumpkin cookie butter macaronsIn other news, my favorite holiday of the year is creeping up on us. Thanksgiving is the absolute ultimate holiday for me and I’m looking forward to sharing some of my all-star recipes with you during this month!

Soot Sprite Macarons (Susuwatari Macarons)

You will need:
Black Sprinkle Macaron Shells (recipe below)
Pumpkin Cookie Butter Frosting (recipe below)
Candy Eyes
Black candy melts

Instructions:

  1. Sandwich two black macaron shells with pumpkin cookie butter frosting.
  2. Melt two black candy wafers in the microwave and use a toothpick to dab a small amount on the back of a candy eye to adhere to the macaron shell. (Before adhering the eyes, make sure that the pupils of the candy eyes are identical. Some pupils tend to be larger than others, giving your macarons an odd mismatched look if you are not careful.)
  3. Repeat the steps with the second candy eye.

Black Sprinkle Macaron Shells

212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
black gel food coloring (if you want regular pumpkin macarons, do not use this.)
black sugar crystals (if you want regular pumpkin macarons, do not use this.)

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 ˚F, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.
  8. Add in a drops of black gel food coloring until desired shade is achieved. (Skip this step if you want white macarons.)
  9. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  10. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  11. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.
  12. On half of the macaron shells, generously sprinkle on black sugar crystals. (Skip this step if you want white macarons.)
  13. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  14. Preheat the oven to 325-350˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 325˚F, if not then 350˚F.
  15. Lower the heat to from 350˚F to 300˚F. (If starting from 325˚F, lower to 275˚F.)
  16. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macaron shell is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  17. Remove pan from oven and reheat oven to higher temperature for 10 minutes before baking the next tray, lowering the temperature when you start baking it.
  18. Continue until you bake all of the macaron shells.

Pumpkin Cookie Butter Frosting

Ingredients:

½ c. pumpkin puree
¾ c. whole milk
¼ c. flour
⅛ tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ c. sugar
½ c. pumpkin pie spice cookie butter

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk pumpkin puree, milk, salt and flour until combined.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the pumpkin pie spice cookie butter and mix until combined.

Avocado Bacon Spiralized Hotdogs

bacon avocado hotdogsIt’s rare that I find a technique that is life-changing. I love trying out new ways to do things. Mostly because they are novel and I’m always looking for ways to grow and learn in general. I’ll usually try something once or twice, but that’s about it. It’s on to the next obsession, the next trend, the next new way to do something.
spiralized bacon avocado hotdogBut this, oh man… It is such a simple technique but it makes the average hot dog 10000% tastier than what it was before. You simply stick a skewer into the sausage, take a knife and create a swirl pattern along the meat, which will result in a Slinky looking piece of meat. It does not look like much but once you cook it, the increased surface to volume ratio creates extra crisp, juicy, meaty goodness.
bacon avocado hotdogThe first time I made this on a grill, the neighboring party came over and asked what kind of meat I was cooking. Once they saw that it was just a hot dog cut up into a fancy shape, they amused at its novelty and went about their merry way. Little did I know that I was a monkey about to touch the monolith.
bacon avocado hot dogsI’ve eaten my fair share of hot dogs and this one is right at the top. Neck and neck with the deep fried hot dogs they sell at a local hot dog joint in my town. Yes, true to the busy spatula fashion, I had to jazz it up by adding bacon, avocado, Sriracha and Kewpie mayo. (Which by the way, if you can do it, you must. It is a serious flavor bomb.) But honestly, this post is really about the technique. Simply cutting it up in a spiral shape will be life changing. I promise.
bacon avocado hot dogs
Avocado Bacon Spiralized Hotdogs

Ingredients:
Hot dog sausage
Avocado, peeled and cut into thin slices
Bacon
Sriracha
Kewpie Mayo (yes, there is a difference between this and regular mayonnaise)
Potato hot dog buns
Skewers (I understand that this is not an ingredient but SO NECESSARY)

Instructions:

  1. Stick a skewer through the middle of a hot dog sausage. If it does not go straight and pokes out the side, pull it back and continue until you get it to the other end of the sausage.
  2. With a sharp knife, make a continuous spiral cut along the sausage, using the skewer as a guide to know how deep to cut the sausage.
  3. Spread a thin layer of mayo over potato hot dog buns and toast it in a heated frying pan.
  4. Remove toasted buns and cook sausage over medium heat until well browned and crispy.
  5. Remove sausages, turn heat to low and cook bacon until desired level of crispness.
  6. Top toasted hot dog bun with sausage, avocado slices, bacon, Kewpie mayo and Sriracha.
  7. Enjoy immensely.

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake 1I made this cake for my sister’s birthday last week. As far as sisters go, my sister and I are as different as night and day. We don’t look alike, with the exception that we both share freckles. Growing up, I would be pale from staying in and reading books while she would be as tan as can be from playing outside. She loves the color black while I love white. She is loud and I am quiet. She prefers vegetables, while I prefer steak. She likes things simple and casual while I cannot get enough frills and bows. She favors pants in comparison to my preference to dresses. She is also not partial to desserts whereas I cannot live without them (as evidenced by this blog). I always tell people that whatever she is good at, I lack it and whatever I am good at, she lacks it.
Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake 3I love creating cakes and I look forward to baking one for all of my family members on their special day. But my sister does not like cake. HOW?! As someone whose life (or a good part of their life) revolves around frosting, and sugar and flour, it is hard to understand someone who does not like cake. So every year on her birthday, I resort to an ice cream cake. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t like ice cream?
Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake 2Tiramisu was one of my least favorite desserts because I used to rarely drink coffee. If anything, I loved it for the mascarpone cream. (Ah, mascarpone cream… everything you touch becomes a magical milky confection.) But ever since I gave up diet coke, I’ve been leaning towards coffee for my caffeine fix and I’ve managed to fall in love with the bitter brew. My sister’s preferred choice of drink has always been coffee, so tiramisu was a no-brainer when it came to a flavor choice.
layoutI have to say, this cake ranks as one of the best cakes to come out of my kitchen. It features layers of coffee ice cream sandwiched between coffee syrup soaked sponge cake, chocolate almond crispies (!!!), and is covered by a blanket of mascarpone whipped cream and adorned with dark chocolate accents and cocoa powder. I know. It sounds like it is too much work and it is true that there are many components to the cake. However, each part is simple to make!
mascarpone cream I always use high quality ice cream when it comes to ice cream cakes. It is important to have the lower air content so that the ice cream stays firmer, longer. I used Haagen-Dazs in mine. The sponge cake is a standard sponge cake that is divided in half. The coffee syrup is nothing more than a mix of sugar and dark brewed coffee. The chocolate almond crispies provide a crunch and a textural contrast to the smooth ice cream and cake. To make it, you simply stir chocolate almond spread with Rice Krispies cereal until it is evenly coated. The mascarpone whipped cream is a mix of vanilla extract, powdered sugar, mascarpone, and cool whip. I am not a fan of cool whip, but when it comes to ice cream cakes, I think it is superior in terms of spreadability and stability. To make the chocolate accents, simply melt some chocolate and using a small offset spatula, drag a dollop of chocolate over parchment paper and repeat until you have as many pieces as you need. They will not all look uniform, but I think that’s what makes it look slightly “rustic”.
Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake 4I understand if you are a little overwhelmed by it. But trust me, it is worth every minute you spend making it. 😉

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients:

56 oz. premium coffee ice cream, softened
sponge cake, halved horizontally (recipe below)
coffee simple syrup (recipe below)
chocolate almond crispies (recipe below)
whipped mascarpone cream (recipe below)
dark chocolate, melted (for garnish)
cocoa powder (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Line two 8-inch cake pans that are 3 inches deep with a double layer of plastic wrap that overhangs over the cake pan.
  2. In one of the cake pans, place one half of the sponge cake and brush liberally with coffee syrup. (You do not want to soak the cake, but put enough of it that it is moist.)
  3. Layer 28 oz. of coffee ice cream over the cake base, smooth so that the coffee base is as smooth as you can get it.
  4. Place pan in freezer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the chocolate almond crispies.
  6. Get half of the chocolate almond crispies and layer it over the ice cream, flattening it with an offset spatula to make it as flat, even and smooth as possible.
  7. Wrap the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake pan and place in freezer until completely frozen, preferably overnight.
  8. In the second lined cake pan, smooth 28 oz. of coffee ice cream with offset spatula evenly.
  9. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
  10. Layer the remaining chocolate almond crispies over the coffee ice cream.
  11. Place the second half of the sponge cake and brush liberally with coffee simple syrup.
  12. Wrap the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake pan and place in freezer until completely frozen, preferably overnight.
  13. On a cake board you are planning to serve, carefully unmold the first cake pan you put together by lifting the plastic wrap off of the pan and unwrapping it completely.
  14. Take the second cake pan and unmold it, and place on top of the first cake pan layer with the sponge cake layer facing downwards. Apply pressure to fuse the two layers together.
  15. Place in freezer to harden for about 20-30 minutes.
  16. Meanwhile, make the whipped mascarpone cream.
  17. Remove frozen cake from freezer and frost the outside of the cake with ¾ of the whipped mascarpone cream.
  18. Place cake back in the freezer and put the remaining whipped mascarpone cream in a piping bag with a plain large round tip.
  19. Remove cake from freezer and use the piping bag to place decorative dollops of cream over the top of the cake by making even vertical rows of cream.
  20. Using a mesh strainer, liberally dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. The cocoa powder will dust the surface of the cake board too, carefully use a wet paper towel to clean the cake board off.
  21. Place cake back in the freezer.
  22. While cake is freezing, make decorative chocolate pieces.
  23. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  24. Using a small offset spatula, drag dollops of dark chocolate to create a streak. Use larger dollops for the bottom and smaller dollops for the top. Place in refrigerator to set for 5-10 minutes.
  25. When set, remove the cake from the freezer and decorate the bottom of the cake with the longer chocolate pieces and the top of the cake with the smaller chocolate pieces.
  26. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Vanilla Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

½ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. cornstarch
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. sugar, divided
pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease the inside of an 8 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together flour and cornstarch.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and ½ c. sugar on high until thick and pale.
  4. Transfer mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Thoroughly wash and dry mixing bowl and whisk attachment.
  6. In a clean bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form.
  7. Slowly incorporate the remaining ¼ c. of sugar into the egg whites and mix until whites are stiff and glossy.
  8. Fold egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in three additions.
  9. Fold in flour mixture
  10. Transfer batter into the prepared cake pan.
  11. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Cool cake on a wire rack until ready for use.

Coffee Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

½ c. strong, dark coffee
¼ c. sugar

Instructions:

  1. Heat coffee and sugar together until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Cool until ready for use.

Chocolate Almond Crispies

Ingredients:

3 c. Rice Krispies Cereal
1 c. chocolate almond spread (I used this one from Trader Joe’s)

Instructions:

  1. Heat chocolate almond spread until easily pourable.
  2. In a large bowl, mix chocolate almond spread and cereal until cereal is evenly coated.
  3. Cool mixture until ready for use.

Whipped Mascarpone Cream

Ingredients:

12 oz. Cool Whip (thawed)
1 lb. mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whip Cool Whip and half of mascarpone cheese until smooth with an electric hand mixer.
  2. Add the remaining half of the Cool Whip and mix until incorporated. Do not over whip.
  3. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until homogeneous.

* Vanilla Sponge Cake recipe from Martha Stewart.

A (Belated) Blogiversary, A Funfetti Cake Batter Cake & A Giveaway

Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons 3It’s my first Blogiversary! One year ago, I started blogging on this little website with a lot of encouragement from friends and family. I cannot believe that it has already been a year. Each time I am able to share recipes, tutorials or whatever this brain of mine thinks of, I am so grateful to be able to send off a little piece of my creativity into the webosphere.  I’m even more grateful to the all of you who take the time out of your day to read the little bits of me that I post on my wee space on the internet.
funfetti macarons Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons 2Because anything celebratory requires sprinkles (or glitter) in my brain, I made a little cake chock-full with sprinkles for this post. It has sprinkles in the frosting, around the outside, and on the macarons. (I originally wanted to do a funfetti cake, but being me I totally forgot to add the sprinkles to the cake batter so instead it went into the frosting.) And because I love all things macarons, I added some funfetti macarons. The cake and the macarons are filled with cake batter frosting. My secret ingredient to making it taste like cake batter? Boxed cake mix. *GASP*I know. I never ever ever ever ever use boxed cake mix but this is the one time exception. And because it uses boxed cake mix, it is definitely on the sweeter side of the dessert spectrum. It also has that nostalgic bake sale cupcake taste that I loved in my youth.
Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons 5 Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons 6To celebrate my ridiculously belated blogiversary, I’m hosting a giveaway! If you know me at all, Target is one of my favorite places to shop. I’m telling you, I cannot walk out of that store without something in my hand! It literally has everything you need so I’m giving away a $25 gift card so that you too can enjoy a small shopping trip to Target.*  Entering the giveaway is so simple! Simply follow me on Instagram and like my giveaway photo and for an extra entry, like and leave a comment on this post about what kind of cake you like. The giveaway ends on Friday, May 8th and if the winner does not respond within 3 days, I will be selecting another one. Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons 4Funfetti Cake Batter Cake and Macarons

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake (recipe below)
Funfetti Cake Batter Frosting (recipe below)
Funfetti Macarons (recipe below)
1-2 c. Sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Evenly fill and stack each layer of vanilla cake with funfetti cake batter frosting.
  2. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of cake batter frosting (funfetti cake batter frosting without the sprinkles.)
  3. Place cake in freezer for 5 minutes until the frosting on the outside sets firmly.
  4. Once crumb coat is set, frost the entire cake with cake batter frosting.
  5. Take a handful of sprinkles and slowly cup the outside of the cake, patting it to ensure full coverage. (This part will create a mess. Sprinkles will bounce and fall everywhere.)
  6. Let frosting set in freezer for 5 minutes.
  7. Take cake out and frost little mounds of frosting around the top of the cake and attach a funfetti macaron for decoration.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

Ingredients:
1.5 c. cake flour
1  c. sugar
½ tbsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. salt
¾ c. buttermilk, divided
4 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line four 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.
  3. On low speed, add ½ c. buttermilk and butter and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolk, ¼ c. buttermilk, and vanilla extract until homogenous.
  5. On low speed, slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture.
  6. Increase speed to medium, and mix until combined.
  7. Evenly divide cake batter into the three cake pans.
  8. Bake about 20-25 minutes until cake is done or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then move onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

Funfetti Cake Batter Frosting

Ingredients:
3 c. whole milk
¾ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1½ 1b. (6 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 c. sugar
¼ c. cake mix
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
½ c. sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and cake mix and mix until combined.
  8. Reserve ⅔ of the mixture for filling the macarons and frosting the outside of the cake.
  9. Mix ½ c. sprinkles into the remaining frosting for filling the cake.

Funfetti Macarons

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
nonpareils for decorating
cake batter frosting (recipe above)

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add the crystalized lemon and 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 ˚F, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.
  11. Sprinkle nonpareils evenly over macaron shells.
  12. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  13. Preheat the oven to 275-325˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 275˚F, if not then 325˚F.
  14. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The batter is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  15. Once cool, frost the inside of the macaron shell with cake batter frosting and sandwich with another macaron shell.

* Open to U.S. Residents only. Winner will be contacted via email.

Easy Peanut Butter Eggs


peanut butter eggs 4One of the best things about holidays is all the holiday themed candy that comes out on display. Packaged in brightly colored bags and interesting designs, they are already hard to pass by, but what makes me really want to buy them are the words, “limited edition”. What do they mean by limited edition? Am I going to see the same product next year or is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? What if it is something absolutely delicious and I can never have it again? All of the sudden I HAVE to have whatever is in inside the shiny wrapper. I would say 9 out of 10 times I end up buying it to try it out. Am I the only person who is like this? … Possibly.peanut butter eggs 3My #1 favorite Easter candy is the Reese’s peanut butter eggs. I think the ratio of the peanut filling to chocolate is just right and it is perfectly smooth without the thick ridges that the peanut butter cups have. The lazy side of me secretly likes the fact that I don’t have to unwrap each egg I consume (except for the initial packaging of course).
peanut butter eggs 5These peanut butter eggs are super smooth and deliciously peanut-y. It’s also really simple to make! No fancy equipment needed and it is all done in one bowl.  I made mine small, because honestly to me, smaller = cuter. I went a little overboard with the way I decorated mine (which took a lot longer than I’d like to admit). I think it’s the perfect project to do with kids and they can go as sprinkle crazy as they want or not. (But most likely they will because more sprinkles = more fun.)
peanut butter eggs 2For more Easter projects, here are my previous Easter themed posts:

Bunny Cake Pops
White Chocolate Tiramisu Eggs
Easter Bunny Surprise Cake

Easy Peanut Butter Eggs

Ingredients:
½ c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. butter, melted
⅛-¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
chocolate or candy melts (whichever you prefer)
optional: sprinkles and sanding sugar (for decorating)

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, mix peanut butter and sugar until combined.
  2. Add butter, vanilla extract and ⅛ tsp salt, mix and taste. If needed, add an additional ⅛ tsp. salt.
  3. Chill mixture until firm, about 1 hour in the fridge.
  4. On a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper, dose out ½ tbsp. portions of dough and use your palms to roll and form into egg shapes.
  5. Place egg shaped dough into freezer to chill and set 15-20 minutes.
  6. Melt chocolate or candy melts and dip chilled peanut butter eggs and shake off excess chocolate.
  7. Decorate as desired.

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats.

Blueberry Pie Doughnuts

Blueberry Pie Doughnuts 3It’s the ultimate Pi Day! As you may or may not know March 14th (3.14) is Pi Day, but this year is extra special because it is 2015 which makes it 3.14.15 = 3.1415. Last year I made some pie pops which were tasty and cute but this year I fused two of my favorite things… pies and doughnuts.
Blueberry Pie Doughnut 2This blueberry pie doughnut is a light yeasted doughnut filled with blueberry filling and topped with a vanilla and blueberry glaze. I won’t lie, the recipe takes time and it’s a messy process, but definitely worth it. A word of warning, putting the blueberry glaze is the messiest part. The glaze sets quickly so it is similar to working with hot candle wax. Just go Jackson Pollock on it and have fun. As for the mess you make, some things are just worth the extra effort.Blueberry Pie Doughnuts 4

Blueberry Pie Doughnuts

Ingredients:

1 ½ c. milk
⅓ c. vegetable shortening
2 tbsp. active dry yeast
⅓ c. water (95 to 105˚F)
2 eggs
¼ c. sugar (divided)
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
5 1/4 c. all purpose flour
Oil, for frying
Blueberry filling (recipe below)
Vanilla glaze (recipe below)
Blueberry glaze (recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine milk and shortening and heat until shortening melts.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir water, 1 tbsp sugar and yeast together until yeast is incorporated.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix eggs, 3 tbsp. sugar, salt, nutmeg and flour until combined.
  4. Once yeast is proofed, add the milk and yeast mixture to the flour mixture and mix in the standing mixer with the dough hook attachment until combined.
  5. Let the dough rest for 8 minutes.
  6. With the mixer on medium-low speed, knead dough until dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl, about 6-8 minutes.
  7. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour or doubled in size.
  8. On a floured surface, roll out dough to ¼ in. thick and cut dough using a 2 ¾ inch round pastry ring and 1 inch round pastry ring for the center of the doughnut.
  9. Set punched out dough onto a baking sheet and cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oil in a pot to 365˚F and cook for 1 minute per side.
  11. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before glazing.
  12. Cut cooled doughnuts in half using a bread knife.
  13. Dip top half of the doughnut in the vanilla glaze, and generously cover the bottom half of the doughnut with blueberry filling.
  14. Assemble the doughnut and splatter blueberry glaze over the top.

Blueberry Filling

Ingredients:

3 c. of blueberries*, divided
⅓ c. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, combine 2 cups of blueberries with ⅓ cup of sugar.
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until all the berries burst and sugar is completely melted; about 5 minutes. The mixture should look very liquid.
  3. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until it becomes a slurry.
  4. Add to the blueberry mixture and cook until it becomes thick. It will become almost paste-like.
  5. Transfer blueberry mix to a bowl and rest of the blueberries and lemon juice.
  6. Add more lemon juice if needed.

Vanilla Glaze

Ingredients:

¼ c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier, heat milk until it simmers.
  2. Slowly add sugar, whisking in one cup at a time.
  3. Add vanilla extract.

Blueberry Glaze

Ingredients:

1 ½ tbsp. milk
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. blueberry filling (more or less depending on how deep of a purple you want)

Insturctions:

  1. In a saucier, heat milk until it simmers.
  2. Slowly whisk in powdered sugar.
  3. Mix in blueberry filling.

Red Velvet Oreo Truffles

Red Velvet Oreo Truffles 2Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and because it is on a Saturday, I can only imagine how busy restaurants and love themed places will be. I got a box of red velvet Oreos from H earlier this week and I’ve been trying to incorporate it into something Valentine’s Day themed. If you’ve never made Oreo truffles before, you’re about to be mind blown at how easy this recipe is. You technically need only three ingredients: Oreos, cream cheese and some sort of chocolate, almond bark, or candy melts. I modified this recipe a tiny bit by adding a dash of salt (because the overwhelming sweetness of the red velvet Oreos need them) and a splash of vanilla extract (to round out the flavor). You would think that something as simple as this wouldn’t be very tasty, but I had 6 truffles sitting on the counter and they were gone within 10 minutes… all eaten by the same person… sneakily… like a robber in the night. As simple as this recipe is, what really takes time is decorating each truffle, which can be as simple or as complicated as you like. If you’re trying to think of something last minute to do for your special someone, this is the perfect recipe for you. 😉
Red Velvet Oreo Truffles 1Note: I originally wanted this to be a {Simple Sunday} post, but I just didn’t have time to do it this weekend. 

Red Velvet Oreo Truffles

You will need:
1 package red velvet Oreos
3 oz. cream cheese
⅛-¼ tsp. kosher salt (optional, but recommended)
dash of vanilla extract (optional, but recommended)
chocolate/ almond bark/ candy coating (your preference)
sprinkles, sparkling sugar, sugar pearls… basically anything you want to decorate it with

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl of a food processor, crush Oreos until crumbs form.
  2. Add cream cheese, ⅛ kosher salt, and vanilla extract and process until a smooth lump forms.
  3. Taste and add the extra ⅛ kosher salt in needed.
  4. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, wax paper or silicone mat, dish out ½ tbsp. portion of truffle dough.
  5. Place sheet pan in freezer for 5 minutes to set.
  6. Roll each truffle dough ball in hand until a smooth ball forms.
  7. Place sheet pan in freezer for 5 minutes to set.
  8. Meanwhile, melt your desired candy melt in the microwave.
  9. Remove truffles and dip into candy melts.

Decorate as desired.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake  3Is it the middle of February already?? I feel like February just started and here it is already nearing its end. As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can’t help but feel a little more love and happiness in the air. Maybe it’s all the hearts plastered every way I turn or people posting all things related to love on social media, but I’m digging the atmosphere. Yes, I know that you should show your love and affection to your significant other/ loved ones every day of the year but what’s the harm of celebrating that love?
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake  2I once had an ex-boyfriend who frequently bought me chocolate covered strawberries from Godiva. Not knowing how much they cost ($7 a piece!!), I used to eat them in one seating without much thought. I only found out how much they cost recently and boy, do I feel bad about not savoring them. But that was my first encounter with chocolate covered strawberries and it’s been one of my favorite flavor parings since.
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake  4This cake is my spin on a chocolate covered strawberry. A rich dark chocolate cake is filled and frosted with fresh strawberry frosting and covered in a chocolate ganache and adorned with chocolate dipped strawberries. Because fresh strawberries in February are not the tastiest, I suggest buying frozen strawberries for the frosting to ensure full strawberry flavor. I happened to have this cake pan that I bought on clearance a year or two ago, and I thought it fit the theme perfectly. If you do not have the cake pan, you can always make the same cake sans the strawberry frosting heart in the middle. Talking about clearance, am I the only person that scours the holiday section at Target after every major holiday? I cannot resist the themed sprinkles and sparkling sugar at a deep discount. Sometimes, I’ll land on a real gem… like this cake pan at 75% off. It’s a guilty pleasure and I look forward to going to Target post February 14th. 😉
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake  1Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
¼ c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
½ c. Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1. tsp. kosher salt
½ c. vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. strong, hot coffee

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and line 2 cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, both cocoa powders, baking soda, baking powder and salt until fully combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. With the mixer speed on low, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture until combined.
  5. Turn off the mixer. With a spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate the two mixtures.
  6. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the hot coffee to the batter. Once added, raise the speed to medium until completely homogenous.
  7. Divide batter equally among the two cake pans and bake about 25-30 minutes. Checking at 20 minutes for doneness with a toothpick test.*
  8. Let stand for 5-10 minutes when done, then put onto a cooling rack to fully cool.

Strawberry Puree

Ingredients:
2 lbs of strawberries, smashed
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, cook strawberries and lemon juice on medium heat until mixture thickens and reduces 1/3-1/2 of the original volume, about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Once thickened, put in a bowl to cool and refrigerate.

Basic Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:
2 c. whole milk
½ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 1b. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Strawberry Frosting

Ingredients:
1 batch of strawberry puree
1 batch of vanilla frosting

Instructions:

  1. Mix vanilla frosting with strawberry puree until the mixture turns strawberry pink and fluffy.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
¾ c. heavy whipping cream

Instructions:

  1. In a heatproof bowl, pour heavy cream on top of chocolate and microwave for one minute.
  2. Let stand 3 minutes and stir until combined.

Assembly

1 batch chocolate cake
1 batch strawberry frosting
1 batch chocolate ganache
6-8 strawberries, rinsed and dried

Instructions:

  1. Fill and frost chocolate cake with strawberry frosting.
  2. Chill in freezer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Pour ¾ of chocolate ganache and use offset spatula to push ganache over the edge.
  4. Before the ganache sets completely, dip the strawberries in the remaining ganache and garnish the cake.

* Chocolate cake recipe adapted from Ina Garten.