Mini Rose Cupcakes With Sugared Rose Petals

rose cupcake with vanilla bc and sugared rose petalrose cupcake

This is my new favorite way to bake mini cupcakes-in “party cups”. The cake does not stick and they push right out- no peeling of paper needed. Perfect for a party! I was in one of those girly, pretty in pink kind of moods today, so decided to make mini rose cupcakes. You can pair the cupcakes with either pistachio buttercream or vanilla buttercream, but they are especially pretty with sugared rose petals.  I chose to divide the vanilla buttercream and tint half of it with rose pink. Pistachio and rose is a classic combination-made popular by middle eastern and certain cultures. If you use rose flavor- just make sure to use a subtle amount because they flavor can turn soapy tasting if too heavy.

rose cupcakes with pistachio bc and rose petals

rose cupcakes with pistachio buttercream and sugared rose petals

 

Rose Cupcakes

(yield: 24-28 mini cupcakes)

1  1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp. Cake flour

1  1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 Cup sugar

3 (Lg,) egg whites (room temp)

1 tsp. vanilla

2  tsp. rose water (make sure to use rose water and NOT extract)

1/2 Cup milk (room temp)

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare mini muffin tins with paper liners or use “party cups” as I have done here. If you use party cups you simply place them on a sheet pan; no other prep is needed.  In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium low speed, add the egg whites one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix until combined. Mix in the vanilla and rose water. Starting with the flour mixture add 1/3 of the mixture alternating with the milk in two additions, ending with the flour mixture. Note: if you desire you can add a little pink gel food coloring paste if you want a pink colored cake.

2. Fill the cups or tins 2/3 full with batter. The batter really rises, so resist the urge to fill them further. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° F for about 10-12 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean or if you press on them lightly the cake springs back.  The cakes will not brown. Frost  cooled cupcakes with either Pistachio Buttercream (recipe below) or Vanilla Buttercream, decorate with optional sugared rose petals.

Pistachio Paste

1 Cup shelled unsalted & roasted pistachio nuts

3/4 Cup sugar

3 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. pistachio oil (or vegetable oil)

1. Prepare a sheet pan with either a Silpat or by lightly greasing with vegetable oil.

2. Pour the water in a saucepan and then add the sugar. With a clean finger mix the sugar and water until it looks like wet sand. Have a cup of water with a clean pastry brush placed in the cup.  Bring the sugar to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar dissolves-stop stirring. If sugar crystals form along the sides of the pan; use the wet pastry brush to let water drip down to dissolve the crystals. Continue to cook until the mixture comes to a light caramel color. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the nuts. Return to the heat and cook until comes to a medium amber color. Working quickly- pour the nut mixture onto prepared pan and with a heat proof spatula do your best to flatten out nuts. Allow the nuts to cool until they become hard.

3. Once mixture is hard and completely cooled- use your hands to break apart any large clumps. Place the mixture in a food processor and pulse several times to initially break up the mixture. Proceed to process the mixture until it starts to form a thick paste. When the blade no longer seems to move add the oil and continue to process until as smooth as possible.

Swiss Meringue Vanilla Buttercream

4 large egg whites

1 Cup sugar

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temp

2 tsp. vanilla

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the eggs whites and sugar and place over a pot with simmering water. Whisk the egg whites and sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is about 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer* (*alternatively- you can feel the mixture with your first two fingers and if you don’t feel any sugar granules then it is ok). Turn off the heat. Attach the mixer bowl onto the mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk the mixture on medium until the bottom of the bowl is almost cool to the touch and the mixture has turned into a nice stiff meringue.  This will take several minutes. With the mixer on medium high, add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time and continue to mix until all the butter is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. It will go through a curdled looking stage as it mixes; but don’t worry keep adding the butter and it will come together. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine.

For Pistachio Buttercream: Mix in 4-5 Tbsp. Pistachio paste (recipe above) and 1-2 drops of “Mint Green” colored gel paste

For PInk/White Vanilla Two toned Buttercream: Divide buttercream into two equal portions. Tint one half with 3-5 drops “Deep Pink Rose” colored gel paste- mix well to combine. Prepare a large piping bag by standing it upright in a tall glass fitted with chosen piping tip (such as star tip). Place one color down inside of the pastry bag and the other color down the other side; make sure to get the buttercream down all the way to the tip. I find it helpful to place each color inside a disposable pastry bag and squeezing each color down inside the bag.

For sugared rose petals: Place a small amount of liquid pasteurized egg whites (such as 100 % liquid egg whites) in a bowl. Have your organic (non pesticide) rose petals already cleaned and dried. Using a soft clean brush- brush each rose petal (front and back) and then sprinkle with fine granulated sugar. Place petals inside a mini muffin tin to dry. This is best done the day before you assemble your cupcakes- as it takes them several hours to dry completely.

Note: any leftover buttercream may be frozen in an airtight container. To use from frozen; allow buttercream to thaw at room temperature, then rewhip using the whisk attachment.


Pineapple, Coconut and Pina Colada Macarons

In my favorite dream I’m laying in a hammock swaying under a breezy palm tree sipping a cold pina colada. I have no job to return to, no bills to pay, I have thin thighs, and no worries what so ever. Oh, and there are no calories at all in my pina colada. It’s my dream, okay?  My personal beach butler is only there to return every so often to ask me if I want another drink… Yeah, nice fantasy, huh? At least in reality you can create a tasty macaron…

coconut and pina colada macarons

Coconut Pineapple Pina Colada Macarons

pina colada macs

Coconut Macarons

3 egg whites (room temperature)

pinch cream of tartar

1/4 cup superfine sugar

1/2 tsp. coconut extract

3/4 Cup almond meal, sifted

1/4 Cup unsweetened (desiccated) coconut

1 1/4 Cups confectioners sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk on medium speed until foamy. Once they start to become foamy slowly add the 1/4 cup sugar and continue to whip until they are stiff. Towards the end of whipping add the 1/2 tsp. of coconut extract.  Hint: if you remove the bowl and turn it upside down and the whites do not slide out they are ready! (Just be careful when checking!)

2. In a separate bowl whisk together the almond meal, coconut, and confectioners sugar well to remove any lumps. Gradually add the mixture to the egg whites and mix/fold with a rubber spatula until mixture falls in sheets when the spatula is lifted. About every 5th fold lift the spatula up and let the batter fall back into the bowl.

3. Prepare a sheet pan with either Silpat or parchment paper and preheat the oven to 300° F. Pipe the macarons onto the prepared sheet pan about a quarter size with 1 1/2 inches space between. Note; if after piping there are visible peaks then the batter is too thick and could cause problems such as cracking or not rising correctly. Squeeze out all the batter back into the bowl (with firm pressure) and refill the batter back into the piping bag and re pipe.  Usually the act of doing this will thin the batter enough (without having to mix more) to get a more ideal thickness. Once you have piped the batter take the sheet pan and rap it on the counter a few times (3-6)  to release any air bubbles. If you still see any visible air bubbles pop them gently with a bamboo skewer or toothpick. Allow the sheet pan to sit for 30-60 minute to form a “skin” so when touched the batter is no longer tacky feeling.

4. Bake the macs for about 13-15 minutes until when touching the top of a macaron, the top does not wiggle or slide but is firmly set. If they look like they are getting too browned then cover with tinfoil for the last few minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Do not attempt to remove until they are completely cool. Once cooled; fill with your choice of fillings such as purchased key lime curd, vanilla bean buttercream, purchased pineapple jam, or pineapple curd. See below for a few recipes.

Pineapple Macarons

3 egg whites

pinch of cream of tartar

1/4 Cup superfine sugar

“Electric Yellow” gel food color (4-6 drops)

2 Tbsp. finely ground pineapple powder (from purchased freeze dried pineapple)

1 Cup almond meal

1 1/4 Cups confectioners sugar

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk on medium speed until foamy. Once they start to become foamy slowly add the 1/4 cup sugar and continue to whip until they are stiff. Add the gel color paste towards the end of the whites becoming stiff.

2. In a separate bowl whisk together the almond meal, pineapple powder, and confectioners sugar well to remove any lumps. Gradually add the mixture to the egg whites and mix/fold with a rubber spatula until mixture falls in sheets when the spatula is lifted. About every 5th fold lift the spatula up and let the batter fall back into the bowl.

Follow steps 3 and 4 as above with the coconut macarons. Fill with Pineapple curd, pineapple jam or vanilla bean buttercream. For the pina colada macaron sandwich one coconut mac and one pineapple mac and fill with vanilla bean buttercream.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

4 egg whites

1 Cup granulated sugar

3 sticks unsalted butter (room temp)

1 1/4 tsp. vanilla bean paste

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl and place on mixer and beat until stiff meringue forms and bottom of mixer bowl is cool to touch; about 5 minutes. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Add vanilla bean paste,  then beat until smooth.

Pineapple Curd (click here for recipe link)


Matcha Green Tea Macarons

There is something about matcha that I cannot resist. Matcha green tea ice cream, matcha macarons, matcha milk tea. The flavor is earthy and comforting. It’s not a flavor that everyone loves. I think you either love it or hate it. I happen to LOVE it. I personally can’t imagine anyone NOT liking it. It is divine in these macs. I deviated from my usual swiss meringue buttercream and opted for a more simple American style version here.

matcha green tea macarons
.

Matcha Macarons 2

matcha macarons with matcha buttercream filling

matcha macarons

Matcha Macs 2

Matcha Macs 3

 

Matcha Green Tea Macarons

200 gms almond flour, sifted

200 gms confectioners sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder

75 gms egg white

1/8 tsp. mint green gel paste food coloring

200 gms granulated sugar

50 gms water

75 gms egg white

pinch of cream of tarter

1. In a large bowl combine the almond flour, and confectioners sugar, and matcha powder with a whisk. Add the 75 gms of egg whites, and green gel paste color and stir with a spatula to combine into a paste. Set aside.

2. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine 75 gms of egg whites and the cream of tartar and begin whipping them on medium-high speed.

At the same time combine the 200 gms of  granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan on high heat; bring to 240° without stirring while whipping the egg whites on your mixer simultaneously. You want the cooking sugar syrup to reach 240 degrees at the same time your whites reach stiff peaks. To time this; keep the stand mixer next to the stove so you can peek at the whites while still watching your cooking syrup. If you notice the whites starting to get too stiff before the sugar is done; slow down the mixer to low-speed.

3. Once the syrup is at 240 degrees, stop/take off the heat and start pouring the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl slowly with the mixer running on slow-medium at the same time; careful not to let the syrup hit the whisk to prevent hard syrup forming. Once all the syrup is in, crank up the mixer and whip the whites until very glossy and stiff.

4. Take the whipped meringue and place on top of the almond mixture and start to  fold gently until all of the meringue is incorporated; careful not to deflate the mixture. You are looking for a thick consistency like lava. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe the cookies on parchment lined sheet trays; leaving at least an inch space between cookies. Take the trays and rap them hard on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the trays sit out anywhere from 30-60 minutes; as long as it takes until when you touch the top of the cookies they are dry and no longer tacky to the touch.

5. Bake the cookies double panned (placing one empty tray underneath the piped cookies) one tray at a time in a 325° oven for about 15-18 minutes until the cookies are no longer wet on the bottom and appear dry. Sacrifice one if you have to test. Let the cookies cool on the tray. Sandwich with the buttercream filling. Store the cookies in the fridge covered loosely for 8 hours or overnight; this helps the cookies become even more chewy as the moisture from the filling helps the texture of the cookie.

 

Green Tea Buttercream

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

230 gms confectioners sugar

3 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. green tea matcha powder

 

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the lemon juice and matcha powder and beat until combined.


Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

There are certain things in life I cannot live without.

A bathtub.

A camera.

Strong coffee.

Real butter.

And salt-(preferably kosher salt).

Don’t even think about taking my salt away. It will not be pretty. You will see an ugly side of me you don’t want to encounter. Remember the scenes when Lou Ferrigno turned into The Hulk? Yeah, it’s something like that. I’m sure as I advance in age some day- some balding, stern Dr. will tell me I have to give up salt- and then I will wrestle him to the ground and feed him a salted caramel cupcake. He will take one bite and come over to the dark side. Immediately.

Please don’t lecture me. It will do NO good. This is right up there with convincing me to floss my teeth every day. Don’t bother wasting your words. Your attempt is futile. I love my salt. I especially love sweet and salty. I REALLY love salted caramel. You will have some salted caramel leftover after making these-You’re welcome.  Pour it over vanilla ice cream.

salted caramel cupcakes

 

chocolate and salted caramel cupcake

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

makes 24-28 cupcakes

2 Cups sugar

1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour

3/4 Cup extra dark brute cocoa (such as Hershey’s Special Dark)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 large eggs, room temp

1 Cup whole milk, room temp

1/2 Cup vegetable oil

2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Cup hot strong coffee

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two standard size muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the sugar and sift the next 5 ingredients over the sugar directly into the bowl. Combine with a fork to mix. In a glass measuring container mix the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla with a fork. Add  the egg mixture to the mixer bowl and with the paddle attachment beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes; stopping once or twice to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Stir in the hot coffee and carefully mix by hand with a large spatula. The batter will be very thin. Pour batter into prepared lined tins; no more than 2/3 full. Three measured Tablespoons is about 2/3 full; it’s helpful to measure out one into a well and then you can eyeball the rest. A scant full standard size ice cream scoop is another good way to get 2/3 full. Resist the urge to over fill as you don’t want to get cupcakes that spill over the cupcake liner- but rather you want a more flat cupcake. Bake in 350° F preheated oven for about 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow cupcakes tins to cool completely over a wire rack. Frost with caramel frosting and drizzle with salted caramel drizzle.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

4 sticks (2 Cups) unsalted butter, softened

8 Cups confectioners sugar, sifted

2 tsp. whole milk

1 Cup of (cooled) caramel (see recipe below)

2 tsp. kosher salt

In a stand mixer cream together the butter until soft. Add the sugar about one cup at a time and beat until smooth. Beat in the milk then add the cooled caramel and salt and beat until smooth.

Caramel and (Salted Caramel Drizzle)

2 C sugar

1/2 C water

1 1/2 C heavy cream; nuke until slightly warm

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 tsp. kosher salt (save for salted caramel drizzle)

In a medium saucepan place the sugar and add the water and mix gently until the mixture resembles wet sand. Cook over medium high heat and let it come to a boil without stirring; until the caramel reaches a deep amber. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the heat. Carefully pour in the cream, it will bubble and spout a bit; whisk carefully until combined. Whisk in the butter and then divide caramel by half into two heat proof containers. Add the salt to half the quantity of caramel (for the salted caramel drizzle). Let cool.

Enjoy

 


Pina Colada Cake

I’m not gonna lie; this is an ambitious cake with many components which you may decide to make only parts of. I recently made this for both my nephews graduation party. The oldest graduated from college, and the younger graduation from high school, so excuse my not so great pictures as I only spent a few minutes taking pictures of the cake at the party.

I love nothing more than a good three layer dramatic cake. Of all the things I make- 3 layer cakes are still my favorite. If you love the taste of pina colada, then this is the cake for you. As I always say, make it your own. If you decide you want to leave out the curd filling and just make a coconut cake with a simple filling, then by all means. I have made this cake many times with different variations. I will also give the variation for this cake in 2 layers at the end of the post for those who want just a 2 layer cake.  If you can find the large flake unsweetened coconut- it is an especially elegant cake; Bobs Red Mill makes a good version of the large flake coconut if you can find it.  Another variation is to fill it with store bought lemon or lime curd. Dickensons makes a great lime curd if you can find it. Since I cover the cake with sweetened coconut I purposely leave the coconut buttercream on the subtle side. If you like a real full on coconut taste you may also decide to flavor all of the buttercream with more coconut extract. Just play around with it- by adding a little at a time until you like the taste. The cake takes a while to make and assemble, so when I am planning to make it- I like to make the syrup, pineapple curd and the buttercream the day before to save time. Just keep all 3 components chilled overnight.

* If you don’t like the visible flecks of vanilla bean in the frosting then you can use vanilla extract instead. I personally like the flavor of the vanilla bean paste over the vanilla in this buttercream as it adds a more pronounced flavor.

Coconut Pina Colada Cake

Pina Colada Cake 1

Pina Colada Cake 2

PIna Colada Cake 3

Pina Colada Cake 5

Pina Colada Cake

 

Pineapple Curd

recipe: adapted from Donna Hay

300 gms Fresh Pineapple, chopped coarse

2 tsp. lemon juice

3 egg yolks

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 Cup caster (superfine) sugar

150 gms unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces.

In a food processor or vitamix, or super powered blender; process the pineapple until smooth. Strain pineapple directly into a small saucepan. Add in the lemon juice and stir with a heat proof spatula. Add in the sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch and stir vigorously or whisk to combine. Place over medium heat and stir continuously with the spatula or non metal whisk until thickened; about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter in pieces. Place in a bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap over surface. Chill until ready to use. Makes about 1 1/2 Cups; you will have a little left over. The curd will keep in the fridge for up to one week.

 

Rum Cake Syrup

1/2 Cup sugar

3/4 Cup water

2 Tbsp. dark rum

1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water to a boil, stirring to ensure sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Set aside to cool at room temperature while you prepare the cake. Note: you can also prepare this a day or two ahead and keep in refrigerator to chill. Makes about 1 cup and you will have some leftover.

 

Coconut three-Layer Cake

4 3/4 + 2 Tbsp. Cake Flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

1 1/2 Cup unsalted softened butter (3 sticks)
2 1/4 Cup sugar
9 egg whites (if using liquid egg whites from a carton- use 1 1/2 cups liquid measured)
zest of one lemon- finely grated/zested
2 tsp. vanilla or vanilla bean paste. (I like to use the paste)
1 tsp. coconut extract

1 Cup (full fat) coconut milk [shake several times before opening]
1 Cup whole or 2 % milk

1 Cup sweetened flake coconut + more for covering sides and top of cake.

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare three 9 inch cake pans by spraying with nonstick baking spray and lining with parchment circles, then spray lightly again.
2. Whisk first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. In bowl of stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy; about 2-3 minutes. Mix coconut milk and whole milk in a 2 cup glass measuring cup, set aside. Add egg whites to butter sugar mixture one at a time or slowly if using liquid whites; stopping frequently to scrape down bottom and sides of bowl. Add extracts and mix. Note: mixture will look really loose and curdled (this is okay and normal)- it will come together in the end. In 3 additions on medium speed, alternate adding 1/3 of the flour mixture with 1/3 milk mixture starting an ending with flour mixture.  Fold in sweetened coconut with a spatula. Divide batter equally between the three pans.
3. Bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides and a wooden skewer comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake. It’s okay if you get a few moist crumbs on skewer. Let pans cool on a wire rack until completely cool, then flip out cakes.

Vanilla Bean & Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream

6 egg whites (note: I do not use liquid egg whites for this)

1 1/2 Cups sugar

5 sticks unsalted butter, room temp (slightly softened)

2 tsp. vanilla bean paste

1/2 tsp. (+ more to taste) coconut extract

In a medium to large saucepan place an inch of water. In the bowl of your stand mixer place the egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl directly over the pan of water and bring water to a simmer; whisking continuously. Whisk the whites and sugar until mixture is 160 degrees F. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer- just heat until you no longer feel any sugar granules and mixture is warm to touch. Remove bowl; wipe off the bottom of any water and place on mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high speed until a meringue forms and is shiny and stiff; about 5 minutes. Continue to whisk until the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm. Reduce speed to medium and add in one tablespoon of butter at a time until buttercream is smooth. Stop as necessary to scrape down sides and bottom to ensure you are getting on the meringue mixed in. NOTE: It will go through a grainy curdled phase- but don’t worry (this is normal) it will come together- just keep adding in the butter and continue to whip. Once smooth, stop and remove about 1 1/2 cups and place in a bowl large enough to mix. Mix the 1 1/2 cups of buttercream with the coconut extract, then set aside. Mix the remaining buttercream with the vanilla bean paste until all the paste is incorporated.

 

To assemble:

1. Trim off cake tops with a large serrated knife to level any domed tops. Flip cakes over and also shave off a thin layer of the cake that has turned brown; this helps the syrup soak in a bit more.

2. Place a small dollop of buttercream onto a cardboard cake round. This helps “glue” the cake, so as not to slide while assembling. Place one cake layer down over the dollop of buttercream, being careful to center on cardboard round. Brush cake liberally with the rum syrup. Frost this first layer with the coconut buttercream, until buttercream is level and smooth.

3. Prepare a second cake layer by brushing with syrup and carefully flipping cake over so syrup soaked side rests over the coconut buttercream. Brush the top side of cake also with syrup. Place a generous amount of the pineapple curd over the cake layer and smooth to the side of cake leaving about 1/2 inch boarder as curd will spread a bit. If you want extra assurance; you may pipe a border of vanilla buttercream (about 1/2 inch tall) along the outside edge border of the cake and place the pineapple curd inside the piped boarder. If you like a thicker layer of curd this is a way to get a thicker layer without having to worry about it seeping out the sides of the cake. If you don’t have a piping bag you can simply use a plastic ziplock bag and snip off one of the corners and pipe that way. If find I like this way (using the piped border) as some of the curd tends to soak into the cake after assembling and you can get a thicker layer of curd this way.

4. Brush the third and final layer of cake with syrup and place it soaked side down over the curd layer. Brush the top layer of the cake also with syrup and spread a thin layer of vanilla buttercream over the top and sides of cake to “crumb coat”. Place the crumb coated cake into the fridge for 30 minutes. Frost the cake top and sides with remaining vanilla buttercream until smooth and cover top and sides of cake with flaked coconut. Keep cake chilled in refrigerator. Remove cake about 1 hour before ready to serve to come to room temperature. Store any remaining cake in the refrigerator.

 

For a 2 layer cake: Follow directions as above but reduce amounts as per below and prepare two 9 inch cake pans and bake as above. Prepare a 5 egg white buttercream.

3 1/4 Cups cake flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Cup unsalted butter

1 1/4 Cups

6 large egg whites

1 tsp. lemon zest (fine)

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla)

1/2 tsp. coconut extract

2/3 Cup coconut milk

2/3 Cup whole or 2 % milk

3/4 Cup sweetened flake coconut + more for finishing cake

 

Five egg white Swiss Meringue Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Follow method directions as above for buttercream

(enough to frost and fill a 2 layer cake)

5  egg whites

1 1/4 Cup sugar

4 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste OR (Coconut extract to taste if you want coconut buttercream)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chocolate Strawberry and Neapolitan Macarons

I am having a total 70’s flashback today (in reference to my childhood) thinking about Neapolitan ice cream. In the 70’s it was still the cheap square cardboard boxes when it came to ice cream, and you didn’t have a million flavors like we do today. Somewhere along the line we transitioned into circular ice cream containers. What’s up with that?

Neapolitan ice cream was a frequent in our house growing up. I loved the first glance of those perfectly proportioned lines of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry when you first lifted the lid on the container. I was a naughty girl and always scooped from the strawberry stripe only. I’m sure my Mother figured it out. If not-she is certainly right now- reading this. For some reason I was not much interested in the chocolate or vanilla. Today I have grown out of my strawberry obsession and am an equal flavor opportunist.

Neapolitan macarons. You get all 3 wonderful flavors at the same time. Give it a try….

I did a couple variations on flavors. You could use vanilla swiss meringue buttercream to fill all or also choose to divide some of them and fill with chocolate ganache or even strawberry buttercream.

neapolitan macarons

strawberry choc and neapolitan macs

neapolitan macaron closeupstrawberry mac and neapolitan macs

chocolate with neapolitan macs

Chocolate Macarons

200 gms almond flour, sifted

200 gms confectioners sugar, sifted

2  Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

76 gms egg whites

200 gms granulated sugar

50 gms water

75 gms egg whites (room temp)

pinch of cream of tartar

1. In a large bowl combine the almond flour, and confectioners sugar and cocoa powder. Add the 75 gms of egg whites, and stir to combine. Set aside.

2. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine 75 gms of egg whites and the cream of tartar and begin whipping them on medium-high speed.

At the same time combine the 200 gms of  granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan on high heat; bring to 240° without stirring while whipping the egg whites on your mixer simultaneously. You want the cooking sugar syrup to reach 240 degrees at the same time your whites reach stiff peaks. To time this; keep the stand mixer next to the stove so you can peek at the whites while still watching your cooking syrup. If you notice the whites starting to get too stiff before the sugar is done; slow down the mixer to low-speed.

3. Once the syrup is at 240 degrees, stop/take off the heat and start pouring the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl slowly with the mixer running on slow-medium at the same time; careful not to let the syrup hit the whisk to prevent hard syrup forming. Once all the syrup is in, crank up the mixer and whip the whites until very glossy and stiff.

4. Take the whipped meringue and place on top of the almond mixture and start to  fold gently until all of the meringue is incorporated; careful not to deflate the mixture. You are looking for a thick consistency like lava. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe the cookies on parchment lined sheet trays; leaving at least an inch space between cookies. Take the trays and rap them hard on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the trays sit out anywhere from 30-60 minutes; as long as it takes until when you touch the top of the cookies they are dry and no longer tacky to the touch.

5. Bake the cookies double panned (placing one empty tray underneath the piped cookies) one tray at a time in a 325° oven for about 15-18 minutes until the cookies are no longer wet on the bottom and appear dry. Sacrifice one if you have to test. Let the cookies cool on the tray. Sandwich with the filling. Store the cookies in the fridge covered loosely for 8 hours or overnight; this helps the cookies become even more chewy as the moisture from the filling helps the texture of the cookie.

Strawberry Macarons

Follow the same recipe as above except substitute the cocoa powder with 2 Tbsp. dried strawberry powder and add a few drops of deep pink food coloring gel in step one.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

4 egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar

4 sticks  unsalted butter

2 tsp. vanilla

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl and place on mixer and beat until stiff meringue forms and bottom of mixer bowl is cool to touch; about 5 minutes. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Add vanilla and and beat until smooth. Use a generous 1 tsp. full to fill macarons.

Note: any leftover buttercream may be frozen. Store in an airtight container. To use: thaw at room temperature and rewhip with paddle attachment. You may also make strawberry buttercream by dividing adding in some seedless strawberry jam and whipping to combine.

Assembling Neapolitan Macarons: match up one chocolate and strawberry mac cookie and fill with vanilla buttercream. As an alternative you may fill some with chocolate ganache.

Small batch chocolate ganache

4 oz. semi sweet chocolate, chopped fine

3 oz. heavy cream

In a medium bowl place the chopped chocolate. Heat the heavy cream on high until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for one minute before stirring to combine thoroughly. Place the ganache in the fridge while you make the cookies.


Passionfruit Yo Yo’s (passion fruit sandwich cookies)

One of the things I discovered when I was in pastry school was passion fruit. Yes I had heard of it, but living in the West I could never get my hands on an actual fresh passion fruit. The best I could do was buy frozen passion fruit puree (at a premium price) through a high-price store when we lived in San Francisco. When we finally made the concrete decision to move here to Taiwan–I was giddy just in the fact knowing I could get my hands on fresh passion fruit. Moving to Taiwan and being able to get passion fruit alone is worth the daily struggles I face each day in a foreign land. Passion fruit is in season now and one block from where we live I can buy these little gems. Iced tea stalls are abundant in Taiwan and they sell wonderful sweet fruit tea. Down the street from where I live there is a woman who combines different fresh fruit with ice tea.  I knew she made passion fruit iced tea from the picture of the passion fruit on the front of her stall, and even though I did not know how to say passion fruit in Chinese I bit the bullet, tossed all shame aside and ordered the tea by pointing. Luckily the sweet lady understood enough English and with some creative pantomime gestures between the two of us, we sealed the deal. When I got home, I jumped on the internet and I vowed to learn how to say passion fruit in Chinese as perfect as I could so I could order that wonderful tea all over Taipei.

Passion Fruit Yo Yo's

 

Passion Fruit Sandwich Creams

 

passion fruit cookies on tray

 

passion fruit

Passion Fruit Yo Yo’s: Passion Fruit Cookies with Passion Fruit Buttercream

 

recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveler

Cookies:

180 gm unsalted butter

90 gm Icing sugar

80 ml passion fruit juice (1/3 cup)*

*(to make passion fruit juice place passion fruit pulp in a strainer over a bowl and push the pulp back and forth with a flexible rubber spatula to release the juice from the black seeds which are enclosed in a thin membrane- to make juice).

2 teaspoons lemon zest

225 gm all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)

100 gm cornstarch

pinch of salt

1. Beat butter and sugar in mixer until light and fluffy. Add passion fruit juice, lemon zest and combine. Add flour, cornstarch and salt and combine until dough comes together. Shape dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap and chill.

2. Preheat oven to 160º C or 325° F. Roll dough into 1/4 inch thick or 8mm thick. Cut out rounds with a 1  1/4 inch round cutter or 3 cm round cutter. Bake for 7-8 minutes until just starting to turn light golden around the edges. Let cookies sit on the sheet pan to cool completely. Place cookie sheet on a wire rack to cool. Once cookies are completely cool sandwich with buttercream.

Passion Fruit Buttercream

90 gm. unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 Cups confectioners sugar

1 Tbsp. passion fruit juice (the pulp of one passion fruit pressed through a fine mesh strainer= 1 Tbsp. juice)

1. Whip the butter and sugar until fluffy, add in the passion fruit juice. If filling is too loose add a bit more confectioners sugar until thick.