September 18, 2012

sweet and sour

The summer season is winding down and while I'm anticipating all the delicious fall flavours that are going to popularize every treat menu (i.e. pumpkin), I want to hold on to sunshine and flip flops for as long as possible. Citrus epitomizes summer fresh and makes the perfect, refreshing flavour for any treat.

This was also a great opportunity to showcase some new macaron fillings; typically, macarons are filled with ganache, buttercream or a jam; I found a great recipe for lemon curd that can be adapted for any citrus fruit. Thus, a trifecta of lemon, lime and grapefruit citrus curd macarons was born.

Citrus curd filling:
recipe yields 1 cup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup citrus juice
2 eggs
2 egg whites
5 tbsp butter
1/4 cup zest
2 tbsp corn starch

In a double boiler, combine sugar, citrus juice, egg whites and eggs and whisk together until mixture thickens (10 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in butter, zest and corn starch. Cover and refrigerate until set (4 hours). 

The corn starch is added in this recipe in order to make a thicker, more stable filling; there's nothing worse than anticipating the most delicious bite of a macaron, only to have its guts spill everywhere as you chomp down. 

I prepared the shells according to this recipe. After letting the macarons set overnight I sampled one: the juxtaposition of sweetness from the shells and tartness from filling is probably the best thing I've ever tasted. These macs are definitely my new favourite, and will  help with the summer withdrawal (along with my nail polish). 

Happy baking!


September 12, 2012

red velvet whoopie pies

My proclivity for sandwich treats is pretty well known. I tend to bake (and blog about) a lot of macarons. They're pretty, they're satisfying, and they can be made in all sorts of different flavour combinations (bubble gum, meyer lemon, lavender, etc.); they're my go-to treat. 

But this week I was itching to try something new: the whoopie pie.

The texture of a whoopie pie is a tricky thing to describe. It's not quite a cookie, not quite a cake, but it does have an icing filled centre. It's fluffy but firm, and absolutely awesome. 

And pretty easy to make. 

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies:
(recipe yields 18 assembled pies)

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup butter milk
red food gel

Heat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. With electric mixer, beat together sugar and egg until white and fluffy. Add vanilla, food colour and oil. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Add buttermilk and dry ingredients, alternating. Combine vinegar and baking soda in small container and stir for 10s; add to mixture. Mix thoroughly for 2 mins then pipe 2 inch circles onto baking sheet. 

Cream Cheese Frosting:
recipe yields 2 cups

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Mix together cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Sift in confectioners sugar, beating until smooth. Add vanilla and stir until incorporated. Pipe 1 tbsp of filling per sandwich.

Last step: Try not to eat all of them in one sitting.