Salted Caramel Macarons With a Whipped Caramel Filling

Salted Caramel Macarons Ah, macarons… Those gorgeous, little French cookies. They’re delicate and pretty. They’re fluffy and delicious. And they are so super cute! Aren’t they? Uuuum, no! Don’t let their cute appearance fool you. Macarons have caused more home bakers to collapse onto their kitchen floors crying in utter frustration than any other cookie! But if you’re willing to overlook that little piece of information, then yes: they are cute!

Cute and notoriously finicky…

Lucky for me, I’ve never collapsed onto my kitchen floor in utter frustration because of a bad macaron. Nope, macarons never did that to me. It happened to others, but not to me. I can honestly say that I never experienced a nervous break down after pulling a batch of macaron shells out of the oven.

So what does that mean? I’m the most gifted baker in the universe? Not really… iIt’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but when I first started making macarons about six – oh my god has it been that long?? – years ago, I was just an idiot who didn’t have a clue what a proper macaron was supposed to taste like.

There, I said it: me was idiot.

Oh yeah, hollow, tough macarons used to make me feel proud of myself. As long as they kind of looked like the real deal, with the shiny top and the cute feet, I’d be happy with them. I’m not sure if being an idiot who doesn’t know the first thing about macarons is really the best approach to take when it comes to making these babies, but it sure saved me a lot of tears! Not even undercooked macarons would disappoint me… Jeez…

Of course, when the Rocking Rebel brought home a box of real Parisian macarons (from Ladurée) it dawned on me that the macarons I had been making up until then were, um, not worthy of the name ‘macarons’. They were too dry, too tough and waaaay too chewy… But in a delicious kind of way. Luckily, by that time I had just purchased a brand new cookbook with shiny pages and the perfect macaron recipe. And that perfect macaron recipe taught me this: French style macarons are not my thing! And when I say ‘French style’, I mean macarons made with French meringue. 

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Different Kinds of Meringue: How To Make Italian Meringue

Italian Meringue Okay, back with the next post of my still-kind-of-new series about the different kinds of meringue, called… here it comes: ‘The Different Kinds of Meringue’. I thought that title was convenient… Creative? No. Self-explanatory? Yes!

It just makes life so much easier…

This is actually the second post of my very well-titled new series. Last week, I started the series with a post devoted to Swiss meringue. Which just so happens to be particularly perfect to top pies with, because – unlike the fluffy goodness I’m discussing today – it’s completely safe to eat! Salmonella-wise, I mean… So, naturally, I followed the Swiss Meringue post with a recipe post in which I used that gorgeous, fluffy, marshmallowy Swiss meringue to top some amazing Mini S’Mores Tarts!

Soooo. Gooood.

But enough about Swiss meringue and the things you can make with it. On with the Italian meringue! Just a heads up: if you’re squeamish about using uncooked eggs in desserts, you’re wasting your time here. Italian meringue is for those of us who like to live on the edge a little! The eggs in Italian meringue are definitely NOT cooked!

Got it? Good.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I had to make Italian meringue for a gorgeous Strawberry Mousse Cake. I accidentally stumbled upon the idea of using Italian meringue to make a fruit mousse after I completely messed up a whipped-cream-based fruit mousse recipe. Three times! Wait, that’s probably confusing. Let me clarify: me, whipped cream and fruit purée? Bad things happened. Three times! Me, Italian meringue, fruit purée and whipped cream? Match made in heaven.

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Mini S’mores Tarts

Mini Smores Tarts Okay, so I made Swiss Meringue last week, right? For my new series on the different kinds of meringue. I started with the Swiss meringue, because I loooooove it! You know why? Because it’s fluffy. And dreamy. And deliciously thick and marshmallowy. And super easy to make. And… wait, did I just say ‘marshmallowy’?

I did!!

And when I say ‘marshmallowy’, I think marshmallows. And when I think marshmallows, I think campfires. And when I think of marshmallows and campfires together, I think: s’mores! Duh. who wouldn’t… Anyway, because I had a big bowl of Swiss meringue, and some pretty basic pantry staples like chocolate and digestive biscuits – because graham crackers? What are graham crackers? I never had a single graham cracker in my life!! – I decided to whip up some cute mini s’mores tarts!

And they were gooooood!

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Different Kinds of Meringue: How To Make Swiss Meringue

Swiss Meringue As you may have noticed, I’ve been making quite a lot of meringue-based recipes lately. About three weeks ago, I started with an amazing Strawberry Mousse Cake with Candied Rhubarb Topping, for which I whipped up an Italian meringue to make sure it was super fluffy. And what about that perfect Angel Food Cake I made last week? It’s basically just a French meringue with a little flour added to it. That’s it! Meringue is so easy and versatile. And really, if you want to improve your baking skills, mastering the different kinds of meringue is a good starting point!

So yeah, here we are: the first post of a new series, titled: The Different Kinds of Meringue. Catchy title, right? Not. It’s SEO related, so just fogetaboutit… As you may know, a meringue is basically an egg white foam sweetened and stabilized with sugar. There are three different kinds of meringue: French meringue, Italian meringue and Swiss meringue. Because I made Italian meringue for the strawberry mousse cake and French meringue for the angel food cake, I thought we’d start this brand new series with a post on how to make Swiss meringue!

So get yourself some egg whites!

Oh, wait, I know what you’re thinking: what should I do with the yolks? I can totally relate to that… Who likes to throw away food, right? I don’t… And I certainly don’t like to buy two cartons of eggs just for the egg whites! I always feel bad for the yolks when that happens. So what do you do with the leftover yolks? Well, freeze them. Up until about two minutes ago I didn’t know it was possible, but one of my readers (Hi Kelster!) was kind enough to point out to me that it’s totally possible! The yolks just need a little prepping first. If you don’t prep the yolks before freezing, they become gelatinous and impossible to work with over time. To keep this from happening, beat the yolks with either salt or sugar. 1½ teaspoons of sugar or ⅛ teaspoon of table salt for every 4 yolks. After that, it’s just a matter of pouring the mixture into a plastic freezer bag and throwing it into the freezer.

Just don’t forget how many yolks are in a bag and whether you added salt or sugar. Write. It. Down.

As for me, I didn’t even need to freeze leftover yolks, because I had a freezer full of egg whites already… Egg whites, of course, freeze beautifully! You don’t even need to prep them. All you need to do is plop them in a plastic freezer bag and freeze them. It’s too easy. Whenever I make a recipe that calls for just yolks – such as um, ice cream or lemon curd – I freeze the whites. No exceptions. Sure, you could whip up an egg white omelet – because, um, yum! – or throw the whites in the thrash – tsk, tsk – but just imagine yourself opening the freezer one glorious Sunday afternoon and finding it full of frozen egg whites. Oh, the things you can make with a freezer full of egg whites!

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Perfect Angel Food Cake with Raspberry Sauce and Berries

Angel Food Cake Hey everyone! Look what I made!! The PERFECT angel food cake!!! Tatadadaaa!!!!

Okay. So maybe I went a little crazy with the exclamation points and the pink letters there, but I couldn’t think of another way to emphasize that this cake is the acme of perfection! If I could, I would have added sparkles and golden stars, too. This cake deserves it. It’s sooo fluffy. And dreamy. And look at it: it’s ridiculously beautiful. And most importantly: very, very yummy!

I made this cake for my oldest sister’s birthday two weeks ago, because I wanted to make her something special. She asked for a light, fruity cake, because we were having a massive birthday dinner party later, and what is lighter and fluffier than an angel food cake? Exactly! Instead of topping the cake with the traditional whipped cream, I decided to opt for a sweet and vibrant, homemade raspberry sauce, too. Just to keep it fresh and to balance out the sweetness of the cake a bit. Pile on a mountain of fresh summer berries, and you’ve got yourself the perfect summer birthday cake!

My entire family loved it! But that’s only because it was – like I said  – perfect. There wasn’t a single crumb left of this beauty! And I’m positive that if I had made a second one, it would have been devoured just as quickly as this one! That’s just what happens when you make a perfect cake. Fact of life.

Oh, and what is this I hear about angel food cake being a tough cake to make? It’s soo easy! Take a few precautions, understand what you’re doing and the cake can be whipped up in under an hour! You don’t even have to grease the pan! Me like…

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