Hey guys, it’s time for my September post on things I made exactly one year ago!
But first: how was your week? What have you been up to? Have you fully embraced fall yet? Or are you desperately trying to cling onto every ray of sunshine while you still can?
As for me, my life has been crazy since I finished my thesis. You’d think I’d take the time to relax my overworked mind a little, but the truth is that I’ve been baking and photographing my ass off! You see, I’ve got a BIG thing coming up this November, and because I just know that I won’t be able to think about anything else by then, I’ve been doing a lot of planning and baking ahead for the blog. You know, to avoid boring little posts like this, or this, or this. 🙂
In other words, I’m already planning Christmas posts! I just cooked up a delicious Homemade Apple Caramel Sauce the other day, and today I’m making a dreamy Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake. I came up with the recipe last May, and it’s the best!
But first, let’s take a look at what September 2014 had to offer in the baking department.
1. How to Make Italian Meringue
The end of summer 2014 was all about making meringue. I started my series titled ‘The Different Kinds of Meringue‘ with a post on how to make Swiss Meringue, followed by this post, in which I explain all about Italian meringue. I loved doing a series on how to make meringue! Sure, I love meringue and everything you can make with it, but I also love to get geeky about all things delicious at times. So expect a detailed post!
Anyway, Italian meringue is made by pouring a hot sugar syrup into beaten egg whites. Add butter to it to make yourself Italian buttercream, or fold in almond meal and powdered sugar to make the most delicious macarons ever! Scroll down for the recipe 😉
2 and 6. Salted Caramel Macarons with a Whipped Caramel Filling
Yes, this recipe. No need to scroll down any further. These macarons are insane! If you like salted caramel – and let’s get real: who doesn’t? – you’ll definitely love these.
Now, before you get too excited, making macarons can be tricky. Macarons are notoriously finicky. But I’m here to inform you that this is a solid recipe. Way, way, waaaaay back in 2007, when I first started making macarons, I tried making them by using the French method, which resulted in tough, hollow little almond cookies that in appearance kind of resembled macarons, but which were actually pretty far from the real deal. The best macarons are made using the Italian method, by first making an Italian meringue. Don’t get me wrong, macarons are still a difficult cookie to master, but these babies are worth some
These macarons are filled with a salted caramel filling. You first make some caramel, whisk in cream and a fair amount of butter, and allow the caramel to cool. Once cool, the caramel is whipped until it reaches a buttercream-like consistency. Add sea salt and you’re done! Well, once you’ve filled the macarons, that is…
3. Mini S’Mores Tarts
I made these cute, individual Mini S’Mores Tarts right after I whipped up a batch of Swiss meringue for my meringue series. I made a basic crust of digestive biscuit crumbs – but feel free to use graham cracker crumbs instead – filled the fragile (!) little crusts with a simple chocolate ganache, then topped the ganache with small Swiss meringue kisses.
Swiss meringue is perfect for this! It’s thick and marshmallowy, like a big puffy cloud of deliciousness. In fact, I prefer Swiss meringue over actual marshmallows on these tarts! Use a kitchen torch to give the meringue that typical campfire-toasty flavor and enjoy!
Oh, and do yourself a favor: don’t accidentally crush your perfect little tarts with a light reflector. Don’t be like me…
4. Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips
This pumpkin bread got me through many long days of thesis writing (read: staring at a blank word file) last year. In my educated (hey, I’m an MA now!) opinion, thick slices of pumpkin bread studded with dark chocolate chunks really do take the edge of thesis-writing. Not that it helped me think of intelligent things to say or anything… On the contrary. It got me thinking about other pumpkiny things, and how badly I wanted to make them/eat them!
But still, if you like pumpkin and chocolate, add this bread to your to-bake list. Pronto!
5. How to Make Swiss Meringue
Like I said, this was the first post of my series ‘The Different Kinds of Meringue’. I love Swiss meringue! Unlike Italian meringue it’s really, really, really easy to make. You just throw egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a double boiler, stir the two together, gently heat until the sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and beat with a mixer until it holds the peak that you want! Or, and this is the best part about Swiss meringue: if you want to pasteurize the meringue (aka: making it salmonella-safe) bring the mixture up to 71°C/160°F first, then remove from the heat and whip. It’s where I got the idea for my salmonella-safe French buttercream…
But that’s it for now, guys! Enjoy these recipes 🙂