Mardi Gras Macarons

Happy Mardi Gras!

Is that what you are supposed to say? I don’t know – Mardi Gras here in PA is marked mostly by baked goods in grocery stores turning purple, green and gold for a few weeks and then disappearing. Hence these macarons!

This is my favorite go-to mac recipe now. It’s so easy to add some flavoring oils to change it up, but also just makes a yummy plain macaron. Yay for simplicity πŸ™‚

BTW, are you looking for step-by-step mac instructions? LOOK NO FURTHER! Click here for a picture tutorial.

As you can see by the pic, these macs are tri-colored, albeit not very evenly done. I used this Wilton Color Swirl decorating set (affiliate link). I’m still working on my technique! Macs are so little that getting the ‘twist’ color scheme is a challenge. I suspect I’ll have better luck with cupcakes.

Lastly, there’s a yummy cinnamon buttercream inside these colored cuties, which seems to be a common theme in a Mardi Gras king cake.

Enjoy!

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Mardi Gras Macarons
A simple and tasty Mardi Gras themed macaron. Filled with cinnamon buttercream and tri-colored!
Mardi Gras macarons
Course Desserts
Cuisine French
Servings
Ingredients
Macaron Shells
Cinnamon Buttercream
Course Desserts
Cuisine French
Servings
Ingredients
Macaron Shells
Cinnamon Buttercream
Mardi Gras macarons
Instructions
Make your macaron shells!
  1. Preheat oven to 280 F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat.
  2. Sift together powdered sugar and almond flour. Set aside.
  3. In a very clean bowl and starting on slow, whip up your egg whites. Once they are very foamy, start to slowly add your granulated sugar, a tablespoon or so at a time.
  4. Keep going until you get to stiff peaks. You should be able to turn the bowl over your head and not have a pile of meringue land on your head πŸ˜‰
  5. When you have stiff peaks, sift your almond flour/powdered sugar a second time directly over your meringue.
  6. Using the mac folding technique (see link to tutorial above or watch some You Tube videos!), fold in your flour/sugar into the meringue. Right before you get your lava consistency, add your gel color to your desired shade. For the tri-color I divided my batter up into 3 bowls and dyed each batch a different color and then used the Wilton Color Swirl coupler to pipe these. You could also still divide up the batter, dye 3 colors, and just make some purple macs, green macs, yellow macs, etc. Or make them plain and brush a little watered-down gel color on top when they are finished.
  7. After adding color, mix to the correct lava consistency appropriate for macs.
  8. Pipe batter into circles on your baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes, turn them around, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes for standard size macs. They are done when one can be picked up off the parchment and not come apart.
  10. Let cool and then carefully pluck off parchment.
Make the cinnamon buttercream!
  1. Using a mixer, whip up your butter.
  2. Sift your powdered sugar and cinnamon over the butter and mix well.
  3. Add in your vanilla extract. If buttercream is too thick, add a bit of milk, 1 teaspoon at a time until you get a nice piping consistency, i.e not runny but easily piped.
  4. Taste the buttercream and add more cinnamon if you like, a dash of salt, etc.
  5. Fill the macs with the buttercream.
Recipe Notes

If we aren't going to eat macs within the day, I put them in the fridge and they will last a few days (although I believe taste better room temp!). They also freeze well for longer periods and thaw out quickly.

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Little Lemon Pudding Cakes

Something about winter makes me crave lemon/lime/orange stuff. Maybe my body trying to avoid scurvy during these cold and gray Pennsylvania days? I’m not entirely sure, but it will be my excuse for making these lovely little lemon pudding cakes!

You may be asking, “Wait…is this PUDDING or CAKE? Make up your mind, woman!” They are in fact both – light springy cake on top and creamy lemon pudding hiding underneath. Perfect for 35 degree weather and pretending it’s another season entirely!

You will find exactly zero lemon zest in this recipe because I truly hate zesting anything. Maybe I have the wrong tools, maybe probably I’m too lazy to scrape my knuckles against my grater for a teaspoon of fruit peel, but I’ll pass on that nonsense. I have, however, found a close second to zesting…CITRUS OILS. Think extracts but stronger and much less is needed. They give fabulous flavor without the hassle πŸ™‚

Enjoy!

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Little Lemon Pudding Cakes
Easy to bake lemon pudding cakes in individual portion sizes.
lemon pudding cakes
Course Desserts
Servings
Ingredients
Course Desserts
Servings
Ingredients
lemon pudding cakes
Instructions
  1. Grease 6 ramekins and lightly dust with a bit of sugar. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Using a hand mixer, gently blend together egg yolks, milk, bottled lemon juice, and lemon flavoring oil. You want a smooth consistency.
  4. Sift your flour, sugar, and salt into the egg/milk mixture and blend the batter briefly.
  5. In another small bowl, mix your egg whites until the soft peak stage. Fold the whites into your lemon batter.
  6. Ladle your batter into your ramekins and place them into a large pan. I just used a glass 13 x 9, but you could use something smaller as long as the ramekins fit inside with room around them.
  7. Pour water into the pan around and halfway up the sides of the ramekins; you are making a water bath to gently bake your cakes.
  8. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until your cakes are lightly browned and springy to the touch. Lightly dust powdered sugar on top. Enjoy warm or room temp!
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Savory magazine, Light Lemon Pudding Cakes, January 2017 issue

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Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread Cookies)

Leb-a-who?? Lebkuchen, i.e. German gingerbread cookies. The baking theme this week (see https://www.reddit.com/r/52weeksofbaking/) was Germany.Β  I’ve always been interested in all thingsΒ Deutschland related. With 2 years of German language in high school and a love affair with marzipan, I am almost German, right??

I also happen to have a brand new sister-in-law from the UK that brought my attention to Lebkuchen. According to all-knowing Wikipedia:

Lebkuchen or Pfefferkuchen, is a traditional German baked Christmas treat, somewhat resembling gingerbread.

These lebkuchen are soft when they first come out, but quickly harden and become more crisp as they cool. Eating the cookies plain was a bit underwhelming to me, but the chocolate on top converted me πŸ™‚ There is a reason most pics of Lebkuchen are smothered in icing and it’s because they are definitely tastier πŸ™‚ Having something on top adds moisture that seeps into the cookies and softens them up nicely.

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread Cookies)
Spiced German gingerbread cookies iced with either powdered sugar or bittersweet chocolate.
Lebkuchen German gingerbread cookies
Course Desserts
Cuisine German
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Course Desserts
Cuisine German
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Lebkuchen German gingerbread cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Add the molasses and corn syrup to your melted butter and stir. Set aside.
  3. Mix your flour, brown sugar, spices, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Add your butter mixture to your dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add your eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop spoonfuls onto your cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them for spreading.
  7. Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack before icing.
  8. To make your chocolate icing, melt your chocolate and coconut oil together either in the microwave or over a double boiler on low heat.
  9. Add your melted chocolate to a piping bag, snip the tip off, and pipe in a swirl fashion. Start from the inside and work your way out to the edge for half of the cookies.
  10. Decorate with almond slices while chocolate is still wet. You can also take a few almonds and drag them through the excess melted chocolate to set aside for later.
  11. To make your white icing, mix your powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of water to get a flowing icing consistency. Either add a bit more water or a bit more icing to get the thickness you want.
  12. Add your icing to a piping bag, snip the tip off, and pipe in a swirl fashion to the other half of your cookies.
  13. You can either add plain almond slices to the wet icing or use the chocolate dipped almond slices you made earlier for a nice black/white contrast.
Recipe Notes

Recipe inspired by Just Like Oma.

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Spiced Gingerbread and Chocolate Bundt Cake

Chocolate + gingerbread = deliciousness. This recipe screams HOLIDAY to me!

Are you a gingerbread fan? There seems to be a love/hate relationship with gingery things out there. I can say I’m now a bigger fan of the combo of chocolate and gingerbread than just plain gingerbread. Speaking of gingerbread, I love to browse cookbooks for the food photography recipes and I came across a fabulous one –Β American Cake: From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer.Β  Apparently gingerbread has been around a long time, like 13th century long time.

(Also – am I the only one who won’t bother with a cookbook unless it has BEAUTIFUL pictures? I have literally flipped through a book, saw it had little/no pictures, and placed it back on the shelf. Who sells a cookbook filled with only WORDS?? Ok, rant over πŸ™‚

Continue reading “Spiced Gingerbread and Chocolate Bundt Cake”

Easy Strawberry Macarons

Are you intimidated by these little cuties? I really was, especially after reading everywhere how fickle they are, how important technique is, etc. I’ve now made these well over a dozen times and each batch gets better than the last. I think the key is the batter consistency more than anything else. Here are some things I DON’T do, as I haven’t found them necessary for making macarons (macs for short!):

– aging the egg whites (I only separate them an hour or 2 ahead of time to get them to room temp so they whip up better)

– using cream of tartar (I used this for several batches and then left it out, and haven’t seen a difference in my macs)

As we speak I have close to a dozen egg yolks in my fridge leftover from my macaron-making extravaganza, so I’m open to suggestions on what to do with those!

Here are some step-by-step pics to help you along.

Continue reading “Easy Strawberry Macarons”