Thursday, April 19, 2012

Macaron Success!

I did it! Finally I've got macarons DOWN! It took me a few tries, but I've finally got a recipe/strategy that works for me. Those little suckers are kind of a pain in the patoot! At 9:30 last night, after a hardcore fail of an experiment with liquid egg whites (those bastards would not peak!), I finally got an amazing batch of macarons.


They all came out perfectly smooth on top, with beautiful feet, and they're light and fluffy inside. I'm so ecstatic, you don't even know. 

The Recipe and Method I Used
(Of course I don't have pictures to illustrate each step because I am a dingleberry, and honestly I was losing faith.)

1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
2 egg whites (aged a day or two is best)
a pinch of cream of tartar
a little less than 1/4th cup granulated sugar

Toss the powdered sugar and almond meal in a food processor and pulse it for..ehhhh... 30 seconds or so. get it all mixed up and fooiiine. Sift that stuff twice. TWICE. Do it.

Beat the egg whites on a lower to medium speed until frothy then throw the pinch of cream of tartar in there. Beat on a medium speed for another minute or so, until it's almost a soft-ish peak stage and then add the granulated sugar. I tend to use just a little less than 1/4th a cup of the sugar because it seems to make the cookies just a little more delicate? I dunno, I could be fooling myself.

Beat on a medium speed for a couple minutes and then... Beat them eggs on high! Beat em! Probably for 4-6 minutes. Until stiffish peak stage. One problem I had was OVER beating the eggs. I didn't even know you could really do that, but I guess so.

Sift the almond/sugar mix into the egg mix and slowly fold it together. It'll end up kinda shiny and cool.

Put the mixture into a piping bag - I use a 1/2 inch round tip, and start piping! Pipe in small rounds then let them sit out for a few minutes to settle and let a bit of a skin develop. This helps to keep them from cracking in the oven.

I baked mine at 325 for 12 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, and that turned out to be the best method for me. Some people bake on higher temps, or start out high then turn the oven down. You might have to play around with that until you find what works with your oven.

Voila! Macarons!

Check out my Etsy shop if you'd like to purchase some!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Dog Moose

My dog Moose is a pill. But he's also pretty much the best.

Moose is always down to snuggle. In fact, if you're not snuggling with him, he's just not sure what to do with himself. Whenever I am cleaning or cooking, or just doing something that isn't snuggling, he wanders around and barks randomly until I put a blanket down on the floor next to wherever I am doing my thing. He'll resign to curling up on the blanket and watching me for a while, but gets bored of all this non-snuggle time, and starts wandering again.

Moose hates the front door. A few weeks ago I painted my door dark brown. It used to just be plain boring white, didn't stand out from the wall or trim. Now it's lovely, warm, rich and beautiful. Moose hates it. I don't know if he thinks it's evil now or what. Or maybe now he's just suddenly noticed that there's a door there, that people can enter through, and he's trying to protect his home/person? I don't know what it is, but effin a, it's annoying.

He's also just started doing a new thing in the mornings. I go to get him out of bed to go downstairs and he just kind of...melts into the bed? It's magical. He sinks down as low as he can then rolls to his side. As if he's trying to become one with the bed. "No mom! Don't make me get up! It's warm here!" I tried to capture this progression, but you only slightly get the idea of his melting abilities.

It cracks me up every morning. And then I pick him up and drag him out of bed anyway.

Moose is very picky with who he likes. He used to pretty much hate everyone except for me, my mom, and the woman who gave him to me, Robin. With a lot of socializing and going to the dog park, I'm happy to say that, after three years, this list has expanded to me, my mom, Robin, my dad (kind of), a couple of friends of mine, and my boyfriend. But no one else.

Moose is a traitor. Moose loves my boyfriend more than he loves me. Whenever my boyfriend comes over, Moose falls all over himself in a whackattack of excitement. He 100% looks forward to their bro time and I instantly become second fiddle. Or last chair clarinet, as was my position in 7th grade band.

I can get Moose back with snacks though. He's a whore for snacks. 

So that's my dog. This post is not about baking. Dogs rule and cats drool.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Macaron Flavors

I've been brainstorming macaron flavors. I'd like to get a couple new things up in my Etsy shop, and I want to offer fun and unique flavors. Here are some that I came up with. Which sounds the best to you?

French Toast or Pancake
Strawberry Basil
German Chocolate 
Honey Lavender 
Blueberry Crumble 
Peanut Butter Cup
Pink Champagne 
Peanut Butter & Jelly 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interim Business Cards

Well, I've run into a couple of instances where I really really wished that I had business cards on me to give to people. I still am struggling with logo issues, but I figured I needed to have SOMETHING until I get that stuff sorted out. So today I quickly designed some business cards and ordered a 50 pack through

Here's the front:

And the back:

I'm pretty happy with them, for something I made in about an hour and a half. Now, at least, I'll have something to hand out to people if I ever need to. 

Now I really gotta get working on putting more things up in my Etsy shop! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Last night I sold my first item on Etsy!! I'm so excited! Seriously, the amount of excite is totally disproportionate to the reason for the excitement, but I don't care because YAAAAY!

We're gonna make it after all!! 

I sold an order of my Butterscotch Oatmeal Crisps, which I promptly re-listed. You can find them in my Etsy shop. Everyone, please feel free to place orders because it makes me feel awesome :P

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Bake Sale - Semi Success...

Well... the Easter bake sale was not quite as successful as the Valentine's Day bake sale. I made three things, Strawberry Pie Pops, Butterscotch Oatmeal Crisps, and Lemon Vanilla Mascarpone Macarons.

The pie pops were super good. I made a very basic, old school pie filling with just fresh sliced strawberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, and corn starch. Mighty tasty.

And since I was extremely short on time, I just bought ready made pie crusts. I lost my cookie cutters when I moved, so I just used a plastic cup to cut out the circles, and it turned out to be the perfect size!

It took a little bit to figure out a good amount of filling; some of my pies got pretty leaky and some had way too much crust to filling ratio. I ended up getting it down after a bit though. Here's my first batch being put together.

And one completed pop :D


The macarons I made TASTED delicious, and the filling was bellissimo, but I messed up on the cookie recipe so they were extremely delicate and didn't look exactly right. I accidentally doubled everything in the recipe except the almond flour. WHOOPS! No wonder.

For the filling I used the following ingredients:

- Mascarpone cheese
- Super fine sugar
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Lemon zest
- Vanilla paste

I just mixed in the sugar, lemon, and vanilla until it tasted how I wanted it. It was really really good. I kind of want some right now actually.

Here is the finished product, in the packaging.

The last thing I made, and these were my favorite, were the butterscotch oatmeal crisps, dipped in chocolate. SO EFFING GOOD! I could eat a bajillion of these probably. Although making them is a pain in the patoot. The "dough" isn't difficult, but rolling them into little tubes is semi impossible. You have about a three second window to wrap the spread out dough stuff around a wooden spoon handle. Too soon and you burn your fingers on dough lava, too late and it's brittle as heck. In fact, I don't even think they need to be necessarily rolled at all. Just the flat discs of crisps is still cool, and when dipped in chocolate they look quite nice!

I had a lovely little display at the bake sale, and even printed out a nice pricing sign with my website on it. But, alas, apparently half the company took that day off of work. I didn't factor in people taking Good Friday off, since we don't get it as a company holiday. What a bummer! I had so many pie pops left over :(

It was still fun, though. And great that I got to try some new recipes! Huzzah!