Saturday, May 29, 2010

They are Macarons, not Macaroons...

Have you ever tried a Macaron? I am talking about MACARONS, so please do not confuse them with their double “O” coconuty cousins, MACAROONS.

Macaron is a French confectionery with texture of a delicate eggshell-like crust with an airy & moist center. The Parisian Macarons are sandwiched with a filling, like butter cream, ganache or even better, jam!

Main ingredients of macarons are pretty straightforward: egg whites, sugars, almond flour; then you can add some sort of filling.  Sounds simple enough? Well it is not as easy as it seems as I have encountered many failed attempts. 

Keys  to successful Macarons are well proportioned recipes & great techniques. After some research, I have stumbled upon Tartlette Her recipes are well tested with technique that are pretty easy to understand.  Definitely a must read for all pastry fanatics. 

With Tartlette’s help, I have put previous failures aside and held my courage to attempt this confectionary diva's recipe.  With Combination of Tartlette’s basic Macarons recipe with Bakerella’s Metcha chocolate Bundt cake, the recipe of Matcha (Green tea) Macarons with Chocolate Ganache was born.

I will be posting more tips & sources on Macarons making in the very near future. 

The process of Macarons making can be intimidating, but the pursuit of the perfect Macarons is well worth the effort.

Matcha (Green Tea) Macarons with Chocolate Ganache:

Makes about 16

For The Shells:
90gr egg whites
50 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar (minus 2 Tb)
110gr Almonds Flour (Grounded Almonds)
2 Tb Matcha (Green Tea Powder)

For the whites: 24 hours prior, separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue.

Combine the almonds, matcha powder and powdered sugar in a food processor pause to combine & remove lumps.

Add dry mixture to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. (should not take more than 50 strokes.)

 Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper baking sheets.
Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the Macarons sit out for 30 mins – 1 hour to harden their shells.  This step is crucial to have the “pie” at base of each of Macarons.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

For Chocolate “Paint” (optional)
1 Tablespoon of Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon of Water

Whisk cocoa powder & water together until combined; Dip Pastry Brush (not the silicone kind) into mixture.  Make sure to test on some parchment paper first for desired brush strokes. 

Brush on Cool cookies – Let dry.

For The Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels.

Heat the cream in a small pot until just before boiling.

Place chocolate in medium bowl and pour cream over. Let sit for a few seconds and then stir until smooth.
Let cool slightly and spoon a small amount on the bottom of a macaron and then sandwich with another cookie.

To assemble Macarons, sandwich about 1 teaspoon of ganache between each cookie

Kate for F3

Saturday, May 22, 2010

From the Valley...

Floral prints have been given a fresh new twist this season and we cant resist getting our hands on them. No longer can floral be thought of as out dated and Grandma wear.

We took a trip through a local park and found ourselves immersed in Springtime activity and calming breezes. In combination with our relaxing surroundings, these dainty prints, dusty hues & vintage vibes will definitely soften the everyday bustle of city life.

on Katie
Hairbow: Urban Outfitters, Top: Vintage, Shorts: Zara, Socks: H&M, Wedges: H&M, Belts: Aldo, Necklaces: unknown

on Kate
Headwrap: H&M, Top: Costa Blanca, Boyfriend Jeans: American Eagle, Sandals: Zara, Necklace: Unknown, Bangle: Old Navy

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Warm Sunday Afternoon….

 So far it’s been an unusually warm Spring (talking Toronto standard). Maybe it’s the weather or maybe it’s just our rumbling bellies but we were really in the mood for some ice cream. Using leftover cookie dough from our peanut butter cookie button experiment, we mashed together a rough idea for Banana Split Ice cream Sandwiches! Woo!

What you’ll need:
Peanut Butter Cookie Mix (or any cookie really)
PC Banana Split Ice cream
Whipped Cream
Bib (optional)

We made the cookie size slightly bigger than the button size… but you can make them as big as you want. Once we pulled them from the oven we flattened the cookie down so it was consistent in thickness. Set them aside and let them cool.

 So obviously, the first step is to make a sandwich by using two cookies and a healthy amount of ice cream. Using a knife, smooth the ice cream out on the sides just to neaten it up a bit.

 Once that’s good, decorate the sides of the ice cream. You can do that by rolling it in a big pile of sprinkles. We just dumped a bunch out on foil and let it roll. Top with whipped cream and a cherry then Pow!

Eat with caution. Being that it was a bit of a humid day, our ice cream kind of got away from us… if you know what we mean. In hindsight, we probably should have pre-shaped our ice cream centers into patties and put them back in the freezer over night. We were obviously too excited to eat these puppies to think logically. Once we formed the sandwich there was very little time before it started to melt. Basically, the colder the ice cream the better.

Katie & Kate for F3

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

... Eat These Buttons!

For our first mini project we decided to start small and easy. Easy is key! Being that we are frequent visitors to Bakerella, we knew immediately what our starting point was... but narrowing down all those options was difficult.

 Oh Bakerella… you’re like magic.

 In the end, after wiping the drool from our chins, we decided on Peanut Butter Button Cookies! Huzzah!

Recipe is simple. Just grab an instant peanut butter cookie mix and whip it up. Seriously. Easy. The overall quality of the cookie isn’t half bad – it baked up nice and chewy which is exactly how we like our peanut butter cookies to be.

Once the dough is good to go, you roll up each cookie into even sized balls. Bakerella uses a pop bottle cap as her guide so we did too and it’s really the perfect size.

Place the balls on a non-greased cookie sheet; we got 16 on at a time. The cookies will spread while baking so make sure there is sufficient amount of space between each one. 

As soon as you pull those suckers out of the oven, you should begin the button-making process. You gotta work fast.  Grab the pop bottle cap and use the top/flat side to press the middle of each cookie downwards. By doing so, you end up forcing the outer edge upwards giving a raised button edge look. After that, you need to poke out the holes using a straw. Our first try resulted in the straw tip melting slightly. Yikes. Just keep that in mind if you decide to try this. We also had some technical difficulties with punching the holes. Sometimes it came out cleanly in the straw and other times it did not. Be prepared with tooth picks or any other object to remove the excess left behind in the holes.

Once they’ve cooled down, you can move on to the best part: Dipping in candy melts! This is the tastiest mess you’ll ever make. We went for bright, happy Spring colours and accompanied that with sprinkles and glitter and magic and happiness. So Voila! Peanut butter Cookie Buttons! They’re cute, yummy and will probably make you some new friends.

It wasn’t all perfect though and we did have some casualties along the way. Lets take a moment to remember the broken and crumbled.

Katie & Kate for F3

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Love the blog? Blog the love? Bloglovin?

We decided to sign up on good ol' Bloglovin. Feel free to follow us!
... I swear we'll get some real content up soon! You wont regret following us!

Katie for F3

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New F3!

Welcome to F3: Fashion, Food and Friends.

After spending loads and loads of time creeping other blogs we decided to start our own. Our plan is to share with the reader what inspires us... what makes us happy (i.e cookies! shoes! kitties!). This is a lifestyle. What we wear, what we eat and who/what inspire us from day to day will really be the focus.

Who are we? We're Kate and Katie. Hopefully you'll be able to tell the difference. We're currently building ideas on entry concepts and trend stories, which we plan to post weekly. We'd love feedback of any kind from whoever is out there. This may be slow building but we have HUGE plans for this blog! HUUUGE!

Take care!
hoogs and keeses
Katie and Kate