Chai Masala Macarons

Because I had a day off and wanted a project. Chai Masala Macarons, with garam masala spices in the cookies and salted caramel as the filling. You get a punch of black pepper to offset the sweetness and the other spices round it up.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
85g butter, in small cubes
1/2 tea spoon fleur de sel
140g egg whites
90g sugar, two times
160g almond powder
160g icing sugar
1 tea spoon garam masala
gel food coloring
ingredients

***

1. In a large, thick bottom pot, combine the sugar and water. Try to avoid the sugar getting on the sides.
sugar1

2. Turn the heat on medium and let the sugar bubble away. Gently swirl the pan if needed, but leave it mostly alone. It will bubble up and thicken.
sugar2

3. Then it will go from light yellow to amber to copper. The second it reaches copper, remove from the heat.
sugar3

4. Drop in the butter and whisk it in. The sugar will foam and bubble up. Add the cream and whisk it in. Stir in the fleur de sel. Transfer to a heat proof vessel and set aside to cool.
caramel

5. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
prep

6. For the spices, you want to grind them finely.
spices1

7. But remove the cardamom pods.
spices2

8. In a food processor, combine the almond powder, icing sugar, and spices.
dry1

9. Pulse until blended. Set aside.
dry2

10. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, pour the egg whites.
egg1

11. On low speed, beat until foamy. Add the first 90g of sugar. Increase the speed and beat for a further 2 minutes.
egg2

12. When it gets shiny and more opaque, add the remaining sugar. Increase the speed again and beat for an other minute or two.
egg3

13. Add the food coloring of your choice (I used yellow).
egg4

14. Beat until stiff peaks form. Remove from mixer.
egg5

15. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl.
combine1

16. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the eggs.
combine2

17. Keep folding, from the outside in and going underneath the mixture until it becomes more supple, and ribbons slowly, slowly meld back into the mass.
combine3

18. Transfer to a piping bag. If you have someone to help you have them hold the bag. if not, a mason jar will do.
piping

19. Pipe cookies of about equal sizes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bang tray on the counter top a few times to let air bubbles out. Set aside so the outer shell dries (about 15-30 minutes)
bang

20. Heat the oven to 290F. Bake the shells 15 minutes.
cookies1

21. Allow to cool fully on a cooling rack. Then smear one cookie with caramel and sandwich with another. Transfer, uncovered, to the fridge for 24h. Cookies will keep, covered, for about a week.
assemble

 

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Tiramisù

As requested by my brother as his birthday cake. I think next time I’ll swap the rum for some coffee liquor, but otherwise this a creamy not too sweet nearly perfect version of the classic Italian cake.

Ingredients:
For the syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 freshly brewed espresso
1/3 cup rum
1/3 cup water

For the cake
1/3 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream
450g mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 tea spoon vanilla extract.
45 ladyfingers (approx)
1-2 table spoon unsweetened cocoa powder
ingredients

***

1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water for the syrup. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar.
syrup1

2. While the sugar is melting, brew the coffee.
syrup2

3. Pour the coffee into the sugar syrup and set aside to cool to room temperature.
syrup3

4. In a heat proof bowl combine the sugar and egg yolks for the filling.
filling1

5. Whisk together until the sugar is fully dissolved and the color lightens (2 minutes or so).
filling2

6. Pour about 2 inches of water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Put the bowl over the saucepan (making sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water) and heat the egg yolks while whisking continually until tripled in volume and thick (8-10 minutes).
filling3

7. Remove the eggs from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Keep an eye on them and stir often as they cool.
Add the rum to the coffee syrup.
syrup4

8. While the eggs are cooling whip the heavy cream.
filling4

9. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the mascarpone cheese and the vanilla extract. Whisk together until fluffy.
filling5

10. The eggs should be cool by now. The picture isn’t clear, but they will have continued to thicken as they cool, turning into a nice ribbon texture.
filling6

11. Add the eggs to the mascarpone.
filling7

12. Beat until well combined and smooth.
filling8

13. Remove from the mixer and fold in the whipped cream with a spatula.
filling9

14. Assembly time!
Pour the coffee syrup in a large shallow plate (here, I’m using a pie plate).
assemble1

15. Soak lady fingers one or two at a time and line the bottom of an 8×8 pyrex baking dish.
Note : 9×9 would probably yield a cleaner result, but 8×8 is what I have so meh.
assemble2

16. Spread 1/3 of the filling over the ladyfingers.
assemble3

17. Repeat with more cookies.
assemble4

18. Spread over 1/2 of the remaining filling.
assemble5

19. Last layer of cookies.
assemble6

20. Bang the dish a bit on the counter to make everything settle then add as much of the filling as will fit (here is the reason for the note about the dish’s size).
Wipe anything that spilled over, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
assemble7

21. When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and dust cocoa over the surface.
serve1

22. Spoon out into portions and enjoy!
serve2

Irish Carbomb Cupcakes

Delicious boozy cupcakes, super moist. Essentially a very slight variation from this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I ended up buying a melon baller spoon just for making these. I highly recommend it, makes the process much easier.

I didn’t use the whiskey pictured in the end, the chocolate I use is very present and it was getting lost. I ended up using some of this one instead.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Ingredients for the cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tea spoon baking soda
1/2 tea spoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ingredients for the ganache center:
8 oz 70% dark chocolate
2/3 cup cream
2 table spoon salted butter, room temperature
3 table spoon whiskey (I didn’t use the one picture)

Ingredients for the icing:
8 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
4 table spoon Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/2 cup icing sugar

ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
In a medium sauce pot, combine the unsalted butter and the Guiness. using low heat melt the butter into the beer (you don’t want this to boil).
butter-beer1

2. Meanwhile, combine together the flour, sugar, baking soda and sat.
dry

3. Once the butter is melted give it a good whisk to emulsify the liquid.
butter-beer2

4. Add the cocoa powder.
cocoa1

5. Whisk until smooth. Then set aside to cool slightly.
cocoa2

6. In the bowl of a mixer combine the sour cream and eggs.
wet1

7. Beat until smooth.
wet2

8. While the mixer is running on low, slowly drizzle in the butter, beer and cocoa mix. Don’t go too fast, you want to temper the eggs, not curdle them.
wet3

9. Add the dry ingredients in two batches. Stir until just combined.
add-dry

10. Line muffin trays with liners and fill with the batter (aiming for 3/4 full). The batter will be very loose and liquidy.
fill

11. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
bake

12. Remove from the trays and allow to cool fully.
cool

13. Using the magical melon baller spoon, scoop out a cavity in the middle of each cupcake (keep the scraps, they are delicious).
carve

14. In a small sauce pot warm the cream until just below a boil.
cream

15. Weight the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the cream over it.
ganache1

16. Working fast while the cream is warm, stir until the chocolate is nice and smooth. Add the room temperature butter and the whiskey. Stir until smooth and shiny.
ganache2

17. Transfer the ganache to a piping bag (in my case the classical ziploc bag held up in a mason jar).
bag

18. Pipe the still warm (but not hot!) ganache into the cavities you carved out earlier. Allow to cool fully; the ganache will set at room temperature.
ganache3

19. Once the ganache is set, combine the icing ingredients in the bowl of a mixer.
icing

20. And beat until smooth.
icing---donc

21. If you have talent pipe over the cupcakes. I tend to just use an offset spatula and smear the icing over them.
cupcakes

22. These keep well in the fridge for a couple of days but are best eaten room temperature. So take them out a least an hour before serving to let them warm up. Enjoy!
cupcake

Apple Spiced Cake with goat cheese icing and caramel drizzle

My brother asked for a home-made birthday cake for this birthday. This is what I made… It’s a pretty long process, do not try to make it after work as I did… Mine came out a bit “clumsy” for that reason.

Ingredients for the cake :
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tea spoons baking powder
1/2 tea spoon baking soda
1/2 tea spoon salt
1/2 tea spoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tea spoon ground allspice
1/4 tea spoon ground dry ginger
pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tea spoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup applesauce
ingredients1

Ingredients for the icing :
6 oz goat cheese
8 oz mascarpone
2 table spoons butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tea spoon cinnamon
ingredients2

Ingredients for the caramel sauce/drizzle
1 cup sugar
6 table spoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup 35% cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch allspice
ingredients3

***

1. Butter and flour your cake rounds. Cut out parchment paper to line the bottom.
I used 1x 9″ and 2x 8″ cake molds because that’s what I have. If you have all the same size it’ll look better. If you have 4x 8″ that’s probably be best to have slightly thinner cake layers.
cake-molds

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg.
dry

3. In a measuring cup combine the whole milk and vanilla extract.
wet

4. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the butter and sugar.
butter1

5. Cream together for a few minutes until fluffy.
butter2

6. Add the eggs one at the time, beating well between each addition.
eggs

7. Add the dry and wet ingredients in increment, starting and ending with the dry. No in between step pictures but the order is :
Dry -> Wet -> Dry -> Wet -> Dry
combine

8. Fold in the applesauce.
applesauce

9. Divide the batter into your cake rounds.
divide

10. Bake for 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
cool1

11. Remove from the pan (use a plate, they should drop right out when you flip them).
Remove the parchment paper and allow to cool fully on a rack.
cool2

12. While the cakes are cooling, make the icing.
Wash the bowl and paddle of the mixer and put all the ingredients in the bowl.
icing1

13. Beat until smooth, scrapping down the sides a few times.
Stick in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up some.
icing2

14. Time for caramel!
In a large sauce pan, combine the sugar with 1/4 cup of water. Turn the heat on medium.
caramel1

15. From this point on do not step away from the stove.
The sugar will first melt and get bubbly. You want to stir a few times to ensure all the sugar is melted.
caramel2

16. Then it will start to look hard and dry. You want to keep breaking this at this point to prevent lumps in the sauce.
caramel3

17. When it gets a color you like, turn the heat to low. Add the butter and stir until smooth. Add the cream and stir until smooth.
Remove from heat and add the bourbon and spices. Stir until smooth.

**Note my caramel is a shade darker then most people would aim for because I kinda like a tiny bit of the bitterness of it. YMMV stop at your preferred color of caramel.
caramel4

18. The residual heat in the sauce pan is enough to push the caramel into scorched territory (especially if you take it as far as I did). So transfer the caramel to a heat neutral vessel (here a quart mason jar) and allow to cool.
caramel5

19. Time to assemble.
Stack up your cakes with icing in between, ending with a thinner layer on top.
If you want to make it prettier cut the domed top of the cakes so they stack up more neatly.
assemble1

20. Drizzle as much caramel as you want over the whole thing.
cake

21. In a perfect world, put the assembled cake in the fridge for an hour to firm up. But my brother got home so we didn’t wait.
assemble2

22. Drizzle more caramel on the slices, if you want.
Makes for a rich but not too dense or heavy cake with plenty of sweetness. the tartness of the goat cheese is very nice in the icing and the caramel rounds it up.
slice

Butter Chicken

Funnily enough, a butter free version of butter chicken. Delicious, tender chicken and a savory sauce. It uses both a “Butter chicken masala” pre-made mix and some whole spices.

This is a two step recipe. First the marinade, then putting everything together.

Marinade ingredients :
3 chicken breast
1/2 cup plain greek yoghurt
2 tea spoon butter chicken masala
juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 tea spoon salt
ingredients1

Butter Chicken ingredients :
Marinated chicken
4 onions
6 black pepper corns
6 green cardamom pods
1 thumb length cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 tablespoon butter chicken masala
1 small can of diced tomatoes
3/4 cup cream
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup water
2 table spoon oil
salt
ingredients2

***

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the marinade ingredients.
marinade1

2. Add the diced chicken.
marinade2

3. Stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and set aside (several hours, up to overnight).
marinade3

4. Peel and quarter the onions. Put in a pot with water and boil for 10 minutes until soft.
onions

5. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
Pour the chicken into an oven safe dish and cook for 10-15 minutes. You want it mostly cooked.
chicken

6. Drain the water from the onion and transfer them to a blender.
onions2

7. And puree them.
onion3

8. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onions to the skillet.
onions4

9. In the mean time grind the cardamom, black pepper corn and star anise.
spices

10. Cook until the onions have given up most of their water and start to form a paste. You can go a bit further then I did, almost caramelizing them. Add the ground spices and the butter chicken masala.
add-spices

11. Cook for 2 minutes to fry the spices a bit and make them fragrant.
spices+onions

12. Add the tomatoes.
add-tomatoes

13. Add the cream.
add-cream

14. Take the chicken out of the oven­.
chicken2

15. And using a slotted spoon transfer the chicken to the sauce. You want to leave behind any water or “broken” marinade. Stir in and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
add-chicken

16. Add the ground almond. Stir it in, it will thicken the sauce. Add the water to loosen it up.
add-almonds

17. Serve with warm naan bread.
serve

Dijon Pork

Super easy recipe but very tasty.

Ingredients
2 pork tenderloin
1/2 onion, chopped
3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
2-3 table spoon dijon mustard
olive oil
salt and pepper
ingredient

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
Season the meat with salt and pepper.
season

2. Warm some olive oil in a skillet and sear on all sides. Transfer to a baking dish and cook for 25-30 minutes,
baked

3. In the pan, sweat the onion until translucent and deglaze with the chicken stock.
deglaze

4. Add the cream, dijon mustard and a good amount of black pepper. Simmer until it thickens.
cream

5. Allow the pork to rest for 5 minutes. Slice (it will be very pink) and finish cooking in the sauce,
slice

6. Serve immediately.
plate

Chocolate Bread Pudding

I had people over for dinner and ended up with an extra baguette. I also had whole milk left from making a batch of rice pudding. So this served as a fridge/pantry cleaning decadent dessert.

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup cream
235g dark chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tea spoon salt
1 tea spoon vanilla
6 eggs
butter
1 baguette (1 or 2 day old. you don’t want fresh bread)
1 cup blueberries
ingredients

***

1. Butter a souffle dish (this one fits about 1 1/2 quart). Cut the bread into small cubes and fill the dish (about 6 cups).
cut-bread

2.  In a large pot, combine the milk, cream, sugar and salt. Heat until simmering but avoid boiling.
heat-milk

3. In the mean time, whisk the eggs in a large heat resistant bowl. You want them slightly lighter.
beat-eggs

4. Put the chocolate in the milk and remove from heat. Allow to stand for a minute.
add-choco

5. Then whisk until smooth.
whisk

6. Gently, while whisking continually, pour the chocolate cream into the eggs.Stir in the vanilla.
custard

7. Put the souffle dish in a large roasting tray. Pour over the bread. Allow to soak for 1 hour. If all the custard doesn’t “fit”, leave it alone for about 20 minutes. The bread will soak it up and you will be able to pour more.
This is why you don’t want fresh bread, it doesn’t soak up enough. And really, do give it at least 1 hour to soak up.
absorb

8. Add the berries. You could also mix them in with the bread at step 1. Don’t worry if any of the custard spilled during the previous step, that’s what that roasting tray is for, in part.
add-berries

9. Add about 1 tablespoon of butter in small dots on top of the whole thing. It will help the exposed bread caramelize.
berries

10. Turn the oven on to 325F. Add boiling water to the roasting pan. Put the waterbath in the oven for 45-50 minutes. The edges should be set while the middle should be still liquidy.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. The cooler it gets the more set the custard will be. The pieces on top and near the edges will be slightly crispy and everything else very soft and creamy.

Eating it warm however, allows you to use the custard like a decadent chocolate cause, spooning it all over your serving. I’ll leave that difficult decision to you.
remove