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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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

Crinkle Cookies

Moist and dense but maybe skirting a little close to the overly sweet side. Excellent to satisfy a chocolate craving however.

Ingredients:
125g 70% dark chocolate
4 table spoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tea spoon baking powder
1/4 tea spoon salt
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup icing sugar
ingredients

***

1. In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
dry

2. In a double boiler, melt the 70% chocolate and butter. Stir to combine.
melt1

3. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a mixer.
eggs

4. Beat the eggs until light and thick.
eggs2

5. Your chocolate should be melted now. Take off the heat to cool for a minute.
melt2

6. Once the chocolate is no longer scalding, pour it into the eggs with the mixer running on low.
eggs3

7. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
add-dry

8. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
Then stick the whole bowl in the fridge for 2 hours.
chips

9. Once your dough has chilled, pre-heat the oven to 325F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Spoon out dough and roll between your palms (aim for roughly golf ball sized). Put the powdered sugar in a shallow bowl and Roll in powdered sugar and roll the dough in it. Roll between your palms again to remove the excess.
roll

10. Bake for 13-14 minutes. They will be very soft and look a bit underdone, this is normal.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving to a cooling rack. This should be just about enough time to prepare the next batch.
bake

11. Keep in an airtight box (they dry fast). Yields about 30 cookies.
boxed

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

Bonbons aux Patates

A traditional Québec sweet, dating back to the Nouvelle-France era. Easy to make, but terribly imprecise as far as recipes go.

Ingredients
As many small yukon gold potatoes as you feel like tackling (1 will yield you between 20 and 40 pieces)
Icing sugar (plan to have at least a kilo on hand)
Peanut butter
Shelled and skinned peanuts
Salt
1 tea spoon vanilla extract per potato
bonbon_ingredients

***

1. Lightly toast the peanuts and and a good pinch of salt. Mix to coat the peanuts and set aside to cool.
bonbon_roast

2. Peel the potatoes. Steam them until they are cooked through, falling apart when poked with a fork.
You can boil them, but it water logs the potatoes and makes it harder in later stages.
bonbon_potatoes

3. Working 1 potato at the time, purée the cooked potato. Use a food mill of potato ricer if you have one. Or push the purée through a sieve.
bonbon_smashed

4. Add the vanilla extract. Add sugar, about 1/4 cup at the time. Mix well with a spatula.
* If you want add about a tablespoon of butter at this stage. it makes it easier/smoother to roll later.

The first 1/4 cup will turn the purée into something between snot and banana purée. This is normal. Keep adding sugar unto the whole thing turns about the texture of pie dough. It should be neither dry nor tacky. Add sugar more slowly toward the end (once it starts looking like a thick roux).

The yellow spots in the dough are potato clumps because my purée wasn’t perfect. It’s a cosmetic defect but doesn’t change the taste, so don’t sweat it.
bonbon_dough

5. Split into balls of dough smaller then a fist (2 ball per small potato above, 3 for the larger one).
Shape into an oblong oval. To make your life easier, put cling wrap on the counter top and parchment paper on top of the dough.
bonbon_shape

6. Roll until a bit less then 1/4″ thick (less then 5 mm).
bonbon_roll

7. Grab a handful of roasted salted peanuts. Process or chop until broken to chunks.
bonbon_pulse

8. Spread peanut butter on the rolled out dough. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over it.
bonbon_fill

9. Using the cling wrap, firmly roll into a log. Allow to cool in the fridge for an hour or so.
bonbon_roll2

10. Slice into pieces about 3/8″ thick (1 cm or so). Keep in a sealed container, cold if possible, to continue setting.
They will harden/contract as they set/dry.
bonbon_slice