Saturday, 21 July 2012

Chocolate Macarons: Take One

So finally I worked up the courage to attempt french macarons. The problem with macarons are that you have so many articles that will say certain details are crucial to the perfect macaron and others that say they don't matter at all. 
So I decided to take the advice of one of my favourite bloggers:
And here is the series of (unfortunate?) events that occurred in the process of trying to make chocolate macrons.

Things I don't own and probably should have owned in order to make these macarons:
-Food Processor
-Kitchen Scale
-Large Round Tip (I usually just use the large coupler and it works just fine...)

Step one of the recipe was to grind the almonds into a powder. My blender has a grind button so it seemed simple enough until the blender stopped working and started smoking. After this catastrophe I needed to convert the weight measurements to cups which was partially done for me except the conversions provided did not match the conversions I found on websites I normally used for this kind of thing. So which was right? I went with cake journal on the conversions.

The meringues went okay. They were not as glossy as described in the recipe but they were stiff enough not to move when I flipped the bowl upside down. The problem was the consistency after folding in the dry ingredients was off. I find I often have this problem with folding because I tend to over-mix to ensure that is mixed enough. So the mixture turned out too thin and dripped everywhere while I was trying to pipe it. I mean globs the size of your fist on the counter, the roll of parchment paper and all over my hands.

So there were more problems with this recipe than things that went right so when I got 3 macarons out of the recipe I was kind of ecstatic! (Did I mention when making the the ganache the cream boiled over too?!) So next time I bake I need make sure to avoid ladders and black cats. Also I need to buy a couple things...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Coconut and Pineapple Cupcakes

Since I've started working its been both hard to find the time to find something I want to bake as well as being able to organize the ingredients. But finally I had a whole weekend off! So I decided I would bake. I'd been eager to try and make french macarons but I'd been postponing it for a while (and I decided to do it again). Instead I decided to have something more refreshing since its become so hot and humid lately. 

About a month ago I bought the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and a recipe that had caught my eye was the coconut and pineapple cupcakes which reminded me and pina coladas and vacations. On the cover of the cookbook they have them decorated with shaved coconut and a small gumpaste rose and I thought they were adorable.

Coconut and Pineapple Cupcakes (makes "12", I got 10, from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup coconut milk (I used unsweetened)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
9 canned pineapple rings chopped into small pieces (we didn't use canned pineapple and used about a third of a pineapple)
shaved coconut for decoration

Preheat oven to 325.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a mixer on slow until a sandy consistency is reached and the butter is no longer visible.

Mix coconut milk and vanilla together in a separate bowl and add to flour mixture, mixing on medium speed.

Add an egg and beat until fully combined, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Divide the chopped pineapple into the fluted paper cups and add batter until 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. I baked for about 30 (my oven usually takes longer) but found they still looked soft and "not ready" when I took them out however after cooling they lost that consistency. Then let cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting mix 2 cups of confectioners' sugar and 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter until combined  with the appearance of icing consistency. Slow the speed and add two tablespoons of coconut milk. Continue to beat, increasing the speed, until light and fluffy.