Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Macaron Fever

I have not written in awhile, seeing as how it is Christmastime, and I have finally become ill with the plague that eventually threatens all food-blog-people: macarons. The classic French sammich cookie consists of a delicate almond meringue shell and a gooey-creamy frosting filling. Eventually you have to try and make them. And you can't just make them once. First you must perfect the shells, then you become obsessed with different flavor combinations.
So, currently I am baking baking baking various combinations of delicious crunchy chewy French goodness (Though not fig/chocolate/foie gras (!!!), like the above red cookie). I will report back.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008


I've been getting a lot of response to my red velvet post, so I thought I'd post an update about them. Last night I made them, but I didn't use Paula Deen's recipe, opting instead for this Rachael Ray recipe (ugh Rachael Ray) that I modified slightly. I switched recipes because the latter contains an entire half-cup of buttermilk versus the former's two tablespoons, which I feel is absolutely critical in red velvet. I also made the following modifications: I used an entire stick of butter in the batter, an extra half-teaspoon of baking soda, and I added an extra cup of flour. The batter should be thick enough to keep peaks when whipped. I also piped nickel-sized swirls of batter onto the cookie sheet to make bite-size sammiches. I baked them just till they were firm to the touch on top, about 5 minutes, but it depends on size.For the filling, I used an entirely different recipe, opting for Tartlette's Cream Cheese Italian Buttercream:
1 1/2 sticks (170 gr) butter at room temperature
4 oz (120gr) cream cheese, softened
3 egg whites
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 Tb water
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste or 1/2 vanilla bean split open
and seeded.

In the bowl of stand mixer, whip the egg whites until they have soft peaks. In the meantime, combine 2 Tb water with the sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan and bring the syrup to 250F. Slowly add the sugar syrup to the egg whites. If you use hand beaters, this is even easier and there is less hot syrup splatter on the side of your bowl and in the whisk attachment of the stand mixer. Continue to whip until the meringue is completely cooled. Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. The mass might curdle but no panic, continue to whip until it all comes together. Add the cream cheese, the same way, a little at a time until everything is smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, or paste or bean.

They came out perfectly, and taste just like little concentrated bites of red velvet cake.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

White Winter Honey

Know what's better than just plain old boring regular honey? White winter honey. It comes from bees near the north pole and is gathered by, I must believe, the most festive little happy bees.

Get it from the Savannah Bee Company, and put it on your waffles and in your tea and make honey cakes and challah!

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Red velvet EVERYTHING!

Yesterday while finishing up Christmas shopping, I saw Philosophy's Red Velvet Cake Shampoo. Most of their products are ho-hum scents you can get at the dollar store, but I'd never seen red velvet cake scent. It was perfect- slight chocolate and buttermilk and sweet, sweet, delectable cake.Now, I've got red velvet cake on my mind, and I have to whip up some Christmas cookies for this weekends festivities. So, cookies + red velvet= red velvet cake cookies. They weren't on my list, (clothespin cookies, TKOs, vanilla macarons) but I think I will whip up a batch. I found various recipes, but I'm going to go with Paul Deen on this one (cookies are sammiched with cream cheese icing and rolled in crushed pecans).

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Candy, Bacon, Candied Bacon.

Your holiday guide to candied bacon:

Emeril's recipe for this treat recommends a lot of cayenne pepper, but suggests you serve it at brunch. I say serve it all the time, even as a snack. Food Network
This New York restaurant serves candied bacon with whipped cream for dipping, which sounds like the best drunk food of all time, and may surpass the current frontrunner, the sausage egg and cheese croissant. NYT

The do's and don'ts of at home bacon candy-ing, or "sticky pig candy stripes." Delicious Days

Brown-sugar glazed bacon from PBS, but be careful, it also includes serving sizes and nutritional information (both of which should not be allowed anywhere near bacon). PBS

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