Peanut Butter and Jam Macarons

I have an infatuation for macarons now. I would go down to Lindt just to buy 2 macarons and devour it slowly just to satisfy my cravings. But recently, I’ve discovered the joy of making my own.  I’m sure you all know there are 2 kinds of macarons : French and Italian.

I’ve only had the chance to make the French macarons, and never had the courage to make the Italian ones, although I know it is a more stable method.I think it’s because when I first tried making the French macarons, I failed. TWICE. haha But with the success of my salted caramel macarons, I took a deep breath and decided to give the Italian macarons a try.

And boy was I glad I did! The shells just came out smoother and shinier. There was the “happy feet” in every shell and that made me smile and happy for the whole day! (: I am so sticking to this method of making the macarons from now on! So what inspired me to make peanut butter and jam macarons? A trip to LuxBite did! I tried two of their macarons : Kaya (their signature) and PB&J. They were awesome! So I had to make some so that I could have it more often! haha

This made me want MORE! (From LuxBite)

So here’s the recipe I used, try it yourself! I’m sure you would love the Italian macaron as well! (:

Peanut Butter and Jam Macaron (adapted from L’Atelier Vi)

Tant pour tant (TPT)
125g almond flour
125g powdered sugar
47g egg white
5 drops red food coloring

Italian meringue method
125g caster sugar
47g egg white
30g water

Steps :

1) For the TPT : Mix the almond meal and the powdered sugar and put it int a blender to make the mixture finer. Sieve the almond mixture to make sure there are no big bits or lumps.

2) Place the egg white in a clean mixing bowl, add in the red food coloring then stir to mix. Add the almond flour mixture, using a rubber spatula, and fold until it forms into a sticky ball, cover with food wrap, set aside.

3) For the Italian merigue : Bring water and caster sugar over high heat to a boil and until it thickens and register at 230°F/118°C on a candy thermometer. While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg white at high speed in the bowl of a mixer using the whisk attachment, whisk until pale and foamy.

4) Reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl, being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture, as it will harden!

5) Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until it becomes thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch. When you lift the meringue with the whisk, it should form into a stiff peak. With a rubber spatula, fold the almond batter to the meringue and fold until completely incorporated. (Lift some batter with the spatula, it should fall into the bowl in a ribbon fashion, and should look glossy)

6) Pour the batter into a piping bag with a small round tip and pipe the batter from the center of the drawn circle onto the baking sheets. Let dry at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking to allow skins to form. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F/150°C, with racks in upper and lower thirds.

7) Once the batter is dry to the touch, place into the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to cool on the cooling rack. Once cooled, slide a knife (fragile, must be careful) underneath the macarons to remove from the parchment paper.

Peanut Butter Cream (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Steps :

1. Cream peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed. On low speed, mix in sugar until combined, then beat mixture on high speed until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Use immediately.

2. Pair two macaron shells of the same size together, pipe the peanut butter cream on the flat side of both of the shell and top one side with a bit of jam (any of your favourite), then sandwich them.

Store the rest in an air tight container and put it in the fridge. Should be able to last for 3-5 days.

ENJOY!

So what is your favourite flavour of macarons? Or the best you have tried? Would love to hear from you! (:

Instant Gratification : Cinnamon Sugar Churros

Ever saw something and want to have it right that instant? But it’s too cold to head out cos of the 50km/h winds and below 10 degrees ?

Well. That was me last night. I saw a post on cinnamon sugar churros and just had the cravings for them almost immediately. And nothing was going to stop me from making them. Not even the lack of vegetable oil to fry them. I scurried to the nearest supermarket to get a bottle just so I could fry them in. haha

Trust me, if you love cinnamon sugar churros, you should really try making these cause they were SO EASY! You don’t even need to use a mixer of any kind. Just have a fork, mixing bowl, put everything together and MIX! Don’t get frightened by the sound of deep frying. You really just need a small pot and fill it up to the halfway mark, and heat it up slowly. It’s not that bad really!

Give it a go (: I’m very sure you won’t regret it! Especially if you’re craving for some like I was!

Cinnamon Sugar Churros (adapted from Toasty Biscuit)

2 cups plain flour

1 tbs baking powder

pinch of salt

600ml of boiling water

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tsp vanilla paste

vegetable oil, to fry

cinammon sugar, to dust (just combine caster sugar with ground cinnamon)

Steps :

1. Fill a deep, heavy based saucepan with vegetable oil. Place on medium-high heat and allow to heat. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla paste, water and oil. Mix with a fork and make sure there are no lumps.

2. Spoon the mixture into  a piping bag with a star tip. When the oil has reached 170 degrees, pipe 12cm lengths into the oil, using scissors to snip them from the bag. Be careful not to splash the hot oil.

3. Fry until golden brown, strain off excess oil and dust in cinnamon sugar.

Tip : Best to make and eat it hot/warm, but if you made too much, share it with others! They will love you for it. (:

PS : Once again, I got invited to Lisa’s Sweet Treat Linky Party! Head there to check out other sweet treats!

A First Time For Everything.

Everyone who knows me, know how much I love food. Sweet or savoury; I have too many to choose and count. But one thing I do know is I like to end a good meal with a homemade dessert! Doesn’t everybody? (:

I have heaps of favourite desserts : brownies, bread and butter pudding, jelly hearts and plum tatin ! But instead of always making the same desserts, I like to get inspiration from Tastespotting and other food blogs, and try new ones that catches my attention!

I was recently inspired after reading a post from Laureen of Eat and Be Happy and her amazing looking panna cotta and I just had to give it a try too!

I have been having a lychee craze now. So everything I want to make is lychee related. Makes me miss having Tango’s lychee martini more after having this dessert. Sadly, the lychee juice and cream layer split, so it became a three layer dessert. But the cream layer was nicely and subtly infused with the lychee flavour and it was still smooth and oh-so-good! The blended lychee at the bottom turned into a smooth lychee jelly which was like a surprise when you dig into it! So its not too bad a first try if you ask me. haha

I also decided to make berry ice cream to cut the sweetness of the panna cotta and it worked! I know it may sound like I spent alot of time on this dessert, but actually, I didn’t. Most of the time was for the panna cotta to set in the fridge! The berry ice cream took about 5 minutes from taking out the ingredients to freezing it! It is Jamie Oliver’s 1-minute berry ice cream that I saw on tv during the 30-minute meals. It’s healthy, and really good as well!

So yes, there is a lot of first tries in this one post, but well. If you don’t try, you’ll never know how it tastes will you?

So go on, give it a shot! (: You’ll not regret it !

Lychee Panna Cotta and Pomegranate Jelly (adapted from Une-deux Senses)

For the panna cotta :
1 can lychees, in syrup
2 tsp. powdered gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2 tbsn. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla paste (optional, I just like to see the black dots in the cream)

For the pomegranate jelly :
1 1/2 tsp. powdered gelatin
1 cup pomegranate juice (I used POM pomegranate wildberry white tea)
1/2 cup sugar

Frozen berries, just to place above the panna cotta

Steps :

1. Open the can of lychees and pour the lychees and syrup into a food processor. Process until smooth. There will be a lot of bits of lychee flesh and pulp, strain into a measuring cup until you get 1 cup of clear liquid. ( Tip : do not throw the bits of lychee flesh and pulp, could put it in the berry ice cream!)

2. Place 3 tbsn. cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top, let sit while you do the next step.

3. Combine the lychee liquid, cream, milk, vanilla paste and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and it just comes to a boil.

4. Remove the lychee mixture from the heat and add the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is fully melted and combined. Divide mixture among glasses and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.

5. To make the jelly, place 3 tbsn. of cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let sit while you do the next step.

6. Combine the pomegranate juice and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat on medium, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the gelatin and stir until fully melted and combined. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.

7. Make sure the panna cotta is set, place a few frozen berries on before pouring the jelly mixture over and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

For the berry icecream (adapted from Jamie Oliver) :

500g pack of mixed frozen berries, do not thaw
lychee flesh and pulp (from straining the lychee juice)
3–4 tablespoons runny honey
500g tub of natural yoghurt

Steps :

1. Put the frozen berries and lychee flesh and pulp into the blender and the add the yogurt and honey and whiz until smooth and combined.

2. You could use it immediately, or place it in a bowl and freeze until needed.

Not that difficult aye? Give it a shot and let me know how you go! (:

ENJOY!

ps : Please be patient when pouring the jelly mixture on top the panna cotta, make sure the panna cotta is set well. If you see mine, there is a rim of white cream around the top, haha it’s because I was overly excited! 😛

If you love it, make it

I have a confession. I love bread.

Any kind of bread : White, multigrain, loaves, buns, sweet and savoury. You name it, I love it. Not good for the waist. but SO good for the tummy. haha of course, there is an abundance of bread here in aussieland. But honestly, what is better than baking your own bread? You could add anything you want into the dough, any combination! And there is something about seeing it rise and proof and punching out the air before kneading it. Therapeutic. Awesome.

one of my favourite breads is no doubt garlic bread. The buttery-garlicky goodness when you bite into the bread could just put a smile on my face every single time. I came across this recipe while recipe searching, and I love the way it’s called. Monkey bread. Just sounds so playful. I’ve seen other recipes of monkey breads, and most of them are sweet ones with cinnamon sugar. So I was thrilled when I saw this parmesan-garlic one!

I loved the whole process. From mixing the dough, watching it rise, cutting it into smaller pieces, dipping it into butter and coating it with the parmesan garlic mixture. Doesn’t it already sound yummy?After making this, now I wanna try making the sweet one. hmm.

So how did we devour them? Have them with homemade roasted pumpkin soup ! (:

So I urge you all to start trying making your own bread. I’ve failed a few times before, and they turned out to be really dense, but they were still yummy! Nothing beats freshly baked bread, and having the whole house smell of it! You will not only enjoy the process, but also enjoy the end product! I don’t think there is anything better than that.

It turned out a little darker than I hoped, but it was still super yummy : warm, crusty, cheesy, buttery and garlicky!

Garlic-Parsley-Parmesan Monkey Bread (adapted from No Face Plate)

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 cups bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt

2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons freshly minced parsley
Black pepper, tons
10 cloves garlic, crushed, minced

1/4 cup butter

Steps :

1) In your stand mixer bowl, pour one cup warm water. Add your yeast and mix. After a minute or two, add your sugar and mix well and let stand for 5 minutes.

2) Add salt, then while mixing, gradually add your flours. Use a scraper to push the mass into the bread hooks and let it run 5-6 minutes, until a firmish dough has formed. Let the dough stand for 15 minutes, then knead another 2-3 minutes, until the dough’s “skin” is slightly shiny. Remove to an oiled bowl, cover, and let your dough rise for an hour.

3) Mix cheese, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Melt your butter in a small saucepan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

4) Turn out your dough onto a very lightly floured board and here comes the fun part! Pull out about a tablespoon of dough and form a ball. I ended up with about 30 pieces. Dip into the butter, then dip into the cheese mix, rubbing the mix around the entire piece.

5) Place in your buttered bundt pan. Continue until your dough has been used up, filling the pan evenly and flatly. Let the dough rise another 15-20 minutes, until about doubled. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top of the bread is browning.

The fun thing about this is you can pull out the bread bit by bit so easily and just pop them into your mouth! Fun and yummy : Best combination ever! The mr and I had so much fun pulling it apart. haha

ENJOY! (:

C is for Cookie.

Nope, it’s not just cookie monster who loves cookies. I DO TOO! (:

Every year during chinese new year, I look forward to having the chocolate chip cookie made by the mr’s mum. A whole big bottle to myself. haha. Not good for the waist, but oh so good for my tummy! The buttery, nutty and chocolatey goodness will just melt in your mouth. It’s awesome. Really.

So I had a craving for cookies, and wanted to be adventurous. haha and in my mind, i wanted something nutty, chocolatey and also crunchy! I looked through my whole list of “to bake” list and found a perfect recipe.

Crispy salted oatmeal almond white chocolate cookies! These were crisp and sprinkling the top with a little fleur de sel was a special touch which brought it to another level! Was so good, really. The Mr loved it as well. hehe which is always a bonus!

Although the recipe from Smitten Kitchen used just plain white chocolate, but I had a bar of almond white chocolate from Lindt sitting on the kitchen bench, and instead of gobbling down the whole bar (which would really happen), I decided to put it in the cookie and share the calories with everyone! haha

If you haven’t tried it, you really should. You would not stop eating it. I swear. It’s not just me… is it? haha ah wells. TRY IT!

and like Smitten Kitchen, I agree that you should only use good quality chocolate. But if you don’t have ay in your pantry, then I guess the chips will do for now!

Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Almond Cookies via Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

170g good quality white chocolate, chopped (I used the Lindt one shown above)

1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (for sprinkling on top)

Steps :

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and table salt in a medium bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down bowl again. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add oats and white chocolate and mix until well incorporated.

3. Divide dough into 24 equal portions, each about 2 tablespoons. Roll between palms into balls, then place on lined baking sheets about 2 1/2 inches apart. Using fingertips, gently press down each ball to about 3/4-inch thickness.

4. Sprinkle a flake or two of sea salt on each cookie

5. Bake until cookies are deep golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool.

not perfect but love it that it isn’t!

all packed and ready to give to….

So, I’m going to be real straightforward and ask: Would any of  you dear readers be kind enough to order my baked goods to raise funds for my wedding? I’m really free these days as it’s the school holidays so if you do wanna order anything and I mean anything (cupcake, macarons or cookies) just leave me a message using the feedback or email me! Would love to hear from you! (: Thanks! Many thanks!

email : lianne.low@gmail.com

Salted Caramel Macarons

It has always been my dream to buy a Kitchenaid mixer but I never had the heart to spend that much on an item. haha BUT I JUST DID. (: I’m a happy and proud owner of one! Thanks so my wonderful parents who is ever so supportive of me.

And immediately after getting it, I had to use it and bake something. Especially when I haven’t baked in a long long time. And one thing at the back of my mind that I wanted to try again was of course, macarons.

I have been having Lindt’s macarons for the past 2 months, cause whenever family and friends come. Lindt Chocolate Cafe is one place I will definitely bring them to have their macarons. And we all have our own favourites: mine is their vanilla and the mr loves their salt caramel. So what did I decide to bake for the first time using the sexy toy? Salted caramel of course (:

Although it didn’t turn out perfect, but I was really quite happy with the way it looked and the texture of it, cause it is wayyy better than my last attempt of chilli chocolate macaron. hehe

So the first thing I needed to get was fleur de sel. and boy was I shocked at how much it costs! haha but then again, it is the caviar of salt, so I guess its worth as it really made the caramel magical.

love the shape of the salt crystals

the verdict ? The mr LOVED it. and it made me a happy girl. (:

so here’s the recipe I used :

adapted from Chef Pang Kok Keong (a recipe on Chubby Hubby)

the macaron shell :

250g ground almond

450g icing sugar

220g egg white (aging for 48 hours)

60g castor sugar

Steps :

1. Sieve the ground almond and icing sugar into a mixing bowl. Make sure the mixture is lump-free. They call this the Tant Pour Tant (TPT) mixture.

2. Beat the egg whites using an electrical mixer with a whisk attachment at high speed until you can see a line made by the whisk going round. Then add in the sugar while the mixer is at medium speed. Make a stiff meringue.

3. Fold the meringue into the dry sieved ingredients until you get a homogeneous mix, taking care not to overfold it, as normal meringue are very delicate.

4. Pipe the mixture onto a silpat with a no. 5 plain tube into 3cm balls. Allow space in between as the cookies will spread to approximately 5cm. If the mixture is too thick, you’ll see a tip sticking up from the balls (from where you piped them) even after you finish piping the last row. If this happens, give the tray a little tap so that you’ll get a nice smooth surface.

5. Leave the piped macaron cookies out to form a skin before baking them (about 30 mins) at 160 degrees Celsius in a fan oven for approximately 14-16 minutes. When totally cooled, sandwich two cookies together with the salted caramel filling.

I did the happy feet dance (: SUPER HAPPY!

Salted caramel :

200g sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
200g cream
3.75g fleur de sel
140g butter, chilled

Steps :

1. In a 1 litre heavy based pot, cook the sugar with a little of water, stirring all the time to get an even caramel.

2. Then add in the vanilla paste.

3. Add in the warm cream a bit at a time as it will bubble up and splatter. Then add in the fleur de sel.

4. Stir to make sure all the caramel has dissolved. Cool the mixture to approximately 40 degrees Celsius.

5. Add in the well chilled butter, cut into cubes. Using an immersion blender, blend in the butter till you achieve a smooth glossy paste. Line the surface of the caramel with plastic wrap or greaseproof paper to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the fridge until needed.

All packed! (: Enjoy !

Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding

Sorry for the lack of posts everyone! Been really busy with uni work and accompanying family and friends who have been visiting non-stop for the past 2 months and it has been awesome! (: But keeping them company means less time to cook and bake in the kitchen. Till now! So I do apologise but thank you for still reading my blog! Really honoured (:

So it’s the semester break now and I’ve got alot more time on my hands and I have to say, it feels really good to be back in the kitchen coming up with new dishes to try! Absolutely loving it!

So today I decided to make a dessert that I have always loved having at buffets : bread and butter pudding, but with a small twist! I used croissants instead of bread. Who could resist croissants huh? I definitely can’t!

I added chocolate and raisins and a little cowboy shot liquor to give it the additional kick! hahas. The mr and his sister loved it, which made me even happier! (: Always nice to know what people think about it after they’ve tried it. Almost like having food critics in your restaurant, and waiting for their review on the papers or their blogs. haha. Although I am my toughest critic, always good to know what other people think too!

I had extra yolks in my custard as I’m aging my egg whites for another shot at making macarons. (fingers crossed!) so my custard is extra thick and heavy which I actually prefer! Not too bad for my first try I think! hehe With such a heavy custard, we only need to have a little to be full! So it is a good thing too! trying to watch the waistline haha

So here’s the recipe, hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients :

3 crossiants (medium in size)

20g unsalted butter

20g dark choc chips

30g raisins

zest of 1/2 an orange

300ml cream

50ml milk

3 tbs cowboy shot liquor

1 egg

3 egg yolks

50g sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

my egg had a double yolk! was so super excited and amused haha

Steps:

1) Tear the croissants into smaller pieces and fit them into the baking pan (a deep dish is best)

2) Cut the butter into small pieces and place then in between the croissant pieces. Top the croissants with the chocolate chips and raisins.

3) To make the custard, mix the cream, milk, orange zest and vanilla in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, egg yolks and sugar till well combined and mix it into the cream mixture. Stir until well combined.

4) Pour the custard over the croissants and let it sit on the bench for 10 mins while pre-heating the oven at 180 degrees celcius.

5) Bake for 20 mins until golden brown. You can eat it really hot, or have it warm (the way I like to have mine!)

ENJOY!

on a side note : I found the cutest stamp from the Sunday markets along St Kilda beach! (:

Absolutely loving it! (:

ps: I’ve added this post on “Sweet as Sugar Cookies” sweet treat linky party! Head over to see much more yummy sweet treats! (: