Flood Frosting Sugar Cookies

Day 3 of the Holiday Sugar Cookie Series

_MG_1340

I’m going to preface today’s post, a happy conclusion to the Holiday Sugar Cookie Series, by saying that it would not have been possible for me to even attempt any of this without Ree’s inspiration and the amazing cookies over at the Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. So I’m going to to say this now — check out their blogs!! I mean seriously they are inspirational._MG_1258

There isn’t any recipes involved with today’s post, just some ideas. To help you slackers that haven’t made your cookies yet, here are a few tips for the cookie baking process.

As far as your equipment is concerned, this is what I used. A lot of these things I had laying around or could be repurposed — although I did use this as an excuse to buy more tips, couplers, and some squeeze bottles.

Now I know some of you have been following since day 1. So gather your cut-out sugar cookies, and get the following set up. Everyone else, come back a day after you’ve made your cookies and right after you’ve made your royal frosting. Or keep reading for the fun of it.

_MG_1262

Start by arranging all of your equipment. Line cups with paper towels, fit couplers to piping bags, and arrange pipping bags so that they are inverted into cups and are held up.

Outline icing

_MG_1256

Start by filling a two-cup measuring cup with some of your fresh royal frosting. Add the color of your desire, and mix. If you’re using a mister, mist two or three times, otherwise add around 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of water to the icing and mix to combine. Repeat this process until your frosting is like toothpaste.

_MG_1251

Do not get impatient and add more motor or else your icing will fall apart. Once it reaches the toothpaste consistency, take about 1/2 cup to a 3/4 cup of icing out and add it to a pipping bag. Tie with a pipping bag tie or rubber band.

_MG_1265

Flood Icing

_MG_1252

Continuing in the same mixing cup, continue to thin out the icing using 2-3 mists at a time (no more than 1 tsp) of water until it reaches the thickness of shower gel. If you draw a ribbon, it should be able to fall back onto itself in two seconds. Take this, and fill it into your squeeze bottles for easy squeezing. This should be thinner, but not thin enough to the point where it will just ooze all over the cookie.

Decorating Time

_MG_1268

Now its time for the fun part. Outline your cookies with your outline frosting and let it set for a few minutes, until they are just sett. Then, fill your cooking with your flood icing. Don’t worry about reaching all the edges. When you have most of the center filled, use a toothpick to help you along.

_MG_1269

You’re done!

Yay! Flood-icing sugar cookies, with just a little patience and a little more practice, can produce stunning results that really is a lot more effortless than they may appear. To get you started with a few cookie ideas, I’m sharing two of my designs with you. As I mentioned in my cut-out sugar cookie post, these cookies started out as party favors. I wanted to make snow-globe-like cookies, one more fitting for Christmas, and the other for the new year.

Untitled

_MG_1271

For the Christmas snow globe cookie, I made my cut-outs utilizing a round cookie cutter. When the cookies came out of the oven, I gently outlined a Christmas tree onto the cookie using a tree shaped cookie cutter. When the cookie cooled down, I simply traced with my outline frosting and then filled with my flood frosting. I then used some red filling frosting and dropped droplets into the tree to create some ornaments. When my tree was set and done, I outlined the entire snow globe using a white outline icing. It was then filled with white and embroidered with blue droplets to act as glitter.

Untitled

I then proceeded to made a new year cookie by filling a cookie completely using grey and decorated it with the same blue droplets as the christmas tree snow globe. Once those were completely set (I did this the next day), I traced the numbers 2013 onto the cookie using a food coloring marker and then traced that writing using an outline frosting. This was then filled using a different color to create a foreground/background effect.

Untitled

_MG_1335

Advertisements

Royal Frosting

Day 2 of the Holiday Sugar Cookie Series

_MG_1247

Believe it or not, royal frosting is the same frosting thats used to glue gingerbread houses together and decorate flood frosting cookies. For those of you unfamiliar with what flood frosting cookies are, flood frosting is the technique used to create smooth and matte finishes like the Starbucks holiday cookies.

For those of you who’ve decorated royal frosting, you also know that its a stiff mess, that dries in about 30 seconds. The trick is to work backwards from frosting to icing. This approach is great because you can make a stiff frosting thats excellent for gingerbread houses but can also be thinned to flood sugar cookies.

_MG_1240

There are countless royal frosting recipes that could work. I chose to work with meringue powder instead of real egg whites because I expected my cookies to sit in room temperature for a few days and I wanted to be sure no one got sick.

_MG_1241

Since you will be working with egg whites (in a powdered, meringue form),  make sure that all of your equipment is clean and oil free or frosting might not come together otherwise. Keep this in mind when you choose a flavoring or extract to work with because you’ll be adding it to your frosting.  I worked with Wilton’s clear vanilla flavoring to prevent any discoloration.

_MG_1242

After all the ingredients are gathered, all you need to do is combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the wet ingredients in a separate cup, and then join the two together. At this point the frosting is thin, very thing. A few minutes on medium high, the frosting becomes stiff, fluffy and ready to be used on whatever you may desire. This year I decorated some gingerbread houses with my friends Megan and Katie!

_MG_1243

I’ll be sharing techniques on thinning the frosting out tomorrow. If you end up making this frosting today, the frosting lasts up to a month after its made.  Just store it in your fridge with a wet towel over the bowl to prevent it from drying and a quick whisk with the whisk attachment will freshen it right up.

_MG_1244

Frosting tip: A good thing to keep by hand when working with royal frosting is a water spray bottle. I like to gently mist the surface of the frosting to prevent it from drying out, especially when I plan on thinning it out later anyways.

_MG_1248

Royal Frosting

Originally From: Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/3 cup meringue powder
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp oil-free extract or flavoring

Directions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the confectioner’s sugar, meringue powder by hand using the whisk attachment.
  2. Combine the flavoring with the warm water and add slowly to the dry ingredients while mixing very slowly (stir or 2).
  3. When the water is completely added in, increase the speed of your stand mixer to medium high (6 or 8 on a Kitchen aid) and mix until fluffy. Stop as soon as it reaches stiff peaks as over mixing will cause your frosting to break down.

Cut-out Sugar cookies

Day 1 of the Holiday Sugar Cookie Series

6

Every year for christmas, my friends and I get together for a secret santa. Every year, I want to decorate sugar cookies for the first time, but I never really knew how. It all came together when I became the host of the exchange last year. It didn’t help that Ree over at the Pioneer Woman hosted this amazing looking cookie decorating session. I was sold.

5

It took some research and some more research. Crafty ideas don’t come very naturally to me and decorating cookies definitely errs on the side of the artistic side of cooking but Ree’s pictures had me sold. These cookies were decorated with a flood frosting. I referenced Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle a lot throughout my decorating process and she has some amazing cookies so I definitely recommend checking her site out.

1

2

I’m starting this series with a sugar cookie, followed by a royal frosting then ending with some tips and techniques that I picked up throughout this process. I did, however want to get you started on the right foot — according to Sugarbelle, flood frosting sugar cookies work the best when you make the cookies a day ahead. This gives them a chance to dry out just a tad bit and let the oils reabsorb into the cookies. Go ahead and make these cookies tonight or tomorrow, then you’ll get a chance to make the frosting and follow along my posts throughout the next few days!

3

These sugar cookies don’t deviate too far away from your regular sugar cookie recipe. They involve creaming together butter and confectioner’s sugar, adding an egg and a flavoring, then finishing off with flour, salt, and baking powder. I personally love the flavor of vanilla so thats what I went with but the original author proposed almond extract. One nifty trick is the use of confectioner’s sugar for dusting a work surface instead of flour, which really preventing my cookies from becoming over worked.

4

Cut-out Sugar Cookies

Originally from: Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tsp flavoring (I used vanilla)
  • 2 1/2-2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ts. salt

Directions

  1. Cream together softened butter and confectioner’s sugar. Add the egg and flavoring. Mix until well combined
  2. Add 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt to the mixture. If the dough is no longer sticky and can come together as a ball then it is ready. If it is still too sticky, add another 1/4 cup of flour.
  3. Roll out on parchment to about 1/4 an inch thick, use confectioner’s sugar for dusting as necessary. Then, cut and bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

7

Macaron Framboise (Raspberry)

_MG_3410

It’s been a while since I’ve really gotten a chance to cook anything for myself, let alone photograph and prepare a post for all of you. I personally wanted to say a special thank you to everyone who’s been following along throughout the past couple of months–seeing the statistics on my dashboard really became one of the highlights of this hectic quarter.

_MG_3409

As I’m working my way through senior year, a few things have changed in the past couple of months. First off, I’m finally affiliated (sort of)! I’m currently pledging to become a member of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity and my friends have definitely joined the bandwagon of excitement. Thanks JenaLyn for the awesome Secret Santa gift… this was definitely (and very carefully) used in the making of these macarons 🙂

_MG_3479

In addition, I’m starting my grad school search for a student affairs program. Even though  I managed to finish all of my finals this quarter on Monday of finals week, it really wasn’t much of a break time for me, but more so a time to work on letter of recommendations. But of course, kitchen duty called and I took it upon myself to feed everyone around me.

1

I think one of the biggest inspiration for these macarons was my newest addition to the lens family, a 24-70mm f/2.8. I knew I wanted to highlight a pretty color– something that was fun. Raspberry jumped at me. I was lucky to have two excellent l helpers,  Katie and Megan, help out with my baking the past week. Unfortunately Katie had a final the next day this was being made, she definitely got to reap the benefits of my baking spree though.

23

What really makes the raspberry flavor jump out at you is the fresh raspberry jam that is really irreplaceable to this recipe. Although you could probably substitute the filling with a store bought jam, I’d encourage using a fresh batch. It was definitely an experience for me and to quote Megan: “it really wasn’t that hard!!”

4

Raspberries are first macerated with a masher over medium heat. Sugar, first whisked with pectin, then joins the mix with some lemon juice. Everything bubbles away for two minutes before its allowed to cool in a bowl covered with saran wrap pressed against the surface. Doing this, prevents a film from forming on top, yuck.

5

Everything else is relatively standard to the Pierre Herme Macaron recipe. Feel free to reference the pistachio flavor if you’d like! I’ve had some success substitute the raspberries with other fruits such as cherries, blueberries, and mangos. Can’t wait to share some other winter-y treats with you in the next few weeks. I have a sugar cookie decorating series I can’t wait to show you!

_MG_3406

Macaron Framboise

Raspberry Jam originally on: Not so Humble Pie

Ingredients

Filling

  • 225g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp powdered pectin
  • 375g (3 cups) french raspberries
  • 1/2 lemon

Macaron shells

  • 300g ground almonds (ground to a powder)
  • 300g powdered sugar
  • 110g aged egg whites
  • 4.5g pink, fuchsia, orr rose  food coloring
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 75g mineral water
  • 110g aged egg whites

Directions

  1. Start by making the jam. In a medium sauce pan, macerate raspberries with a potato mashers. Alternatively, process in a food processor or blend in a blender and then heat up over medium heat. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar and pectin and then add it to the raspberries. Squeeze in some lemon juice for some tang and then allow to boil for two minutes. Strain the seeds out if desire, and then allow to cool in a bowl with plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the bowl until cooled
  2. Process powdered sugar and ground almonds in a stand mixer and sift into a large bowl. Combine the other 110 g of egg whites with the food coloring and add to the sifted almond flour and powdered sugar.
  3. In a sauce pan, combine water and sugar and bring it to a boil. In a stand mixer, start beating your egg whites on low speed. When your syrup reaches 115 C, turn the mixer to medium (6 on a kitchen aid) and whisk. When your syrup reaches 118 C, remove from heat immediately, increase the speed to medium high (or 8) and pour the syrup down the side of your mixing bowl bowl. Keep whisking until your mixing bowl is warm to touch (50 C).
  4. Pour the merengue over the mixture from step 2. Fold gently.
  5. Pipe circles of macaron batter out on parchment paper 3/4 of an inch apart. Rap baking sheets against counter, rotate by 90 degrees and wrap again.
  6. Preheat your oven to 325 C and let the macarons rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, opening the oven door quickly twice throughout. At the end of the 15 minutes, remove from oven and check for doneness. If the macaron needs more time, bake for another 2 minutes and remove.
  7. Cool on wired rack and fill when completely cooled.

_MG_3404

_MG_3415

Almond Butter and Jelly Muffins

_MG_1374

I’m finally on Pinterest! I finally decided on a new way of organizing my recipes and ideas for recipes. I though it would be the most appropriate to do this on Pinterest so all of you can join along!

1

To celebrate this new beginning, I decided to share a recipe I discovered yesterday evening. It was around 9 PM and I had to stop myself from going to the kitchen when I stumbled upon this. It doesn’t help that I live with hungry college students. Or that I’m a hungry college student.

2

Most of you probably have everything you need to make this. I give you permission to go check. Go now. I’ll be here. You need almond butter, brown sugar, eggs, milk, oil, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, and jam. Back? Ok, lets move on.

_MG_1345

Making this is even easier. You combine everything in a large bowl, sandwich some jam between batter in a muffin tin, bake it for 20 minutes and be prepared to serve a delicious breakfast the next morning (if they even last that long). The original recipe used peanut butter which probably makes a little more sense for most people but I love my almond butter. Feel free to experiment with your own combinations because this recipe is pretty flexible!

_MG_1332

A few weekends ago, my friends and I went strawberry picking at a local U-Pick strawberry farm. Since they were relatively post-season, I decided to make my own strawberry jam. They ended up perfect in these muffins.

photo

Almond Butter and Jelly Muffins

Adapted from two peas & their pod, seen on Food Librarian

Ingredients

  • 1 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of your favorite jam

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together almond butter, brown sugar, canola oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Add in flour, and baking powder and whisk gently until just combined.
  3. In a greased (or lined) muffin tin, add 2 Tbsp of batter. Add a heaping teaspoon of jam. Cover with another 2 Tbsp of muffin batter or until approximately 3/4 filled.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just set and the muffin bounces back lightly when you touch the top._MG_1366

Magical Peach Cobbler

_MG_1317 copy_MG_1315

I’m not going to lie, I’m not the biggest fan of ambiguity. I like knowing things and I like details. This is true for use of broad words like “cobbler”, as well as uncertainty in recipes that are supposed to just work. I’m all about the nerdy science behind things – graphs, data and logic.

3

When I first came home with a box full of ripe and fragrant peaches, I knew I had to make a cobbler. Although the cobbler is inspired by the British, I resisted my urge to follow a food’s origin as I have with the macaron, and dug into the archives for a Southern recipe. I’ve had a peach cobbler recipe filed away for a while now, a recipe from Paula Deen.

5

I was a little intimidated by the process since I usually research my recipes. I look around to find my favorite aspects of each recipe and combine things into a consolidated recipe. This wasn’t the case with this cobbler. Some versions I came across relied on the use of pie crusts and puff pastries while other versions used cake mixes or biscuits. It was hard to find a recipe that was consistent on some level (other than the use of peaches). A uncomfortable feeling, part of me was too scared to experiment with something I wasn’t familiar with. Another part of me knew I had to keep true to Paula.

_MG_1289

Then, I questioned my decision. The recipe starts with cooking peaches down in some sugar. Butters is then melted in a pan in the oven. The “biscuit” batter is then poured over the melted butter. The assembly is completed with the peaches are gently placed on top and the syrup gently drizzled. No part of this made sense. This order is the exact opposite of the supposed finished product. The end result was a tender, cakey, biscuit covering warm, delicious peach slices. Somehow, a 35 minute trip in the oven, a dash of cinnamon, and a whole lot of will power from eating all the peaches (guilty!) created a delicious final product that magically reverses the layers I made and killed any doubt I had for the Queen of Southern Cuisine.

_MG_1294

For those of you who are stumbling onto this via a link, you can find out how to peel peaches from my post yesterday. To slice the peaches, hold it in your hand and run the knife down until you hit the pit. Move over to the right and run the knife down again until you hit the pit, this time pulling the knife in the direction of the cut you made earlier and pulling out with a gently flick so the fruit comes up with the knife. Repeat this for your peaches and again, resist the temptation to eat all the peaches. 12

I was able to put a few twists of my own on this recipe. Instead of letting the butter just melt, I let the butter brown slightly to add a nutty aroma. Instead of self-rising flour, I used regular flour, added baking powder and salt to make my own self-rising flour. Its important to note that the pan must be baked on a cookie sheet to prevent anything from burning. I also made sure to spoon in my peaches very gently before pouring the syrup on the pan even more gently to prevent any mixing between the batter and the syrup. Give this recipe a try. I had to try to preserve 2 extra servings before 5 people devoured the entire recipe!

_MG_1322

Magical Peach Cobbler

Adapted from Paula Deen

Ingredients

  • 4 cups peeled, sliced peaches (I used about 5)
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Ground cinnamon, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
  2. Combine peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan. Mix gently and bring to a boil. Simmer peaches for 10 minutes and remove from heat.
  3. Melt butter in a 3-quart baking dish, or a 13 by 9 pan ad place in oven to melt until golden brown.
  4. Mixing remaining cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and milk gently to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter and do not stir. Spoon fruit evenly over batter and gently pour syrup over. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon, if desired. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  5. Let cook for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or by it self!

Salted Caramel Bacon Blondies

_MG_2087

Finals week suck. If you’re an undergrad somewhere out there, you get it. Its a week where people have an excuse to eat all the junk food they want, not shower for a few days, and show up to the library in sweats. To be completely honest, I personally avoid the library on our campus not because of how packed it is (which it is) but because of how bad it smells.

2

But then, finals end – people rejoice,  the sky is blue again, and the air is, once again, breathable. I have a horrible finals week. Absolutely horrible. I’m seriously going to hate every second of it. So of course, I in the middle of this chaos I had to run home and bake something new. It helped that my friend entertained me on the guitar while this happened…

_MG_2082

Blondies aren’t a new concept here at boomie’s kitchen. I’ve done with with salted caramel, and I’ve done one with peanut butter. But these blondies are different. The salted caramel makes the blondies chewy but the batter used is moist, dense, and tender. The bacon adds another dimension to the flavor profile by enhancing the sweet and salty profile with savory and smokey notes.

_MG_2064

_MG_2067

The recipe is simple. The most time consuming portion was frying the bacon and the most difficult part was making the salted caramel sauce. I saved some time by frying the bacon in one pan and starting the salted caramel next to it. Of course, you can leave the bacon out and this recipe will work just fine (I’ve done it before!). You can probably also use store bought salted caramel sauce but challenge yourself to make some caramel, its fun and rewarding, I promise!

1

These bars look especially pretty with the lattice like topping. This is done by dropping spoonfuls of dough all over the batter. When you’re doing this don’t be too precise and don’t worry if it seems like theres not enough batter – it’ll work out! To serve, I recommend waiting until they completely cool or the caramel won’t have set yet which will lead to the top layer to move around when you cut it. I used a chef’s knife with a light spritz of pam to help me cut them and I was able to get perfect edges.

_MG_2077

_MG_2084

Salted Caramel Bacon Blondies

Adapted from: Butter Baking

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 recipe of Salted Caramel Sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a frying pan, fry bacon until crisp, allow to drain on a plate.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater blade, add the unsalted butter and brown sugar. Cream on medium until light and creamy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
  5. Add salt and flour to the bowl and mix until just combined. Remove about 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl. Crumble all but 1 slice of the bacon into the dough and mix until incorporated. Don’t over mix or the bars will be tough.
  6. Spread the batter with bacon into a greased 13 by 9 inch baking dish evenly. Pour the salted caramel sauce over the batter. Drop spoonfuls of batter on top of the salted caramel.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until just golden brown. Crumble remaining slice of bacon before the caramel sets. Wait until completely cooled to slice.

_MG_2101

Gluten Free Green Tea Mochi Cupcakes

_MG_2034It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write something… four months to be exact. Four months of time before I’ve really had a chance to write something for myself, to do something for myself. School has been crazy this past quarter. I have finals in a few days, but of course I decide to do better things with my time like prepare for St Patricks Day.

1

Spring is one of the 4 seasons that I have mixed feelings about. It signals the end of my favorite winter. The obnoxious amounts of Fall spices, warm stews, and peppermint. It does, however, let me make these cutesy powdery colored foods. Yes I used the word cutesy. Yes that is a word.

I’m usually not shy with my food coloring. But I decided to let the green tea shine in this recipe. Before you moan and cringe at the use of green tea powder, stay and hear me out before you move on… Green tea powder isn’t cheap. Well, technically matcha powered (what green tea powder traditionally refers to) isn’t cheap. When you’re working with baked goods, the high quality matcha power isn’t necessary. Refined flavors of the high quality matcha can be lost in the almond or other flavors of baked goods. In addition, the antioxidants and other valuable nutritions are a lot higher in the green tea powder instead of in the Matcha powder. I found mine online if you wanted a reference.


_MG_2025

I’m not going to lie. I was originally going to hash out a green tea macaron recipe.  Then, I stumbled upon these babies in the middle of the night, when I feel the most whimsical. I also needed an excuse to use the glutinous rice powder and red beans I had in the pantry and green tea powder I just bought for macarons. The original recipe didn’t have any red beans, but I wanted to spice things up a little.

_MG_2011

If you’re wondering where to get glutinous rice powder, you can get the more popular Mochiko powder. I used the plastic pouches that you can find in most Asian super markets where the grains are. They were conveniently located in the same isle as red beans where I shop!

2

The cupcakes are easy to make. You combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, combine the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. The entire process, including pictures, took me about 20 minutes. Don’t fret if your dry ingredients look a bit white, it darkens up when the wet ingredients are added in.

I made the red bean paste because I needed an excuse to make red bean paste. I ate about a fourth of what I made, and use the rest in these cupcakes. I used a tooth pick to help push down the little red bean paste disks I made with my hands, the paste doesn’t stick at all. That recipe, however, will have to be saved for another day!

_MG_2031

Gluten Free Green Tea Mochi Cupcakes

Originally from Humble Bean

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. glutinous rice powder
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. green tea powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • Red bean paste (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the rice powder, sugar, baking powder, and green tea powder.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and oil. Add to large bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Fill cupcake liners to about 1/2 to 2/3 full. If using red bean paste, make 1 tsp disks and place into individual cupcakes, using a toothpick to help push it down so the batter covers the red bean.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set and slightly browned on top. Cool and serve.

_MG_2038

One-hour pumpkin pie

I never really knew how I felt about pumpkin pie, I spent a good portion of my life convincing myself that I didn't like it.

Unfortunately, when the time comes, and pretty much everyone coming to thanksgiving dinner decides that they want a pumpkin pie for thanksgiving, theres really nothing to do but to give in. I think this is usually how I start making up my mind on what I like to eat.

Being the pushover that I am when it comes to deciding thanksgiving items, I give in. I go through google, pick out a well rated recipe the night before thanksgiving. I take some time to do my usual reserach on, cross reference some different blogs, ideas, and settle with a rough edit.

It involves a blend of spices that I've come up with cooked with pumpkin to remove the canned taste. Its then combined with a whole can of condensed milk, two eggs and baked until just set. Upon setting… well lets just say that the only thing left was a sad pie tin, now crustless….

I can't say that this recipe changed how I feel about pumpkin pie, nor can I say this was revolutionary, but the actual prep time only takes about 10 to 15 minutes and a short prep time is more than appreciated on a busy thanksgiving day… for boomieskitchen at least!

One-hour Pumpkin Pie

Adapted from: Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 (14 oz) can condensed milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. While the oven is preheating, combine pumpkin, spices, and salt on a pan and cook until warm and fragrant.
  2. Off the heat, combine pumpkin with condensed milk and eggs. Pour the batter into the pie crust.
  3. Place the pie into an oven and reduce temperature to 350. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the center lightly jiggles when shaken. A knife inserted 1 inch from the crust should come out clean. Let cool and serve.

 

Review: ‘lette macarons

I will preface this review by saying that I had really high expectations for ‘lette macarons. I mean really… high… expectations. With a four star rating on yelp and a few recommendations from friends, I was ready for ‘lette macarons to blow my mind.

Unfortunately, I was let down. Badly.

My sweet little sister (featured in my photo guide) bought me a dozen of their most popular flavors from the Pasadena store. After trying the 12 cookies, all I can say is that I am disappointed. While ‘lette offers a step up in quality of texture from Merely Sweets, I find ‘lette macarons boring and uncreative. I say this not as an insult to the quite interesting flavor lineup and use of flavor combinations but to their repetitive use of a white chocolate based filling.

The Shell

The shells of these cookies were not disappointing. But they definitely weren’t the best I’ve had. As you can see, they are smooth and pretty and that definitely holds to be true for the entire lineup but ‘lette. When biting into the smooth outer shell of they give a gentle but still oddly satisfying resistance, not quite a crunch — spot on. After chewing on them, the macaron shells seem to be a bit dry. Although they weren’t crunchy, they weren’t as moist or chewy as I had expected. I didn’t necessarily find it disturbing but rather interesting and unique to ‘lette.

Taste testing with boomie’s kitchen

The Filling

Out of the dozen macarons that our kitchen taste tested, 9 of ‘lette’s macarons utilize a cream that is based on white chocolate and then thickened and emulsified by soy lecithin. Because of this, I found their macarons to be repetitive in flavor and and texture. Although I will admit that I am definitely a buttercream kind of guy, and I appreciated the first few macaron fillings that I tested, I started to think that the bakers were too lazy to come up with something innovative.

Salted Caramel

I found these macarons to be a step up from the overly salty goo that was in Merely Sweets’ macarons. I found the salt just satisfying enough for me to want another bite. Although it is a thick caramel-like sauce and not a buttercream, the salt level made the buttery hints in the macaron tasted like they used artificial flavorings.  Also, the use of corn syrup in their filling was obvious and in-your-face. The additive made the filling almost gummy and clearly artificial.

Rose

Recently I’ve grown quite accustomed to rose flavored sweets, I attribute this to a good friend of mine who is slightly obsessed with macarons. Normally it is easy to overpower sweets since rose is such a pungent note. I bit into this macaron, ready for the mesmerizing floral pallet to hit me but unfortunately it was barely present. The flavor of almond dominated my taste buds while I continued to stuggle finding notes of rose in the filling. Flavor aside, I found the filling’s texture to be confusing as it was slightly chewy which further distracted the already-subtle rose flavor.

Caribbean Chocolate

This was a standard chocolate macaron. The shells were prettily decorated with the cocoa nibs on top which added in texture and originally. The flavors were not dark nor bittersweet. It bordered between semi-sweet and milk which is a interesting juxtaposition against the popular dark chocolate flavored macaron.

Lemon

Given that I was having a lemon phase during this review, I was disappointed by the macaron’s pasty texture. The high fruity lemon notes were not present but the sour taste definitely cut through the sweet shells.That said, I was confused by the macaron because of the uncommon thick filling that made the filling taste clearly artificial.

Vanilla

The vanilla macaron was light to taste and not very fragrant. I had personally been excited to try this macaron given my obsession over Merely Sweets’ vanilla macaron. The overall macaron was light and welcomed but the filling was barely fragrant and the vanilla did not come through clearly.

Sicilian pistachio

In my test batch, this macaron was the most chewy. The interesting texture was complimented by a bold pistachio undertone and flavor profile. I personally enjoyed the interesting contrast, like I was eating a chewy pistachio. What especially helped this macaron was the use of pistachios instead of the common pistachio paste which really helped the earthy tones come through.

Sweet Wedding Almond

For all of you who have tried the asian almond milk tea, this is exactly what the macaron tasted like. If you haven’t tried the sweet milk, go try it. The distinctive processed almond profile stands out in many baked goods and this macaron seemed to attest to that. Although I found many of ‘lette’s macarons to taste like almonds, I found this particular macaron to lack the nuttier flavors but rather possess a brighter floral almond note.

Earl Grey Tea

Again, I had expectations for a boldly flavored Earl Grey tea. The initial flavor profile was light and flora, unlike Earl Grey but after a few bites the tea flavor started settling in. Perhaps what was the most interesting to me was the aftertaste. For whatever reason, the light and floral tones slowly translate into a true Earl Grey and if I didn’t know any better I’d say that it shared the exact same after taste as if I just took a sip of the tea. That said,  this macaron was the most gummy out of all of them in my test batch.

Violet Cassis

I was excited for this macaron because I had never had violet before but I’ve heard a few things about it before. Paired with the violet filling is a black currant jam. I found the combination of sweet and sour to be extremely favorable and I enjoyed this macaraon. Knowing that there is a violet component, however, I was upset that, like the rose, the flavors were too light to be noticed and were overpowered by the fruit.

Raspberry

Seeing the familiar white “ganache” that ‘lette is fond of, I was ready for another artificially flavored fruit filling, I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the delicious fruit filling in the macaron. Unfortunately, the sweet filling did detract from the overall flavor. I personally thought that they were paying homage to traditional white chocolate ganache but this “ganache” was more gummy than chocolate.

Passion Fruit

This macaron was in many ways oddly reminiscent of the lemon macaron. The filling was made of the same thick white ganache that was chewy and gummy. The flavor of this macaron, however, was less favorable compared to its lemon counterpart. The fruity flavor was uncomfortably tart and the notes of passion fruits were not strong.

Milk Chocolate Hazelnut (?)

This last macaron wasn’t on ‘lette’s website but after some digging, my best guest was the hazelnut flavored macaron. There was definitely a nut in the middle of the macaron but the gelatinous filling confused me. There was no taste of chocolate and it was purely sweet and nutty.

Lasting Impressions

Issues with marketing aside, I think that my lack of ability to deffrientiate an unknown flavor goes to show the extent of how light each flavor was. That aside, my notes consistently include notes on a gummy, artificial filling. Aside from the “confused” hazelnut macaron, chocolate, and caramel every other filling was the same with flavorings. This is something that I cannot overlook. Although I enjoyed the innovative designs of the Caribbean chocolate and the impressive flavorings in the violet cassis, I cannot say that I would recommend ‘lette for someone who is looking for an authentic macaron.

As my methodologies in baking and the culinary arts are considered conservative, and I take after the traditional Laudree, I find Pierre Herme’s flavoring profiles to be my comfort zone. I would encourage those who have tried macarons in the past to give ‘lette a chance. Although I personally am not a fan of the flavorings, other people might be and I respect that.

That said, I must continue in my search for my “favorite macaron shop” for now.

And again, you rock lil sis!