Cardamom (Elaichi) Macarons

“Well mam…Your perfume is driving me crazy. Is there anyway we can expedite this order?” said he. She replied, “May I correct you, sir. It is not perfume. It is cardamom.
We live next to a spice merchant and he grinds cardamom all day. It gets in all our clothes.”
If anyone has seen the movie “Outsourced”, I’m sure this dialogue would ring a bell! Over the last few days, I have been missing my mother terribly and I knew if there is one spice that can describe her it is Cardamom.

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Not only does cardamom have a deep, rich and distinct taste, but also an aromatic fragrance. My mother, a strong individual with her own identity, extremely humble and the most giving and caring person has always been the biggest source of inspiration for me. Missing her terribly, I decided to recreate one of her famous loved desserts, the custard (crème pâtissière). Most of the times, she would use the pastry cream and make it in a lot of different ways to create gorgeous trifles. As for myself, I’ve made a humble effort to use cardamom, ubiquitous in her custard preparations.

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Cardamom, being so rich, I thought that macarons would be a fitting tribute. There might be other recipes for cardamom macarons, this is my version of the cardamom macaron filled with a rich vanilla custard! My home was smelling heavenly just as I removed the macarons from my oven. Who needs to use a room freshener after all? 🙂

I was a bit skeptical as to how they would be received. Much to my surprise, they vanished in the twinkling of an eye making me wonder if I made enough? 😉

Elaichi Macarons

Elaichi Macarons

 

Makes 24-30 depending on the size

Ingredients :

For the pâté à macaron :
93 g icing sugar, sifted
93 g ground almonds
1 medium free-range egg white
Ground Cardamom, 1/2-1 tsp as per taste

For the Italian meringue :
1 medium free-range egg white
1 drop lemon juice or 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
93 g caster sugar
1.5 tbsp water
Green Food coloring (optional)

Pastry Cream:
2 egg yolks
33 g caster sugar
7 g plain flour
8 g cornflour
175 ml milk
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
icing sugar, for dusting
Pistachios/ nuts of your choice, finely chopped (optional)

Instructions :

Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Pâté à macaron:
In a large bowl, mix the icing sugar, ground almonds, ground cardamom and egg whites to form a paste.

Italian meringue :
Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar(or lemon juice) in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.I do not own a thermometer so I just tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.

Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk for 1 minute.
Now add the food colouring and whisk again until the meringue is colored uniformly.
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Fold the Italian meringue mixture into the pâté à macaron until it reaches the ribbon stage – this is when a spoonful of the mixture poured back into the bowl sits like a ribbon on the surface. Do not over-mix or the macaroon will crack when cooked.
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Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 8mm/¼in nozzle.

Pipe on 3cm/1in discs on the baking trays, at least 2cm/¾in apart. Tap the tray on a work surface to release any air bubbles. Let the macarons rest for 20-30 minutes before baking.
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Bake in the oven for eight minutes.As soon as the macaroons form feet open and shut the oven door to release some steam.
After eight minutes remove from the oven and then leave on a cooling rack until completely cold.
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Pastry Cream :
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until they turn a pale gold colour. Whisk in the flour and cornflour and set aside.
Place the milk and vanilla bean paste in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 30 seconds.
Slowly pour half of the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time, then return the mixture to the remaining milk in the pan. It is important to slowly pour the hot milk onto the cold eggs before you return the mixture to the pan to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
Bring the mixture back to the boil and simmer for one minute, whisking continuously, or until smooth.
Pour the cream into a clean bowl and dust with icing sugar to prevent a skin forming. Cool as quickly as possible, by sitting the bowl of pastry cream in another larger bowl of ice water. When cooled, refrigerate until needed.
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Add the chopped nuts if using and fold into the pastry cream.

Assembling the macarons :

Spoon or pipe the pastry cream onto the flat side of a cooled macaroon and top with another macaroon to make a sandwich.

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These will make for a delightful gift as well!

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

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Lemon-Basil Macarons

Macarons au Citron Jaune et Basilic as the French would call it. 🙂

I have found myself cooking with lemon a lot last few weeks. I think the famous proverb, modified, would suit me best “A lemon a day keeps the doctor away”. 😉 So when I had some lemon basil cream leftover from my Lemon Basil Cheesecake I thought they would be ideal to fill up some macarons.

Lemon Basil Macarons

Lemon Basil Macarons

The lemon basil cream is so versatile and can be used in different desserts, for example, to fill eclairs or profiteroles, to fill up tarts, as a filling for a layered cake. Sky is the limit I’d say. 🙂

I enjoyed making these and friends enjoyed eating these even more. 🙂
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Makes 24-30 depending on the size

Ingredients :

For the pâté à macaron :
93 g icing sugar, sifted
93 g ground almonds
1 medium free-range egg white

For the Italian meringue :
1 medium free-range egg white
1 drop lemon juice or 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
93 g caster sugar
1.5 tbsp water
Yellow Food coloring (optional)

Lemon Basil Cream :
1/2 gelatin sheet (1g)
88 g butter, softened
1 egg
68 g sugar
65 ml lemon juice
5 medium basil leaves
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Instructions :

Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Pâté à macaron:
In a large bowl, mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites to form a paste.

Italian meringue :
Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar(or lemon juice) in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.I do not own a thermometer so I just tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.

Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk for 1 minute.
Now add the food colouring, I have used golden yellow and brown (4:2) and whisk again until the meringue is coloured uniformly.

Fold the Italian meringue mixture into the pâté à macaron until it reaches the ribbon stage – this is when a spoonful of the mixture poured back into the bowl sits like a ribbon on the surface. Do not over-mix or the macaroon will crack when cooked.

Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 8mm/¼in nozzle.

Pipe on 3cm/1in discs on the baking trays, at least 2cm/¾in apart. Tap the tray on a work surface to release any air bubbles. Let the macarons rest for 20-30 minutes before baking.

Bake in the oven for eight minutes.As soon as the macaroons form feet open and shut the oven door to release some steam.
After eight minutes remove from the oven and then leave on a cooling rack until completely cold.

Lemon Basil Cream :

Soak the gelatin sheet in a bowl of cold water until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the egg into a heavy saucepan and add the sugar. Whisk the eggs with the sugar.

Whisk in the lemon juice. Continue to whisk over medium heat.
Tear the basil leaves into the pan and cook just until the cream comes to a boil and thickens.

Whisk in the softened gelatin.

Strain the cream over the softened butter. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream and butter for one minute until smooth.

Chill for at least an hour.
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Assembling the macarons :

Spoon about one teaspoon of the lemon basil cream onto the flat side of a cooled macaroon and top with another macaroon to make a sandwich.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Sea Salt Caramel Macaroons

Sweet and salty, this has always been one of my favorite food combinations. I absolutely love having my samosas and jalebis for those special Sunday brunch, not to forget the savory sev and sweet boondi at any time of the day.
Watching a movie sans salted and caramel pop-corns combo…..ummmm…..No, nie, can’t do. 🙂

Having made a rich, decadent and delicious salted caramel sauce successfully on my second attempt, I decided to bake macaroons to put them to good use. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated for about two weeks, drizzle some over an ice cream or french toast, use it for a creme caramel, bake chocolate cupcakes with caramel centers. I can’t stop thinking of how I am going to use mine. 🙂

In this recipe, I have opted to use the caramel sauce rather than making a butter-cream with it as this makes the caramel pop out and the star in the caramel macaroon recipe.I’ve used the basic macaroon recipe for the shells, coloring them in the ratio of yellow:ivory:red as 4:2:1. The caramel sauce needs to be tended to constantly as it can get burned in a matter of seconds.

The recipe is fairly straight forward and needless to say the fruit of my labor was well worth it!

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Makes 24-30 depending on the size

Ingredients

For the pâté à macaron :
93 g icing sugar, sifted
93 g ground almonds
1 medium free-range egg whites

For the Italian meringue :
1 medium free-range egg whites
1 drop lemon juice or 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
93 g caster sugar
1.5 tbsp water
Golden yellow, ivory and red Food coloring

For the Caramel filling :
0.5 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/8 liquid cup water
1/2 liquid cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
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Instructions :

Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Pâté à macaron:
In a large bowl, mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites to form a paste.

Italian meringue :
Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar(or lemon juice) in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.I do not own a thermometer so I just tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.

Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk for 1 minute.
Now add the food colouring, I have used golden yellow and brown (4:2) and whisk again until the meringue is coloured uniformly.
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Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 8mm nozzle.

Pipe on 3cm/1in discs on the baking trays, at least 2cm apart.

Bake in the oven for eight minutes.As soon as the macaroons form feet open and shut the oven door to release some steam.
After eight minutes remove from the oven and then leave on a cooling rack until completely cold.

Salted Caramel :
In a heavy saucepan stir together the sugar, syrup, and water until the sugar is completely moistened.
Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling.

Stop stirring completely and allow it to boil undisturbed until it turns a deep amber. Immediately remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel. It will bubble up furiously.

Stir in the butter and salt. The mixture will be streaky but become uniform after cooling slightly and stirring.

Cool completely before use.
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Spoon about one teaspoon of caramel onto the flat side of a cooled macaroon and top with another macaroon to make a sandwich.
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Repeat with the remaining macaroons and store in a single layer in an airtight container in the fridge.

Note: They keep well refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Chocolate Macaroons

We had a bake sale at our clubhouse fundraising and a lot of people were bringing different type of mouth watering cakes.Hence, I decided to go for cookies and made two dozen chocolate chip cookies.

Not satisfied with just cookies, I stepped back into my cute little kitchen to get down to business.Justifying my theory of there being a healthy French community in the club who would definitely appreciate macaroons, I got out all of my ingredients with much enthusiasm.
I usually use aged egg whites for macaroons, having none I used fresh ones and voila! they turned out pretty good as well.

This recipe is adapted from Raymond Blanc’s chocolate macaroons.

Chocolate Macaroon

Chocolate Macaroon

Makes 24-30 depending on the size

Ingredients

For the pâté à macaron :
60g/2½oz unsweetened chocolate, ideally 100% cocoa solids
185g/6½oz icing sugar, sifted
185g/6½oz ground almonds
2 medium free-range egg whites
For the Italian meringue :
2 medium free-range egg whites
1 drop lemon juice or 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
185g/6½oz caster sugar
3 tbsp water
For the ganache filling :
100ml/4fl oz whipping cream
100g/4oz dark chocolate, or white chocolate if you wish
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Instructions :

Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Pâté à macaron:
Melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water – do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
In a large bowl, mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites to form a paste.
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Fold in the melted chocolate and set aside.

Pic from one of my earlier batches.

Pic from one of my earlier batches.

I happened to accidentally eat some of the chocolate which left my pâté à macaron looking like its weaker cousin.
Therefore, the macaron shells for this batch do not have the perfect brown color as expected.

Italian meringue :
Whisk the egg whites and lemon juice in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.
The original recipe calls for using lemon juice, as i was out of lemons i have instead opted to use cream of tartar which works fine too.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.I do not own a thermometer so I just tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
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Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk for 2-3 minutes.
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Fold the Italian meringue mixture into the pâté à macaron until it reaches the ribbon stage – this is when a spoonful of the mixture poured back into the bowl sits like a ribbon on the surface. Do not over-mix or the macaroon will crack when cooked.
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Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 8mm/¼in nozzle.

Pipe on 3cm/1in discs on the baking trays, at least 2cm/¾in apart, which i didn’t do. 😦

Bake in the oven for eight minutes.As soon as the macaroons form feet open and shut the oven door to release some steam.
After eight minutes remove from the oven and then leave on a cooling rack until completely cold.

EXPECTED

EXPECTED

Chocolate Ganache:
Place the cream in a small pan and bring to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until the mixture is smooth.

Spoon about one teaspoon of ganache onto the flat side of a cooled macaroon and top with another macaroon to make a sandwich.
Repeat with the remaining ganache and macaroons and store in a single layer in an airtight container in the fridge.
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NOTE: The recipe calls for preheating the baking trays as well and sliding on the baking paper with the piped macaroons onto them (pre-heating the baking trays kick-starts the cooking and forms the distinctive ‘collarette’ on the base of the macaroons).

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I haven’t tried this and will give it a go next time i make macaroons.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

P.S They were a sellout. 🙂

The Best Chewy Chocolate chip cookies ever!

 

I am currently living in Wroclaw,Poland and have had a hard time finding chocolate chips. So, I would bake my cookies sans chips or with chocolate pieces. One sunny Saturday morning, my hubby and I went for grocery shopping at Hala targowa, a fresh produce marketplace in Wroclaw.

MarketPlace

MarketPlace

While we were strolling along the many stalls,we discovered a cute little stall in a nook run by a young and friendly Polish girl who was selling candies and some cake decorating ingredients.
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Being me, I always like to scout for different things that I can incorporate in my baking.As i began gazing at the different colors of edible glitter, my eyes fell upon a box of chocolate chips.I was ecstatic and yes,you guessed it right.I had to make chocolate chip cookies right away!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

In this recipe I have used butter straight from the refrigerator and microwaved for 15-20 seconds to get the chill off it.This means you do not need to chill the dough.Chill for about 20-30 minutes if the dough is very soft.

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Makes about 12-14 cookies

Ingredients:

113 g butter
55 g caster sugar
100 g light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
150 g all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
100 g semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5.Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Remove the butter from the fridge and microwave for about 20 seconds.

In a bowl sift together all the dry ingredients except sugar.

In another bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.Add the white and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat until incorporated.

Add in the chocolate chips and mix through.

Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Chips

Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.

For the cookies,use an ice cream scoop and arrange on the baking tray leaving enough space for the cookies to spread.

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Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown in color.

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Just out of the oven!

Just out of the oven!

Cool completely on wire rack.

Cool before serving

Cool before serving

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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The chocolate chip cookies were crisp at the edges and chewy at the center,just as I like it.They were perfect and can satisfy your cravings for a chewy yummy chocolate chip cookie anytime.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Bon apetit!