Friday, September 28, 2012

Salted Caramel Macarons

As usual, I am very behind on blogging, although most of it was caused by school starting and all that jazz.  So, after realizing that my last post was titled 4th of July recap, which was 3 months ago, I decided I really needed to update this thing.  So. I know have posted about macarons before, but these have caramel inside.  No, its not caramel sauce, not caramel frosting but pure, salted caramel.
And of course, I don't have a nice camera yet (still stuck with an old i-phone) so my photo's are less than perfect. These Macarons are perfect for dessert tables, constant snacking, or a popcorn replacement. I used Martha Stewart's Parisian macaron recipe:
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
  • 6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1. To make the macarons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners' sugar mixture until completely incorporated.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macarons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.
  3. Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macarons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macarons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
And the caramel recipe is from Gourmet Mom on the Go.  This is always my go-to recipe for caramel because it only takes 10 minutes and a microwave.  How easy is that(plus its super easy to memorize)!

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Light Karo Syrup (not dark-doesn't set right)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 t. vanilla
Sea Salt (I used Hawaiian sea salt)

Melt butter in large microwave bowl. Stir in Karo syrup, both sugars and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until dissolved. Microwave on high 5 minutes, stirring in between.  You may need to play around with the cooking time.  I made mine too thin, but if yours is too thin, melt it again (if necessary) and stir in some milk or cream. . Stir in vanilla. Pour into buttered dish and refrigerate until set.  Shmear some on half of each macaron and enjoy!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fourth of July Recap

I know, I am a very inconsistent blogger, but ya know... life is busy.  And I would have posted about all the yummy things I made to celebrate before the actual holiday,  but the chaos that happens right before you go on vacation happened (as always). And our computer was being "fixed".  So for a couple days, I basically didn't have a computer.  So I finally loaded my pictures to the computer, and almost as soon as I started looking at them I got the blue screen of death.  But we've been getting it daily now.
So, for the Forth of July we went camping with our friend's family.  And on our trip we hiked up to a mountain lake.  It was so gorgeous.

This is actually a different lake.  We went boating and swimming in this one.  All the kids helped build an awesome river/moat/dam system in the sand.  It was pretty cool.  The lake was cool in freezing cold.
Its July, and there's still snow.  In fact, on the way down, we were crossing a big downhill section covered in snow, so my feet decided to trip, and I slid on my but all the way down.  It was really wet snow too. Nice.

Someone decided to go for a swim.  Do you realize that there was a wall of snow cascading into the lake?  Very smart, especially when you wear shorts into the water, are on a hike, and don't have anything else to change into.
On this hike we all learned that crystal light is a great cleaner (we were joking of course).  We also saw this super gross caterpillar nest thing.  Eww!!!
 But camping is all about food, so I made Sugarbelle's Patriotic Candy Buttons

I also made watermelon suckers (I made cherry too, but those burned).  I didn't have any molds, so I went with free-form.
We ate tons of delicious food (polish sausages, dutch oven pizza's, dutch oven lasagna,  mountain man breakfasts, steak, burgers, dutch oven pineapple upside down cake...).  But my favorite was coconut macaron cake.  I don't have the recipe (someone else in our group made it) but you have to look it up.  Like, now.  Its a slice of super moist cake with coconut syrup and piled high with coconut (we like it with milk on top).  And it will rock your world (notice how I wrote will).
Happy (super late) 4th of July!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Banh Mi

Ok. I'm an awful blogger.  I still haven't downloaded my 4th of July photos yet. I know, I know.  But anyway, I had to go ahead and post this anyway, because these are just that amazing. So, I'm calling it The Banh Mi because I don't know how Vietnamese plurals work (is it banh mis? Because that doesn't look right).  Anyway, a banh mi a (really good) Vietnamese sandwich on a French baguette.  We had these at my aunts baby shower and let me tell you, every single person at that party went back for thirds at least (or in my case, fifths). They. Are. So. Good. Trust me.

The polka dotted background reminds me of the the Madagascar 3 trailer... da da da-da-da- afro circus, circus afro, polka dot, polka dot, polka dot afro...(or something along those lines) which has been sung constantly by myself siblings and mom.  The rest of our time is spent singing Harry Potter Literal.  What is wrong with us?
Anyhoo, on to the sandwiches!  This recipe is from Viet World Kitchen.

1 baguette or homemade baguette or toasted sandwich rolls
 Mayonnaise, real (whole egg) or homemade mayonnaise
Maggi Seasoning sauce or soy sauce
Your choice of boldly-flavored meat or tofu, sliced (we used teriyaki chicken)
3 or 4 thin seeded cucumber strips, pickling or English variety preferred
2 or 3 cilantro sprigs, roughly chopped
3 or 4 thin jalapeño pepper strips or slices, depending on how spicy you like it (optional, but very delicious)
 Daikon and Carrot Pickle

1. Slit the bread lengthwise, and then use your fingers or a bread knife to hollow out the insides, making a trough in both halves. Discard the insides or save it for another use, such as breadcrumbs. If necessary, crisp up the bread in a toaster oven preheated to 325ºF, and then let it cool for a minute before proceeding.
2. Generously spreading the inside with mayonnaise. Drizzle in some Maggi Seasoning sauce or soy sauce. Start from the bottom portion of bread to layer in the remaining ingredients. Close the sandwich, cut it in half crosswise for easy eating, and enjoy.

To save time, we stuck our pickles in the food processor with one of the attachments.  Its not quite as pretty, but its much faster than hand cutting matchstick sized pieces.

However, on our sandwiches, we somehow skipped the soy sauce (or maggi sauce, whatever that is) and cilantro and did not hollow out our bread (accidentally) but they would probably make it a lot better.  Also, I found that I still liked the store bought ones better (and they are fairly cheap, yay!).  They come in a variety of flavors from meatball, to BBQ pork (which is my favorite...I think).

Monday, July 16, 2012

Minecraft Birthday Party

  Sorry the photo's are blurry.  I'm still stuck with my mom's I-phone camera right now.  And I still haven't gotten to my 4th of July yet, which is kinda lame, but I don't have my pictures downloaded yet.  If only I had my own camera... (I'm saving my pennies!!).  But, on to the good stuff... my brother really loves a game called Minecraft, so we decided to make that the main theme of his birthday party.  We printed out some Minecraft invites off of the internet.  Do you find it odd that it says why and how at the bottom?  It keeps nagging at me.
We then proceeded to create a minecraft dessert table based off of the minecraft grass block.  The whole game is all pixely and (ugly, annoying, lame, computer slowing, annoying, pointless, unintelligent) not very pretty.  Sorry. I don't like Minecraft.  I blame all of our computer problems on it.  My Question is, how is this (stupid) game popular???  After (or was it before?) we ate, we played minute-to-win-it games, which were lots of fun to watch and play.

For the pixel wall in the back, we used a rainbow cardstock pack.  We cut all the green and brownish colors into squares and taped them to the wall (after laying them out on the ground to check how they looked first).
Inside the goodie bags were packets of pop-rocks,  and cheap mini cans of silly string.  On the dessert table we had sprite mixed with limeade concentrate, gram crackers, Little Debbie Cakes (in chocolate and vanilla), extra giant marshmallows, paper wrapped chocolate bars, green gummy bears, cake (with a twix bar cheesecake filling!!!!!!!), and taffy.  On seeing the table, my dad said "there is no way they 12 kids can eat all that".  But he was very very wrong.  Have fun at your next party!