Vanilla Crème Brûlée Macarons


I see a lot of "fusion" baked goods around the internet. You know, the "cheesecake brownie loaf" and the "cookie cupcake" and the "pie ice cream milkshake". Sometimes, they go too far and the combos are just a bit ridiculous. I prefer to keep my brownies as brownies, my cookies as cookies, and my cheesecakes as non-existent because I don't like cheesecake.

But trust me when I say that these crème brûlée macarons are the best fusion dessert ever.



Sure, these might not be as easy as making a cheesecake brownie cupcake, what with the open flame and burning hot sugar, but they're not as difficult as you might think. Do you have a handheld butane torch? If you do, you're 90% there. If not, well… Amazon ships pretty quickly and you'd be surprised with how often you end up using a handheld torch. 




Créme brûlée and macarons are two things that people find intimidating. Granted, hot caramel and open flames are scary and can cause wicked burns (I know all too well), but once you get used to it, it's a piece of (pie flavoured cheesecake cup)cake!


Macarons are kind of annoyingly finicky and get the reputation of being really difficult. In truth, they just require a really specific method and require you to stick to that exact method. Your oven might be too hot or your kitchen too humid or your batter slightly over mixed and so the macarons will be like, "You know what? Nah, I'm not gonna work out today. Just not feeling it." 

And it's frustrating. But, like the high maintenance friend that everybody has and kinda doesn't like, you eventually learn the right circumstances for which the macarons to thrive in. But unlike the high maintenance friend, macarons give back by being delicious and wonderful instead of just annoying.





Vanilla Crème Brûlée Macarons

Caramel Jam
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

85 g glucose
125 g sugar
20 g unsalted butter
130 g heavy cream

Macarons
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

212 g almond flour/meal
212 g powdered sugar
82 g egg whites
90 g egg whites
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
236 g granulated sugar
158 g water

Vanilla French Buttercream
Recipe from Bouchon Bakery

38 g granulated sugar
63 g egg yolks
75 g whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
250 g unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, at room temperature


Simple syrup
Granulated sugar


For the caramel jam, place the glucose in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the sugar one-third at a time, stirring just enough to incorporate before adding the next batch. Adding all the sugar at once could cause the sugar to caramelize too quickly and unevenly. 

After about 3 minutes, when the sugar has dissolved, the bubbles are a rich amber colour, and the temperature is 350 F/177 C, reduce the heat to medium. Working quickly, stir in the butter. Once the butter has melted, gradually stir in the cream. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping to keep the mixture from scorching, until it reaches 248 F/120 C. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a container; let cool.

The jam can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. To liquefy it, warm it slowly in a microwave or on the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water.

First, make the buttercream. If you wish, the buttercream can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Take the buttercream out of the fridge thirty minutes before you need to use it and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow it to soften and then mix on low speed until it is the proper consistency.

Whisk 38 grams sugar and the yolks together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Place the milk and seeds from the vanilla bean in a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar. When the milk is just below a simmer, remove the pan from the heat and, whisking constantly, pour it into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 1 minute, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent the mixture from curdling. It should be very thick.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk for about 8 minutes on medium speed, until the mixture is completely cool.

Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, to the egg yolk mixture. If at any point the mixture looks broken, increase the speed to re-emulsify it, then reduce the speed and continue adding the butter. Check the consistency: if the buttercream is too loose to hod its shape, it should be refrigerated for a few hours to harden, then beaten again to return it to the proper consistency.

Start on the macarons. The macarons need to be as close in size as possible and a template is the easiest way to ensure that. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface with the long side facing you. Using a glass or bowl, trace the desired size of your macaroons (I used a 1.5 inch diameter for these). Make sure to leave 1 inch of space between them. Turn the parchment over and lay it on a sheet pan. Lift up each corner of the parchment and spray with non-stick spray to keep it from blowing up while the cookies are baking. Repeat with a second sheet.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center, leaving a layer of flour at the bottom. Pour in the 82 grams egg whites and combine with a spatula. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Set aside.

Place the remaining 90 grams egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the 236 grams sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203 F/110 C.

Letting the syrup continue to cook, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks. If the whites reach soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, reduce the speed to the lowest setting, just to keep them moving.

When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup, pouring it between the side of the bowl and 
the whisk. The meringue will deflate. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Although the bowl will still be warm, the meringue should have cooled. If not, continue to whip until it is cool.

Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding the whites a little at a time (you may not use them all) until when you fold a portion of the batter over on itself, the "ribbon" slowly moves. The mixture shouldn't be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn't be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon; it is better for the mixture to be sightly stiff than too loose.

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip. Hold the bag upright 1/2 inch above the center of one of the traced circles and pipe out enough to fill in the circle. Lift away the pastry bag and fill the remaining circles on the first pan. Lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to spread the batter evenly and smooth any peaks left by the bag.

Place the sheet pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees again.

Pipe the remaining macaron mixture into the circles of the second sheet pan and bake as directed above. Let cool completely.

Remove the macarons from the parchment paper. Lightly brush the top a macaron with simple syrup, then immediately dip into the granulated sugar. Place the macaron on the bottom of a sheet pan or baking pan and torch until the sugar has caramelized. Repeat with  the remaining half of the macarons. 

Transfer the buttercream to the pastry bag with the 3/8 inch tip. Transfer the caramel jam to a pastry bag with the 1/8 inch tip. Pipe a ring of buttercream, not quite reaching the edge of the macaron. Fill the hole with caramel jam. Top with a second macaron and gently press to spread the buttercream to the edges. Repeat with remaining macarons and filling.

The macarons are best if wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap and frozen for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then bring to room temperature before seving. They can be served the day they are made or stored in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.


Tags

Strawberry Passion Fruit Macarons


Weekend mornings are my favourite mornings, especially now that a sleep-in for me means a 7am wakeup (not sarcastic)! Early morning work shifts have their upsides. 

I like waking up when the sun is just getting warmed up and the streets are quiet except for a few people walking around and a maybe a car or two. I slowly make my cup of tea, plop myself down on the couch, and start browsing food blogs. Nowadays, I crack the window open a little bit to breath in a bit of fresh air and hear everyone start their days, draw the curtains completely away from the window to let in aaaaall that spring sunshine and delight in the buds coming in on the trees right outside my window. Soon, when I look out my window, it will be filled with vibrant green leaves instead of bare branches.

I'm a winter girl - I like my sweaters and my blankets and my cozy fires, but the change from winter to spring is always a welcome sight. It's like a breath of fresh air in a stale, stuffy room. 


I'm not the type to do a massive "spring clean", I don't think I have ever done it (willingly), but the other day, I had a spontaneous mini spring clean. The water in my building was shut off for one of my days off last week - the laundry day, of course - so I had a pile of unwashed dishes and unwashed laundry waiting for me after work. I set to work on that, but then decided to clean my kitchen because I was already cleaning and I might as well.



Then I vacuumed and mopped the entire apartment, cleaned the whole bathroom, and folded the laundry. I opened up the cupboard to make myself a well-deserved cup of tea and thought, 

"I'm going to clean this cupboard out."

And I did. 

My baking cupboard is fairly well organized, my prop shelves are nice and neat. But then there's my cupboard of spices/tea/cans/jars/ little packets of half full mystery powders/ ziplock bags of I can't remember what the heck this is/ boxes of I still have this? 

It's a mess. Every time I open the cupboard, I think, "Man, I need to clean this out…. but not today, nah, tomorrow or… maybe next week. Another time." and it never gets done. 

So finally, with the cleaning momentum behind me, I set to work on the dreaded messy cupboard of crap.


I took everything out and cleaned the actual shelves and then rearranged them so the spacing was even in the first place. I tossed things I hadn't used in a year and found things that I had forgotten I even had. I found 4 half full containers of hot chocolate mix - they're now one giant mish-mash of hot chocolate mixes in one big jar. I gathered all my spices in their little baggies and transferred them to all the empty jars I had lying around. I got out the masking tape and made labels for everything (no more "Oh, I'll remember what this is without a label") and organized it according to frequency of use. 


After two hours of cleaning, organizing, and labelling, it was done. I stood back, proudly looked at my beautiful labelled and contained cupboard and thought to myself, 

"This is going to stay clean for like, a week, two weeks tops…"

Nevertheless, I was very happy with it. I made a lemon and garlic risotto using some arborio rice that I rediscovered (without using a recipe either, go me!), roasted some cauliflower to mix into said risotto, and had a lovely dinner. All this on a weekday! I didn't think it was possible. 

The next day, all I did after work was have a nap and drag myself to hot yoga and go straight to bed. The day after that, I watched 3 episodes of a show on Netflix and went to bed. So don't go thinking I'm some sort of adult that has my life together.


Without realizing, I guess I've had a bit of spring fever! First with the cleaning, now I'm daydreaming about all the things I want to make with the upcoming fresh produce - both sweet and savoury!

I like cooking, but I only cook a proper meal on the weekends usually. Weeknight dinners tend to be leftover soup and simple roasted veggies, easy and quick. Dinners on the weekends used to be a stew or a fancier soup or maybe a curry, but with the sunshine (on some days), I'm craving fresher and brighter flavours. 

During the week, I'm always thinking of what I can make for dessert on the weekend for the blog. I'm brainstorming all week for something sweet and delicious, but I never give much thought to what I will eat for dinner. I'll pick up  couple staples at the grocery store and maybe use a basic recipe to make something easy. But it's always an afterthought for me. I put all this effort and time into my desserts, but dinners always fall the to the wayside.


Maybe it's the sunshine, maybe it's the fact that I can actually find ingredients for dinner in my cupboard again, or maybe it's just me becoming more of an adult, but I suddenly want to put effort into my dinners! I want to pickle my own veggies, make my own veggie burgers, try frying tofu for the first time, make something other than my usual 6-recipe repertoire! 

I gave my boyfriend a copy of Ottolenghi's Plenty a few years back and we have made a total of one recipe from that book. One. I know, it's sad. So I'm going to borrow that darn book and start making things. I'm also dying to get a hold of Sprouted Kitchen's new book, Bowl and Spoon because I absolutely love their blog and their book seems like the perfect thing to get me started. In fact, I want to get my hands on a bunch of new vegetarian cookbooks! Even though I have 27 dessert and baking books on my shelf, I have only one savoury cookbook. 

So tell me! What is your favourite cookbook? Which one on your shelf is dog-eared and bookmarked, annotated, splattered with food, and just generally well-loved? I wanna hear it!


P.S. I'm trying not to rub it in too much, but in a few days, I'm off to the Philippines for a couple weeks (!!!!!!) so there won't be any posts here for that time. But I'll be back soon with more bright and spring-y desserts! 


Strawberry French Buttercream
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery

38 g granulated sugar
38 g granulated sugar
63 g egg yolks
75 g whole milk
250 g unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, at room temperature
20 g freeze-dried strawberry powder

Passion Fruit Curd
Recipe from The Modern Cafe

79 g passio fruit purée
8 g lemon juice
100 g granulated sugar
105 g egg yolks
132 g unsalted butter, at room temperature


Strawberry Macarons
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery
212 g almond flour/meal
212 g powdered sugar
82 g egg whites
10 g freeze-dried strawberry powder
90 g egg whites
236 g granulated sugar
158 g water

Garnish

50 g white chocolate, chopped finely


First, make the buttercream. If you wish, the buttercream can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Take the buttercream out of the fridge thirty minutes before you need to use it and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow it to soften and then mix on low speed until it is the proper consistency.

Whisk 38 grams sugar and the yolks together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Combine the milk and remaining 38 grams of sugar in a medium saucepan, set over 
medium heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar. When the milk is just below a simmer, remove 
the pan from the heat and, whisking constantly, pour it into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 1 minute, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent the mixture from curdling. It should be very thick.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer. fit the mixer with a whisk attachment, turn the mixture to medium, and whisk for about 8 minutes, until the mixture is completely cool.

Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, to the egg yolk mixture. If at any point the mixture looks broken, increase the speed to re-emulsify it, then reduce the speed and continue adding the butter. Check the consistency: if the buttercream is too loose to hod its shape, it should be refrigerated for a few hours to harden, then beaten again to return it to the proper consistency.

Add the strawberry powder and fold in by hand until completely combined. 

For the passion fruit curd, combine the passion fruit purée and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl. Pour about one-third of the hot purée into the yolks, whisking constantly. Add the remaining hot purée. Place the mixture in a bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water. Cook the curd, whisking constantly, until thickened and the temperature is about 82 C. 

Remove from the hot water bath and whisk for a minute to cool it down. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh strainer. 

Using a Vitamix or an immersion blender, blend on low speed for a few seconds, then add the butter 2 to 3 pieces at a time, blending until incorporated. Let the curd cool to room temperature.

The curd can be used at this point or transferred to a covered container. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Start on the macarons. The macarons need to be as close in size as possible and a template is the easiest way to ensure that. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface with the long side facing you. Using a glass or bowl, trace the desired size of your macaroons (I used a 1.5 inch diameter for these). Make sure to leave 1 inch of space between them. Turn the parchment over and lay it on a sheet pan. Lift up each corner of the parchment and spray with non-stick spray to keep it from blowing up while the cookies are baking. Repeat with a second sheet.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center, leaving a layer of flour at the bottom. Pour in the 82 grams egg whites and combine with a spatula. Add the strawberry powder and stir until evenly distributed. Set aside.

Place the remaining 90 grams egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the 236 grams sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203 F/110 C.

Letting the syrup continue to cook, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks. If the whites reach soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, reduce the speed to the lowest setting, just to keep them moving.

When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup, pouring it between the side of the bowl and 
the whisk. The meringue will deflate. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Although the bowl will still be warm, the meringue should have cooled. If not, continue to whip until it is cool.

Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding the whites a little at a time (you may not use them all) until when you fold a portion of the batter over on itself, the "ribbon" slowly moves. The mixture shouldn't be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn't be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon; it is better for the mixture to be sightly stiff than too loose.

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip. Hold the bag upright 1/2 inch above the center of one of the traced circles and pipe out enough to fill in the circle. Lift away the pastry bag and fill the remaining circles on the first pan. Lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to spread the batter evenly and smooth any peaks left by the bag.

Place the sheet pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees again.

Pipe the remaining macaron mixture into the circles of the second sheet pan and bake as directed above. Let cool completely.

For the garnish, place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 20 seconds, stopping every 5 seconds to stir the chocolate. Do not melt it completely in the microwave or else the temperature will exceed 32 C and become untempered and you will have to start again with new chocolate. Let the chocolate sit at room temperature and the residual heat will melt the chocolate, hopefully without raising the temperature past 32 C. Transfer the chocolate to a small parchment cone and pipe your design onto half of the macaron shells.

To assemble, transfer the buttercream to the pastry bag with the 3/8 inch tip. Transfer the curd to a pastry bag with the 3/8 inch tip. Remove the macarons from the parchment paper. Turn half of them over. Pipe a ring of buttercream, not quite reaching the edge of the macaron. Fill the hole with passion fruit curd. Top with a second macaron and gently press to spread the buttercream to the edges. Repeat with remaining macarons and filling.

The macarons are best if wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap and frozen for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then bring to room temperature before seving. They can be served the day they are made or stored in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.


Salted Caramel Macarons


Ever since I made my first batch of macarons, I've loved them. I love making them, I love eating them, I love thinking of flavours for them. They're so versatile - you can put just about anything in between two macarons and it's still a macaron!

I've made quite a few macarons on this blog and I thought I would round 'em all up in one post! A macaron party!


If you are new to macarons, have no fear! They as easier than you think, as long as you follow the instructions exactly. No "Oh, I'll just use this instead of that," or "I don't have a thermometer so I'll just guess" or anything like that. That's how you mess up macarons. They're picky things to make, but not as mythically difficult as people make them out to be. I give a very detailed and precise guide to macarons in the first macaron post I did (also one of my favourites), Vanilla Macarons with French Buttercream. Read through the entire recipe before you start!



One of my absolute favourite macarons that I've ever made were my French Toast Macarons. White chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, and rum - the decadent flavours of sweet french toast drenched in maple syrup, but in a macaron! They are just crazy delicious.



A surprisingly delicious macaron flavour that I did was my Raspberry and Pink Peppercorn Macarons. The pink peppercorns are certainly not as peppery as their black counterparts and they add a nice floral note in the aftertaste, especially when paired with the tart raspberries.



I love hazelnuts, especially when they're the sole flavour of something. These Caramelized Hazelnut Macarons incorporate homemade praline paste into the shells as well as into the buttercream. Pure hazelnutty goodness, all the way.



I love the flavour of lemon in just about anything - whether it be sweet or savoury. But I love pairing lemon with fruit, and raspberries are one of my favourite berries to work with, so it was only natural for me to combine them in my Lemon Raspberry Macarons. They have both raspberry buttercream and lemon curd as a filling so you get both flavours in every bite!



I rediscovered the joy of oreos with these Cookies and Cream Macarons, which was both a good thing and a bad thing. I wolfed down that packet of oreos so quickly... The filling for these macarons actually has whole ground up oreo cookies - not just the cookie part, but the filling, too. And also some white chocolate and cream because oreos are not enough, apparently.



If you haven't guessed it already, I love taking classic flavour combinations usually found in other desserts, and making them into macarons. Case in point with these holiday Cranberry and White Chocolate Macarons. Smooth, creamy, and sweet white chocolate buttercream and a tart and tangy cranberry compote come together in one delicious macaron that gives you a bit of both with every bite. I wish it were Christmas again so I could make these!



And my most recent macarons, these Salted Caramel Macarons! Salted caramel has got to be one of the best flavours in the world and I'm surprised it took me this long to finally put it into a macaron. The caramel jam is kind of a cross between a chewy caramel and a caramel sauce. It's very thick at room temperature, but will still drizzle beautifully when it's heated up. There will be extra caramel jam left over from this recipe for you to spoon over ice cream. Or just eat with a spoon, I won't judge.









Salted Caramel Macarons

Caramel Jam
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

85 g glucose
125 g sugar
20 g unsalted butter
130 g heavy cream

Macarons
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

212 g almond flour/meal
212 g powdered sugar
82 g egg whites
90 g egg whites
1/2 vanilla bean
236 g granulated sugar
158 g water


Salted Caramel Buttercream
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

75 g egg whites
150 g sugar
33 g sugar
42 g water
221 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch dice
220 g caramel jam
5 g salt


For the caramel jam, place the glucose in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the sugar one-third at a time, stirring just enough to incorporate before adding the next batch. Adding all the sugar at once could cause the sugar to caramelize too quickly and unevenly. 

After about 3 minutes, when the sugar has dissolved, the bubbles are a rich amber colour, and the temperature is 350 F/177 C, reduce the heat to medium. Working quickly, stir in the butter. Once the butter gas melted, gradually stir in the cream. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping to keep the mixture from scorching, until it reaches 248 F/120 C. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a container; let cool.

The jam can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. To liquefy it, warm it slowly in a microwave or on the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water.

tart on the macarons. The macarons need to be as close in size as possible and a template is the easiest way to ensure that. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface with the long side facing you. Using a glass or bowl, trace the desired size of your macaroons (I used a 1.5 inch diameter for these). Make sure to leave 1 inch of space between them. Turn the parchment over and lay it on a sheet pan. Lift up each corner of the parchment and spray with non-stick spray to keep it from blowing up while the cookies are baking. Repeat with a second sheet.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center, leaving a layer of flour at the bottom. Pour in the 82 grams egg whites and combine with a spatula. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Set aside.

Place the remaining 90 grams egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the 236 grams sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203 F/110 C.

Letting the syrup continue to cook, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks. If the whites reach soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, reduce the speed to the lowest setting, just to keep them moving.

When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup, pouring it between the side of the bowl and 
the whisk. The meringue will deflate. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Although the bowl will still be warm, the meringue should have cooled. If not, continue to whip until it is cool.

Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding the whites a little at a time (you may not use them all) until when you fold a portion of the batter over on itself, the "ribbon" slowly moves. The mixture shouldn't be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn't be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon; it is better for the mixture to be sightly stiff than too loose.

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip. Hold the bag upright 1/2 inch above the center of one of the traced circles and pipe out enough to fill in the circle. Lift away the pastry bag and fill the remaining circles on the first pan. Lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to spread the batter evenly and smooth any peaks left by the bag.

Place the sheet pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees again.

Pipe the remaining macaron mixture into the circles of the second sheet pan and bake as directed above. Let cool completely.


For the buttercream, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 

Place the 150 g of sugar in a small saucepan, add the water, and stir to moisten the sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, and simmer until the syrup reaches 230 F/100 C. 

Letting the syrup continue to cook, turn the mixer to medium speed, gradually pour in the remaining 33 g of sugar into the whites, and whip until the whites are beginning to form very loose peaks. If the whites are ready before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, turn the mixer to the lowest setting just to keep them moving.

When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup to the whites, pouring it between the sides of the bowl and the whisk. Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk for 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the bowl is at room temperature and the whites hold stiff peaks. 

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter a few pieces at a time. If at any point the mixture looks broken, increase the speed and beat to re-remulsify it, then reduce the speed and continue adding the butter. 

Make sure your caramel jam is at room temperature before you add it to the buttercream, or it will melt the butter. With the mixer of low speed, slowly drizzle in the caramel jam into the buttercream. If your caramel jam was too warm and the buttercream looks too loose, refrigerate it for 20 minutes, then rewhip it. Sprinkle in the salt and whip for 30 seconds to combine.

Transfer the buttercream to the pastry bag with the 3/8 inch tip. Turn half of the macarons over and pipe about 15 g of buttercream onto each macaron, not quite reaching the edge of the macaron. Top with a second macaroni and press gently to spread the buttercream to the edges. Repeat with the remaining macarons and filling.




Tags

Cranberry & White Chocolate Macarons

I love Christmas. This is nothing new and I'm sure you've already come to that conclusion based on the many Christmas recipes that I've put up since the beginning of December. I love the decorations and the twinkling lights and even the music. But I love it for reasons more meaningful than shiny baubles. 

My boyfriend is not so much into Christmas (poor guy). It's pretty understandable seeing that his whole family is in another continent and he hasn't spent a Christmas with them in about a decade. He's turned a little bitter about a holiday that most people get to spend with their family when he doesn't get to. Like a modern day Grinch. I told him this, but he doesn't know who or what the Grinch is (?!?!). If I wasn't working 12 hours a day right now, I'd sit him down and make him watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. 

The other day, I was talking about how much I loved Christmas. He asked me why.

I gave him the usual answer - pretty lights, cute decorations, happy music. But he didn't really get my excitement. I started to really think about what exactly it is about Christmas that I love so much.

I love giving gifts. I love searching out the perfect gift for someone. I look forward to seeing their reaction upon opening their gift more than I look forward to getting any gifts. I get such delight in thinking of something that someone would just love - and not just "Oh, he likes food so I'll get him this random cookbook that I think I would like." You have to put more thought into it than that. It shows when you do. 

I explained that to my boyfriend and he started to understand it a little more. Truthfully, the more I explained it, the more I realized it. 

When I give a really thoughtful and heartfelt gift to someone, they smile. They smile a genuine smile of love and appreciation and gratitude. That's what I love - seeing that person realize that someone really cares about them, that they are someone very special to me.

Christmas isn't about buying useless crap and spending tons of money. It's hard to realize that because everywhere you look, you're bombarded with ads and commercials telling you that

if you really care about the one you love

, you'll buy them this necklace/gaming system/sweater/whatever. 

It's really hard to resist that because you think to yourself, "Well, I really do love them. If I don't get that, does that mean I don't really love them? Will they think that I don't love them?". We're led to believe that the more money we spend on someone, the more we love them. That's totally not true. 

The best gifts I've ever received have cost nothing. Gifts like a handmade card or a heartfelt poem - the ones that take effort and thought and feeling, not just money.

One Christmas several years ago, I was tight on money, so I wrote my parents each a letter for Christmas. My brother made fun of me for being so cheap. My dad shed a little tear when he read his. To this day, he still has that letter that I wrote him. I doubt that any of the books that I've given him made the same impact.

Ah, I'm getting all serious and sentimental here. The point I'm trying to get across is that you need to realize that Christmas isn't about

stuff

, it's about expressing love. The two are not the same. It's tough to stay afloat in the sea of "buy this!" and "buy that!", but it can be done and when you see that genuine smile from someone, you'll know what I'm talking about.

No one really needs more

stuff

in their life. But everyone could use a little more love in their life. 

"Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more..."

Cranberry and White Chocolate Macarons

White Chocolate French Buttercream

Recipe adapted from 

Bouchon Bakery

38 g granulated sugar #1

38 g granulated sugar #2

63 g egg yolks

75 g whole milk

250 g unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, at room temperature

125 g white chocolate, chopped finely

Cranberry Puree

200 g fresh or frozen cranberries

75 g vanilla sugar

10 g maple syrup

1/2 vanilla bean

1 cinnamon stick

Vanilla Macarons

Recipe adapted from 

Bouchon Bakery

212 g almond flour/meal

212 g powdered sugar

82 g egg whites

90 g egg whites

1/2 vanilla bean

236 g granulated sugar

158 g water

First, make the 

buttercream

. If you wish, the buttercream can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Take the buttercream out of the fridge thirty minutes before you need to use it and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow it to soften and then mix on low speed until it is the proper consistency.

Place the white chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the sugar #1 and the yolks together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Place the milk and sugar #2 in a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar. When the milk is just below a simmer, remove 

the pan from the heat and, whisking constantly, pour it into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 1 minute, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent the mixture from curdling. It should be very thick.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer with the white chocolate in it. Let it sit for 30 seconds and then slowly stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is emulsified. Fit the mixer with a whisk attachment, turn the mixture to medium, and whisk for about 8 minutes, until the mixture is completely cool.

Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, to the egg yolk mixture. If at any point the mixture looks broken, increase the speed to re-emulsify it, then reduce the speed and continue adding the butter. Check the consistency: if the buttercream is too loose to hod its shape, it should be refrigerated for a few hours to harden, then beaten again to return it to the proper consistency.

For the

cranberry puree

, combine the cranberries, sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the saucepan along with the pod. Heat over medium-low heat until the cranberries pop, about 7 to 9 minutes. Let the  mixture cool completely. Remove the cinnamon stick and the vanilla bean pod. Puree the cranberries with an immersion blender or a regular blender until smooth. Transfer to a container and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent it from drying out.

Start on the 

macarons

. The macarons need to be as close in size as possible and a template is the easiest way to ensure that. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface with the long side facing you. Using a glass or bowl, trace the desired size of your macaroons (I used a 1.5 inch diameter for these). Make sure to leave 1 inch of space between them. Turn the parchment over and lay it on a sheet pan. Lift up each corner of the parchment and spray with non-stick spray to keep it from blowing up while the cookies are baking. Repeat with a second sheet.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center, leaving a layer of flour at the bottom. Pour in the 82 grams egg whites and combine with a spatula. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Set aside.

Place the remaining 90 grams egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the 236 grams sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203 F/110 C.

Letting the syrup continue to cook, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks. If the whites reach soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, reduce the speed to the lowest setting, just to keep them moving.

When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup, pouring it between the side of the bowl and 

the whisk. The meringue will deflate. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Although the bowl will still be warm, the meringue should have cooled. If not, continue to whip until it is cool.

Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding the whites a little at a time (you may not use them all) until when you fold a portion of the batter over on itself, the "ribbon" slowly moves. The mixture shouldn't be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn't be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon; it is better for the mixture to be sightly stiff than too loose.

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip. Hold the bag upright 1/2 inch above the center of one of the traced circles and pipe out enough to fill in the circle. Lift away the pastry bag and fill the remaining circles on the first pan. Lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to spread the batter evenly and smooth any peaks left by the bag.

Place the sheet pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees again.

Pipe the remaining macaron mixture into the circles of the second sheet pan and bake as directed above. Let cool completely.

Transfer the buttercream to the pastry bag with the 3/8 inch tip. Transfer the cranberry puree to a pastry bag with the 3/8 inch tip. Remove the macarons from the parchment paper. Turn half of them over. Pipe a ring of buttercream, not quite reaching the edge of the macaron. Fill the hole with cranberry puree. Top with a second macaron and gently press to spread the buttercream to the edges. Repeat with remaining macarons and filling.

The macarons are best if wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap and frozen for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then bring to room temperature before seving. They can be served the day they are made or stored in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

Lemon Raspberry Macarons


Ever since I arrived in Tofino, I have been asked by pretty much everybody, "Do you surf?". 

If you're not familiar with Tofino, it's a surfing town. Yep, a surfing town on the west coast of Vancouver Island, BC. 

People come to Tofino specifically to surf, especially in the summer. Tourists come for lots of reasons, but surfing is usually one of them. On any given day, rain or shine, 6 in the morning or 9 at night, you'll see dozens of surfers out on the water. 

So, I finally decided to give it a go.


The lodge I work at offers surf lessons (as does almost every other resort here) and they were offering free lessons for staff one evening. Despite being super nervous about the freezing cold Pacific water, I signed up. I mean, I had been in Tofino for three and a half weeks and I hadn't tried surfing yet. People were shocked.

There were a few other staff coming along that had been surfing a few times but wanted an actual lesson on it. That left me as the only one who hadn't surfed (I'm not counting the time when I was 13 because I don't think I even stood up on the board).

We got kitted out in our wetsuits, grabbed our boards, and walked to the beach. It was a miserable, rainy, windy day but the waves were nice and small - good for beginners like me.



"I'm going to get hypothermia and die." I thought as we neared the edge of the water. 

I braced myself for the numbing cold and stepped into the water. Nothing. I felt the sensation of the water, but it wasn't cold. The water was now up to my shins. Still good. Hips, waist, stomach, chest. Not bad at all. It wasn't warm, but I wasn't shivering or losing feeling in my toes.

I caught a wave after a few minutes, paddled like mad, shakily stood up, and promptly fell off. I was tumbled around in the shallow water for a second or two and felt the cold water sneak into my hood and through my wetsuit. I popped up out of the water facing the shore and looked behind me, just in time to get hit in the face with a wave. I emerged sputtering and squinting from the salt water.

"This is awesome!" I thought as I smiled from ear to ear, seaweed clinging to my face.



Repeat that scene about 40 times for the next two hours and you've got my Thursday evening. It's not easy and I think I only had about three successful pop-ups (when you stand up on the board correctly) but I had an absolute blast. I don't know why I waited so long to try it! I understand why people wake up at 5am on their day off and go surfing in the rain. I understand why people get a job in Tofino solely for the chance to go surfing all summer (or winter). 

The only downside is the aching. You don't realize how much exercise you're doing but it really is hard work. Paddling, standing up and balancing on a board in the water, and walking back out to the waves for a couple hours. It's tough going. 

After the lesson, I went home, showered, and ate a burrito in bed in my pyjamas. I stood up to get ready for bed and just about fell on my face. My legs felt like jello. My arms were like noodles. Everything ached! Just standing upright was an effort.

Fast forward to 4am the next morning when I woke up for work and it was even worse. Then rolling out croissant dough at 5am and feeling like I couldn't even apply pressure to the rolling pin. Going up the flight of stairs to the dry pantry and feeling like I had to go on all fours like when I was a kid. Getting off work and going up the stairs to my room and actually going on all fours like when I was a kid. It's Sunday and I'm still sore and aching. 

But it's all worth it. I can't wait for the next staff surf lesson so I can go out again!







Lemon Raspberry Macarons
Recipes adapted from Bouchon Bakery

Lemon Curd
3.6 g silver leaf gelatin (1 1/4 sheets)
216 g eggs
216 g granulated sugar
216 g freshly squeezed lemon juice
280 g unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch dice, at room temperature
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Raspberry French Buttercream
38 g granulated sugar
38 g granulated sugar
63 g egg yolks
75 g whole milk
250 g unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, at room temperature
12 g raspberry powder

Lemon Macarons
212 g almond flour/meal
212 g powdered sugar
82 g egg whites
90 g egg whites
zest of 1 lemon
236 g granulated sugar
158 g water

For garnish
5 g raspberry powder
Splash of water

First, make the buttercream. If you wish, the buttercream can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Take the buttercream out of the fridge thirty minutes before you need to use it and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow it to soften and then mix on low speed until it is the proper consistency.

Whisk 38 grams sugar and the yolks together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Combine the milk and remaining 38 grams of sugar in a medium saucepan, set over 
medium heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar. When the milk is just below a simmer, remove 
the pan from the heat and, whisking constantly, pour it into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 1 minute, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent the mixture from curdling. It should be very thick.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer. fit the mixer with a whisk attachment, turn the mixture to medium, and whisk for about 8 minutes, until the mixture is completely cool.

Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, to the egg yolk mixture. If at any point the mixture looks broken, increase the speed to re-emulsify it, then reduce the speed and continue adding the butter. Check the consistency: if the buttercream is too loose to hod its shape, it should be refrigerated for a few hours to harden, then beaten again to return it to the proper consistency.

Add the raspberry powder and fold in by hand until completely combined. 

For the lemon curd, place the gelatin in a bath of ice water to soften.

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk slowly, until the mixture begins to simmer. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk gently for 1 to 2 minutes to release steam and cool the curd slightly.

Remove the gelatin from the water, squeeze out excess water, and whisk it into the hot curd. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh strainer. Using a Vitamix or an immersion blender, blend on low speed for a few seconds, then add the butter 2 to 3 pieces at a time, blending until incorporated. Add the zest and blend to incorporate. Let the curd cool to room temperature.

The curd can be used at this point or transferred to a covered container. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Start on the macarons. The macarons need to be as close in size as possible and a template is the easiest way to ensure that. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface with the long side facing you. Using a glass or bowl, trace the desired size of your macaroons (I used a 1.5 inch diameter for these). Make sure to leave 1 inch of space between them. Turn the parchment over and lay it on a sheet pan. Lift up each corner of the parchment and spray with non-stick spray to keep it from blowing up while the cookies are baking. Repeat with a second sheet.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center, leaving a layer of flour at the bottom. Pour in the 82 grams egg whites and combine with a spatula. Add the lemon zest and stir until evenly distributed. Set aside.

Place the remaining 90 grams egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the 236 grams sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203 F/110 C.

Letting the syrup continue to cook, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks. If the whites reach soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, reduce the speed to the lowest setting, just to keep them moving.

When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup, pouring it between the side of the bowl and 
the whisk. The meringue will deflate. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Although the bowl will still be warm, the meringue should have cooled. If not, continue to whip until it is cool.

Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding the whites a little at a time (you may not use them all) until when you fold a portion of the batter over on itself, the "ribbon" slowly moves. The mixture shouldn't be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn't be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon; it is better for the mixture to be sightly stiff than too loose.

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip. Hold the bag upright 1/2 inch above the center of one of the traced circles and pipe out enough to fill in the circle. Lift away the pastry bag and fill the remaining circles on the first pan. Lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to spread the batter evenly and smooth any peaks left by the bag.

Place the sheet pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees again.

Pipe the remaining macaron mixture into the circles of the second sheet pan and bake as directed above. Let cool completely.

For the garnish, combine the raspberry powder and a splash of water and mix until there are no lumps. It should be liquidy. Using a pastry brush, dip it into the raspberry mixture and flick over half of the finished macarons until the desired look is created. This is very messy and will splatter raspberry water everywhere else. Let them dry for a few minutes.

Transfer the buttercream to the pastry bag with the 3/8 inch tip. Transfer the lemon curd to a pastry bag with the 3/8 inch tip. Remove the macarons from the parchment paper. Turn half of them over. Pipe a ring of buttercream, not quite reaching the edge of the macaron. Fill the hole with lemon curd. Top with a second macaron and gently press to spread the buttercream to the edges. Repeat with remaining macarons and filling.

The macarons are best if wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap and frozen for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then bring to room temperature before seving. They can be served the day they are made or stored in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.


Cookies and Cream Macarons


Growing up, Oreos were never that big of a deal to me. I had eaten them before and they were good, but we never had them in the cupboards at home. Out of sight, out of mind. Over the years, they were grouped into the "store bought cookies are nasty" category in my mind and then subsequently forgotten about.

Until I decided to make these.

A few months ago, I went to a cafe, had lunch, and had a few macaroons as well, one of them being cookies and cream. It was good, I liked it. I wanted to recreate it at home.

Fast forward a few months and I finally decide to go for it. I reluctantly bought a box of oreos from the store. I thought to myself, 

"I'm probably only going to need a few oreos for the recipe. What the hell am I going to do with the rest of them? I don't want to eat all of them..."

I resolved that I would just give them to my boyfriend. I started making the macarons, blitzed up a couple oreos for the ganache, and decided to eat one, because, well, someone had to eat them.

I was at a loss for words. It was... incredible. I quickly poured a glass of milk, dunked my oreo, and devoured the rest of it. I ate another oreo, and then another. 

"Oh my god, these are amazing. How did I forget about them? So many years wasted."

Long story short, the entire box of oreos was gone in less than 24 hours. I was like a goodie-two-shoes girl going off to university and trying alcohol for the first time, then getting blackout drunk. I had no control, no sense of limitations for how many oreos one person should respectably eat in one day.

I wish I could say I felt guilty after, but I really just felt happy. Even though I didn't have any oreos left, I had these macarons which were equally delicious. 






Cookies and Cream Macarons
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery

Oreo Ganache
260 g heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
260 g white chocolate, chopped
100 g finely crushed oreo cookies

Macarons
212 g (1 3/4 cups + 2 1/2 tabespoons) almond flour/meal
212 g (1 3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons) powdered sugar
82 g (1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons) egg whites
90 g (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) egg whites
1 vanilla bean 
236 g (1 cup + 3 tablespoons) granulated sugar
158 g (2/3 cup) water
10 g finely crushed oreos, for garnish


First, make the ganache.

Pour the cream into a saucepan and scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod. Add the seeds and the pod to the cream. Over medium heat, bring to just a boil, then strain over the chopped chocolate. Wait a minute, then use a rubber spatula to slowly stir the mixture until it is completely smooth. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ganache and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

The macarons need to be as close in size as possible and a template is the easiest way to ensure that. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface with the long side facing you. Trace four evenly spaced 2 1/4 inch circles along the top edge (these make large macarons, modify the size if you wish, but keep in mind, the baking time will be shorter). Make sure to leave 1 inch of space between them. Trace three circles below each of those four, to make 3 x 4 macarons. Turn the parchment over and lay it on a sheet pan. Lift up each corner of the parchment and spray with non-stick spray to keep it from blowing up while the cookies are baking. Repeat with a second sheet.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center, leaving a layer of flour at the bottom. Pour in the 82 grams egg whites and combine with a spatula. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Set aside.

Place the remaining 90 grams egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the 236 grams sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203 F/110 C.

Letting the syrup continue to cook, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks. If the whites reach soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, reduce the speed to the lowest setting, just to keep them moving.

When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup, pouring it between the side of the bowl and the whisk. The meringue will deflate. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Although the bowl will still be warm, the meringue should have cooled. If not, continue to whip until it is cool.

Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding the whites a little at  time (you may not use them all) until when you fold a portion of the batter over on itself, the "ribbon" slowly moves. The mixture shouldn't be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn't be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon; it is better for the mixture to be sightly stiff than too loose.

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip. Hold the bag upright 1/2 inch above the center of one of the traced circles and pipe out enough to fill in the circle. Lift away the pastry bag and fill the remaining circles on the first pan. Lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to spread the batter evenly and smooth any peaks left by the bag.

Place the finely crushed oreos in a sieve and gently dust the tops of the macarons with the crumbs.

Place the sheet pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees again.

Pipe the remaining meringue mixture into the circles of the second sheet pan and bake as directed above. Let cool completely.

For the filling, transfer the ganache to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. On medium speed, whip the ganache until lighter and it holds a soft peak. Be very careful not to overwhip it, as it will separate and become grainy. Fold in the chopped oreos. Transfer to a piping bag with a 1/2 inch tip.

Remove the macarons from the parchment paper. Turn half of them over. Starting in the center, pipe 15 g/1 tablespoon of ganache in a spiral pattern on one upside down macaron, not quite reaching the edges. Top with a second macaron and gently press to spread the ganache to the edges. Repeat with remaining macarons and filling.

The macarons are best if wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap and frozen for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then bring to room temperature before seving. They can be served the day they are made or stored in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.






Caramelized Hazelnut Macarons


You ever have those aspirations and dreams and hopes of doing something? You know it'll be hard, but whatever, you can totally do it because you're different than the rest! You're awesome!

And then you do those things and it way harder than you ever imagined and you feel very un-awesome. 


Let's talk new jobs. New jobs are always hard. You're the new kid, the rookie, the one that doesn't know where anything is. Everyone knows each other and you're just the awkward kid standing at the edge of their circle. You're overeager to prove yourself and you try too hard and you're too nice because you just want to do a good job. 


Despite all your best intentions, you don't know what you're doing most of the time. You try to do things how you think they should be done, but it's never really spot-on. You feel embarrassed every time you get corrected, no matter how nicely you get corrected. 


You beat yourself up and go home upset, hoping that you'll make less mistakes than yesterday. But you still make lots of mistakes.

No matter what job you're in, I feel like that describes everyone at a new job. Or maybe it's just me. But I really think (hope) that everyone else feels like I do.


I know that the only way to learn is by making mistakes. And I know that I'm new to the entire industry that I'm in as well as the position I'm in. I'm new to everything about my new job. So, of course, I'm going to make a ton of mistakes. It's unavoidable.

But I just thought I'd be better than I'm doing now. I'm disappointed in myself, you know? I feel like after a month, that rookie phase would start to fade away, but it's still there.

All I can do is keep on doing my best and learning from my mistakes, I know that. The food industry is renowned for being a tough and merciless place, so I just have to develop a thick skin.  

I just hope no one from work reads my blog or else I'm going to look like a big whiner.


Sara over at Tried and Twisted has been kind enough to host myself and several other macaron-makers on her blog. Head over to her blog to check out the other beautiful and delicious macarons made by other bloggers!


Praline Paste
300 g hazelnuts
150 g sugar
50 g water

Hazelnut French Buttercream
38 g granulated sugar
38 g granulated sugar
63 g egg yolks
20 g praline paste
75 g whole milk
250 g unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, at room temperature

Macarons
212 g almond flour/meal
212 g powdered sugar
20 g praline paste
82 g egg whites
90 g egg whites
236 g granulated sugar
158 g water

Caramelized Hazelnut Garnish
A dozen hazelnuts or so
250 g sugar
50 g water


For the praline paste, preheat your oven to 350 F. Place a piece of parchment on a baking sheet and spread your hazelnuts on the sheet in an even layer. Roast the nuts for about 5 to 6 minutes, until they are fragrant and the skins are dark brown. Remove from the oven, let them cool, and rub the skins off using your fingers or a kitchen towel. 

Before you add them to the caramel, warm them in the oven quickly so they are warm to the touch but not roasted further. You want to add warm nuts to the caramel to prevent the caramel from seizing.

Prepare a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet and set it aside close to the stove.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and the water over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Gently swirl the pot if you need to, but try to disturb it as little as possible. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to medium-high and caramelize the sugar, then add the warm hazelnuts and quickly stir to cover the nuts with caramel, then spread on the silicone baking mat in an even layer. Let them cool completely.

Using a blender or food processor, grind up the caramelized nuts to a paste. Try to get it as fine as possible without breaking your blender/food processor. Store in an airtight container  for up to 2 weeks.

Then, make the buttercream. If you wish, the buttercream can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Take the buttercream out of the fridge thirty minutes before you need to use it and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow it to soften and then mix on low speed until it is the proper consistency.

Whisk 38 grams sugar and the yolks together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Combine the milk and praline paste in a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, and stir to disperse the paste. When the milk is just below a simmer, remove the pan from the heat and, whisking constantly, pour it into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 1 minute, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent the mixture from curdling. It should be very thick.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with a whisk attachment, turn the mixture to medium, and whisk for about 8 minutes, until the mixture is completely cool.

Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, to the egg yolk mixture. If at any point the mixture looks broken, increase the speed to re-emulsify it, then reduce the speed and continue adding the butter. Check the consistency: if the buttercream is too loose to hod its shape, it should be refrigerated for a few hours to harden, then beaten again to return it to the proper consistency.

The macarons need to be as close in size as possible and a template is the easiest way to ensure that. Trace the desired size of your macarons using whatever you can find, such as a glass or cup. Turn the parchment over and lay it on a sheet pan. Lift up each corner of the parchment and spray with non-stick spray to keep it from blowing up while the cookies are baking. Repeat with a second sheet.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center, leaving a layer of flour at the bottom. Pour in the 82 grams egg whites and combine with a spatula. Mix in the praline paste until evenly combined. Set aside.

Place the remaining 90 grams egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the 236 grams sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203 F/110 C.

Letting the syrup continue to cook, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks. If the whites reach soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, reduce the speed to the lowest setting, just to keep them moving.

When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup, pouring it between the side of the bowl and the whisk. The meringue will deflate. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Although the bowl will still be warm, the meringue should have cooled. If not, continue to whip until it is cool.

Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding the whites a little at  time (you may not use them all) until when you fold a portion of the batter over on itself, the "ribbon" slowly moves. The mixture shouldn't be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn't be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon; it is better for the mixture to be sightly stiff than too loose.

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip. Hold the bag upright 1/2 inch above the center of one of the traced circles and pipe out enough to fill in the circle. Lift away the pastry bag and fill the remaining circles on the first pan. Lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to spread the batter evenly and smooth any peaks left by the bag.

Place the sheet pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees again.

Pipe the remaining meringue mixture into the circles of the second sheet pan and bake as directed above. Let cool completely.

Transfer the buttercream to the pastry bag with the 3/8 inch tip. Remove the macarons from the parchment paper. Turn half of them over. Starting in the center, pipe 15 g/1 tablespoon of buttercream in a spiral pattern on one upside down macaron, not quite reaching the edges. Top with a second macaron and gently press to spread the buttercream to the edges. Repeat with remaining macarons and filling.

The macarons are best if wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap and frozen for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then bring to room temperature before seving. They can be served the day they are made or stored in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

For the garnish, if you wish to make it, preheat your oven to 350 F. Roast your hazelnut for 5 to 6 minutes until they are fragrant and the skins are dark brown. Remove from the oven and remove the skins using your fingers or a kitchen towel.

Using toothpicks or skewers, gently insert a toothpick/skewer into the hazelnut. Do this with all the nuts.

Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat and set it near the stove.

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Dissolve the sugar and increase the heat to medium-high and caramelize the sugar. Once it has caramelized, take it off the heat. You do not want to use it right away because the consistency will be too thin. Wait a few minutes until the caramel has cooled a little and has thickened up. 

Take a hazelnut by the toothpick handle and dip it into the caramel. If all the caramel slides off, it's still too thin. You want the caramel to slowly ooze off the nut. Find a way to keep the toothpick handle in a steady position over the silicone baking mat that will let the excess caramel drip off, creating a 'tail' to the nut. I used my dutch oven and the lid to keep it over the silicone baking mat. 

Alternatively, you can simply dip the nut and place it on the silicone mat, which will have no tail.

Once the caramelized nuts have cooled completely, gently twist out the toothpick. Do not store the caramelized nuts in the fridge. Store in a dry place for about a day.







French Toast Macarons


I'm a big fan of taking the flavours of something ordinary, like french toast drenched in maple syrup, creating a completely different and elevated version of it, and still making you think, "French toast!" when you eat it. 


It's a fun way to play around in the kitchen and put your own spin on things. These macarons were inspired by a recipe for a chocolate bar in Francisco Migoyas Elements of Dessert. The ganache was poured over slices of brioche while still warm, then cooled, cut, placed in chocolates molds, and covered in more chocolate to seal it. I loved the idea of the french toast ganache, but decided to make something different out of it. 


I took the brioche out of the ganache recipe and decided to whip it once it was set so it would be stiff enough to pipe. Then, the macarons. I took my absolute go-to macaron recipe from Bouchon Bakery and added cinnamon to it. 

And thus was created my favourite macaron that I have ever had. 


Macarons are a great tool for those kinds of things. The shells can be flavoured with spices, chocolate, fruit powders, and herb oils. The filling is even more versatile. Buttercream, ganache, and jam can be flavoured almost any way you can think of. 


Play with your own combination of flavours! Think of your favourite flavour combinations and recreate that in a macaron. Try something new, something of your own creation. Think of an idea and then make it happen. 



French Toast Macarons

French Toast Ganache
Recipe adapted from Elements of Dessert

200 g heavy cream
50 g rum (optional)
3 g ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, scraped
50 g maple syrup
250 g white chocolate, chopped finely
5 g fleur de sel


Cinnamon Macarons
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery


212 g almond flour/meal
212 g powdered sugar
2 g ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean
82 g egg whites
90 g egg whites
236 g granulated sugar
158 g water


First, make the ganache. Combine the heavy cream, rum, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the mixture. Reserve the vanilla bean for vanilla extract/sugar/powder/etc. 

Bring to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute and then stir to emulsify. Put plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ganache and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. 

Once it has set, put it in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whip attached. Whip the ganache until it holds its peak and is lighter in colour. Place in the refrigerator until needed.

For the macarons, prepare your template by tracing circles on the underside of your parchment in whatever size you desire or print out a macaron template (search on google) and place it under your parchment while you pipe. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cinnamon into a large bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center, leaving a layer of flour at the bottom. Pour in the 82 grams egg whites and combine with a spatula. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Set aside.

Place the remaining 90 grams egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the 236 grams sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203 F/110 C.

Letting the syrup continue to cook, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks. If the whites reach soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, reduce the speed to the lowest setting, just to keep them moving.

When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup, pouring it between the side of the bowl and the whisk. The meringue will deflate. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Although the bowl will still be warm, the meringue should have cooled. If not, continue to whip until it is cool.

Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding the whites a little at  time (you may not use them all) until when you fold a portion of the batter over on itself, the "ribbon" slowly moves. The mixture shouldn't be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn't be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon; it is better for the mixture to be sightly stiff than too loose.

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip. Hold the bag upright 1/2 inch above the center of one of the traced circles and pipe out enough to fill in the circle. Lift away the pastry bag and fill the remaining circles on the first pan. If you want to, sift a small amount of cinnamon onto each macaron. Lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to spread the batter evenly and smooth any peaks left by the bag.

Place the sheet pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees again.

Pipe the remaining meringue mixture into the circles of the second sheet pan and bake as directed above. Let cool completely. 

Transfer the ganache to a piping bag.  Remove the macarons from the parchment paper. Turn half of them over. Starting in the center, pipe 15 g/1 tablespoon of ganache in a spiral pattern on one upside down macaron, not quite reaching the edges. Top with a second macaron and gently press to spread the buttercream to the edges. Repeat with remaining macarons and filling. 

The ganache may start to split from the warmth of your hand on the piping bag. If so, transfer to a bowl and beat it for a few seconds to bring it back to consistency, then refrigerate it for 10 minutes. Put back in the piping bag and continue.

The macarons are best if wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap and frozen for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then bring to room temperature before seving. They can be served the day they are made or stored in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

Raspberry and Pink Peppercorn Macarons


These little gems were actually a project I did for school. It was a simple project, just scale down an existing cookie recipe to yield a certain number of overall cookies. It wasn't really an exercise in creativity, but I decided to get a little creative anyways. As soon as Chef told us about the project, the idea for raspberry and pink peppercorn macarons immediately came to mind. I was inspired by a dessert I made a little while back - the raspberry and pink peppercorn mousse. I loved the contrasting flavours of the raspberry and the peppercorns, as well as the slightly spicy kick from the peppercorns. And so, I set about making the mousse into macarons.


I had my heart set on flavouring the macaron cookie itself, as many recipes have all the flavouring in the buttercream. I've seen recipes with freeze dried raspberry powder and asked Chef about, who said it would be perfect, but very hard to come by here in Canada, especially for an individual. I scoured the internet for possible places to buy it - health food stores, cooking stores, naturopathic stores. The only way to acquire it was to order it in from the states, which would cost me more than I really wanted to spend and take more time than I had.


I gave up on that idea, unfortunately, and tried to think of other options. I baked a batch with pink peppercorns in the cookie itself, but they were disastrous. It may have been the oils from the peppercorns or it may have been a mistake that I made. Either way, I gave that idea up too. Plain shells it would be.


To compensate for that, I decided to have a reduced raspberry puree as a "bullseye" filling, which ended up being a perfect fit. The puree isn't very sweet and still retains the tartness of the raspberries. This offsets the sweet, rich, buttery buttercream, but pairs nicely with the peppercorns. I'm not trying to brag here, but I'm pretty proud of these puppies.


Seeing as I can't bring my camera into the pastry shop, there are no photos of the macaronnage. I brought home some unfilled shells, buttercream, and puree so I could at least photograph the assembling process. If you've never made macarons before, I highly suggesting taking a look at my Vanilla Macarons, as I have pictures that will help with the process. While this macaron recipe is not the one I have used before, it is extremely similar and the only difference is the quantity. If you wish, you can just use the Bouchon Bakery recipe for macarons, which I use in the vanilla macarons.


Just to give you a little update on school, Chef Aron will actually be leaving in about a week! Fortunately, he has brought in a pastry chef that he has worked with in the past and really admires - Chef Christine. She has worked at Bouchon Bakery with Thomas Keller, among quite a few other places. She's been shadowing Chef these past few days and seems wonderful. So if I refer to Chef as a 'she' from now on, don't get confused. Other than that, school is wonderful and informative and busy. But I'm lovin' every minute of it.



Raspberry and Pink Peppercorn Macarons

Macarons
240 g granulated sugar
50 g water
110 g egg whites #1
110 g egg whites #2
300 g ground almonds
300 g icing sugar
1-3 drops red gel food colouring (optional)

Pink Peppercorn Buttercream
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery
38 g (3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon) granulated sugar
38 g (3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon) granulated sugar
63 g (1/4 cup + 1/2 teaspoon) egg yolks
75 g (1/4 cup + 2 1/4 teaspoons) whole milk
250 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, at room temperature
10 to 20 g crushed pink peppercorns

Raspberry Puree
200 g fresh raspberries
20 g granulated sugar

10 g pink peppercorn for sprinkling over top


First, make the buttercream. If you wish, the buttercream can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Take the buttercream out of the fridge thirty minutes before you need to use it and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow it to soften and then mix on low speed until it is the proper consistency.

Whisk 38 grams sugar and the yolks together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Combine the milk and remaining 38 grams of sugar in a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar. When the milk is just below a simmer, remove the pan from the heat and, whisking constantly, pour it into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 1 minute, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent the mixture from curdling. It should be very thick.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer. fit the mixer with a whisk attachment, turn the mixture to medium, and whisk for about 8 minutes, until the mixture is completely cool. Fold in the food colouring to your desired colour.

Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, to the egg yolk mixture. If at any point the mixture looks broken, increase the speed to re-emulsify it, then reduce the speed and continue adding the butter. Check the consistency: if the buttercream is too loose to hod its shape, it should be refrigerated for a few hours to harden, then beaten again to return it to the proper consistency.

Fold in 10 g of the crushed peppercorns, then taste. Add more to your liking. 

The macarons need to be as close in size as possible and a template is the easiest way to ensure that. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a work sure with the long side facing you. Trace four evenly spaced 1 inch circles along the top edge (you can make them any size you wish). Make sure to leave 1 inch of space between them. Trace three circles below each of those four, to make 3 x 4 macarons. Turn the parchment over and lay it on a sheet pan. Lift up each corner of the parchment and spray with non-stick spray to keep it from blowing up while the cookies are baking. Repeat with a second sheet.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the ground almonds and the icing sugar together. Mix with egg whites #2 with a spatula or plastic bench scraper. Set aside.

Place egg whites #1 in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203 F/110 C.

Letting the syrup continue to cook, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks. If the whites reach soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, reduce the speed to the lowest setting, just to keep them moving.

When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup, pouring it between the side of the bowl and the whisk. The meringue will deflate. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Although the bowl will still be warm, the meringue should have cooled. If not, continue to whip until it is cool.

Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding the whites a little at  time (you may not use them all) until when you fold a portion of the batter over on itself, the "ribbon" slowly moves. The mixture shouldn't be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn't be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon; it is better for the mixture to be sightly stiff than too loose.

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip. Hold the bag upright 1/2 inch above the center of one of the traced circles and pipe out enough to fill in the circle. Lift away the pastry bag and fill the remaining circles on the first pan. Lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to spread the batter evenly and smooth any peaks left by the bag. Repeat with the second sheet pan.

Let the macarons sit out for around 30 minutes, until they form a skin. The macaron will not be sticky to the touch and will have a matte-like appearance. 

Place the sheet pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool completely.

While the macarons are cooling, make the raspberry puree. Combine the raspberries and the sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the berries have released some of their juices, increase the heat and bring the juices to a boil. Continue to cook until the liquid is fairly thick and has reduced by about half. Take off the heat, strain into a clean bowl, and let it cool completely.

Transfer the buttercream to the pastry bag with the 1/8 inch tip. Remove the macarons from the parchment paper. Turn half of them over. Pipe a ring of buttercream. Using a teaspoon, gently spoon a small amount of raspberry puree into the centre of the buttercream. Don't fill it too much or you'll have a blowout of the puree. Gently top with another macaron and press down gently. Repeat with remaining macarons and filling.

For the decorative brushstroke on the top, grab a pastry brush (the size isn't very important).  You should have a tiny bit of the puree left, maybe a teaspoon or so. Using the corner of the pastry brush, dip it into the remaining puree and quickly but lightly brush it over the top of the macaron. You can use different brushes and create different designs if you wish. 

Place 10 g of pink peppercorns in a small sieve. Rub the pink peppercorns with your fingers in the sieve, pressing down gently, over the macarons. This will sprinkle the tiny flakes of pink skin overtop the macarons.

The macarons are best if wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap and frozen for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then bring to room temperature before seving. They can be served the day they are made or stored in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.