Strawberry macarons

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Following my previous blog post on sesame macarons, I felt this time around I should be creating something that’s more sweet, cute and fun. Strawberry macarons ticks all three boxes, and it’s not that hard to make. I wanted to really mimic a strawberry, so I had to shape the shells so that it wasn’t all round, and added a bit of fondant to decorate the top for its leafy effect. Follow the recipe below and give it a shot for yourself. Hope you enjoyed these strawberry macarons.

 

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Strawberry macarons recipe

 

Macaron Shells
(Adapted from Pierre Hermé pastries recipe book)
220g  fresh egg whites
300g  almond meal
300g  icing sugar
300g  caster sugar
75g   water
To decorate: red powdered/gel food coloring. (as your prefer)

 

Preparation
Line baking trays with baking paper and prepare pipping bag fitted with a plain #11 pastry tip. (If you are not confident with your pipping skills, you can use template as your guide.(SHELLS TEMPLATE GUIDE)

 

To prepare the egg white and almond meal mixture:

Blitz both the almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor, pause to remove any lumps. Sift well into a bowl.

 

In the same bowl, add 110g of egg white and set aside without mixing. Pour another 110g egg whites into an electric mixer bowl.

 

Methods

  1. In saucepan, add the water, caster sugar and food colouring and boil to 244 °F (118 °C). Don’t stir.
  2. As soon as the syrup reaches a temperature of 239 °F (115 °C), immediately whisk the remaining egg whites (110g) in the electric mixer (prepared on step 1) at medium speed till they are still fairly wet but can hold a peak (soft peak).
  3. Pour the saucepan of sugar syrup cooked to 244 °F (118°C) over the whipped egg whites in the mixer bowl.
  4. Continue to mix and allow the egg whites to reach a hard peak, and removed from the electric mixer; let it cool down to 122°F (50°C), then add into the egg white and almond meal mixture which we have prepared earlier from the preparation stage.
  5. Now incorporate everything together, and mix until the mixture is smooth, uniform and gently flowing. This may be a tricky because if you mix too slow, the mixture may not be uniform, but if you mix too fast and too much, the mixture might be too runny; so aim for something in between.

 

Pipe and bake

Fill the mixture into a piping bag, and get ready to pipe.

 

Let the macaron shells sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden (you may test the shells by touching the mixture, and if they don’t stick onto your finger then they’re ready to be baked).

 

Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Bake for 12- 15 minutes, depending on their size. Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few minutes, then gently remove from the sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Let your macarons sit out on counter for 30 -60 minutes, to allow a crust to form.

 

For the jam

500 g        strawberries
400 – 500 g  sugar
2 tbsp       lemon juice

 

Preparation
Wash the strawberry thoroughly. Cut into small pieces if they are large.

 

Methods

    1. In a medium size saucepan, combine strawberry, sugar and lemon juice.
    2. With low heat, use wooden spoon or spatula to stir until sugar has dissolved and strawberry are softened.
    3. Blitz the pieces of strawberry with hand held food process until very fine.
    4. Increase the heat and continue to boil until jam reach thicken.

Remove from heat and leave the jam to cool for 2-3 minutes.

 

Buttercream filling:

5         egg whites
200g      caster sugar
226g      butter (cut into small cube size, at room temperature)
To taste  strawberry jam
Optional: red powdered/ gel food coloring

 

Methods

    1. Combine and whisk sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a double boiler (ensure the water in the double boiler is only at a simmer).
    2. Whisk constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is quite hot to the touch 160 °F (°C). (to test your sugar is fully dissolved,  dip your fingers into the mix and rub some between your fingers, If gritty, keep cooking!)
    3. Then pour mix into an electric mixer and start whipping the egg whites on high speed until it reaches stiff peaks (light and wonderful – like marshmallow).
    4. At this point start adding butter piece by piece to the meringue. Be sure to add the butter slowly and make sure the each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. ( If the buttercream becomes soupy after all of the butter is incorporated, put in the fridge and let it cool for 5- 10 minutes before whip it again, also might try adding few more of butter.)
    5. Add jam, keep whipping it until soft and incorporated with the flavor .

For Leaf fondant

leaf cutter
green food colouring (I used the Ameri Food Gel)
pure white fondant
cornflour

Method

  1. Roll fondant into a ball, kneading until it’s soft and pliable.
  2. Add a dash of food colouring into your fondant ball until colour is evenly blended. Roll it and knead it until your fondant ball becomes fully coloured.
  3. Sprinkle some cornflour and roll flat the fondant about 1 inch thick (as your likely) , use leaf cutter to cut.

To decorate

Brush some egg white on the top edge of macarons shell, place the fondant leaf piece by piece. Finally, use skewer stick or toothpick , add dots of green on the shell.

Black Sesame Macarons

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Elegantly simple, yet deliciously tasteful,  black sesame macarons are surely high up there on my favorites.

 

It has a particular charm of its own – something about it that makes it stand really out. Perhaps it is its black filling, a paste that is gently sweet with a distinctive sesame after-taste. Whatever it may be, black sesame macarons is such a pleaser, and the beauty of this is that it’s actually not hard to make.

 

Give it a shot, recipe attached below.

 

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Black sesame macarons recipe

 

Shells
(Adapted from Pierre Hermé pastries recipe book)
220g   fresh egg whites
300g   almond meal
300g   icing sugar
300g   caster sugar
75g    water
40g    black sesame seeds

 

Preparation

Line baking trays with baking paper and prepare pipping bag fitted with a plain #11 pastry tip. (If you are not confident with your pipping skills, you can use template as your guide.(SHELLS TEMPLATE GUIDE)

 

To prepare the egg white and almond meal mixture:

Blitz both the almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor, pause to remove any lumps. Sift well into a bowl.

 

To prepare the black sesame powder:

Pour black sesame seeds in saucepan.  With medium to low heat, use spatula to stir until its lightly toasted (remember must keep stirring to avoid burn. Will take about 5- 10 minutes)

 

Let it cool down for about 5-10 minutes. Blitz the sesame in a food processor until very fine. Sift well into a bowl.

 

Combine 110g of egg white with the icing sugar, almond mixture and black sesame powder. Don’t mix, set aside.

 

Methods

  1. In saucepan, add the water, caster sugar and boil to 244 °F (118 °C). Don’t stir.
  2. As soon as the syrup reaches a temperature of 239 °F (115 °C), immediately whisk the remaining egg whites (110g) in the electric mixer (prepared on step 1) at medium speed till they are still fairly wet but can hold a peak (soft peak).
  3. Pour the saucepan of sugar syrup cooked to 244 °F (118°C) over the whipped egg whites in the mixer bowl.
  4. Continue to mix and allow the egg whites to reach a hard peak, and removed from the electric mixer; let it cool down to 122°F (50°C), then add into the egg white and almond meal mixture which we have prepared earlier from the preparation stage.
  5. Now incorporate everything together, and mix until the mixture is smooth, uniform and gently flowing. This may be a tricky because if you mix too slow, the mixture may not be uniform, but if you mix too fast and too much, the mixture might be too runny; so aim for something in between.

 

Pipe and bake

Fill the mixture into a piping bag, and get ready to pipe. Pipe a small rounds (around 3cm diameter) and sprinkle some sesame seeds on the shell. Let the macaron shells sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden (you may test the shells by touching the mixture, and if they don’t stick onto your finger then they’re ready to be baked).

 

Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few minutes, then carefully place the baking paper on a benchtop: the shells will be easier to remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). bake for 12- 15 minutes, depending on their size.

 

For the  filling:

400g      white chocolate
200ml     thicken cream
30g       unsalted butter
2Tbsp     black sesame powder
Optional: black gel food coloring

 

Methods

  1. Grate or chop the chocolate into small pieces so that it melts evenly.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the cream to the boil.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Combine using a whisk. Cool a little.
  4. Add black sesame powder and black coloring.
  5. When cooled to 104°F (40°C), incorporate the unsalted butter, diced. Combined well again so the ganache is smooth.

Refrigerate to chill up for 1 to 2 hours before pipe. To assemble, use medium size round nozzle, fill the sesame ganache into a piping bag and ready to pipe on your macarons shell.

 

 

 

Vanilla cupcakes

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I love vanilla cupcakes. It’s such a classic cupcake recipe. I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t like this all time classic. It’s so simple and easy to make, and so delicious to taste. It pleases crowds and kids always love them.
One beautiful thing I love about vanilla cupcakes is the smell it produces. When fresh out of the oven, and topped with its whipped cream cheese frosting it produces an absolutely beautiful vanilla fragrance that is so seductive to the nose, and upon biting in, the richness of the taste and smell is what really makes this an all time classic!
I hope you enjoy these vanilla cupcakes. The added star on top is made out of fondant. It’s a quirky play up but obviously not necessary! I have attached a recipe below, enjoy!

 

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Vanilla cupcakes recipe

 

 

For the vanilla cupcakes base

170 g       unsalted butter, at room temperature

2           eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups  caster sugar

1 1/4 cup   whole milk, at room temperature

2 1/2 cup   flour, sifted

2 1/2 tsp   baking powder

1/4 tsp     salt

2 tsp       pure vanilla extract

 

Preparation

Place cupcakes liner in a standard muffin tin and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 Celsius).   For flour mixture: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside   For milk mixture: Pour milk into a measuring cup and add vanilla. Set aside.

 

Methods

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, use medium speed cream the butter until fluffy.  Stop and add the sugar, continue with medium speed and beat the butter and sugar until light and plain. (this will create the butter mixture). Will takes about 3- 5 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mixing slowly after each addition.
  3. Reduce the speed to low, add ⅓ of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then gradually add in ⅓ of the milk mixture. Beat until all is well incorporated. Continue with another ⅓ of the flour mixture followed by another ⅓ of the milk mixture. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl if needed. Then add the remaining flour mixture and milk mixture, beat all until well combined.

Lastly, use a large size ice cream scoop to batter and divide the batter among the cupcake liners into the cupcake pan.  Bake for approx 16-18 minutes. ( You can stick a toothpick in a cupcake during cooking to check whether it is cooked or not. If it’s cooked the toothpick will be clean as you poke it out).   Carefully and remove the cupcakes from the baking pans immediately to let cool. Let its cool completely on wire racks before you do frosting.

 

For the cream cheese frosting

 

227g     full fat cream cheese, softened but still cool

1 cups   powdered sugar (sifted)
1/2 cup  cold heavy cream
1 tsp    vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

 

Preparation
Place the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl.

 

Methods

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, use medium speed to beat the cream cheese thoroughly until fluffy and completely smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl and using a handheld electric mixer on high speed, beat the heavy cream to nearly stiff peaks ( this is to make whipped cream).
  3. Add the whipped cream into the stand mixer bowl with the cream cheese, beat and combine (do not over beat).

 

Frost the filling using a pastry bag fitted with a large size round tip (or your favorite tip). Pipe a spiral of filling into a 2-inch-high cone-shaped mound on top of cupcakes. Refrigerate to chill up. And that is it! I hope you enjoy my vanilla cupcakes recipe, please leave your comments and feedback below!

Blueberry And White Chocolate Cupcakes

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I love simplicity (as you can probably tell from the style of my blog), and I believe simple creations produce the best results.

 

That is why today I am baking a simple classic recipe that everyone loves – blueberry and white chocolate cupcakes, with… windmill origami’s on top! =)

 

Why did I add the extra windmills? It makes it fun and exciting, and kids will always go crazy over it!

 

These blueberry and white chocolate cupcakes are an easy to make, great family treat. Recipe added below. As for making the windmill, you can grab instructions from here.

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Blueberry And White Chocolate Cupcakes recipe

 

For the cupcake base

57 g       unsalted butter, at room temperature
2          eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cups   caster sugar
1 cup      whole milk, at room temperature
114 g      white chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature.
1 1/2 cup flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp    salt
2 tsp      pure vanilla extract

 

Preparation

Place cupcake liners in a standard muffin tin and preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 Celsius).

 

For the flour mixture: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside

 

For the white chocolate mixture: Melt the chocolate (you can use chips) and add vanilla. Well combined and set aside.

 

Methods

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, use medium speed to cream the butter until it becomes light in color.  Stop and add the sugar, continue with medium speed and beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (this will create the butter mixture). It will take around 3- 5 minutes.
  2. Use low speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Mix until just combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
  3. Add white chocolate mixture into butter mixture and stir until combined.
  4. Reduce the speed to low, add ⅓ of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then gradually add in ⅓ of the milk. Beat until all is well incorporated. Continue with another ⅓ of the flour mixture followed by another ⅓ of the milk. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl if needed. Then add the remaining flour mixture and milk, beat all until well combined. Do not over mix.

Lastly, use a small size ice cream scoop to batter and divide the batter among the cupcake liners into the cupcake pan.

 

Bake for approx 18- 20 minutes. ( You can stick a toothpick in a cupcake during cooking to check whether it is cooked or not. If it’s cooked the toothpick will be clean as you poke it out).

 

Carefully and remove the cupcakes from the baking pans immediately to let cool. Allow to cool completely before you do filling or frosting.

 

For the blueberry jam

12 oz        package of frozen blueberry (if sweetened just use less sugar)

1               juiced lemon

1/2 cup   sugar

 

Methods

  1. In a sauce pan, combine all the ingredients and slowly. Continue stirring until thickened.
  2. With low heat, use wooden spoon or spatula to stir until sugar has dissolved and strawberry are softened.
  3. Blitz the pieces of blueberry with hand held food process until very fine.
  4. Increase the heat and continue to boil until jam reach thicken.

Add lemon juice and let it completely to cool.

 

For the blueberry  buttercream frosting

5         egg whites
200g      caster sugar
226g      butter (cut into small cube size, at room temperature)
To taste  blueberry jam

 

Methods

    1. Combine and whisk sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a double boiler (ensure the water in the double boiler is only at a simmer).
    2. Whisk constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is quite hot to the touch 160 °F (°C). (to test your sugar is fully dissolved,  dip your fingers into the mix and rub some between your fingers, If gritty, keep cooking!)
    3. Then pour mix into an electric mixer and start whipping the egg whites on high speed until it reaches stiff peaks (light and wonderful – like marshmallow).
    4. At this point start adding butter piece by piece to the meringue. Be sure to add the butter slowly and make sure the each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. ( If the buttercream becomes soupy after all of the butter is incorporated, put in the fridge and let it cool for 5- 10 minutes before whip it again, also might try adding few more of butter.)
    5. Add strawberry jam and food coloring, keep whipping it until soft and incorporated with the flavor .

Frost the buttercream onto the cupcakes using a pastry bag fitted with an ateco #849 open star decorator tip (or similar).

 

 

 

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

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Easter bunny cupcakes!

When you see supermarket shelves get stacked with giant chocolate eggs and bunnies, you know it’s that time of the year again. Yep, Easter! And what do I think of when Easter comes? Sugar overdose!

 

I thought I’d get into the festive mood early with my very own version of Easter bunny cupcakes (vanilla flavored). As the name suggests, the cupcake base is vanilla flavored, complimented by a vanilla meringue topping. The grass, eggs, bunnies and the mother bunny is made from rolled fondant.

 

I hope you enjoy these Easter bunny cupcakes. Hopefully it gets you excited about Easter!

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Easter bunny cupcakes recipe

 

For the cupcake base

170 g       unsalted butter, at room temperature
2           eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 1/4 cup   whole milk, at room temperature
2 1/2 cup   flour, sifted
2 1/2 tsp   baking powder
1/4 tsp     salt
2 tsp       pure vanilla extract

 

Preparation
Place cupcakes liner in a standard muffin tin and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 Celsius).

 

For flour mixture: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside

 

For milk mixture: Pour milk into a measuring cup and add vanilla. Set aside.

 

Methods

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, use medium speed cream the butter until fluffy.  Stop and add the sugar, continue with medium speed and beat the butter and sugar until light and plain. (this will create the butter mixture). Will takes about 3- 5 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mixing slowly after each addition.
  3. Reduce the speed to low, add ⅓ of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then gradually add in ⅓ of the milk mixture. Beat until all is well incorporated. Continue with another ⅓ of the flour mixture followed by another ⅓ of the milk mixture. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl if needed. Then add the remaining flour mixture and milk mixture, beat all until well combined.

Lastly, use a large size ice cream scoop to batter and divide the batter among the cupcake liners into the cupcake pan.  Bake for approx 16-18 minutes. ( You can stick a toothpick in a cupcake during cooking to check whether it is cooked or not. If it’s cooked the toothpick will be clean as you poke it out).

 

Carefully and remove the cupcakes from the baking pans immediately to let cool. Let its cool completely on wire racks before you do frosting.

 

For the white cloud frosting

1 3/4 cups  caster sugar
1/4 cup     water
3 large     egg whites
1/4 tsp     cream of tartar
1 tsp       pure vanilla extract

 

Preparation
Place the sugar, water, egg whites, and cream of tartar in heatproof metal bowl.

 

Methods

  1. Using a handheld electric mixer on high speed, beat all the ingredients (except vanilla) earlier prepared for 1 minute.
  2. Stop and put the same bowl over a double boiler. (least a 2-quart capacity of water and ensure the water in the double boiler is barely simmering).
  3. Continue mixing at a high speed until the mixture forms a stiff peak (meaning it stands straight up if you lift it with a whisker), this should take approx 12 minutes
  4. When the temperature reaches 71°C on a thermometer, remove the bowl from the water, add the vanilla and food colouring, then continue to beat for 2 minutes for further thickening.

Frost the filling using a pastry bag fitted with a medium size round tip (or similar). Pipe a spiral of filling into a 2-inch-high cone-shaped mound on top of cupcakes. Refrigerate to chill up.



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