Pineapple macarons

macarones

I still remeber clearly, the first time I bit into a proper macaron, about 8 years ago, at Ladurée in Paris. I was amazed by the elegant, classy spread of pastries and other sweets sitting in that luxurious gold framed cabinet and the macarons caught my eyes immediately.

A picture I took at the Laduree

I had always thought of it as an overly sweet candy full of calories. But, these Oh my God! the not too sweet, yet flavorful, fragile smooth exterior with the soft chewy center….the experience kind of registered in my brain forever!

laduree
Boy! I wanted to buy the whole place

I wasn’t into baking back then, had only made a few cakes here and there, but I tried to replicate the macaron when I returned home. I couldn’t find almond meal (wasn’t common in Sri Lanka back then, not sure about now)so I used peanut flour and came quite close but I wasn’t happy. Long story short, this became one of the many bakes I enjoyed making later after I migrated to Australia, where finding ingredients wasn’t a problem and I was way ahead of my baking game by then.

macarones

So I had several failed attempts like everyone else. But every time, I learnt something new and moved forward. Also I learnt making macarons in bakery school, but they were my least favorite so far. Because the recipe is fool-proof, it uses a different technique, which resulted in a hard, grainy macaron, but they were quite stable of course (bakery style). So I stick to this recipe which is fiddly, tricky yet produced a much delicate and elegant macaron shell, which is very closer to the one I had in Paris years ago.

I will explain the most crucial steps. If you get these steps right, you’ll get the macarons right the first time!

flour mix

Getting the dry ingredients right is very important. Grind the icing sugar and almond flour mixture in a food processor and sieve it twice. If you think the particles are not fine enough, process again and sieve once more, until they are very fine to the touch. There shouldn’t be any grainy bits or lumps.

egg white

Next is getting the meringue ready. For best results use a day(or more) old egg whites. Separate the egg whites, place in a container, close the lid and refrigerate for at least a day. This will remove some of the moisture.

Bring the egg whites to room temperature and beat them to soft peaks before adding sugar.

You can add a pinch of cream of tartar or a drop of vinegar to stabilize the meringue (I have not)

merigue

Use super fine castor sugar for best results.

Add sugar bit by bit while beating the egg white on high speed. When the meringue is thick and glossy, add the gel coloring and the essence. Beat a few seconds to incorporate. Taste the meringue to check on flavor and adjust.

Meringue should be shiny and very stiff. (same consistency you get to make a pavlova)

mixing

The most important step out of all is the mixing of flour mixture and the meringue. Add half the dry mix and fold a few times. No need to mix all the way. Add the other half in one go. Now start mixing using a spatula. Fold and cut through the middle and repeat, until flour is incorporated. Now you have a thick batter. Keep mixing until you reach the ribbon consistency. That means, you should be able to draw a figure 8 without breaking and the figure should disappear slowly into the batter. At this stage STOP mixing!

One more stoke could ruin your batter

stencil

If you don’t have a fancy macaron mat, use a stencil like shown in the picture. Place it underneath the parchment and remove it once you have piped and reuse it!

I like parchment paper over silicon mat, as it dries out macarons really nicely

piping

Transfer the batter in to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (13 mm).

Hold the bag perpendicular to the tray and pipe a dollop. It shouldn’t cover the whole circle. Because the batter is going to spread a bit and we are going to tap the tray later. So pipe a smaller circle than you actually want it to be.

piped macarones

Once done piping, bang/tap/drop the tray on the table several times. This will release any over sized air bubbles trapped inside the batter. Trust me there is a lot. If you didn’t do this then you will see cracks everywhere and big blisters on the surface, when baked.

If you are like me, take a tooth pick and pop any visible air bubbles on the surface. This is optional đŸ™‚

dry to the touch

Now that you are done piping and tapping, leave the macarones in a cool area to dry out. This may take anywhere between 30 – 60 minutes or more in very humid atmospheres. You can use an exhaust fan or a normal fan to speed the process up!

They should be dry to the touch. You should be able to touch the surface without batter sticking to your finger. It is almost like a skin has formed on top. This skin is what gives the nice feet!

baked

Bake the macarones in a (150 C) 300 F oven for 17 – 19 minutes. But check them at 15 minutes, every oven is different. They should peel off easily once fully done, without anything sticking to the paper.

cool

Once baked, let the shells cool completely. If you are not filling them, on the same day, you can pack them in an air tight container and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature in cooler weathers (18 C – 19 C) Humidity/moisture is their main enemy.

pineapple jam

I’m using a simple butter cream and some homemade pineapple jam to fill these. You can use cream cheese or pineapple flavored butter cream instead. Even store bought jam works too. So be creative with the filling.

filling

This is how I chose to do it!. Apply a light butter cream later on both shells to prevent shells going soggy. And pipe a ring of butter cream on one side. Fill the center with pineapple jam. Place the other shell on top and press to sandwich.

macarones

As bizarre as it may sound, the macarones need to mature a day or two for maximum enjoyment. Place the sandwiched cookies in an air-tight container and refrigerate. This will help firm up the cookie and the filling and also give it’s characteristic texture to the macaron. But nothing is stopping you if you just want to pop them in your mouth right there!

That is it! You have made a batch of macarones. There are many recipes and blog posts and videos on the internet, about getting the perfect macarone, and they all are great!. If you can find time, I suggest, that you check as many as you can. Every person has their little secret and you can learn more by watching a video/tutorial. This is just my two cents!

pineapple macarons

No matter what flavor you want, the basic steps are the same. So try basic vanilla ones if it is your first time. Work on getting the technique right. Once you are there, then play with different flavors and colors. It will be really fun.

close up
Here’s a close up for your maximum enjoyment

Following are some matcha macarones I made some time back, using this same recipe, method and techniques. I only added 2 tablespoons of matcha powder to the flour mixture and sandwiched the cookies with lemon cream cheese.

matcha macarones
Matcha (green tea) and cream cheese macarons
Pineapple macarons

cookies, dessert, snacks

Pineapple macarons

Ingredients

  • 3 (90 g) egg whites ( day old) at room temperature
  • 70 g super fine castor sugar
  • 100 g almond meal
  • 170 g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp pineapple extract or more to taste
  • few drops of yellow coloring ( Jell paste works best)
  • Pineapple jam ( 2/3 cups)
  • Buttercream frosting ( 1 stick butter + 2- 21/2 cups icing sugar + 1 tbsp milk)

Instructions

  1. Separate eggs and refrigerate the egg whites, in a closed container, at least a day prior to making this recipe
  2. Prepare trays lined with parchment paper and get a stencil ready if you like
  3. Bring the egg whites to room temperature ( let them sit for 30 minutes on the counter)
  4. Grind and sieve the almond meal and icing sugar to obtain a finer texture. See picture and explanation above in the post
  5. Whisk egg whites (using stand mixer) to soft peaks stage
  6. Start adding sugar a tea spoon at a time and continue to whist on high speed
  7. Do this until all sugar is gone and the meringue reach stiff peaks
  8. The meringue should be very stiff and shiny
  9. Add the flavor and color at this stage and whisk to incorporate
  10. Add half of the dry mix to the meringue and mix just to start combining
  11. Then add the rest and mix to incorporate using a spatula
  12. Read the instructions on the post for more details
  13. Keep mixing until the desired batter consistency is achieved (check the post for details and photo)
  14. Transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a 13 mm round tip
  15. Pipe circles onto the prepared parchment paper
  16. Leave space around
  17. Once piped, tap the tray several times on the bench
  18. And leave the macarones to air dry for 30 minutes or more
  19. The top should be dry to the touch
  20. Preheat oven to 300 F or 150 C
  21. Bake the macarones one tray at a time for 15 -19 minutes
  22. Always keep an eye and check them at 15 minute mark ( the size of the macarone will affect the time)
  23. Once done take the trays out and let cool for a few minutes
  24. If macarones are releasing without any effort, then they are ready, otherwise they need another 2 minutes or so.
  25. Once done let them cool completely before handling/filling
  26. Fill the macarone with butter cream and pineapple jam. Check post for more information
https://myloveofbaking.com/pineapple-macarons/
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Spicy Ginger cookies

Make these ahead for the winter!

ginger cookies

These ginger cookies resembles, my favorite ginger biscuit I used to eat back in Sri Lanka. Oddly enough, I used to hate these as a kid but fell completely in love with, growing up. I remember the mini me wondering why would anyone want to eat the fiery biscuit when there are so many other sweet and delicious stuff out there let along enjoying them.Funnily enough, I took a packet of these to Sweden, and my colleagues at work, allegedly burnt their throats trying to eat them.

So undoubtedly, this is an adult cookie, despite not having any booze. And these are not for the faint-hearted. If you can’t handle spices, you should consider cutting down on the amount of fresh ginger used in the recipe. I used 4 tsp but the recipe states 3, as I thought this might be too much for anyone trying this for the first time.

ginger cookies

This cookie is very similar to a gingerbread except for the fact that it uses a lot of freshly grated ginger to give it’s characteristic heat. The fresh ginger is a great addition for desserts and I love to use it in place of or in combination with ground ginger. The flavor is very pungent and it really adds warmth to a dish.

ginger cookies

The ginger that’s grown in South east Asia is different to the ones I found here in the US and back in Australia. The Asian version is smaller, more compact and very strong. A little goes a long way. But the ginger I buy here are huge, watery and very mild in flavor. So I had to use a considerable amount to get the same heat.

I’m using both fresh and ground ginger

Make sure to grate the ginger finely, using a micro-plane. This ensures a smooth batter and the heat is distributed evenly.

If you can’t find fresh ginger, you can substitute that with ground ginger, but the flavor won’t be the same, but it will still be a warming cookie. If you feel experimental, try adding crystallized ginger for an extra kick and texture.

ginger cookies
baked ginger cookies looking all crispy and inviting

Feel free to adjust the heat, by varying the amount of fresh ginger you use. I suggest you give this a try first, may be make half a batch and adjust the recipe to your liking. If for any reason you didn’t like the cookie as is or if it is too pungent to eat on it’s own, you can use it in desserts. These can be used in trifels, biscuit puddings and even in tiramisu.

I have coated the ginger cookies in turbinado sugar/ raw sugar, just to add extra crisp and texture. This is entirely optional. The original biscuit was plain anyway.

dough should not be sticky so you could roll it in between your palms into ball

coat the dough ball with raw sugar crystals

place on a tray and bake until golden brown and firm to the touch

Finally, these are great for dunking! makes the perfect treat with a warm cup of tea on a cold winter evening. I love these with a glass of milk in the night.

So give these a go, burn your lips and think of me!

Spicy Ginger cookies

cookies

ginger cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp bi carbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 1/8 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 1 small egg at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
  • turbinado sugar/raw sugar to coat (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 360 F
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with brown sugar until combined
  3. Add molasses, ground ginger and mix to combine
  4. Add the egg and beat to clear
  5. Sift flour, baking soda, salt and other spices into a separate bowl
  6. Add the flour mixture to the above wet ingredients
  7. Beat/mix on slow speed until everything combines together to form a dough and sides are cleared
  8. This dough should not be sticky, you should be able to form a ball easily by hand
  9. If it is too sticky, place in the fridge for 5- 10 minutes to firm up
  10. Prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper
  11. Take a table spoon of dough, squash it and roll between the two palms to form a ball
  12. Coat the dough with raw sugar and place on the rack and press to flatten a bit. Check the photo in the post
  13. Bake for 17 minutes. But check for doneness at 15 minute mark
  14. * it is always a good idea to bake a tester cookie, just to make sure the oven temperature is right and the cookie comes out the way you like! Depending on the tester, you can tweak the cookie size and the oven temp.
  15. Let cool off on the tray before removing on to a wire rack to fully cool the cookies
  16. Store in an air-tight container
https://myloveofbaking.com/spicy-ginger-cookies/
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Tahini and Brown Sugar cookies

Disclaimer!!! This is a crispy cookie and it’s got tahini in it…a lot of tahini.

tahini cookies

If you are still reading, then you’ve got to be sesame crazy like me! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to this much sesame and tahini. A lot of people don’t mind the sesame in a stir-fry but that’s it. Due to it’s distinct taste and overpowering quality tahini and sesame oil are used with caution in cooking and baking.

tahini cookies

We make a large variety of sweets for our New Year celebrations in Sri Lanka, where I grew-up. Though I haven’t done that in years, I still relive those moments . I was a massive fan of these celebrations, all because we get to make and eat sweets.

tahini cookies
It’s loaded with sesame flavor

One of my favorite things to make was the Sesame balls. This uses toasted sesame, coconut, coconut palm sugar (jaggery) and this was a flavor bomb! which got me thinking, that, I haven’t tried making it yet (it require a stone mortar and a pestle… rather a large one, not sure what to substitute this with..) If I did, I will have to share the recipe, it is so yummy!

This cookie takes me back to those days. That’s why I love this so much. If you are a lover of all things sesame, then this recipe is for you.

tahini cookies
place on tray, sesame coated side up

I love to experiment with my food. You can safely say that this is a mashup of a Brown sugar cookie and a tahini cookie. Tahini was new to me and it was love at first sight. I use it in several dishes from stir-fries to cakes. It is something you can’t eat on it’s own, cos of the bitter after taste, but works like magic when added to something.

tahini cookies
Baked cookies

This is the easiest cookie recipe ever ( okay may be one of the easiest) You can really mix everything in one bowl and bake them straight away and enjoy. The whole process won’t take more than 25 minutes from measuring ingredients to actually eating a baked cookie. No need to chill the dough!

tahini cookies
cool on a wire rack

One important thing, make sure you stir the Tahini before you pour it out!. Natural tahini, tend to separate and if you don’t stir, chances are you will only be using the oils (the liquid part) leaving the solids at the bottom of the jar. We don’t want this!

tahini cookies
with a glass of milk before bed

This cookie is great with tea or coffee and you can actually dunk this as it is crispy and would hold it’s shape. Great with a glass of milk before bed too.

Tahini and Brown Sugar cookies

cookies, snacks

Servings: 2 dozens

tahini cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp bi carbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 1 small egg at room temperature
  • 1/2 cups tahini
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 cup sesame (raw, not toasted) to coat

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with brown sugar and coconut sugar until combined. It should look like a paste
  3. Add the egg followed by tahini, vanilla and blend to combine
  4. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and add to the above mix
  5. Beat/mix on slow speed until everything combines together to form a nice dough
  6. This dough is not sticky, you should be able to form a ball easily by hand
  7. Prepare a baking sheet or two lined with parchment paper
  8. Spread the row sesame on a flat plate
  9. Take a table spoon of dough, squash it and roll between the two palms to form a ball
  10. place the dough ball on the sesame and press lightly. Check the photo in the post
  11. Place the cookie on a tray, sesame coated side up
  12. Bake for 15 minutes
  13. * it is always a good idea to bake a tester cookie, just to make sure the oven temperature is right and the cookie comes out the way you like! Depending on the tester, you can tweak the cookie size and the oven temp.
  14. Cool on a wire rack before storing
  15. Store in an air-tight container
https://myloveofbaking.com/tahini-and-brown-sugar-cookies/
tahini cookies
great served with tea or coffee
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