2/23/17

Reposting my yummy macrons - almond macrons with filling

Originally posted March, 2015



Originally posted in March of 2015, I always start to crave these in the Spring. 

A little crisp, light meringue bite with a bit of filling in the center.  The ones in the photo above baked up perfectly - just a little bit too tall as my batter was quite thick - but I had no sticking problems using just a basic non-stick parchment paper. I probably need to take photos of my next batch and update some pictures but if you are a regular reader then you know I usually forget to take pictures - and when I do take them, they are quickly done with my cellphone. 

They freeze beautifully - and thaw quickly, not losing any of their taste or texture.



Macarons  

1 c confectioner's sugar
3/4 c almond flour
2 egg whites, room temperature
pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 c superfine granulated sugar
optional: 1-2 drops food color and 1/4 t flavor extract

Mix the confectioner's sugar and almond flour very well either by pulsing in a food processor until combined or using an electric stick blender or electric whisk, etc. It should be mixed very well and quite fine.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add a drop or two of food color if you are using it, a drop or two of flavor extracts if you are using them, and the superfine white sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.


Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip if you have one, or if not, leave the round 1/2 inch opening of the bag or the white plastic piece you would normally put a tip on, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Drag the pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks.

Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Option one:  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.

Option two:  If you bake a constant 300 or 325 without adjusting the temperatures, it takes about 17 minutes to bake crisp.  I tested both ways and found both to work for me.


Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons.)

Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling of your choice. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.


****NOTES****
  • I use Honeyville Blanched Almond Meal Flour - which is incredibly expensive and has gone up $10 per 5 lb. bag in the last 1 1/2 years alone as they get to be more popular in gluten free baking.  I hate having to purchase it, but for baking flour-free cakes, cookies, pastries and more, it's the best quality I've found.  I use other brands or non-blanched for quick breads and recipes where the white color or the fine texture isn't as important to the finished product.  Sometimes I order direct from their site, other times I order through Amazon with other products I need. 
  • I put the eggs and the almond flour out on the counter the night before so both would be room temperature when I made them. 
  • I never use 'fresh' eggs for anything as I've found eggs that are 1-2 weeks old work best in almost all recipes and are the 'secret' to perfect hard boiled eggs every time.
  • My oven is conventional and/or convection.  I use the convection setting for them although I'm not sure if it's necessary. Because I used the convection setting, I didn't have to rotate my baking sheets while baking.
  • I baked one batch following the above directions and a second batch at a constant 300 degrees for 17-18 minutes.  Both turned out equally well.
  • I rarely buy or use white sugar and I did not have superfine sugar on hand so I used my stick blender (like a mini food processor) to grind up regular white sugar a bit.  You can use your mini food processor for that.  Don't over blend or you'll get powdered sugar. 





Sifting the confectioner's sugar and almond flour (I used a whisk)

Separating the eggs

A nice stiff peak

My least favorite part: folding in!

I did not use a tip but left the hole open

Tiny little thumbnail sized meringues

A nice dry crisp bite

A nice shell with a chewy center - perfect!

The batter was a bit thick so they puffed up more than I expected



You might also be interested in;
Non Stick Parchment Paper
Blanched Almond Meal Flour, 5 lbs.
KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Blender
Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender with Whisk and Chopper Attachments


 




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Shrimp Wonton Dumplings with Sauce

Another recipe file from my 'draft' files.  I already make this one in various forms without actually using a recipe but if you need a recipe or you like to look at 3-4 different recipes and wing it, here is a pretty basic but good one.


Shrimp WonTon Dumplings

Sauce
1/2 c water
1/4 c soy sauce
2 T sugar or sweetener
1 T rice vinegar
1T chopped green onion (green part only)
1/2 t minced ginger
1/2 t chili oil

Filling

1/2 pound raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 T finely minced carrot
1 T finely minced green onion
1/2 t minced fresh ginger
1/2 t minced fresh garlic
1/4 t salt
1/4 t sugar or sweetener


8 wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten



Mix sauce ingredients in a pan on the stove and heat through. Remove from heat and set it aside to cool.

Make shrimp filling by placing the shrimp in a food processor and pulsing a few times until as smooth as you prefer. Add carrot, green onion, ginger, garlic, salt, and sugar; pulse just to blend.

Place a spoonful of filling onto the center of each wonton wrapper. Brush beaten egg on the edges. Bring two opposite corners up to meet in the middle; press together over the filling. Bring the other two opposite corners up and pinch all the edges together making a square package with sealed edges. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and let the dumplings sit for about ten minutes in the refrigerator so the edges seal nicely.

Fill a pan with water and bring to just under a boil. Use a steamer basket if you have one.  When it starts to simmer drop in the dumplings and steam them for 15 minutes.  Eat them soft steamed or quickly fry the steamed dumplings in a pan with hot oil under crisp. Serve with the dipping sauce.


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CopyCat Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper

This morning I'm again looking over a bunch of 'draft' files of recipes I've had forever I want to post so they are in my online collection but I haven't made myself yet.  Some of them I've had for so many years that we don't eat some of the products anymore, sometimes an ingredient isn't even made anymore and still others I collected when the kids were younger - and that particular child may have already moved out. This is one of those.

This one is actually for my son. It's easy and quick.

CopyCat Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper

1 lb lean ground beef
1 c hot water
2 c milk
1 1⁄2 c elbow macaroni
1 T corn starch
2 t paprika
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded


Brown ground beef in a large skillet, drain. Add hot water, milk, macaroni, corn starch, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes or until the pasta is tender. In the last few minutes of cooking time, add cheese, stir, and re-cover. When the cheese is melted, remove from heat and uncover. Let stand for about 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Top with additional cheese, if desired.




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