Mocha Macarons

If you follow me on instagram you will have noticed I have found a new a new obsession… macarons!

Macarons intimidated me so much.  I bought almond flour and it sat in my cupboard for months as I didn’t feel up the challenge.  All I had heard was how difficult they were, temperamental, would take countless tries to get it right.  All that negativity I just didn’t want to bother.  So finally one day I tried and guess what?  Success!  My first attempt was a success!  I was shocked!  Maybe it was beginners luck but since then I have made them a few other times, and all have been successful! If you are a visual learner, I found this youtube video very helpful.  Click here to watch!  Personally I am not a fan of the basic macaron flavour, but thankfully the possibilities are endless!  So today I am sharing a Mocha Macaron recipe!

Chocolate macarons with espresso buttercreamMocha Macarons
Makes: 25-30 Macarons

Ingredients
Shells
3oz almond flour (ground almonds)
7oz powdered sugar
1oz unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee powder (or espresso powder)
4oz egg whites (about 3 extra large eggs)
3.5oz granulated sugar

Buttercream
1/4 cup of unsalted butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons of milk


Directions

  1. With cold eggs, separate eggs whites and set aside to come to room temperature (minimum 15 minutes)
  2. Sift together almond flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and instant coffee.  Toss (or eat!) any pieces too large to be sifted.  Sift 2-3x. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl or stand mixer, put room temperature egg whites with a pinch of sugar and begin to whisk with your mixer on medium-high speed.  Continue to whisk until soft peaks appear.  Lower to medium speed and slowly add the rest of the granulated sugar.  Once all the sugar is combined, turn mixer to high speed and whisk until there are stiff peaks.
  4. Add all of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture at once and begin to mix with a spatula.  It will first appear to you that there is too much dry ingredients, but don’t worry it will be fine. I like to count my turns, and I find 65-75 mixes does the trick.  You want to mix until the batter will fall off the spoon, and once it falls it ribbons back into the mixture.  This part is important!  Do not under mix or over mix.  I always feel like I should mix more but prevent myself.
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and put batter into a piping bag fitted with a large  round tip. Pipe 1 inch mounds, 1 inch apart.
  6. Immediately after piping tap your baking tray.  Don’t be gentle!  Get those air bubbles out!  I further like to use a scribe tool (turkey lacer, needle, tooth pick will all work) to help any bubbles out.  Pipe your second tray and repeat.
  7. Let macarons rest on the counter for at least 25 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350F.
  8. Bake macarons for 12-15minutes.  Once cooled macarons should easily peel off the parchment.
  9. Let shells cool completely.  Match shells in pairs according to size.

Fill with buttercream

  1. Mix vanilla and coffee powder in a small dish and set aside.
  2. With a paddle attachment beat butter until fluffy.  Slowly add powdered sugar, vanilla/coffee and milk as needed. (This can also be done by hand).
  3. Place buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe buttercream onto one side off the shell, and lightly squeeze the other shell on to make a sandwich.

Macarons can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Recipe adapted from: http://withloveandcupcakes.com/2014/04/20/mocha-macarons/

Enjoy!  I hope you find macaron success!

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Cookies for the Dad’s

With Father’s Day approaching in Canada, I thought it would be a good time to share some cookies I made for 2 different fathers!  The occasion wasn’t for father’s day, but rather their birthdays.  But these custom cookies would also make a great father’s day present.

The first set was for my car loving father in law! I had lots of fun creating some of his favourite car brands. Is the brand the right word? I don’t know cars…

Car Logos Cookies Car Logos Cookies Car Logos Cookies


The second set of cookies was for a friend’s surprise 30th birthday.  He LOVES the Toronto Argo’s. Like LOVES!  As you can tell by the cookies they are a football team 😉

Football Cookies Football Cookies

I do plan to do some cookies for Father’s Day soon and make a video on my youtube channel.  If you notice I’m been quiet here, I’m been quite busy on youtube and instagram.  So if you want to see my weekly videos, make sure you subscribe to my channel!  I love documenting my cookies, but I don’t have the gift of writing!  I have so many cookies that I need to update on this blog, but if you can’t wait that long make sure you are following me on instagram (bakingwithbest)!

Thank you for reading!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Toy Story Party

Toy Story time!!

I’ve been planning this party for 6 months. And likely so has my son! He’s been a bit shafted in the party department for the last few years. So for his 5th, I wanted to do something special!

My boy loves Toy Story! We rented an indoor play ground, so besides getting a toy story table cloth, plates and napkins, I didn’t do anything decoration wise.  I let the food be the decoration!

So on to the sweets! If you’ve browsed my blog, you would have noticed I like things to look real. I don’t like doing a character unless it looks exactly like the character. In my pre googling I found toy story fondant toppers (my usual go to) just didn’t look right to me. Yes you could tell it was Buzz, but it wasn’t perfect enough for me. I’m picky, I know! And then an idea came to me! I seriously don’t even know where it came from. Normally I’m always imitating someone else’s idea, so I was amazed I can up with something on my own!

Sheriff Woody inspired cupcakes! Denim blue liners, egg yellow icing. Red plaid stripes and chocolate cowboy hats. So simple, yet so amazing. And I quickly found cowboy hat molds on Amazon. Even better!  I just love how these turned out!

Toy Story Cupcakes

Toy Story Cupcakes
Americolor Egg Yellow, Super Red

Next the sugar cookies. My son’s favourite character is Mr. Potato head.  So this was an easy decision! For custom cookies I either hand cut the cookies out with a knife with a cardstock cut out as my guide, or make my own cookie cutter.  Having to make 30, I made my cutter to make my life a lot easier later.  I just love how these turned out! Love love love! My son had never been happier to see a cookie before! Watch me make this cookie here on my YouTube cookie channel. Lots of fun. I could watch it over and over again!

Mr. Potato Head Sugar Cookie
Food Colouring with Americolor: Super Black, Dusty Rose, Super Red, Royal Blue, Navy Blue, Warm brown, Egg yellow, Orange, Chocolate brown

Mr. Potato Head Sugar Cookie Mr. Potato Head Sugar Cookie

My last treats that I made were my chocolate caramel pretzel rods and chocolate covered marshmallow pops.  I’ll be honest, I make these for me.  I could eat the pretzel rods all. day. long.  Reasons why I have not lost the baby weight.  Recipe on those coming soon.  Mmmmm SO good!  And these treats not only went into the kid’s treat bags, but were given out to the adults at the end as well.  What adult doesn’t like getting favours too!

To stick with the theme I drizzled red and yellow wilton melts on the pretzel rods to be Sheriff Woody and purple and green on the marshmallows for Buzz! (This photo was on all the chocolate which is why the cowboy hats I made are in the picture).

Toy Story Treats
And to end this post, the loot bags!  Each bag contained:
-Toy Story Pez Dispenser (Woody, Buzz, or Jesse).
-Kit Kat and Smarties
-Sugar Cookie/Pretzel Rod/Marshmallow Pop
-Stickers
-Key Chain Etch-a-Sketch (Fully working!  I found these on Kijiji for $1 each, in store the sold for $8 each, woo deal!)

Toy Story Loot Bag
I was so happy with how this party turned out.  And I was able to spread out my baking and not go crazy leading up to it.  Anyone else throwing a Toy Story Party?

Thanks for reading!