Tuesday, June 28, 2011

chocolate-peanut butter ice cream with chocolate covered peanuts

I love the combination of chocolate and peanuts.  So when I found this recipe for chocolate-peanut butter ice cream in my copy of David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop", I had to try it!

I also made chocolate-covered peanuts, chopped them up, and added them to the ice cream during the last five minutes of churning.  This wasn't part of the original recipe, but I thought it would taste great with the ice cream.

The double combination of chocolate and peanuts was heavenly.  The ice cream was smooth and creamy, and the crunch of the chopped chocolate peanuts was a nice texture contrast.

Even though I loved this ice cream, I probably won't be making it very often as we recently found out that our daughter is allergic to peanuts.  In fact, it turns out that she is allergic to most nuts, except for walnuts and pecans.  But we'll probably have her stay away from all nuts in general. :( That being said, if she ever outgrows her peanut allergy, this would be the first thing I'd make for her!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

hello kitty macarons

When I saw this post on these adorable lemon-shaped macarons from 6 Bittersweets, I immediately got the idea to make Hello Kitty macarons!  The idea brewed in my head for a while, until I finally had a chance to test the idea out on a couple of macaron shells while making my strawberry-lemonade macarons.

I thought about using cocoa powder to create Hello Kitty's face, but in the end I drew on the eyes, nose, and whiskers with edible "Foodwriter" pens.  And for the bow, I attached heart-shaped sprinkles (glued on with a dab of the filling), just like the bow on my Hello Kitty cake pops.

I loved the end result.  I only wished that I had made more!  Next time, I will make an entire batch of these!

*** Update:
You can now find my recipe for Hello Kitty Macarons in my new book, "The Hello Kitty Baking Book"! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

strawberry-lemonade macarons

For my next batch of macarons, I decided to make a combination of my lemon macarons and my strawberry macarons ... giving me strawberry-lemonade macarons!  Lately I've liked the look of sprinkling macarons with things such as earl grey tea, or cocoa powder, so this time I thought it would be really beautiful to have a sprinkling of strawberries on top.

I've read that macaron shells are very senstivite to moisture, so I decided to use dehydrated strawberries (from Trader Joe's) that I ground up in my food processor.  I sprinkled the strawberry bits on a few of the shells before baking, and thought the color contrast looked really beautiful!

Alas, I hadn't thought about what would happen to those dehydrated strawberries while they baked in the oven.  I had envisioned them a beautiful vivid red color, but ended up with ... dark brown!  At least they didn't taste like burnt strawberries, in fact they were still quite tangy, but they looked more like burnt bacon bits!

It was a good thing I hadn't covered all of them with the strawberry powder.  At least half of them still looked pretty, although plain.  So I brought the plain ones to work to share, and left the ugly ones at home to eat!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

earl grey macarons

A couple of weekends ago, I met up with my besties Sue and Cecila for a girls day, which included an afternoon tea lunch, shopping, and lounging at the spa.  I wanted to make something for us to snack on, and since I've been experimenting with tea-flavored ice creams lately, I thought tea-flavored macarons would be perfect!

I decided to make earl grey macarons, along with another batch of the lemon macarons that I made earlier this month.  For the earl grey macarons, I sprinkled a bit of minced earl grey tea on the tops of the shells, and made an earl grey brown-butter cream cheese filling to go inside.

I could barely taste the earl grey in the filling though (I had added a few teaspoons of concentrated earl grey tea, which I had steeped with one tea bag and a couple of tablespoons of boiling water), so I decided to add a bit of the minced steeped leaves into the filling as well.  That seemed to help add a bit more earl grey flavor, but it still was very faint.

We ended up having a fun and relaxing day out.  There were a lot of leftover macarons though - good thing I brought ziplock baggies so that the girls could bring them home!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

earl grey ice cream

Last week I made jasmine tea ice cream, and I liked it so much that I wanted to try it with earl grey tea also.  I know it doesn't look very different from the jasmine ice cream, but I decided to post about it anyway (especially since I just bought these adorable little serving bowls from Anthropologie, and I wanted to use them for the pictures!)

I didn't have any loose leaf earl grey, so I used 5 tea bags instead.  Other than that, I followed all the same steps for infusing the tea and making the custard base.  However, when I was straining the tea from the custard, I pressed a bit too hard with the spatula and ended up breaking a few of the tea bags.  So I ended up with tiny specks of tea leaves in my custard, which were too small to strain out.

But it turned out fine - the specks were too small to really notice, plus it added a nice speckled look to the ice cream!

Friday, June 10, 2011

jasmine tea ice cream

I love the floral note in jasmine tea, so when I saw Gourmantine's post on jasmine ice cream, I wanted to try making it!  I love David Lebovitz's green tea ice cream recipe though (from his book "The Perfect Scoop") - it has just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess - so I decided to do a combination of the two recipes.

I infused cream and milk with loose-leaf jasmine tea, strained it, and then tempered egg yolks with the warm liquid.  Then I put it back on the stove and cooked it over medium heat, until the mixture thickened into a custard.  I could have eaten the custard as-is at this point, perhaps poured over pound cake or fresh fruit, but fortunately I was able to resist, and instead let the mixture cool in the fridge.

A few hours later, the custard had thickened even more, and was now ready for the ice cream machine.  I let it churn for 25 minutes, and then put the soft ice cream in the freezer to let it set for the night.  When I tasted it the next morning (yes, I had ice cream for breakfast), I was blown away by the flavor of the jasmine, and the creaminess of the texture.  I think I might like this even better than green tea ice cream!

This ice cream was velvety smooth, unlike my green tea ice cream which had a slight grittiness to it (I had thought it might have been from the brand of green tea powder I used, which is added directly to the custard instead of steeping it with tea leaves.  I guess this proves my theory to be correct!).  In any case, I think I'll try this infusion method for earl grey ice cream too!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

green tea ice cream

My mom is always telling me to drink green tea for the antioxidants and health benefits.  But given the choice, I always choose coffee.  Sorry mom!  I will however, eat green tea ice cream.  I can eat lots and lots of it!

I've tried a few different recipes for green tea ice cream, but my favorite is (surprise, surprise)  David Lebovitz's recipe from his book "The Perfect Scoop".  This ice cream is creamy and refreshing all at the same time, with just the perfect amount of green tea flavor.

The only thing I haven't been able to figure out is the ever-so-slight grittiness from the green tea powder, but perhaps that just means that I need to buy a higher quality green tea powder?  In any case, I'll continue making this ice cream over and over again, because really, who doesn't love green tea ice cream?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

kahlua creme brulee

After making lemon macarons last the weekend (which use only egg whites), I had a bunch of egg yolks leftover, which I saved in the fridge.  So the next day, I decided to use them up by making creme brulee.

I used my favorite Barefoot Contessa recipe, except I used Kahlua instead of Grand Marnier.  I poured the custard into different sized ramekins, and baked them in a water bath for 35 minutes.

I could only faintly taste the Kahlua, so maybe next time I'll try adding a little bit more.  Or maybe I'd add some espresso to the custard too.

I ended up with a lot of creme brulee, so I shared some with our neighbors, and with my girls at work. (I even brought my flame torch to work, so that they would be freshly bruleed!)  Hope everyone enjoyed them!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

lemon cream cheese macarons, and whipped chocolate ganache macarons

Grant's cousin Erin was in town last weekend, and we were planning on meeting her for a day at the zoo.  I wanted to bake something that we could snack on, and based on my knowledge that a) she loves macarons, and b) she loves lemon cupcakes, I decided to make lemon macarons.

Instead of blanching and peeling my own almonds to make the almond meal with like I did here, I chose to use blanched slivered almonds instead, to save me some time.  (Of course, I could always buy ground almond meal itself, but where's the fun in that!)

I decided that I wanted to fill half of them with something lemony, and then the other half I would fill with a chocolate ganache.  So I dusted a few of them with good cocoa powder - these would be the ones filled with ganache.

For the lemon macarons, I made a smooth cream cheese filling, and added a bit of fresh lemon juice and lots and lots of freshly grated lemon zest, to give it lots of lemony flavor.

And for the ganache-filled macarons, I made a bittersweet chocolate ganache, which I whipped in order to make it more light.  This way the cookie itself could stand out more, instead of being overpowered by ganache.

We ended up having a great day at the zoo, although we didn't snack on any macarons while we were there.  Instead, we had them prior to heading to the zoo ... as a pre-lunch snack, and a post-lunch dessert!  Hope you enjoyed them Erin!