Asian Pear Ginger Froyo & Lemon Ginger Macarons

INGREDIENTS:
Asian pear-Ginger Frozen Yogurt

  • 1 lb. Asian pear, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. Greek yogurt, or strained yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor, puree the Asian pear and fresh ginger until smooth and no chunks are left.
  2. Fold the pear and ginger puree into the Greek yogurt and add the sugar.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Chill the mixture thoroughly, and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions.

Lemon Ginger Macarons
makes ~60-70 shells

  • 30 grams sugar
  • 200 grams powdered sugar
  • 110 grams slivered almonds
  • 4 Tbspn dried lemon zest*
  • 5 grams ground ginger
  • 1/2 tspn yellow powder food coloring, optional
  • 90 grams egg whites, at least two days old (separate eggs in advance, put the whites in an air tight container for at least two days–I usually keep them for five days before use)
  • freshly grated lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. Have ready: pastry bag fitted with a round tip with about 1/2″ opening and two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, process the regular sugar for a few seconds.  Remove and set aside.
  3. Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, dried lemon zest, ground ginger, and food coloring in the food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground. Set aside.
  4. Place the egg whites in a mixer bowl with the whisk attachment.  Begin whisking on low, until the egg whites start to foam.
  5. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium high and beat the egg whites while gradually adding the regular sugar. Beat on medium high until you reach a glossy, soft-peak meringue.
  6. At this point, remove the mixer bowl from the mixer and continue the rest of the way by hand, using a large balloon whisk.  Pour (lightly!) the processed powdered sugar and almond mixture into the meringue.  Fold to combine, quickly at first, and then slowly after the first few strokes.  Make sure to always use deliberate strokes when folding.  Mix only until combined, no more than fifty strokes.  Usually, it only takes me fewer than thirty, if that.  The batter is ready when the peaks will collapse on their own.
  7. Immediately transfer the batter to the prepared pastry bag. On the silpat baking sheets, squeeze about 1 to 1.5″ rounds.  Top each shell with freshly grated lemon zest.  Let the sheets sit for at least 30 minutes.
  8. While the macarons rest, preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.  Bake the macarons for 15-20 minutes, rotating after about 10.  Macarons are done when the shells do not give when gently touched.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

*To make dried lemon zest, zest lemons and leave the zest out on a piece of paper towel for 24 hours.

Coconut Rose Chocolate Macaroons

INGREDIENTS:

makes ~50 small macarons or 20-30 large macaroons

for macaroon shells*:

  • 200 gr powdered sugar
  • 120 gr blanched and slivered almonds
  • 20 gr unsweetened dried coconut flakes (not the sugared kind!)
  • 30 gr granulated sugar
  • 100 gr egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tspn cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tspn coconut extract
  • 1/8 tspn rose extract

METHOD:

  1. Prepare two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper and a pastry bag with a large round piping tip.
  2. Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, and dried coconut flakes in a food processor and grind until a fine powder. Sift thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, have ready the granulated sugar.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, quickly stir the mixture until the entire surface is covered with foam. Then, start whisking the egg whites, gradually adding in the granulated sugar once the egg whites are very frothy. Whisk until you reach glossy, almost-stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold the sifted almond and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites in two to three stages, adding the coconut and rose extracts as you go. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated and the batter slowly re-absorbs peaks. Do not overmix!
  6. Transfer the macaroon mixture to the prepared piping bag and pipe rounds on the lined baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets on the table a few times to release air pockets.
  7. Rest the macaroons for at least 30 minutes (and up to 60), until the outside shells are no longer tacky and sticky to a light touch.
  8. Preheat oven to 145 degrees C, with the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  9. Bake the macaroons in the oven, one sheet at a time, for 24-28 minutes total, rotating the sheet half-way through the baking time to insure even baking.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool.

*Note: the resting and oven temperature and times are adjusted to what works in my kitchen and oven (which, to my knowledge and according to two oven thermometers, is quite accurate). Please note that you may have to adjust according to what works in your kitchen and oven.

for coconut-rose chocolate ganache:

  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (see note below)
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 1 tspn rose water
  • 2 tspn corn syrup
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut cream, butter, rose water, and corn syrup. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Once the coconut cream mixture is simmering, remove from heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Let cool completely, and use to fill macaroons.
  4. Once the macaroons are filled, let them “cure” in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Note: for coconut cream, skim the cream off the top of a can of coconut milk. A little bit of milk is okay.

Cinnamon Apple Macaroons with Apple Butter Buttercream & Tart Green Apples

INGREDIENTS:

Apple Butter
makes ~20 oz. apple butter, far more than you’ll need for apple butter buttercream, but delicious to have around for other uses!

  • 2 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, and in chunks
  • 4 cups unfiltered apple juice
  • 1/2-2/3 cup light brown sugar*
  • 1 tspn cloves
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • juice of half a lemon

METHOD:

  1. In a large pot over medium high heat, combine the apples and apple juice and cook until the apples are completely tender, about 15-25 minutes, depending on the size you chop the apples. If a foam forms, you may skim it off if desired.
  2. Remove the pot from the stove and let cool briefly. Puree the apples and apple juice in a food processor or blender until completely smooth.
  3. Return the puree to the pot and add the brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
  4. Return the pot to heat and simmer on medium/medium-low heat, trying to maintain 105 degrees C. Cook for 1-2 hours, stirring regularly, until mixture really thickens and darkens and bubbles/splatters. Remove from heat when desired consistency is reached.

*Add only 1/2 cup sugar for a less-sweet apple butter. I used 2/3 cups sugar and while still really good, it was a little on the sweet side for me.

Cinnamon Apple Macarons
makes ~50 small macarons or 20-30 large macarons
INGREDIENTS:
for macaroon shells*:

  • 200 gr powdered sugar
  • 120 gr blanched and slivered almonds
  • 10 gr freeze-dried apple
  • 1 heaping Tbspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tspn green powered food coloring, if desired
  • 30 gr granulated (superfine, opt) vanilla sugar
  • 100 gr egg whites, aged 1-2 days at room temperature or a week in the refrigerator, at room temp
  • 1/4 tspn cream of tartar

METHOD:

  1. Prepare two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper and a pastry bag with a large round piping tip.
  2. Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, dried apple, cinnamon, and green food coloring, if using, in a food processor and grind until a fine powder. Sift thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, have ready the granulated vanilla sugar.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, quickly stir the mixture until the entire surface is covered with foam. Then, start whisking the egg whites, gradually adding in the granulated vanilla sugar. Whisk until you reach glossy, almost-stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold the sifted almond and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites in three to four stages, just until the ingredients are incorporated and the batter slowly re-absorbs peaks.
  6. Transfer the macaroon mixture to the prepared piping bag and pipe rounds on to the lined baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets on the table a few times to release air pockets.
  7. Rest the macaroons for at least 30 minutes (and up to 60), until the outside shells are no longer tacky and sticky to a light touch.
  8. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C, with the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  9. Bake the macaroons in the oven, one sheet at a time, for 24-28 minutes total, rotating the sheet half-way through the baking time to insure even baking.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool.

*Note: the resting and oven temperature and times are adjusted to what works in my kitchen and oven (which, to my knowledge and according to two oven thermometers, is quite accurate). Please note that you may have to adjust according to what works in your kitchen and oven.

for apple butter buttercream:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup apple butter

METHOD:

  1. Whip the egg yolks until light and shows definitive streaks when you move your whisk through them.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and stir until the sugar is completely wet. Cook over medium high heat, without stirring, until the sugar reaches 114 degrees C. Immediately remove from heat and (carefully!) gradually pour into the egg yolks while whisking, being careful not to hit the whisk wires.
  3. Continue whipping the egg yolks on medium high until the the outside of the bowl is no longer hot or warm to the touch.
  4. Add the butter in while beating, one tablespoon at a time.
  5. Once the butter is incorporated, beat in the apple butter. Use immediately to fill the macaroons (or, if you refrigerate the buttercream, bring to room temperature and beat to restore texture before using).

for assembly:

  • 1 small tart green apple, in small, thin chunks (thick enough to still have crunch, though!)
  • lemon juice
  • ground cinnamon

METHOD:

  1. Toss the apple chunks with a light coating of lemon juice. Then, sprinkle with cinnamon.
  2. Fill the macaroons with the apple butter buttercream and apple chunks. Let the macaroons “cure” in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Passion fruit Whoopie Pies

INGREDIENTS:
makes 6 large whoopie pies, or numerous more small onesfor cake:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbspn vinegar
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/8 cup black cocoa powder (if you don’t have black cocoa, just substitute regular cocoa powder)
  • 1 tspn sea salt
  • 1 1/4 tspn baking soda
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 scant cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside for five minutes.  (Or, use buttermilk instead of milk and vinegar.)
  3. In a bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, black cocoa, salt, and baking soda.  Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the butter mixture, creaming until combined.
  6. Alternatively in three stages, add the dry ingredients and the milk to the butter and eggs, making sure to mix thoroughly between each addition.
  7. Using a piping bag with a large round tip or an ice cream scoop, pour the batter into round shapes on baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper, making sure to leave at least 3-4 inches between each cake
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, adjusting for the size of the whoopie pies.  Cakes are done when they are springy and retain their shape when gently touched.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool completely before filling with frosting.

or passion fruit curd:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 oz. passion fruit nectar/juice/syrup
  • 1/2 oz. water (if using passion fruit syrup or nectar, leave out if using fresh juice)
  • (2 Tbspn sugar, if using passion fruit juice)

METHOD:

  1. Have ready a fine mesh strainer over a bowl.
  2. Combine ingredients in a double boiler.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  3. Immediately strain through the mesh strainer and let cool completely.

for passion fruit frosting:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 5 Tbspn flour
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3-3/4 cups cooled passion fruit curd

METHOD:

  1. Place milk in a medium saucepan.  Scrape in the vanilla bean and throw the whole bean in.  Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for ten minutes.
  2. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk.  Add the flour.  Whisking constantly, cook the milk and flour until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  3. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
  4. Add the passion fruit curd to the butter and whip until combined.
  5. Add the thickened milk mixture to the butter and passion fruit, whisking until light, whipped, and fluffy.  Use immediately.
  6. Pipe the passion fruit frosting onto a cake round and then sandwich with another cake.
  7. Refrigerate to allow the frosting to set before serving.

Banana Nutella Ice Cream & Whoopie Pies

INGREDIENTS:
Banana Nutella Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy or manufacturing cream
  • 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 1 medium extra-ripe banana
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • big pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn cocoa powder (I used Dutch-processed)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tspn vanilla

METHOD:

  1. Combine 1 cup of the cream, the nutella, and the banana in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour the banana mixture into a bowl and prepare a fine mesh sieve on top of the bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the remaining cup of cream with the milk, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. Whisk until the cocoa powder is evenly distributed throughout the milk. Bring the milk to a bare simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks together in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  4. When the milk comes to a simmer, remove from heat. Whisking constantly, pour the milk gradually into the prepared egg yolks to temper them. Return the egg yolks and milk to the saucepan and to heat.
  5. Cook the milk and yolk mixture over medium heat while stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and can coat the spoon/spatula. Remove from heat immediately and pour through the strainer into the nutella and banana cream. Whisk until smooth.
  6. Add the vanilla and stir.
  7. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge, then freeze it in your ice cream maker of choice.  Transfer from your ice cream maker to the freezer to harden, preferably overnight.

Note: this ice cream mix probably won’t harden completely in your ice cream maker, so please allow for extra freezing time in the freezer.

Banana Whoopie Pies with Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting
makes about 20 mini whoopie pies

for banana cakes:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn baking soda
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (~1 large extra-ripe banana)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tspn vanilla

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpats.
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, stir to combine the mashed banana and sour cream. Set aside.
  4. Beat the butter, sugar, and light brown sugar on medium high for about three minutes, until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated.
  6. Add the banana mixture and the flour to the butter in two separate additions, alternating between wet and dry.
  7. Using a scoop or a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, form small mounds of batter on the silpat, leaving about 1-1 1/2 inches between each mound.
  8. Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven when done (cake will spring back if pressed lightly) and let cool completely before filling.

for nutella cream cheese frosting:

  • 1/2 stick butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup nutella
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium high for about three minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the nutella and vanilla extract to the butter and cream cheese mixture until completely incorporated.
  3. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the desired consistency (~stiff peaks) is reached.
  4. Using a piping bag or spoon, spread a small amount of frosting onto the bottom of half of the cakes and sandwich together with the other half. Roll in sprinkles, if desired.
  5. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Raspberry Chocolate French Macaroons

Raspberry Chocolate French Macaroons

INGREDIENTS:

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

For macaroons

  • 6 oz sliced blanched almonds (not slivered; 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Red or pink food coloring

For chocolate raspberry ganache

  • 3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (60 to 64% cacao), finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/16 teaspoon raspberry extract or raspberry liqueur

METHOD:

Make macaroons:

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Pulse almonds with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a food processor until very finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Sift in remaining cup confectioners sugar, stirring to combine.
  3. Beat egg whites with salt in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks.
  4. Add granulated sugar, a little at a time, beating, then increase speed to high and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks.
  5. Add drops of food coloring to reach desired shade and mix at low speed until evenly combined.
  6. Stir almond mixture into meringue with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate.)
  7. Spoon batter into bag, pressing out excess air, and snip off 1 corner of plastic bag to create a 1/4-inch opening.
  8. Twist bag firmly just above batter, then pipe peaked mounds of batter (the size of a chocolate kiss) onto lined sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.
  9. Let cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature until tops are no longer sticky and a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
  11. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until crisp and edges are just slightly darker, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on racks, about 30 minutes.

Make ganache while macaroons bake:

  1. Melt chocolate with cream in a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. (Bowl should not touch water.)
  2. Remove bowl from heat, then add butter and raspberry extract, stirring until butter is melted.
  3. Let stand at room temperature until cooled completely and slightly thickened.

Assemble cookies:

  1. Carefully peel cookies from parchment (they will be fragile).
  2. Sandwich a thin layer of ganache (about 1/2 teaspoon) between flat sides of cookies.