Archive for October, 2009

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Macarons – October 2009 Daring Baker’s Challenge

October 27, 2009

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

The recipe for this challenge calls for almond flour. Now I’m not a huge fan of almond flavor in anything but an actual almond so I was ecstatic to read that we could substitute any other nut we wanted! I immediately searched the internet for hazelnut flour and pecan flour. My two favorite nut baking flavors. While I found both I ultimately decided to go with pecan flour/meal that I found here.

I grew up eating fantastic pecan pie. My grandfather was from Alabama and he told stories about getting sent to the neighbor’s house, with a brown paper bag, to collect pecans then having to shell them for his momma’s pecan pie. He always used her recipe and no pecan pie has ever come close to the ones he used to make. Believe me, we’ve all tried.

Since no one can get it as good, I started making chocolate pecan pies. Very tasty and still sparks the memories without the ultimate disappointment of a lesser pie. And since chocolate pecan pie is my very favorite kind of pie now and when I think of fall I think of that pie I decided to do a chocolate pecan pie macaroon. Yum!

To make these I substituted pecan flour for the almond flour in the recipe below.

macaron half

Then I put a layer of dark chocolate on the bottom of each cookie. Everything’s better with dark chocolate, in my opinion!

chocolate

Last I made this recipe for pecan pie filling, added about a 1/2 a cup of chopped pecans and sandwiched it between two macaroons.

filling shot

Presto!

macaron close up

Chocolate Pecan Pie Macaroon! Yummo!

You gotta try one!

Original challenge recipe below!

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups Confectioners’ sugar
2 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 egg whites, at room temperature

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F. Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Yield: 10 dozen.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake

October 17, 2009

pre-iced close up

I love this cake! It is one of my all time favorites. I make it whenever I get the chance.

This particular creation was made for my friend Leslie. She and her hubby were celebrating their 3rd wedding anniversary and this was one of the layers I made for their wedding cake.

The icing is FANTASTIC! It could be a dessert all on it’s own… I highly recommend it for any number of cakes. Anywhere you’d use caramel frosting this one will work too. And on a chocoate cake? Delish.

Now, I’m a pb & j purist. I always use Jif peanut butter and Welch’s grape jelly. Of course you can use any peanut butter you want and any jelly. It just won’t be as good 😉

finished cake

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake

2 c. unsifted all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened (1 stick)
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1 1/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. grape jelly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 1 1/2 inch round layer cake pans; or use Pam. Sift together baking powder, flour, and salt. Beat together butter and peanut butter until well blended; add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in flour mixture, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Spread jelly between layer and frost with Peanut Butter Frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons milk, or as needed

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy

Garnish with peanut butter chips, if desired.

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