Merry Christmas!

For the past weekend I have been surrounded by sugar. A few weekends ago I made truffles, Saturday I made some extremely cute holiday confections at a friends party, and then yesterday I went over to my aunt Jennifer's to learn how she makes her super cute Christmas sugar cookies.
These are perfect for Christmas Day parties and also changed to suit any season or holiday. These versatile cookies are a great way to get creative.
I thoroughly enjoyed helping out over at her house, and if you decide to make these, they won't disappoint you.

Sugar Cookies

**The sugar cookie recipe I'm posting is not one that was originally used for these cookies however, you may use your favorite sugar cookie recipe or even, although I don't suggest it, frozen cookie dough.

For the Cookies:
Adapted from: Food Network
Yields Approx. 3 dozen (depending on what size you cut the cookie)

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Flour for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Place in plastic bag, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with flour. Remove a quarter of the dough from the refrigerator, sprinkle rolling pin with flour, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut into desired shape. To transfer shape onto cookie sheet, generously coat a cookie spatula with flour before picking up the dough. Repeat every other cookie to prevent sticking. Place at least 1-inch apart a silicone baking mat lined cookie sheet*, and bake for 5 to 6 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

*If you don't have a silicon baking mat, you may use parchment paper, however the cookies will be considerably crispier. I also highly suggest if you are really into baking to go and purchase a silicone mat such as: this one.

For the Icing:
Powdered Sugar

Icing is best made by sight, as if is far less time consuming if you are making large amount of icing to frost with.
Simply dump a large amount of powdered sugar to begin as your base. (Anywhere to 4 to 6 cups if you want an idea.) Pour in about 2 teaspoons of vanilla. (and if you don't think there is enough you can always add more.) Then, slowly add milk, stirring all the while. You want to reach a consistency where if you pull up icing with a spoon, ribbons form before slowly disappearing back into the icing.
If you go too far, simply add more powdered sugar.
Once the icing is the proper consistency, divide into bowls to color.

Coloring the Icing and Frosting:
Gel food coloring, any color (I recommend: AmeriColor)
Small to medium sized glass bowls
Candy Squeeze bottles (I recommend these)
Small angled spatulas or small butter knives

First, plan out how much of each color is needed, then add little amount of food coloring at a time until the desired vibrancy is reached. Pour icing into squeeze bottles.

To frost, use the icing in the bottle to outline the side of the cookie and then squeeze an appropriate amount into the center to cover the cookie. Spread the icing to fill in the outlined section.
Then get creative!

Merry Christmas!
Until Next Week!
Well, I have no pictures this week, because right after I baked, it was too dark too take good photos and I was invited to go to a V.I.P. Party at Kitchen Window, a Cooking School in Minneapolis. It was really fun, as many chefs from different restaurants around Minneapolis were there making great tasting plates with food such as seared tuna salad, squash bisque, carmel cheesecake, ad a ton more. That, combined with sale prices at a kitchen store made for an amazing time!

These next two weekends for baking, however, are a bit of the clam before the storm, so to speak. Next weekend begins the large amounts of baking I'm taking on for gifts for the holiday season, and then later that week, I'm working on a dessert for our annual Christmas eve party. So, more great recipes are coming!

This week however, is a recipe that I had made a long time ago before I started blogging. It's a simple cake that really brings out an almond flavor that is created through browning butter. These individual almond fanciers are supposed to be made in special dishes, but I just made them in small glass ramekins and that worked perfectly.

Almond Fanciers

From: Pastry Pal
Makes: 7 cakes

For the financier:
1 stick unsalted butter

1 2/3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup almond flour 

4 large egg whites

In a large bowl, stir up the powdered sugar, flour and almond flour. Pour on the egg whites and whisk it all up until smooth. Place the butter in a small, light-colored pot (so it’s easy to see the browning taking place), over high heat and watch it melt. The goal is to brown it to a chestnut brown. The house will begin to have a very pleasant, nutty aroma, and that’s when it’s done. (About 5 to 7 min)
If your butter starts smoking, it’s too far gone, it is too burnt and you will need to start over.
Pour the browned butter into the flour mixture, however stop before the sooty, burnt butter leaves the pot, as you don't want that in the batter.You may make the batter 4 days before cooking. Just leave it covered and in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray custard cups with nonstick cooking spray. Fill cups 1/2 full with batter. Bake until they’re golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Watch out nice coloring, and that they’re not still wet and raw on top. (About 20 min). Once baked, let them cool.
So this week was supposed to be a Daring Baker's post as well as my regular Sunday post, but my auto posting didn't work, naturally, so I'm posting both today.

These mini tarts that I have this week were a bit of an unexpected challenge. They seemed super simple, and everything was going great, until I realized that the oven wasn't at the right temp, and then the crusts just wouldn't cook. I took them out at least four times until I was finally satisfied with the lumpy mess of coconut. Although, this recipe really opened up my eyes to a new ingredient: mascarpone. It made the best whipped cream I have ever had, and it made for an amazing tart.

This recipe also calls for vanilla bean, and it happens to be very expensive for what you get (about $10 for two). I recommend using vanilla paste such as Nielsen Massey Vanilla Paste as you can get much more vanilla for your budget. You can also always use vanilla extract, however, you lose flavor.

Macaroon Tartlete with Vanilla Mascarpone Filling and Raspberry Coulis

Makes 6 mini tarts
From: Eat Out

Raspberry Coulis

Adapted from: Martha Stewart Living
6 oz raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs water

For the Coulis:
Combine berries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once it begins to boil turn down the heat and reduce for 7 minutes stirring often. If by now the mixture isn't smooth, use a blender to get a puree, otherwise, just pass through a fine mesh colander into a bowl to separate the seeds and other solids. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until needed.


1¾ cups desiccated coconut
½ cup caster sugar*
2 egg whites
1 cup mascarpone cream
1 cup fresh cream
¼ cup granulated sugar

1 vanilla pod split open and seeds scraped out, or 1 Tbs vanilla paste, or 1 Tbs Vanilla extract
Grated zest of one lemon
½ cup raspberry coulis
fresh raspberries for garnish

For the tartlet casings:
Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Grease 6 small, fluted tart tins (be sure to cover the whole tin, as I had issues getting them out). Combine the coconut, sugar and egg whites in a bowl. Divide and press the mixture into the tins and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool.

For the filling:
Use an electric beater to whip the mascarpone, fresh cream and sugar in a mixing bowl until it starts to thicken and look glossy and smooth. Carefully fold in the vanilla seeds and lemon zest. Fill the cooled macaroon casings halfway with the cream mixture and drizzle over some of the coulis. Cover with some more of the cream and finish off with fresh berries. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

*To make caster sugar, place regular sugar in a coffee grinder and pulse a few times.
Two weeks ago, I saw the daring bakers challenge, and I was super excited. I hadn't really ever taken on a huge pastry project before, and I was completely excited to do so. I was very happy with my efforts as the pastry was crisp, and the filling was amazing! So, dear reader, if you have the time in between that huge thanksgiving dinner and shopping for Christmas gifts, I suggest setting aside a couple of hours to dive deep into this recipe!
The recipe can also be split over several days, and that would also make it even more possible with the upcoming holidays.

Sandie of the lovely blog, Crumbs of Love, was our November hostess. Sandie challenged us to make a traditional Italian dessert, along with its American version – Sfogliatelle (or better known in the US – lobster tails!) The flakey, 1000 layers of super thin dough, shaped into a horn and filled with a scrumptious filling. Così buono!

Also, I'm going to post some extremely good Christmas cookies in a few weeks that might give you some ideas for your own cookies this season!

Sfogliatelle Ricci

From: Daring Bakers November Challenge
Time: 4 to 5 hours

For The Fresh Ricotta Cheese: 
Servings: Makes 2 cups
8 cups (2 litres) whole milk (or goats milk)
1 cup (250 ml) heavy whipping cream (about 35%)
1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt
3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice

Line a large colander or strainer with 2 layers of lightly dampened cheesecloth over a large glass; set aside. Pour the whole milk, heavy cream and salt into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Reduce the heat, add the fresh lemon juice and stir/whisk continuously for 2-3 minutes. The mixture will curdle, which is exactly what you want it to do. Pour this into the cheesecloth lined strainer and let it drain for about 1 hour or until it comes to room temperature. At this point you can scrape the ricotta from the cheesecloth into a container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. page4image9080 page4image9240

For The Semolina-Ricotta Filling:
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1/2 cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) fine semolina or cream of wheat
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (13-1/4 oz) (375 gm) whole milk ricotta, preferably fresh (see above)
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract (or the seeds of one pod and 1 teaspoon of extract)
1/4 teaspoon (1 gm) ground cinnamon
1 1/2 Tablespoon cocoa powder (optional for chocolate filling)

Combine the milk and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and slowly add the semolina (or cream of wheat), whisking quickly as to avoid any lumps. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Spread the mixture onto a lined baking sheet, about 1/2 inch (15 mm), to cool. When cool, break into pieces and place into the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a food processor), and add the ricotta cheese, egg yolks, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat until very smooth and creamy. Stir in the lemon zest.
Scrape into two containers, and add cocoa powder to one bowl and fold to combine. (optional)
Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until needed (up to 3 days). page5image14216

For the Sfogliatelle Ricci Dough:
3 cups (750 ml) (15 oz) (420 gm) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (6 gm) salt
3/4 cup (180 ml) warm water (about 100°F/38°C)
4 oz shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz) (115 gm) unsalted butter, softened
Semolina-ricotta filling (see above)

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir in the water, or use your standing mixer with the paddle attachment. The dough will be very dry. If you feel absolutely compelled, add an extra teaspoon of water but it is supposed to be very dry. Turn this out onto a clean work surface and knead the dough together, bringing in all the dry bits. At this point get your pasta roller out and ready. Roll out the dough to about 1/3 inch (10 mm) and pass through your pasta machine at the widest setting. It might be much easier to cut my dough in half and work 1/2 at a time for this step. Fold the dough in half after each pass also change the direction of the dough occasionally. After about 15 passes the dough should be very smooth. Knead the dough back into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate and rest the dough for at 2 hours, or overnight.
Beat the shortening and butter together in your mixing bowl until very fluffy. Make sure it is thoroughly combined. Place into a bowl and set on the workspace in easy reaching distance.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time (cover the other pieces with a towel or plastic wrap), lightly flour a piece pass it through the pasta roller set at the widest setting. Try to get the dough as even as possible, your goal is an even rectangle strip, about 4 inches (10 cm) in width. If needed, fold it over on itself a few times until you get an even strip. Once even, pass the dough through every setting, ending with the highest

You should end up with a long 4 inch (10 cm) wide strip. Repeat with the other three remaining pieces of dough.

Place one piece of a strip on you clean work surface and paint (or smear) it liberally with the shortening/butter mixture. Do about a 8 inch (20 cm) section at a time. Gently pull the sides of the dough and stretch it, starting from the middle and going out, until it is about 8 or 9 inches (20 or 23 cm) in width. Begin from the short end and start rolling the dough into a very tight roll. When you start to reach the end of your stretched section, stop and liberally grease up another section, stretching and rolling until all the dough is finished. When one strip of dough is finished, overlap the end of one to the beginning of the other; continue to pull, stretch and roll up.

Spread the shortening/butter mixture over the entire finished log and starting in the middle gently run the hands down the length to extend the length another inch (30 mm) or so. This will release any air pockets and tighten the roll. Your  finished roll should be approximately 10 or 11 inches (25 or 28 cm).  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. The dough may be frozen for up to 3 months, at this time. Defrost it in the refrigerator overnight before using.

For Assembly:
Butter/shortening mixture, and preheat your oven to moderately hot 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place on a cutting board. Slice off about an inch (30 mm) from each end so that they are straight and even. Cut the roll into 1/2 inch (15 mm) slices. Put the semolina-ricotta mixture into a pastry bag with a 3/4 inch (20 mm) opening (A disposable pastry bag or even a ziploc bag with the corner cut off is fine). Take one slice of dough and place it on your workplace. With the heel of your hand, push out from the center in one direction. Rotate the dough and do this in all four directions. This forms the dough and opens up the layers. Pick up the piece and insert your thumbs on the inside with your forefingers on the outside meanwhile gently stretch the center to make it more into the shape of a cone. You don't want the layers to actually separate. Holding the cone in one hand, squeeze some of the filling into the cavity so it is full. Lightly push the opening closed. You do not have to seal the opening as the filling is too thick to ooze out during baking.

Place onto the prepared baking sheet and very lightly brush the outside of each completed pastry with the shortening/butter mixture. Bake them in a preheated moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown

Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. These are best served warm with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar on the day they are made. To reheat them, just place them in a moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 oven for about 5 minutes.

A big day today here on The Sunday Pastry, its this blog's one year anniversary! Or if you want to throw in a pun, the first Bloggiversary. To be honest I'm really surprised I've done this for a year! I'm the kind of person who has half finished projects everywhere, but I also feel super accomplished that I've stuck with this for a whole year.

So I also just wanted to say a quick thanks for everyone who keeps up with this blog and for all the great support you've given me. I also created a quick walk down memory lane:

I remember my beginning pictures on this blog and cringe a little bit inside, but my food photography has gotten much better since then!

For this week's recipe though, I wanted to make one of my favorite flavors, salted carmel, into a cupcake for the anniversary. I found a great carmel butter creme recipe, and added it to my favorite chocolate cake recipe to make some amazing cupcakes.

Chocolate Sea Salt Carmel Cupcakes

Yields 12 cupcakes
Carmel Sauce and Buttercreme Recipe from: Buttercreme Couture

For the Carmel Sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

Measure out butter and heavy cream and have them ready to go next to the stove. Put sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and watch it. As the sugar begins to melt, swirl the pan gently to promote even carmelization. Once the sugar has reached a deep-ish amber color. Be careful, as it will burn quickly if the heat it too high. Add butter and whisk like crazy. Its going to bubble and spit and then calm down into a smooth, creamy looking caramel. Then slowly add your heavy cream, whisking again the whole time. It should now look like a slightly-runnier-then-you-would-like-it sauce. Pour it in a container of some sort and place in the refrigerator to cool until needed.

For the Cake:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
dash of salt
1/2 cup sour creme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl and place over a pot with 2 inches of boiling water (creating a double boiler). Melt chocolate mixture until smooth, then set aside to cool. Combine flour, baking soda, and powder in a small bowl, set aside. In a standing mixer, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt, stirring to combine. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to wet ingredients. Add a third of the flour mixture, stirring until batter is thick and velvety. Divide evenly into the muffin tin, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool completely.

For the Buttercreme:
1 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 recipe caramel sauce (about 1 cup)

Put butter in a mixer with the whisk attachment and beat the darn out of it. Slow it down and add powdered sugar and then beat it up some more. Speed it back up again and slowly add the caramel sauce (make sure it is either room temp or cold, do not add warm caramel sauce!), then beat it for about 5 minutes.

For Assembly:
8 oz chocolate
5 oz toffee pieces
1 recipe caramel buttercreme
sea salt (for garnish)
12 chocolate cupcakes

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20 sec intervals, stirring until smooth. Level the tops of the cupcakes with a serrated knife. Place a large dollop of chocolate on top of each cupcake and use an angled icing spatula to spread the chocolate evenly around the cake. Top with a sprinkle of toffee pieces and set aside to harden the chocolate. After the chocolate has set, use a pastry bag with a jumbo star tip to create a swirl of buttercreme on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle with sea salt and place in the fridge again to harden the buttercreme for about 1 hour. 

Enjoy! These gourmet cupcakes are absolutely amazing!
Until next week!

The snow has come here in Minnesota, and for me it's all the better excuse to stay inside and bake. Actually though, this week's recipe is a no-bake recipe. I'm never quite sure what to think about no-bake recipes though. Part of me feels like I'm opting out of harder baking projects that actually use the oven, but then again some of my favorite recipes are no-bake.

Also a pic from the weekend I really enjoy:

I really enjoy the last shot with the loon, just because of the difference in the foreground and background.

Anyway, here is the recipe:

White Chocolate Lime Cheesecake Bars:

Yields 9 bars
From: Bon Appetite October 2007

For the Crust:
7 ounces white chocolate chips
23 chocolate sandwich cookies

Line a 8 by 8 by 2 inch square baking pan with foil, extending over all sides. Stir white chocolate in a small metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remover bowl from over water. Finely grind cookies in a food processor. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of melted white chocolate and blend until mixture comes together. Set aside remaining white chocolate for filling. Firmly press mixture onto the bottom of prepared pan. Chill while making filling.

For the Cheesecake Filling:
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
lime wedges or lime twists (for garnish, optional)

Beat whipping cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Beat cream cheese, sugar, lime juice, and lime zest in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in remaining white chocolate. Fold in whipping cream in 2 additions; spread over prepared crust. Chill until filling is slightly firm, at least 2 hours. Using foil as an aid, lift cheesecake out of pan. Cut into 9 bars. Garnish with lime wedges or lime twists.

That it! The bars are extremely good, and they are super simple to make.
Leave any questions you might have in the comment section below!

So, last week I promised a Halloween recipe. Now, I know this really jumped the gun, but I decided to make them on Wednesday, as I will be baking at my cabin on Sunday.
I decided not to go the tradition pie route, and after noticing there was so many things with pumpkin in them all over the Internet, I decided I couldn't go that route either. I remembered a cookie book I got last year, and it proved to be the jackpot. I found a great butter cookie recipe that is super easy to make into really cute candy corn cookies. It also makes a ton for one batch so it is perfect for parties!
I myself brought them to school, and they were eaten up right away!

Halloween Candy Corn Cookies

Yields: 4 dozen
Adapted From: taste of home: Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter softened
1 cup brown sugar*
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Yellow and orange (or red to make orange) gel of paste coloring

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture as well.
Divide the dough in half. Tint one portion yellow. Divide the remaining dough into two-thirds and one-third portions. Color the larger portion orange, and leave the smaller portion white.
Shape each portion of dough into one 8 inch log, and then cut them lengthwise with a sharp knife to create two 8 inch logs for every color. Flatten the top, and push the side in a slight angle. Place orange logs on top of yellow logs; push the sides at a angle. Tops with the white logs; form a rounded top. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Unwrap and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Remove and cool on pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

*The brown sugar gives the cookies so much more flavor, however, the colors of the cookie wont be as bright. If you want very neon-colored cookies substitute white sugar. Note, however that you will be giving up flavor.

Happy Baking!

This weekend I had planned on making a fall dessert, however a stumbled upon a recipe that I couldn't pass up. (I'll save Halloween for next week.)

Tiramisu Brownies

Makes: 20

For the Lady Fingers:
4 ounces Egg Whites
½ cup Sugar, Divided
3 Egg Yolks
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
¾ cup All Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon Baking Powder

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Set aside until needed. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until they begin to foam. Slowly add ¼ of sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar. Mix in the vanilla.
In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder and then add it to the whipped egg whites. With a spatula, carefully fold the egg white and flour mixture into the egg yolks until fully incorporated. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a round top. Pipe 2 ½ inch bars, leaving at least 1 inch between each bar, onto the prepared baking sheets. (This can be tricky, if you batter was runny like mine, just do your best, it's ok if they spread out a bit.)

Bake the ladyfingers until they have puffed and begin to turn a light golden brown, about 7 minutes. Allow the ladyfingers to sit on the baking sheets for one minute and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
These last up to 2 weeks in a sealed container. They will last even longer in the refrigerator and/or freezer.

For the Brownies:
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 whole eggs
4 egg whites
1 cup cake flour
1 batch soft ladyfingers

In a large bowl, melt the chocolate. Stir until smooth and leave it to cool. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13″ x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper. Add chocolate to a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment on. Beat in the butter followed by 1 cup of sugar and the 4 eggs and 4 egg whites. Add the flour and mix on low speed until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan minus 1 cup of the brownie batter. Lay the ladyfingers upside down on top of the batter, and push down slightly.

For the Tiramisu Topping:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
4 egg whites
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup coffee, brewed

Brew coffee. Using a pastry brush, carefully brush the coffee over the ladyfingers until they are saturated.
In a large bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, and 1/4 cup of sugar, 4 egg whites and vanilla extract. Spread topping over ladyfingers. Place spoonful of brownie batter on top of the creamy filling and swirl it lightly with a toothpick or knife. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until center is almost set and brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in the pan before slicing it.


This weekend I had a inclination to make a cake. I don't know, just one of those weeks. So, after a quick look through my Pinterest boards I found a recipe for a vertical layer rose cake. I decided to take it a step further and create a four layer checkerboard cake with a fall theme.

The cake turned out pretty well, not my best, but certainly still good! (I didn't make enough frosting, so couldn't make roses all the way up the cake oops!)

 I would certainly recommend this cake for parties as it turns out to serve quite a lot of people.

Fall Checkerboard Rose Cake

Serves 13
From: i am baker

For the Cake*:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup milk at room temperature
6 large egg whites at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
Gel/liquid food coloring

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans. Make sure milk and eggs are room temperature. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into medium bowl and mix with fork until blended.
Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter, cut into cubes and continue beating on low for about 1-2 minutes.
Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute. Pour batter evenly into two separate bowls, tint layers desired color.
Pour batter into two prepared cake pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 27 to 30 minutes.
Allow cake to cool to room temperature.

*This recipe will make a two layer cake, I made a four layer cake, if you wish, double the recipe to do so.

For the Butter creme:
1 bag powder sugar (about eight cups)
1 cup shortening (Crisco)
2 tsp vanilla extract (use clear if want white frosting)
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup milk

Cream shortening and vanilla in mixer for 2-4 minutes. Add in powder sugar, one cup at a time. If you find your mixer struggling, slowing add in milk. Use more milk for a creamy consistency, use less milk for a stiff consistency.

*If creating two batches of cake, create two batches of butter creme as well.

For the Assembly:
Check out this article from i am baker for the basic way to create this cake.

I used the method above, except I used four different cakes, and then layered them on top of one another with frosting in between. I also didn't freeze the cake, and found this was ok, but if you feel the need to do so, feel free!

After assmble frost with roses! Find a great tutorial to do so here!

Last weekend, one of my favorite kitchen stores: Kitchen Window was having free baking seminars all weekend. Of course, I jumped at the chance to attend one and decided to learn more about Pate a Choux, considering many of my attempts to make eclairs and cream puffs have gone horribly wrong. The class was amazingly informative, and I'm going to try to convey much of what I learned in this week's post.

Cream Puffs:

Yields 30 to 40 Cream Puffs

*The fist big thing is that you will need to have a food scale for this recipe. I suggest this one as it it relatively cheap, but gets the job done.
The food scale is important because cups of flower can have a 4 to 8 grams difference in weight, which is enough to throw the Pate a Choux off.

For the Pate a Choux:
9.5 ounces flour
1 pint water
6 ounces unsalted butter 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pint Eggs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Pour flour into a bowl with a handle. Set aside.
Heat water, butter, and salt to a full rolling boil. It is important that the fat isn't just on the top, but evenly dispersed throughout the mixture. Otherwise the dough may turn out lumpy.
Using a heavy wooden spoon, slowly add the flour, stirring quickly. The mixture will soon form one big mass and pull away from the sides of the pan. After it does, cook it for 3 minutes longer to get rid of any floury taste.
Transfer the paste to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Turn the mixer on to the lowest setting possible and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the mixture to cool. (You may just want to leave it sit for a while to cool of as well.)
Then, add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next one. When you add the egg, the paste will break apart, but will eventually come back together, and that is where you add the next egg. Add as many eggs as the paste can absorb and still hold its shape when piped.
Transfer the mixture to a piping bag (check out this article on how to use a pastry bag, or the bottom of this post). To pipe see How to use a pastry bag at the bottom of this post.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough rises up to 3 times its size and turns slightly golden. Then decrease the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the puffs have turned a deep golden. It is very important not to open the oven at all while the puffs are baking. Slight changes in pressure will cause the pate a choux to flatten.
Cool to room temperature. Do not place in fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling process or the puffs will collapse.

For the Pastry Cream:
1 pint whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 ounce cornstarch
4 ounces granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 ounces butter

Place milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan. If using vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod halves to the milk. Bring to a boil.
Keeping an eye on the milk, whisk the cornstarch, sugar, and slat together in a bowl. Gradually add the eggs and mix until smooth. Slowly ad about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture while whisking rapidly. Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the remaining milk. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Boil for 3 minutes to make sure the raw starch taste has disappeared.
Remove the vanilla bean halve, or stir in vanilla paste or extract if using. Stir in the butter continuing to stir until it is completely incorporated.
Pour the custard into a bowl and cover with a piece of parchment paper. When cooled, store in the refrigerator.
Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

For the Chocolate Sauce:
8 oz dark chocolate chips
2 1/2 ounces unsalted butter
2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Melt the chocolate into a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Remover from heat, add butter and stir until the butter is fully incorporated into the chocolate. Stir in the cocoa powder until smooth. Let cool to room temperature before dipping.

Using a bismark pastry tip pipe pastry cream into the cream puffs until they feel full. Then dip the puffs into the chocolate.
The pastries are best served immediately, but can be stored in the freezer for 3 days.

How to use a pastry/piping bag:
First, for the cream puffs you are going to want a jumbo round tip, and a plastic or canvas pastry bag. Flip the top quarter of the pastry bag down over you hand and, using a spatula, transfer the pate a choux into the bag. Undo the flip, and twist the bag closed. Holding the bag in you dominant hand, apply even pressure to create a circle on the parchment paper or non-stick baking mat, then cease pressure and quickly lift straight up.
Continue to do so until you have filled all your baking sheets.
Hello again,

I am very excited about this week's recipie. I was attending a study group so I wanted something fun and easy. The pie turned out amazing, and I would recommend it for any party or dessert. It is also very easy and relatively quick.

Chocolate Oreo Pie

Serves 11
Adapted from: Baker's Royal
Uses a 9 inch pie pan

For the Crust:
20 Oreo cookies, crushed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Place Oreos in a food processor or blender and pulse until cookies are finely crumbed. Set aside 1/3 cup for the whipped cream layer. Mix remaining portion with the melted butter and then firmly press crumbs into place to create a crust. Bake crust at 350 degrees F for 7 minutes.
For the Chocolate Pudding:
1/2 cup cornstarch
½ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
3 cups cold whole milk
3/4 cups dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combine cornstarch, sugar, salt and milk in a medium sauce pan and whisk until combines. Place over low heat whisking constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat, quickly add chocolate, and stir to combine. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.

For the Whipped Cream Layer:
2 cups whip cream
1/3 cup crushed Oreos

Whip cream to stiff peaks and sweeten to taste. Measure out 2 1/2 cups, and place into a medium bowl. Set the rest aside for decoration. Fold the crushed Oreos into the 2 1/2 cups whipped cream.

Pour chocolate pudding over the Oreo crust. Pour Oreo whipped cream layer on top of the chocolate pudding. Pipe remaining whipped cream to form stars around the sides of the pie. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Not a great photo, but I wanted to show you the layers of the pie.

Until Next Week!

Two recipes for you this week due to a spur of the moment decision to make popsicles.  The other recipe is brioche, which is about to go into the oven as I write this post.
This will be my first time making anything bread related, so I'm hoping it works out!
The popsicles I made, though were amazing! I would really recommend them to anyone as a great summer treat!

Peach and Honey Yogurt Pops

Adapted from: Bon Appetit, August 2010
Makes 6 pops

2/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 peaches
1 cup honey Greek yogurt
3 tsp honey
4 tsp lemon juice

Place small paper cups into a muffin tin and set aside.
Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Transfer the syrup to a small bowl and refrigerate until cool, approx. 1 hour.
Cut peaches into wedges and peel each wedge with a small knife. Place peaches into a food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a medium sized bowl and add 1/2 cup of the syrup, yogurt, honey, and lemon juice.
Pour the mixture into the small paper cups stopping 1/4 inch from the top. Place small squares of plastic wrap over the cups. (Use a rubber band if needed to hold the plastic wrap in place). Take a knife and make a small cut into the plastic wrap and insert a wooden popsicle stick into the cut. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.


From: foodwanderings
Makes: 16

3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet, 1/4 oz)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter softened (2 sticks butter)
4 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tbls milk

In a large bowl combine two cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt, mix well. In a sauce pan heat butter and water until warm (120F-130F) and add to the flour mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix by hand until smooth. Gradually stir the remaining flour to make a very soft dough. Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and refrigerate from 6-12 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F.

Punch down dough and divide into three parts. Keep two parts in the refrigerator until ready to shape. Divide each third to six parts. Cut off 1/4 from each part. On a lightly floured surface, shape each large and small piece into a smooth ball. Press large ball into a greased brioche or muffin tin. Make a large indentation in the middle of the large ball and press the small ball into the indentation. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Whisk egg yolk and milk together, brush the top of the brioche gently and bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from muffin or brioche tins and let cool.

Continue working with the next two batches as stated above

This is another great recipe as well, but for a first time bread maker like me, I probably will have an issue with this. Well, off to put it in the oven! Wish me luck!

Until next week...
This week in August I have an unusually large amount of friends celebrating birthdays, and for me this means a lot of sugar flying around in the kitchen. Although, I have been busy in the kitchen, I have really not gotten a lot of time working with my camera. Still no photographs of the food this week, and there may not be for another two.
But I will continue to share with you the recipes I have been whipping up, and my experiences with them.

This week I really wanted to make cupcakes for one of my best friends birthday and I wanted something flavorful. I chose to do a lemon cupcake and they turned out great, however, the frosting never quite reached the right consistency. Although I was unhappy with this, the frosting was still amazing, and I was able to tweak the recipe so you shouldn't have to worry about it!

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Makes 12

For the cakes:
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
zest from 1 lemon
4 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tin. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a big mixing bowl, add the sugar, lemon zest, and butter. Cream three minutes or until light and almost fluffy. Add the extracts, eggs, and buttermilk, and stir until combined. Add the flour mixture slowly, scraping the sides of the bowl, until thoroughly mixed. Divide evenly in a muffin tin, and bake for approx. 20 min. Fully cool before frosting.

For the Frosting:
3 egg whites
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large metal bowl, combine egg whites, light corn syrup, cream of tartar, water, sugar, and vanilla. Place bowl over a medium saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water over medium high heat* (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl). With a handheld mixer, beat on high for 5 to 10 minutes until stiff peaks form. Remove from heat and fully cool.

* Be sure your heat is high enough or your frosting will never whip up.

That's the recipe for this week! Hope you enjoy, and happy birthday to all my friends this month!

This week I went to the Uptown Art Fair here in Minneapolis, and I was going to take pictures to show on this blog, but there was a chance of rain and I decided it's better to be safe than sorry. Although, the fair was beautiful with its amazingly talented artists. But me being a kitchen nerd, I went right past all those to my favorite kitchen store's sidewalk sale where I contemplated buying almost everything I laid my eyes on. And after all the compemplation, I only bought one pastry tip. Well, that's usually how all my shopping adventures go.

Anyways, this week I decided to get away from my cookbooks and go back to one of my favorite blogs, Tarteltte. So here you have this week's recipe:

Nectarine Tart

Serves 8 to 10
From: Tarteltte

For the Crust:
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar, unsifted, divided
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour

Place almonds and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, ground nuts and salt on medium speed until well-combined. Slowly add remaining powdered sugar and flour and mix well. Add a couple of tablespoons of cold water to help the dough come together if necessary. Shape dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
Place the dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick round.
Place in a 9-inch tart pan, trim the edges. Prick the dough with a fork and refrigerate 30 minutes up to 2 hours. (you can even freeze the dough in the tart pan at this point and let thaw in the fridge overnight when you are ready).

For the Filling:
4 to 6 just ripe nectarines halved, pitted, and sliced thin
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon slivered almonds

Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the middle shelf.
Layer the nectarines in the shell, overlapping each other until the whole tarte area is covered. Drizzle with the honey and almonds.
Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes until the tarte is golden.

Again no pictures this week due to comutermalfuntions, no editing software, and no way of even viewing my pictures! I hope to have everytihign back up and running by next week!
Well, this week's been a great week, high school soccer is starting up for this fall season, so I have been to many practices to get ready for tryouts.
I have also been DIYing through my many projects that have piled up on my Pinterest boards. DIY Camera straps, jewelry, baking decorations. You name it! So, I have a bit of a question for you all: Would you, or would you not like to see some DIY projects on here in the future?

Steamed Cupcakes

From: LRF
Yield: 12 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
3 Eggs
150 g Sugar
150 ml Milk
300 g Flour
3 tsp Baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
12 tsp Jam (any flavor)

Heat up steamer. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar on high speed, until doubled in size, light and fluffy.*
Add milk and vanilla, and fold in flour and baking powder, until combined.**
Color the batter any color you wish and place into a pastry bag with a medium large round tip.
Put cupcake liners in glass/ foil/silicone moulds or small heatproof bowls so that the cupcake liners will not wet when cooked. (I put mine in small teacups with no handle and this worked great)
Press some batter onto the cupcake liners (about 1/3 capacity). Put 1 tsp jam filling, and cover with more batter (until 3/4 capacity).
Make sure water is boiling, and steam over medium low heat for 10-15 minutes
Let them cool on a wire rack.

Recipe Notes:

*Be sure to continue whipping until the egg mixture is very light, otherwise the cake will be too dense and rubbery.
** Try not to take too many strokes while folding the batter, because you still have to fold in the coloring. If the batter if folded too many times, it will deflate, and the cupcakes will be too dense and rubbery.

Until next week!
Another recipe from Kleine Torten this week. I had a really hard time translating this one, mostly because my German is limited, but more because google translate was spitting out things I had no hope of understanding. So, it was a very interesting experience trying to piece together the odd things the recipe had you doing such as setting mouse before it's in the torte or whipping with egg whites twice. All, in all my torte turned out OK for most of the steps being lost in translation.
So, the recipe you see before you is one I have edited a lot to better the recipe in your favor. Hope you enjoy!

Also, many of my recipes now are using weight to measure. This measurement is much more accurate, and if you don't have a kitchen scale I would very much recommend getting one, I use a simple EatSmart scale that you can check out here.

White and Dark Chocolate Mousse Torte

Adapted and Translated From: Kleine Torten: Wochenend & Festtages
Serves: 8
Refrigerating time: 4 hours
Baking time: 90 min.

For the Layers:
4 Egg whites
200g Sugar

Preheat the oven to 248 degrees F. Whip the eggs until frothy, add 25g of the sugar, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Add all of the sugar and whip again for about 2 min.
Next, cut out a piece of parchment paper to fit in a cookie sheet. Using a permanent marker trace the bottom of a 7 inch spring form pan onto the paper 3 times. Flip the paper over and set it inside the cookie sheet.
Pour the about a cup of egg whites into the center of each of the circles and use a spatula to spread the egg whites evenly to the edges of your drawn circle. Put in the oven for 90 minutes. Fully cool before removing from parchment.

For the White Mousse:
1/2 Tbs. Gelatin
1 Tbs. Water
180g White chocolate
1 Egg
250g Cream

Place the water in a small dish and sprinkle in the gelatin. Set aside for at least 5 min. Pour water into a medium sized pot until it is half full, place a bowl on top of the pot, and place the chocolate in the bowl. (This is our makeshift double boiler). Turn the stove on to medium heat, and melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Once the chocolate is fully melted, take the bowl off the pot and set aside. Then in another bowl, whisk up the egg for about 30 seconds and place the bowl on top of the pot of boiling water. Whisk quickly and constantly until the consistency of the egg becomes custard-like. Immediately remove from heat, and continue to whisk until smooth. Add in chocolate and gelatin. Whisk until combined. Set the whole mixture aside to cool to room temp. Once the mixture has reached the proper temperature, whip up the cream to stiff peaks and fold the cream and the chocolate mixture together.

Assembly Break:
Place one of the three egg white crusts on the bottom of the 7 inch spring form pan. (If you made yours too big, cut it to fit). Then, pour the chocolate mousse on top of the crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

For the Dark Mousse:

1/2 Tbs. Gelatin
1 Tbs. Water
130g Dark (60% cocoa) chocolate
1 Egg
250g Cream

Follow the instructions for the white chocolate mousse.

Final Assembly: 
Take the set white chocolate mousse out of the fridge, and place a second egg white crust on top of it. Then, pour the dark chocolate mousse on top of the crust. Place the third and final egg white crust of top of the dark chocolate mousse, and refrigerate for another two hours before serving.

Hope you enjoy this amazing torte! See you next week!

As you all know, I recently visited Europe with MacPhail Center for Music. While in Germany, I visited a bookstore with some friends. Originally I wasn't going to buy anything, I mean, my German that I have learned in school isn't exactly up to novel reading par yet. However, I got to wandering the shelves until the word Kochbuch caught my eye. Cookbooks! Now I was interested...

After some looking I saw that most of the cookbooks were American cookbooks just translated into German, and that wasn't exactly what I wanted. Then I found Kleine Torten: Wochenend & Festtages. Which roughly translates to Small Tortes: Weekends and Holidays. The pictures and layout automatically caught my eye and five minutes later, I owned a copy.

The torte I chose is perfect for summer. It's light, fluffy, and a perfect dessert or snack!

Rhubarb Torte

Adapted and Translated from: Kleine Torten: Wochenend & Festtages, by: Jacquline Böttecher
Serves: 12

For the Cake: 
2 Eggs
100g Sugar
1/4 tsp. Vanilla
60g Flour
60g Cornstarch
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and place parchment paper at the bottom of a 7 inch springform pan.
Separate eggs, and combine sugar and egg whites. Whip the whites until stiff peaks form, then fold in yolks and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, starch, and baking powder. Sprinkle the mixture over the eggs and fold completely.
Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 23 minutes, or until skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remover from pan and cool on a wire rack.

For the Filling:
400g Rhubarb
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
100g Sugar
1 1/4 Tbs. Gelatin
4 Tbs. Water
200 g Cream
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Wash the rhubarb and then cut into small chunks. Place the cut rhubarb, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large pan. Cover the pan and cook on low heat until the rhubarb is soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile put the water in a small dish, and sprinkle in the gelatin. Do not stir! Leave the gelatin to soak for 5 min.
Once the rhubarb is ready, pour 400ml of the rhubarb into a medium bowl. Stir in the gelatin until fully dissolved, then set aside to cool.
While the rhubarb mixture is setting and cooling, place the cream into another medium bowl, and whip until stiff peaks form. Once the rhubarb is fully cooled fold it into the cream.

For Assembly:
Finished filling
Finished cake
2 Tbsp. Raspberry Jam (for brushing onto cake)
200g Cream
Sugar (to add to the cream)
Ladyfinger or wafer cookies (optional)

Take the finished cake and cut it into two different layers, and cut the top so that it is flat. (Great video on how to cut a cake here.)
Take the bottom layer of the finished cake and put it back into a clean 7 inch springform pan. Next, brush the raspberry jam onto the cake. Then, pour the finished filling on top of the cake, then place the next layer of cake on top of the filling. Place in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
After 4 hours, take the cake out of the fridge and remove the torte from the pan. Whip up the cream, then add sugar to taste. Frost the torte with the cream. Keep refrigerated, and serve within 4 days.

Place extra cream in a pastry bag to create any designs on the torte you might want.
Line the outside to the torte with the cookies/wafers.

So that's it! It might seem like a lot, but it didn't take me that long. Hope you all have a great week!
Until next time! 

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So, as you all know close to three weeks ago I attempted to make macarons. However, they didn't turn out due to the finicky nature of the cookie... and because of me. Well, I naturally wanted redemption so this Sunday I dove myself elbow deep into egg whites and sugar to produce this beautiful cookie. I tried a recipe out of Bouchon Bakery instead of my previous recipe and it worked out much better! Surprisingly, the two recipes were very different as well. Many of the things listed as "must-haves" were not in the other recipe at all! I still kept some of the ways in the previous recipes though, and I do believed that worked to my advantage.

Raspberry Macarons

From: Bouchon Bakery
Yields about 15 cookies

For the cookie:
212g almond flour/meal
212g powdered sugar
82g and 90g egg whites
236g granulated sugar + a pinch
158g water

Cover the bottom of two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat a convection oven to 350 degrees F. Place the almond meal in a food processor and pulse to finely grind. Sift the almond meal and the powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Mound the mixture then create a creator in the middle of the mound. Pour in the 82g of egg whites and combine with a spatula.
Place the remaining 90g of egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Combine 236g of granulated sugar and the water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 203 degrees F.
Letting the syrup continue to cook, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites, turn the mixture to medium speed, and whip to soft peaks. If the whites form soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 degrees F continue whipping on the lowest speed just to keep the whites moving. 
When the syrup reaches 248 degrees, slowly pour it into the whites, and whip on medium speed for 5 minutes. Fold in one third of the egg white mixture into the almond mixture, then fold in bit more egg white mixture at a time until the batter creates a ribbon that slowly moves. (It is important that you only add a bit at a time so the mixture doesn't get too loose.)
Transfer this whole mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip. Pipe 2 1/4 inch circles on the parchment paper keeping the circles even in size. Let the piped circles sit for 10 minutes to create a "skin" to prevent cracking in the oven.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the tops are shiny and crisp, and allow to cool completely before removing from pan.

For the filling:
Use the basic buttercream found in this post.
50g raspberry jam

Stir together the rasberry jam and the buttercream. (Yup that easy!)

For Assembly:
Finished rasberry buttercream
Finished macaron halves
80g raspberry jam

Flip over half of the maracron shells. Transfer the buttercream into a pastry bag with a 3/8 inch tip. Pipe a circle of buttercream near the edge of the cookie and complete this step for all flipped shells. Then, transfer the 80g of rasberry jam in a pastry bag fitted with a small to medium round tip. Pipe the raspberry jam into the center of the buttercream circle.
Place one shell with buttercream and one plain shell on top of each other and there you have a completed macaron!

These cookies were well worth the trouble of creating and re-creating. Just try one for yourself and see!
Reply with any questions or comments about any recipes I try here on The Sunday Pastry, or suggestions of recipes you would like to see!
Until next week!

The new cookbook I received this week is: Bouchon Bakery!
It is an amazing cook book that I would recommend to anyone who is really interested in baking and wants some quality recipes. However, the book is very long winded (much like this post!) so it is not for a quick recipe.
I have wanted to get my hands on this amazing cookbook for a while, but it wasn't first on my Internet shopping list.

Speaking of Internet shopping list, I will soon be purchasing a new lens for my camera and am very excited to do so! I have been looking at a few but I have finally decided on a Nikon 35mm 1.8f for good depth of field shots I cannot achieve with my current lenses. I am extremely excited about this!

This week, I obviously wanted to make something from the pages of my new cookbook, so I settled for what I saw on the cover. The Better Nutter. It's a bakery-suited rendition of the Nutter Butter, and I would really recommend this recipe for many different reasons. First, being that you can work around all the fancy ingredients, which I had to do because I was baking at my cabin and the north woods has limited diversity in their grocery store products.
Second, is because this recipe teaches many fundamentals of baking, and if you've perfected those, it should be a walk in the park... but if your like me and just think you've perfected them, it serves as an eye opener. Some of these fundamentals include: basic buttercream, dough handling, egg whites, butter incorporation, and other good stuff. So it is all around a good recipe to start from in this cookbook.

How did I do with it? Well, due to a time crunch I did not let the dough firm up after rolling it out, so I just kind of shaped the cookies with my hands, thus creating a not-so-perfect looking cookie. However, the buttercream in this recipe was one of the best buttercream recipes I have found. It is relatively simple and creates a perfectly set buttercream. So, I have tackled the issue of runny buttercream. Just have to conquer those French Macarons... stay tuned 'till next week!

Better Nutters

From (with a few small changes): Bouchon Bakery
Yields anywhere from 6 to 10 cookies (depending on what size cookie cutter you use)

For the cookie:
30g Unsalted roasted peanut halves
198g All purpose flour
9.1g Baking soda
3.8g Baking powder
210g Unsalted butter at room temp.§
86g Creamy peanut butter
106g Brown sugar
54g Eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
106g old fashioned oats

Chop peanuts coarsely and set aside. Place flour in a medium bowl, sift in the baking soda and baking powder, and whisk together. Place the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Cream the butters on medium-low speed, until it has the consistency on mayonnaise and holds a peak. Add the sugar and mix for about 2 minutes until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl to add any unmixed areas to the mixture. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds, until just combined. The mixture may still look broken, but that is fine, just don't over beat the eggs.
Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low for 15 to 30 seconds after each. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there. Add oats and pulse on low about 10 times to combine. Then, add the peanuts and pulse again.
Mound the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap, cover, and refrigerate for two hours. Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, and roll out to a 1/4 inch thick sheet. Place on a cookie sheet and put in fridge for another hour. Peel of the first layer of parchment paper and quickly cut out rounds from the dough using any size cutter you wish. Arrange the cut rounds on a lined sheet pan*
Push the cookie trimmings together and repeat the process until you have reached the maximum number of cookies you can cut from the dough. However, only out the dough in the refrigerator long enough to firm up, which will be less than 2 hours. (I would say anywhere from 15 to 45 min).
Once you have all the cookie rounds cut, place a piece of plastic wrap over the sheet pan a refrigerate for 2 hours.√
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the frozen cookies on two sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies until golden brown, 16 to 18 min. (However this really depends on what size cookie you chose). Reverse the pan halfway through baking. Set the pans on potholders to cool for 5 min before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the Buttercream:
75g egg whites
150g and 33g granulated sugar
42g water
227g Unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces, at room temp. §

Place egg whites in a bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
Place the 150g of sugar in a small saucepan, add the water, and stir to moisten the sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, and simmer until the syrup reaches 230 degrees F. Letting the syrup continue to cook, turn the mixer to medium speed, gradually pour in the remaining 33g sugar into the whites, and whip until the whites are beginning to form very loose peaks. If the whites are ready before the syrup reaches 230 degrees F, turn the mixer to the lowest setting just to keep them moving.
When the syrup is ready, remove pan from heat. Turn the mixture to medium-low speed, and slowly add the syrup. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until the bottom of the bowl had returned to room temp and the whites hold a stiff peak. (About 10 min).
Reduce speed and add the butter, a few pieces at a time. If at any point the mixture looks broken, stop adding butter and increase the speed of the mixer until mixture looks fully incorporated, then continue to add butter. The buttercream can be kept in the refrigerator before piping on the cookies, but will needed to be whipped before piping to reach a consistency it can be piped at.

For Assembly:
(Whew! Almost there!)

You'll need:
The finished cookies
The finished buttercream
175g creamy peanut butter
And a dash of kosher salt

Combine together the buttercream, peanut butter, and salt. (If your buttercream is too hard, it will need to be whipped for a minute or so). Stir together until fully combined. Turn half the cookies over and pipe spirals of the buttercream starting from the center. Cover the butter cream with another cookie, and continue this process with all the other cookies. Refrigerate for 15 min to let the buttercream set a bit to bring out its amazing taste. Congratulations! You've made it through! Sit back and enjoy your creation.

Recipe notes:

*You may have issue with this step if you did not cut the cookie rounds fast enough. You can be like me and just make the cookies with you fingers, or you can put the cookies back in the fridge until the dough becomes firm again.

√ Remember when you are making this recipe the dough will spend 5 to 7 hours in the fridge or freezer.

§Be sure butter is at room temp for incorporation; otherwise there will be tiny pieces of butter floating around in your dough!

Until next week!

So, Saturday I was sitting as a volunteer on my perhaps longer than everybody else’s lunch break picking apart pistachios and eating them feverishly. I had wanted to try macarons for sometime, and though pistachio macarons would be great! After some contemplation I decided to put a caramel ganache in the center. I looked up some recipes for each and started in the kitchen. Now, you might have noticed the title of this post isn’t macarons. Well, lets just say, the macarons failed and pistachio egg white cookies too their place.

So at this time in my story, I was sitting at my counter staring at messed up macarons and thinking: Well then they can just be sandwich cookies. So I got to making the ganache. All was well and almost finished until I sat with the electric mixer running in my hand over the soupy ganache and… nothing happened. Now I was realizing I had nothing to show for the past two hours except thin sticky blobs of meringue and caramel cream soup.

I finally decided I might as well start eating. Pretty shortly, I found out that they were actually really, really good blobs of meringue dipped in caramel cream soup. So, a new cookie was born. And here is the recipe:

Pistachio Egg White Cookies Dipped in Caramel Coating

Makes about 50 bite sized cookies

For the cookie:
1 cup almond flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 large egg whites
30 grams granulated sugar
2T ground pistachios

Sift almond flour, powdered sugar, and pistachios together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl whipp egg whites untill frothy, add sugar, and continue whipping untill firm peaks form. Sprinkle half of the dry mixture over the egg whites and fold to combine. Sprinkle the rest of the mixture and fold to fully combine again. Use no more than 50 strokes durring the entire folding process.
Pipe batter onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (Small 1 inch circles would be best). Let sit for 30 min, then bake for 21 min in a 280 degrees F oven. Let cool completely before removing from pan.

For the Coating:
2/3 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 cup whipping cream
Place water and sugar in a saucepan without stirring. Place in a medium to large saucepan over meduim heat, until light brown. Slowly swirl the mixture and place back over heat until golden brown, then remove from heat. Slowly pour in the whipping cream. (Please be careful with this step, the caramel mixture will sputter and bubble. I would suggest wearing long sleeves.) Stir until mixture is combined, then set aside to cool.

For Assembly:
Once the caramel coating is cool, dip half of the cookies into the coating. Only do this right before serving! If you wish to eat them later, refridgerate the coating until ready to eat and/or serve.

Again, no recipe this week. :(
School's coming to a close, and as we all know finals comes hand in hand with the final days before summer. I'm very excited to get back in the kitchen though, and have a great recipe planned for Sunday, so don't worry.

So, I thought I would whip out another favorites post, and since I have done this more than once, I thought I would give it a name so it will be easier to use in case I have to use it again. So, here is Sunday Pastry Faves: Bloggers. (pretty original right?)

Sunday Pastry Faves: Bloggers

A collection of my top 5 favorite bloggers that inspire my recipes.

  1. Tartlette
  2. Bakers Royal
  3. Erica's Sweet Tooth
  4. My Baking Addiction
  5. Dessert First
 Hope you check out these wonderful blogs!
So, this weekend I made an Italian frozen custard dessert up at my cabin, but then my camera died... and I left the battery charger at home... and I left the recipe at the cabin. Whoops! No fear though! One of my favorite blogs My Baking Addiction does a Friday Favs. every Friday. So, I wanted to take this Monday afternoon, to tell you about a few of my favorites in the kitchen.

Favorite Products:

  1. OXO Ice Cream Scoop
  2. Tovolo Silicone Scrape and Scoop
  3. Wilton Cookie Spatula
  4. Good Cook Nonstick 24 Cupcake Pan
  5. Ateco Pastry Bag and Tip Set
Favorite Stores (Online and Actual):
  1. Kitchen Window For: Anything, also has great cooking classes!
  2. Bake It Pretty For: Cupcake liners and cookie cutters
  3. Micheal's For: Cake decoration items
  4. Sur La Table For: Kitchen utensils
Hope you all check some of this stuff out if your interested in baking because all of these stores are amazing!

Have a Happy Monday!