Friday, July 5, 2013

Kitchen Krazy: Chocolate Banana Macarons

Macarons are easily one of my favorite foods, and I absolutely love making up my own batches right at home. The thing I love most about making the little cookies would have to be the endless possibilities of shells and fillings. I'm always so excited when I'm mixing up the batter for the shells, because I know they'll turn into these delicious, crisp sandwiches that I just can't get enough of. While searching on the internet, I came across a chocolate banana macaron recipe from Design Bake Run and I knew I had to make that combination next. So Tuesday morning I made a batch and they were absolutely delicious. I added some pink food coloring to the banana cream because, well, pink just makes them look so much more adorable :)

Chocolate Banana Macarons

macaron batter:
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar

banana buttercream filling:
1/2 of a medium size ripped banana
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar


to make the macaron batter/shells:
  1. line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready.
  2. sift together the powdered sugar, almond meal and 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder so there are no lumps. set aside.
  3. in the bowl of a standing electric mixer (or if you prefer, you can use a bowl and hand mixer), beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. while whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.
  4. carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. when the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).
  5. pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1.35-inch circles evenly spaced one-inch apart.
  6. rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons. then let it sit for at least 30-60 minutes depending on humidity before baking them in the oven. about 10-15 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees f. bake for 15 minutes.
  7. once macaron shells are out of the oven, let them sit for 30-60 seconds before removing the hot baking sheet underneath. let the macarons cool completely before removing them from the parchment paper.

for the banana buttercream filling: 

  1. beat the banana and butter in a medium size bowl using a hand mixer until combined.
  2. then add in the powdered sugar and keep beating/mixing until fully incorporated and at the right consistency. if it's too thin, add in a little more powdered sugar. otherwise, if it's too stiff, thin it a tad with a little bit of milk, a teaspoon at a time.

to assemble the macaron cookies:

  1. before assembling these cookies, make sure to pair up all the cookie shells so they are as close as possible in size.
  2. using a knife, spread a good amount of the banana buttercream on the inside of the macarons then sandwich them together.
  3. let them stand at least one day (keep them refrigerated) before serving (serve at room temperature), to meld the flavors.

store in airtight container for up to 5 days. makes 20-24 macarons.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Independence Day! I hope you all had a fantastic day celebrating our nation's independence with hot dogs and good old apple pie. I wish I could say I did, but sadly I had to spend the day working an 11 hour shift in the pouring rain. But now that I'm home, I get to enjoy watching Independence Day with the family, a tradition we always ensure happens every July 4th. 

Do you guys have any fun traditions? Normally we have a cookout, but all of the kids worked while the parents had the day off, so they saw a movie while we worked hard for our money. But now we're all together, at least enjoying a Fourth of July night together. And now there's some ice cream with my name on it! So I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your holidays and let's hope aliens don't take over the world today...but if they do I'm definitely expecting Will Smith to come out and save the day :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July Goals

Sorry I've been MIA for the past couple of days. I'm finally home from London and there's just so much I have to catch up on after being gone for 6 weeks! I spent all of Sunday writing my 9 page final paper for one of my classes, so that wasn't too much fun. Then, I spent Monday and Tuesday running errands with my sister and going shopping. Haha, yes, shopping was definitely a must for me as soon as I got home! It's been a fantastic couple of days, but now it's to face reality and get back to work.  

Now that it's back to normal life for me, I have a ton of goals for this month. When I was studying abroad, I didn't have enough room to pack yarn and needles, so I went through some serious knitting/crocheting withdrawal. Since I'm finally home, I can't wait to spend hours upon hours working away at my different projects. I started a pink and blue chevron afghan that I am already in love with, even though I've barely made a dent in it. I'm excited to see how it turns out after working on it all summer as I try to watch every single James Bond movie ever made with my sister. Doesn't that sound like the perfect way to spend the summer?

Another huge goal for me is organization. I had a little mix-up yesterday regarding my posting date for a book tour on my book blog and it was the worst feeling in the entire world. I guess the dates got all mixed up in my head as I came home and tried to get everything all organized and back to normal. I really want to focus on keeping a calendar and writing EVERYTHING down exactly when I need to get them done. Here's hoping this summer can be organized and stress free! I hope you guys have an excellent month and a fantastic fourth of July!

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