Almond Macarons

IMG_0624

First of all, I love macarons! I was very excited when I heard I was going to be learning how to make them this past spring in one of my classes! I love the chewiness of them and that they can come in almost any flavor. These almond ones are amazing! I also made some chocolate ones recently that were…To Die For! Yum!

IMG_0622

These pictures are from when I made them in class, but I did just recently make them for my brother’s wedding! Everyone LOVED them! I had some leftover chocolate Italian buttercream and used that to fill some of them! They were quite yummy! I added a little almond extract to the buttercream filling, and it just made it so much better! Vanilla buttercream works well too!

IMG_0623

Macarons are very tricky to make. They take lots of practice! I’m still working on my technique and making sure I don’t over whip my meringue. They are definitely a challenge, but that’s what I love about them.

This recipe is one I got from school, which was taken from Sugar Baby Confections by Gesine Bullock-Prado. I filled them with vanilla Italian buttercream, but Swiss buttercream could be used and also in the form of chocolate or almond.

Ingredients

7 oz. Almond flour

7 oz. Confectioner’s sugar

2 Tbsp. egg white powder or Meringue powder

3 egg whites

1/2-1 tsp. pure almond extract

1/2 tsp. salt

7 oz. granulated sugar

1/2 cup water, divided

food coloring if desired (usually 2-3 drops, but a few more is fine if needed)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the confectioner’s sugar, almond flour, and meringue powder. Set aside.  IMG_0603
  2. In the bowl of a mixer using the whip attachment, add the egg whites and salt. Add the granulated sugar and half the water to a small pot.
  3. Start whipping the egg whites a little until frothy and shut off the mixer especially if the egg whites are cold (they will take longer to whip).
  4. Start heating the sugar in the pot (Do not stir). Using a candy thermometer, set it to 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn the mixer with the egg whites back on. Once the sugar has reached 240 degrees Fahrenheit, pour it slowly down the side of the bowl, while the whites are whipping until the pot is empty. Add the almond extract. Add the coloring after it has cooled and the mixing bowl doesn’t feel so hot. Let it keep whipping until it reaches medium soft peaks.
  5. Once medium soft peaks have been achieved, mix in about 1/3 of the meringue into the dry ingredients. Add another third and fold in gently. It should look homogenous and have no lumps. Add the last of the meringue and fold in.
  6. Using a piping bag with a large round tip, pipe each cookie to desired size on a parchment lined pan. My batches yielded about 40 sandwich cookies, so about 80 single cookies.
  7. Let them sit out for about half an hour or until they have formed a skin. Preheat the oven after about 15 minutes of sitting out.
  8. Bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-20 minutes. Let them cool completely before filling. I used Italian buttercream but you could use Swiss buttercream. These recipes can be found on the categories box under Fillings, Frosting, and Buttercream. To make vanilla buttercream, just add 2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract. To make almond buttercream, start with 1 tsp. of pure almond extract and taste it. Add more as needed. No amaretto is needed to make it.

IMG_0618

These freeze very well too! Enjoy!!

 

Gluten-Free Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Coconut7

These gluten-free coconut chocolate chip cookies are SO good you won’t taste the difference! They turned out so much better than I ever expected they would. I also thought it would take me more than 3 batches to figure out the right combination of ingredients.

I had found a really good coconut chocolate chip cookie recipe a few years ago and wanted to see if I could make them gluten-free. After some testing and tweaking, I found the winner!

Coconut2

This third test batch is very close to my first variation, but I used a combination of brown and granulated sugar. Instead of all coconut oil, I used half shortening. I also froze them before I baked them to help prevent them from spreading too much like the first batch. The result…a thick and chewy cookie! Tastes just as good as it looks! And you can’t even tell it’s gluten-free by looking at it! Needless to say I am very happy with the end result!

 

Ingredients

¼ cup coconut oil         Coconut6

¼ cup shortening

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup almond flour

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 cup chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli Semi-sweet 60% as usual.)

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

½ cup chopped pecans

Coconut3

Directions

  1. Cream together the coconut oil, shortening, and both sugars in the mixing bowl with a paddle attachment.
  2. Add the egg and mix on medium high for about 30 seconds or until incorporated. If the egg is cold, it could make the coconut oil form chunks and you don’t want that. This is why I recommend turning up the speed after adding the egg. Otherwise, you could add a room temperature egg and would not have to turn the speed up on the mixer.
  3. Next add the vanilla. Mix until incorporated.
  4. Add the almond flour, baking powder, salt, coconut, and chocolate chips. Add the pecans at this time if using them.
  5. Scoop onto 2 parchment lined cookie pans. Freeze for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven at this time to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Yield is approximately 21 cookies depending on size of desired cookies.

Coconut4

Everyone can enjoy these cookies!