February 21, 2017

Mardi Gras Macarons ~ #CreativeCookieExchange

#CreativeCookieExchange is celebrating Mardi Gras! this month. Instead of handing out beads we are handing out cookies.

The traditional dessert for Mardi Gras is King Cake, which is made from a cinnamon-filled dough. It is glazed and then sprinkled with three colored sugars - purple (representing justice), green (representing faith) and gold (representing power). I decided to take these colors and use them to make macarons.

This was my first attempt at macarons and they turned out to be a little easier than I expected, although I will say that you need to have a few bowls handy.  Having a macaron silicone mat made the shaping a lot easier but I still found that they stuck slightly - I didn't think anything stuck to these mats.  I managed to pry them loose by using an offset spatula to gently lift them. The filling was a vanilla buttercream, which was a bit too sweet for my liking, but it did suit the theme.  The recipe makes way more buttercream than you need for the macarons, so you could either halve it or keep it to be used on another cookie.

If you would like to know more about #CreativeCookieExchange and see what the other bakers made for the Mardi Gras! theme please scroll down below the recipe. Thanks to Laura from The Spiced Life, who is our host & fearless leader, and Karen from Karen's Kitchen Stories who did the links for us this month.

Mardi Gras Macarons

Macaron shells ~
  • 95g almond flour
  • 100g powdered sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 100g extra-fine sugar
  • violet and green gel food coloring
Buttercream Filling ~
  • 225g butter 
  • 360g powdered sugar 
  • 5ml vanilla extract 
  • gold sanding sugar 

Macaron shells ~
  1. Preheat oven to 190℃.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  3. Sift almond flour and powdered sugar together 2-3 times, and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk egg  whites until foamy.
  5. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
  6. Reduce speed and gradually add extra-fine sugar, then increase speed and beat until stiff peaks form.
  7. Sift flour mixture over whites with a fine sieve.
  8. Fold mixture together with a rubber spatula until just combined, note that the batter will be very stiff. 
  9. Divide batter into two bowls and place a small amount of green food coloring in one bowl and violet in the other.
  10. Fold each batter until it loosens considerably (when batter is ready, it should fall from the spatula in a thick ribbon).
  11. Transfer each color of the mixture to a piping bag.
  12. Pipe 2.5cm to 3cm rounds on the parchment-lined baking sheets.
  13. Let piped macarons stand uncovered for 15 minutes to form a crust.
  14. Decrease temperature to 160℃ just before placing the baking sheet in the oven.
  15. Bake pans one at a time for 10 minutes, turning halfway through (after the first batch has baked, the oven temperature should be increased to 190℃ then decreased to 160℃ just before the second baking sheet goes in).
Buttercream Filling ~
  1. Cream butter and powdered sugar together in a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  2. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy. If mixture is stiff, use 1 or 2 tablespoons of cream to loosen.
  3. Add vanilla. Beat until flavor is thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Transfer icing to a piping bag and pipe onto the green macaron shells; sandwich with the purple shells.
  5. Place the gold sanding sugar in a small bowl and roll the edges of the sandwich cookies in the sugar.
  6. This recipe make 15 sandwich cookies, keep macarons refrigerated in an airtight container.
Recipe from HGTV
For US measurements please click here

Are you ready for Fat Tuesday? The theme this month for the Creative Cookie Exchange group is Mardi Gras! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). We all post on the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made ~

February 20, 2017

Victoria Sponge - #CakeSliceBakers

The #CakeSliceBakers are back with their next cake from World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey. There were some great choices again this month and I am looking forward to seeing which cake my fellow bakers chose to make.

February 16, 2017

Berry UpBeet Bundt Cake - #BundtBakers

The theme for #BundtBakers this month is Red, which could be incorporated as the bundt cake batter, the drizzle or frosting, a filling or decorations. We were challenged to be creative but think RED.