Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Almond Macarons

Almond macarons with chocolate buttercream
For my birthday, Kelsey gave me the Ladurée sweets recipe book, and I've been dying to actually get some good use out of it for a while.  Well, I finally found time this weekend to test out the Ladurée macaron recipe and I got some great results!
Ladurée Sucré Book
Piped macaron batter, sprinkled with chopped almonds
Macaron batter waiting to go in the oven
Macaron shells after baking and rising!
Almond macarons sandwiched with chocolate buttercream

Almond Macaron Shells
* 140 g ground almonds or almond flour
* 125 g powdered sugar
* 3 1/2 egg whites
* 105 g granulated sugar
* 1 tsp almond extract
* chopped toasted almonds for garnish

     Combine the ground almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and process until it is a fine powder. Sift the mixture through a fine sieve to remove any lumps.
     In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk 3 egg whites into a foam.  Once the egg whites are frothy, add a third of the granulated sugar and whip until it is fully dissolved. Add the almond extract to the eggs. Add another third of granulated sugar and whip for a minute. Add the remaining sugar and whip for another minute, until the egg whites are just short of soft peaks.
     Use a spatula to gently fold the dry mix into the egg whites and continue folding until you have a batter.  In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 egg white until frothy and add it to the final mixture, to gently loosen the batter.
     Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip.  On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat, pipe small macaron rounds about 1- 1.5 inches in diameter. Rap the sheet on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles and allow the macarons to spread fully.  Sprinkle the chopped almonds on top of the rounds. Allow the unbaked macaron shells to sit uncovered for at least 10 minutes (maybe longer if it is very humid) until they form a shell and do not stick to your finger when you touch them.
     Bake at 300 for approximately 12-15 minutes until they rise and form a slight crust. You do not want them to brown, so remove them or lower the temperature slightly if they begin to brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow them to cool.  Remove them from the sheet and prepare the filling. Store the filled macarons in the fridge for 24 hours to achieve the best texture and flavor.

Source: modified from Ladurée Sucré book, Macarons Amande

Chocolate Buttercream
1/2 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk

     Cream the butter in a stand mixer for a minute until it is smooth.  Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder into the butter and continue to mix.  Add the almond and vanilla extracts and then the milk to moisten the buttercream.  Whip for another minute longer.  Spoon the buttercream onto each half macaron shell and top with another matching macaron shell.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Library Reveal!

Wow, I can finally say this room is DONE! It's taken a while, but that's because I wanted to make sure that I loved all of the pieces I picked. Here are all of the pictures of the room!

Sofa - Macys
Linen Chairs - World Market
Wall Paint - Sedate Gray, Sherwin Williams
Chandelier - Home Depot
Bookcases - Billy, Ikea
Curtain Fabric - P. Kauffman Leaf Cloud, LS Fabrics
Square Frames - Virserum, Ikea
Botanical Prints - Rocky Top Studio, Etsy
Ottoman Fabric - Robert Allen Home Casablanca Geo Aquamarine, LS Fabrics
Geometric Pillows - 3BModLiving, Etsy
Geometric Pillows - Connected fabric, LS Fabrics
Floor Lamp - Target, shade covered wtih ikat fabric from LS Fabrics
Silver mirror table and mercury glass lamp - HomeGoods
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