Snowmen Macarons

From Super-Cute Macarons by Loretta Liu
Ryland Peters and Small

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BASIC MACARONS

Macaron making kit
To make macarons, you will need a stand mixer or mixing bowl and electric hand-held whisk, a rubber spatula, at least two flat, heavy baking sheets, a transparent silicone mat, a selection of disposable piping/pastry bags and various nozzles/tips.

Ingredients
5 oz. egg whites
1/2 cup caster/superfine sugar
3 cups ground almonds
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons icing/confectioners’ sugar

Instructions
Separate the egg whites from the yolks 3–5 days before you plan to use them, and store them, covered, in the refrigerator. Do not use fresh egg whites. After 3–5 days in the refrigerator, the egg whites will be a runnier consistency (see picture 1b).

Before baking, you need to bring the egg whites to room temperature.

Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or in a mixing bowl with a hand-held electric whisk until it has doubled in size (see picture 2). Add the caster/superfine sugar and continue to whisk until the meringue mixture looks glossy and starts to come away from the side of the bowl, forming one large blob in the middle. At this stage, if you lift the whisk, the meringue in the bowl should form a stiff peak and stay upright after the whisk has been lifted (see picture 3).

When you are first learning how to make macarons, it is a good idea to work with a very stiff meringue. This means that the end result can be slightly dry, but it gives you extra time when you reach the folding stage, allowing you time to get your ‘macaronage’ or folding technique right. If your meringue is under-whisked (or if it is perfectly whisked but you have not yet got your folding technique right), the meringue will collapse before you have incorporated all the dry ingredients.

Sift the ground almonds together with the icing/confectioners’ sugar in a separate bowl. Add the meringue mixture to the dry ingredients. You are now ready to fold the ingredients together.

Fold the meringue into the dry ingredients using quick circular movements until the mixture is ready for piping. This technique requires you to be gentle but not too gentle – you do not want to just coat the meringue in the dry mixture, you need to combine the two together. As well as being gentle, you also need to work quickly, otherwise the macaron mixture will lose its structure and collapse. Use a spatula to fold the ground almonds into the meringue until there are no more ground almonds around the edge of the bowl. At this stage, use your spatula to scoop up the dry ingredients from the bottom of the bowl and work them into the meringue. Fold until there are no dry ingredients visible in the bowl. The mixture should not be runny.

Makes 45

BUTERCREAM

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups caster/superfine sugar
5 large/US extra large egg whites
4 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp vanilla powder or seeds of 1 vanilla pod/bean

Instructions
Place the sugar and egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer or a heatproof mixing bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water. Whisk using a handheld electric whisk for 3 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, if using. Whisk on high speed in the mixer or with a hand-held electric whisk, until the mixture has cooled down and formed stiff peaks; about 8 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated. Don’t worry if the mixture appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with beating. Beat until smooth.

If using within several hours, cover with clingfilm/plastic wrap and keep in a cool room. Alternatively, store in the refrigerator for 3 days. Beat to soften before use.

Makes 28 oz.

ROYAL ICING

Ingredients
3 1⁄6 oz. egg whites
3-1⁄3 cups icing/confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions
Place the egg whites, two-thirds of the sugar and the lemon juice into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat for about 10 minutes, until white and thick. Alternatively, use a mixing bowl and hand-held electric whisk. Add the remaining sugar and beat until stiff.

If you are not using it immediately, cover the icing with a damp kitchen towel and leave at room temperature to prevent it from drying out.

Makes about 20 oz.

SNOWMEN
Although these jolly snowmen will be a hit at Christmas, they need not be confined to the festive season. Make them when the weather is cold, or for a winter-themed party at any time of year.

Super-cute Macarons Snowmen

Super-cute Macarons Snowmen – Photography by Maja Smend

 

For the macaron shells
1 batch Basic Macarons (see recipe)

For the filling
50 g/2 oz. candied chestnuts, finely chopped
1 batch Buttercream (see recipe)

For the decoration
1 batch Royal Icing (see recipe)
black food coloring paste
tangerine food coloring paste
holly green food coloring paste
royal blue food coloring paste
Christmas red food coloring paste
icing/confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

disposable piping/pastry bag fitted with a 1-cm/1⁄2-in. round nozzle/tip
Snowman template
transparent silicone mat
5 small disposable piping/pastry bags for icing (for the decoration)

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 160ºC (325ºF) Gas 3.

Prepare the Basic Macarons according to the recipe on page 11. Put the mixture into the piping/pastry bag fitted with a 1-cm/½-in. round nozzle/tip.

Place the Snowman template on a baking sheet, and place a transparent silicone mat on top. Using the template as a guide, pipe a snowman on to the silicone mat. Start at the top of the head then follow with the body. Repeat to make 25 snowmen (you will need more than one baking sheet).

Tap the bottom of the sheets lightly on the work surface to settle the mixture. Carefully slide the template out from under the silicone mat. Leave the macarons to rest for 20–40 minutes.

Bake the macarons, one sheet at a time, on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 12 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the undersides of the macarons are dry. Leave to cool for 30 minutes on the baking sheets.

For the filling, mix the candied chestnuts into the Buttercream. Line the snowmen macarons into rows of 2, flat-side up. Using a teaspoon, place a little chestnut filling mixture onto half of the shells, and sandwich the pairs together gently to create 25 macarons. Leave to set in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before serving.

To decorate
Prepare the Royal Icing recipe, then divide it equally into 5 portions. Use a cocktail stick/toothpick to add a little of each food coloring paste to each portion and mix. Transfer the black to a small piping/pastry bag for icing, and snip off the end to create a small hole.

Pipe the eyes and buttons in black, then repeat with the tangerine in a second piping/pastry bag and give the snowmen carrot noses. Use the remaining three colors for the snowmen’s scarves. Leave to dry for 1 hour, then lightly dust the macarons with icing/confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Makes 25

Baked Eggs with Bacon

Recipe by Chef Marc Matsumoto

Baked Eggs

INGREDIENTS:
2 slices thick cut bacon
1 shallot, minced
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
5 ramps, bulbs minced, leaves chopped
1 1/2 cups stewed tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper
honey (optional)
2-3 eggs
ricotta insalata

OPTIONAL:
parsley
basil
chives
scallions
ramp leaves

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat broiler. Move oven rack to the top position.

For tomato sauce, place bacon on oven-safe pan and fry over medium heat until some oil renders out. Add minced shallots and ramp bulbs, sauté until soft and fragrant. Add chopped parsley and ramp leaves; cook until they are just wilted. Add tomatoes, then salt and pepper to taste. If sauce is too tart, add honey to sweeten slightly.

Use a spoon to make 2-3 wells in the tomato sauce and drop an egg into each well. Crumble cheese on top and bring the sauce to a boil. When the bottoms of the eggs start to turn white, transfer the pan to the oven. Broil directly under the heating element for about 1 minute, or until the cheese is browned and the eggs have turned white on top.

Quickly garnish baked eggs with parsley, basil, chives, scallions, or ramp leaves. Serve on toasted bread.

Serves 2-3

From Scratch: Eggs Florentine

From Scratch - Eggs3

“Eggs Florentine are a breakfast classic,” says resident chef Corey Burgan.

 

INGREDIENTS:

10 eggs

1 tomato, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1 bunch basil

1 bunch chives

salt and pepper

1 baguette (1/4″ slices)

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp white vinegar

1 lb spinach

2 tbsp butter

 

PREPARATION:

Butter slices of bread on both sides and place on a non-stick baking sheet.

 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to high broil.

Combine diced tomato, onion and balsamic vinegar in bowl; season with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge.

In large skillet, bring 1½” of water and the white vinegar to a boil. Break eggs one at a time into the boiling water. Use a slotted spoon and stir gently in a circular motion.

While eggs are cooking place the baguette slices under the broiler. Remove when toasted.

Cook eggs 2 to 4 minutes or until desired firmness. Remove with slotted spoon, allow water to drain, and place eggs in a bowl.

In a large frying pan sauté the spinach in butter until wilted. Remove from heat.

In a small glass, add tomato mix as the base, then add a layer of spinach. Top with poached egg and drizzle with Hollandaise sauce.

Garnish with basil leaf and chive sprout; serve with slice of toast.

From Scratch - Eggs1

 

Hollandaise Sauce

 

INGREDIENTS:

10 egg yolks

2 cups butter

2-3 tbsp apple cider vinegrette

4-5 dashes Tabasco

4-5 dashes Lea and Perrins

salt and pepper

 

DIRECTIONS:

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.

In a bowl, combine egg yolks, apple cider vinegrette, Tabasco and Lea and Perrins. Whisk approximately 2 minutes, until combined.

Slowly stir in the melted butter adding half a cup at a time. Whisk to preferred thickness, then set off to the side.

To serve, pour or spoon over eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

From Scratch - Eggs2

Shakin’ Shakshuka

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When I booked my fare to Israel the very last thing I envisioned was cooking a meal or funnier still, finding myself in front of a hot stove!  But Tel Aviv is full of surprises. Dr. Shakshuka is a culinary treasure in a country where there are so many fabulous meals to be sampled. This was my first taste of the classic egg-based dish and certainly, my first time cooking it – although I had some help from the doctor himself.

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If you’re planning a trip to Israel then this has to be a stop. Travel plans or not, the recipe is simple and satisfying:

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Shakshuka Recipe
Courtesy Shai Deluca

INGREDIENTS
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 medium brown or white onion, peeled and diced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
• 4 cups ripe diced tomatoes, or 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tsp chili powder (mild)
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp paprika
• Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste– spicy!)
• Pinch of sugar (optional, to taste)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 5-6 eggs
• 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional, for garnish)

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium. Slowly warm olive oil in the pan. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.

2. Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.

3. Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended. Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka (be careful with the cayenne… it is extremely spicy!).

4. Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook “over easy” style on top of the tomato sauce.

5. Cover the pan. Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn’t reduce too much, which can lead to burning.

6. Garnish with the chopped parsley, if desired. Shakshuka can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For breakfast, serve with warm crusty bread or pita that can be dipped into the sauce (if you’re gluten-intolerant or celebrating Passover, skip the bread). For dinner, serve with a green side salad for a light, easy meal.

Poached Eggs with Swiss Chard, Bacon, Chorizo, and Hollandaise

Michael's Poached Eggs w Swiss Chard_1

Recipe by Michael Bonacini.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsp butter

1 cup diced bacon, 1/2 inch chunks

1 cup chorizo sausage, diced

1/2 small onion, diced

1/2 clove garlic, minced

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and centre

ribs cut out and chopped, leaves coarsely

chopped

salt and pepper

2 tbsp malt vinegar

4 eggs

1 cup hollandaise

1 tsp chopped chives

pinch smoked paprika

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Gently sauté the bacon and chorizo until the bacon is crisp and the sausage is golden brown. Remove from the pan and drain some of the excess oil. Turn heat to low and cook the onions and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the Swiss chard stems and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the leaves and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking and stirring for 8 to 10 minutes. Add back the bacon and chorizo. Cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let sit.

In a separate pot of boiling, salted water, add the malt vinegar and poach the eggs gently for 3 minutes. Divide the chard mixture between two plates and perch two poached eggs on top. Spoon the hollandaise over the eggs; sprinkle with chives and smoked paprika.

Serves 2

Cook’s note: I like to use apple-smoked bacon, but any good quality bacon will do.

For more recipes from Michael Bonacini, check out his book: 3 Chefs: The Kitchen Men.

App for Those Deviled Eggs

App for that - Deviled Eggs
The App: Devilled Eggs and Sardines.

Jameson’s Pick: Gruet Brut NV.

I’d call deviled eggs a guilty pleasure, but I feel no guilt about enjoying them. A tray of deviled eggs is a party on a platter, bringing back waves of nostalgia of being a child at potlucks and adult cocktail parties. Now, as an adult myself, I can enjoy a drink along with the deviled eggs being passed around.

With the ultra-rich filling of egg yolk, which depending on your preference is mayonnaise, sour cream, or creme fraiche, I suggest something to combat the heaviness.

I’ve always been a fan of Chardonnay and eggs and also I think a Chablis is lovely. But since we’re being festive (this is a party, after all), I say bring out the bubbles. Since I like my wine to be a bit of a conversation-starter, I’m picking a sparkling wine from New Mexico. Yes, New Mexico. Gruet produces a quality sparkling wine at a fantastic price for over two decades. The high elevation vineyards keep the grapes cool, creating a lively sparkle in the glass. Now, when is that tray of deviled eggs coming around again?

Spicy Scrambled Eggs and Crispy Bacon

A Day with Jamie Oliver - Breakfast

Recipe by Jamie Oliver.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 jar of chili and garlic pesto

olive oil

4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, the best

quality you can afford

a large knob of butter

4 large eggs, preferably free-range or organic,

lightly beaten

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 slices of good quality rustic bread

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add a splash of olive oil and the bacon. Fry for 5 to 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Meanwhile, put a small pan on a low heat and slowly melt the butter until frothy. Pour the eggs into the pan and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir slowly with a wooden spoon or spatula, making sure nothing sticks to the bottom.

When the bacon is done, transfer it to a plate lined with kitchen paper towel to drain. Meanwhile, pop the bread in the toaster. Your eggs are done when they still look silky and custard-like. Butter the toast, top with the eggs and serve with a good dollop of chili and garlic pesto and crispy bacon on the side.

Serves 2