Results for the Guess the Mystery Berry Contest!

Copyright 2017 by Lisa Maliga

mysterymacswhitebackgroundThanks to everyone who entered the first ever Mystery Berry Contest. It was a fun contest to run and I enjoyed reading the responses and guesses. 

Here’s the page where the contest and comments can be seen:

https://lisamaliga.wordpress.com/contest-guess-the-mystery-berry/

 

The two people who correctly guessed the answer were entered in the  Random Name Picker.

1st prize ~ $25 Amazon gift card plus the mystery berry recipe.

WINNER: robeader

2nd prize ~ eBook edition of BAKING FRENCH MACARONS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE plus the mystery berry recipe.

WINNER: Mary Rieves

To the winners: please contact me with your email address so you can receive your prizes. You can either leave it in the comments section, or contact me directly at: lisa_maliga@msn.com

Have a berry good week & Happy Baking!

mysteryberryjam1
Mystery Berry = Boysenberry

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Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide – Yes YOU Can Bake French Macarons!!!

By Lisa Maliga, Copyright 2016

Baking French Macarons A Beginner’s GuideWhat started my love of macarons was a quirky romance novella I wrote called Sweet Dreams. The main character is a romance author/baker. Although the macarons aren’t mentioned at the beginning of the story, those tempting petite cookies have a costarring role. During the writing of the ebook, I got obsessed with macarons. I read several cookbooks on how to make them, visited numerous websites, and sampled quite a few tasty macarons. I bought some online and tried some from various bakeries. They ranged from mediocre to heavenly.

It was a tough job, but I gutted [pun intended!] my way through it.

When macarons appeared in another story, they played a starring role in Macarons of Love [The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, book 4]. I watched more how to make macaron baking videos. And I finally began baking on a quest to bake the perfect batch of macarons.

My first batch looked like this: mymacs3

One of my more recent attempts is on the cover.

My theory is this – if someone who’s never held a pastry bag in their hands or made buttercream frosting/filling can bake macarons, don’t you think you can, too?

frenchmacaronsad1

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Amazon US: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

Amazon UK: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

Barnes & Noble: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 12: Blueberry Macarons

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

 

blueberrymacaron
Blueberry macaron with homemade blueberry preserves

I baked two batches of blueberry macarons last month and achieved different results. This was the first time I used a natural powdered colorant. With this type of color, you’ll need to use a bit more of it if you want a vibrant color.

 

The powdered colorant can be added during the meringue process or can be blended in advance with the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture.

Recipe #1 contained blueberry ganache filling. Even adding more cooked blueberries didn’t help as it still tasted like white chocolate. The color was a medium shade of blue.

Another change was the oven. I baked the macarons in a smaller counter top model. The oven reached the temperature in a short time, and it was properly calibrated. The problem was there were only 2 racks and 2 levels. That meant the tray levels were either too close to the top or lower heating elements. I put my first tray on the bottom level and shielded it with an empty cookie sheet to prevent further browning. Also, all shells were baked on parchment paper covered trays.

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Light blue blueberry macaron shells just out of the oven

The results of blueberry batch #1 featured browner than blue shells. The color of the blueberry ganache was lovely but only adding a fresh blueberry in the center gave the macaron any real blueberry flavor.

blueberrymacrons1filling
Blueberry ganache filling with a ripe blueberry

For batch #2, I used the quick ‘n’ easy method for making preserves. I pulverized 8 ounces of fresh blueberries with a potato masher as I didn’t want to get the food processer dirty and have to wash it. Then I added more than a cup of granulated sugar, stirred at a rolling boil and preserved it with liquid pectin. I followed a recipe in a book for baking cupcakes and the amount of pectin was far too much. I’ll be making this batch again with less pectin and see how it works. Too much pectin makes it more difficult to pipe.

blueberrymacarons2rest
Resting macaron shells on a silpat–darker blue than batch #1

More of the powdered blue colorant was used and I mixed it into the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture. The standard oven was used so the results were slightly better because I used the middle rack. However, I shielded each batch by putting an empty a cookie sheet in the rack above it. That meant the temperature never reached 350—instead it averaged 335. So, while the macarons have feet and aren’t burned, they are as hollow as most of my other batches.

blueberrymacarons2after
Out of the oven and bluer than the first blueberry batch

I also used only silicone mats to see if there was any difference. I prefer them because it’s usually easier to remove the macaron shells.

blueberrymacarons2fill
Homemade blueberry preserves for the filling

The second batch tasted better, more like a true blueberry macaron.

 

 

blueberrymacarons2box
A box of blueberry macarons
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Tea and macarons!

Stay tuned for another macaron baking adventure soon!

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