Mega Oatmeal Raisin & Walnut Cookies Recipe

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2022

Want to have a great big chewy cookie for a dessert, snack or even a meal replacement? The Mega Oatmeal Raisin & Walnut cookies will qualify. These big, chunky cookies have nice, plump raisins due to soaking them before mixing all the ingredients together. These aren’t just any oatmeal raisin cookies, they’re mega oatmeal raisin [and walnut] cookies that are sure to be a hit for cookie fans of any age.

Big cookies!

Mega Oatmeal Raisin & Walnut Cookies Recipe

All the ingredients

Ingredients:

2 sticks [8 ounces] butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
1/4 cup organic coconut sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup 2 tapioca starch OR corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins, soaked in water for 30 minutes
3/4 cup chopped walnuts OR pecans

Equipment:

Hand or stand mixer
Mixing bowl
Measuring cups/spoons
Whisk
Spatula
Sieve
Cookie/ice cream scoop
Large baking sheet
Baking/cooling rack
Parchment paper/Silpat
Kitchen scale
Oven thermometer

Oven temperature: 400 F

~ Whisk dry ingredients [flour, tapioca starch, salt, baking soda and cinnamon] together in a large bowl.
~ Mix sugar and butter in a hand or stand mixer until well creamed.
~ Add eggs one at a time.
~ Add vanilla extract.
~ Add the dry mixture until well mixed.
~ Drain the raisins into a bowl and save raisin water for later.
~ The oatmeal, raisins, and walnuts should be added last. Mix until it’s stiff, which makes it easy to form into balls.
~ Measure out dough in 4-ounce balls. Lightly pack them and place on cookie sheets.
~ Let sit in the refrigerator for about one hour. Midway through the cooling off phase, preheat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit.
~ Bake for about 10 -11 minutes.
~ Cool on cookie rack for about 10 minutes before removing.

Yields:

One dozen 4-ounce cookies

  • You can store in a cookie jar or airtight container for about 5 days [if they last that long]. They can also be frozen and heated in a toaster oven for about 5 minutes on 350.
  • I used tapioca starch because I had more of it than I did corn starch. Either works well to soften these delightful oatmeal raisin & walnut cookies.
  • Substitute pecans or go nut-free if you choose

Healthy Tip! You can save the raisin water in a mason jar and refrigerate overnight. Drink the next morning on an empty stomach. Raisin water is a healthy way to eliminate toxins from your body and give you natural energy. Some people drink raisin water before doing a workout.

Bite into this mega oatmeal cookie!

Check out the video tutorial:

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Jumbo Chocolate Chip & Ruby Chocolate Chunk Cookies Recipe

Two halves of a jumbo Chocolate Chip & Ruby Chocolate Chunk Cookie

Copyright 2022 by Lisa Maliga

This recipe is similar to the big, 6-ounce Levain-style cookies, but there are distinct differences. My recipe calls for ruby chocolate, the cookies are slightly smaller at four ounces, and I used three different types of sugar to enhance these distinctive cookies’ flavor. I also used a good amount of Neilsen Massey’s pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract. I had a difficult time refraining from eating the batter because it was so tasty!

Below is a photo of my newest addition: a Kitchen Aid 5-quart stand mixer with a white bowl. I also have the original shiny bowl. Two bowls are better than one, especially when making cupcakes and frosting. Even better, I invested in a flex-edge beater attachment which thoroughly creams the sugar and butter in seconds. I only had to scrape the bowl once. If you have a 4.5 or 5-quart Kitchen Aid stand mixer, I highly recommend this helpful, time-saving attachment. Kitchen Aid flex edge beater attachment link: https://amzn.to/3K99aGl

New 5-quart Kitchen Aid stand mixer with white bowl and lots of chocolate and other baking ingredients.

JUMBO CHOCOLATE CHIP & RUBY CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES RECIPE

Oven temperature: 400 degrees Fahrenheit/205 degrees Celsius

Bake time: 11-12 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, cold, cut into cubes
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup organic coconut sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
10 ounces chocolate chips
3.2 ounces chopped ruby chocolate bar OR ruby chocolate callets
1/2 cup chopped walnuts [optional]

Equipment:

Hand or stand mixer
Mixing bowl
Sifter
Measuring cups/spoons
Whisk
Spatula
Cookie/ice cream scoop
Large baking sheet[s]
Baking/cooling rack
Parchment paper/Silpat
Kitchen scale

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, corn starch, baking powder and salt. Whisk until combined.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, and sugar until it’s well-combined, which will be a paste-like texture. You can also use a hand mixer or mix with a whisk or wooden spoon.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Blend well.
  • Stir in the dry ingredients until well blended.
  • Mix in the chocolate chips, ruby chocolate chunks [or chips], and walnuts.
  • Form into balls approximately 4 ounces [120 grams]. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Refrigerate for one hour.
  • Preheat oven.
  • The cookies should be at least 3 inches apart. Bake on center rack for about 11-12 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

NOTES:

This recipe made a dozen [12] 4-ounce cookies.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

If serving the next day, bake in oven/toaster oven for about 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees.

You can also heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Chilling the dough in the refrigerator before baking helps to keep the cookies higher so they won’t spread a lot. You want dry dough. Mix minimally but mix enough to ensure that everything’s well incorporated.

Adding nuts makes cookies healthier, more rustic looking, and helps hold the shape better. If you don’t like walnuts, substitute pecans, macadamia, cashews, etc. Or don’t use any at all.

Watch the recipe video!

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Jumbo Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies [Levain style] Recipe

by Lisa Maliga, copyright 2022

If you like big cookies, have I got a recipe for you! These jumbo chocolate chip walnut cookies are similar to the famous Levain Bakery cookies. But they differ in two ways: the cookies are just over four ounces, [Levain’s are 6 ounces], and contain pure vanilla extract. They are still big, thick and chunky — yet soft on the inside due to the cake flour and corn starch. Another key is the short baking time on a higher temperature than conventional chocolate chip cookies.

With Valentine’s Day coming soon, these will be a sweet and thoughtful gift. Bake someone happy with these delightful jumbo chocolate chip walnut cookies!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup unsalted butter cold, cut in cubes

1 cup organic raw brown sugar https://amzn.to/3zNFh99

1/2 cup granulated cane sugar https://amzn.to/2JLTRrX

2 large eggs, cold

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract https://amzn.to/3qls56e

1 cup all-purpose flour https://amzn.to/3mJ8TNu

1 cup cake flour https://amzn.to/34AzGrj

2 teaspoons corn starch https://amzn.to/3Fg2xOi

1 teaspoon baking powder https://amzn.to/3r2FTDP

3/4 teaspoon baking soda https://amzn.to/3tg5qfK

1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt https://amzn.to/2Vymifl

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips https://amzn.to/39KAVEL

1 cup chopped walnuts https://amzn.to/333p6bU

EQUIPMENT:

Stand mixer or hand mixer
Measuring cups/spoons
Whisk
Spatula
Cookie/ice cream scoop
Large baking sheet
Parchment paper/Silpat
Oven thermometer

A stack of freshly-baked chocolate chip walnut cookies

INSTRUCTIONS:

Oven temperature: 400 degrees Fahrenheit/205 degrees Celsius

Bake time: 11 minutes

* In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, corn starch, baking powder and salt. Whisk until combined.

* In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, and sugar until it’s well-combined, which will be a paste-like texure. You can also use a hand mixer or mix with a whisk or wooden spoon.

* Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Blend well.

* Stir in the dry ingredients until well blended. The dough will feel quite stiff.

* Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

* Form into balls approximately 4.2 to 4.5 ounces [119 to 127 grams]. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Refrigerate for one hour.

* Preheat oven.

* The cookies should be at least 3 inches apart. Bake on center rack for about 11 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

NOTES:

This recipe made nine [9] 4.2 to 4.5-ounce cookies.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

If serving the next day, bake in oven/toaster oven for about 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees.

I’ve added links to some of the ingredients. They are only suggestions, of course.

Chilling the dough in the refrigerator before baking helps to keep the cookies higher so they won’t spread a lot. You want dry dough. Mix minimally but mix enough to ensure that everything’s well incorporated.

Adding nuts makes cookies healthier, more rustic looking, and helps hold the shape better. If you don’t like walnuts, substitute pecans, macadamia, cashews, etc. Or don’t use any at all.

I used callets [Callebaut brand chocolate chips] and some chunks of a chopped up 70% cacao chocolate bar.

Happy baking!

Freshly baked and split in half to show the inner goodness. Bake someone happy with these cookies!

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No Bake Cookies Recipe & Video Tutorial

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2021

No Bake Cookies

These No Bake Cookies contain Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa powder, a very fine chocolate that I’d bought a few months ago and just got around to testing. Even though these are what I refer to as ‘stovetop cookies’ as no oven is used, the rich flavor of this brand of chocolate stands out.

According to the company: “Our gourmet baking cocoa is Dutch-processed for rich flavor and appearance. Our cocoa contains one of the highest levels of cocoa butter on the market, ensuring superior chocolate flavor. From rich hot cocoa to fudgey brownies, Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa makes a difference you can taste.”

I also used a salted peanut butter so that no extra salt needs to be added.

This recipe is so easy to make, any time of the year. If you don’t want to turn your oven on this summer, and crave homemade cookies, I definitely recommend making these!

NO BAKE COOKIES RECIPE

Ingredients:

1 stick butter

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup coconut sugar https://amzn.to/3lyrPB8

½ cup milk

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted https://amzn.to/3CrpCNV

½ cup peanut butter https://amzn.to/3lvYuaa

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract  https://amzn.to/3yqnSC7

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats https://amzn.to/3Aq5aLx

Stovetop Temperature: Medium

In a large saucepan, add butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa powder. Mix until well combined. Boil for about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Remove from heat.

Add vanilla extract and mix. Add peanut butter and oats and mix until well combined.

Use either a spoon or a cookie scoop, drop cookies on parchment or wax paper.

Let cool for several hours. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. They probably won’t last that long.

Yield: makes about 25 cookies.

I provide links to items on Amazon that I’ve bought and used or have used in the past. For butter, I recommend Kerrygold, Plugra, Vital Farms or President. Perhaps there’s a dairy in your area and that would be the best for you. As always, the better the ingredients, the better the cookies!

Want gluten-free cookies? Make sure your oats are labeled as gluten-free.

If you want these to be vegan-friendly, use coconut oil or vegan butter.

Allergic to peanut butter? Substitute almond butter or sunflower butter.

Happy Cooking!

VIDEO

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orange spice cupcakes by lisa maliga

Chocolate Orange Spice Cupcakes Recipe & Video Tutorial

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2017-2018

This type of cupcake is appealing to those who love a strong citrusy spicy combination. If you’re looking for an autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas treat, here’s a winning flavor. 

chocolate orange spice cupcake baked by lisa maliga
Chocolate Orange Spice Cupcake

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped [Green & Black’s Maya Gold] [3 oz.]
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons virgin coconut oil [3 oz]
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons [fresh] lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Makes 12 cupcakes

Oven temperature: 350 Fahrenheit/177 Celsius

DIRECTIONS:

Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot water over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. The rack should be in the center. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly.

Whisk the virgin coconut oil, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate. Add the flour mixture and mix until smooth. DON’T OVERMIX!

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 – 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely.

ORANGE SPICE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

FROSTING INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup [6 oz.] unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar [confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar]
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend*
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ teaspoons orange extract
12 drops orange color

FROSTING DIRECTIONS: 

Beat softened butter on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and spices with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Green & Black’s Maya Gold chocolate has a spicy orange flavor that pairs beautifully with this frosting. I used it once before as I’d run out of regular dark chocolate and was impressed with the way the flavor came out in the cupcakes even a day after they’d been baked. If you can’t use this particular brand/type of chocolate, that’s okay, use whatever’s available to you. However, if you want it to have an orange spice flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon orange extract and about 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin or apple spice blend to your cupcake batter.

* make your own pumpkin spice blend

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Amazon Kindle link: Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide

3dBakingCupcakes3

VIDEO

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Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes Recipe Tutorial & Video

Copyright 2017-2018 by Lisa Maliga

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes Recipe Tutorial

For lovers of chocolate and coconut! The virgin coconut oil and organic coconut palm sugar make these cupcakes healthier and more delicious. This recipe is from the book Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide by Lisa Maliga.

coconutchocolatecup9

CHOCOLATE COCONUT CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS:
1/3 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped [3 oz.]
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup organic coconut palm sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons virgin coconut oil [3 oz]
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons [fresh] lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla

Makes 12 cupcakes

Oven temperature: 350 Fahrenheit/177 Celsius

Directions:

Place the chopped chocolate and sifted cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot water over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.

Add hot water to chocolate chunks and cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. The rack should be in the center. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly.

Whisk the virgin coconut oil, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate. Add the flour mixture and mix until smooth. DON’T OVERMIX!

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 – 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely.

 

Coconut Frosting

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
Shredded coconut for sprinkling [optional]

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:
With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Add coconut extract, vanilla and cream.
Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.
Pipe onto cupcakes and top with a sprinkling of shredded coconut.

VIDEO TUTORIAL:

baking chocolate cupcakes and brownies a beginner's guide by lisa maliga

Amazon linkBaking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginners Guide

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Blue Velvet Cupcakes Recipe Tutorial & Video

Copyright 2017-2018 by Lisa Maliga

Blue Velvet Cupcakes Recipe Tutorial

Get ready for any holiday or happy event with these delectable blue cupcakes topped with yummy cream cheese frosting. This recipe is from the book Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide by Lisa Maliga.

This recipe has a slightly different color than the one featured in my book as I used another  brand of gel food color. If using AmeriColor food gel, you’ll only need to add several drops rather than an entire bottle of conventional gel coloring. The color of these cupcakes turned out to be turquoise rather than sky blue.

bluevelvetcupcake318

 

BLUE VELVET CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS:
2 cups granulated sugar
8 ounces unsalted room temperature butter
2 Eggs [room temperature]
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder [sifted]
1.5 Tablespoons blue gel food coloring
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Makes 24 cupcakes

Oven temperature: 350 Fahrenheit/177 Celsius

Directions:

In a large bowl cream together the room temperature butter and granulated sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time.

in a small bowl mix 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and blue food coloring. when thoroughly mixed add to the large bowl and mix well.

Add the flour, salt and buttermilk alternating between the two ingredients so you don’t get any lumps.

In the small bowl, add the baking soda and vinegar. They’ll react together by fizzing up. Add to the large bowl, mixing well.

Scoop into cupcake liners.

Bake on center rack. Rotate pan midway through baking.

Bake for about 25 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ or powdered sugar
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Sprinkles for decorating [optional]

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:
Beat softened butter and cream cheese on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and beat until thick and creamy.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

VIDEO TUTORIAL:

baking chocolate cupcakes and brownies a beginner's guide by lisa maliga

Amazon linkBaking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginners Guide

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 6: Vanilla Bean Macarons

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

frenchvanillamacs8
French Vanilla Bean Macarons

Time to try the metric system! I used my trusty little digital scale that I bought for soap crafting. It only measures up to six pounds but does grams and ounces.

I’m a fan of vanilla as I don’t think it’s plain. Vanilla’s a spice, it comes from an orchid and grows in the tropics. It’s not white, it’s black. And I finally tried vanilla bean paste. I highly recommend it. I used Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste because I wanted the tiny seeds and didn’t have to scrape them out of a vanilla pod. I was also curious to try the paste, as I’d read several online reviews from bakers of all levels of expertise citing it was very flavorful. According to the Neilsen-Massey website: “Due to its thick consistency, similar to molasses, this culinary paste enables you to add more delicious vanilla flavor without thinning out your batters or sauces. It’s also ideal for recipes, such as crème brûlée and ice cream, in which you want to add the enticing visual flair of vanilla seeds.” As macaron batter can be finicky, I didn’t want to take a chance in adding vanilla extract and I wanted the vanilla seeds. Win win!

Now, I was supposed to precisely weigh the ingredients but the three eggs didn’t weigh 110 grams but 88 grams. I figured I’d take a chance and I’m glad I did because this batch turned out fine. In fact, by using three rather than two eggs, I ended up with 53 shells. Since I had so much batter, I used a silicone mat on top of two warped cookie sheets. I’d read not to use warped cookie sheets but it didn’t make a difference—the shells came out just fine. So fine that they were effortlessly removed from both parchment and silicone surfaces! That was another first. What’s as good as a macaron with feet? Shells that don’t have to be scraped off with a spatula!

frenchvanillamacs2
The mint color is seen in the back

When I added the vanilla bean paste right after the blue gel colorant, the black seeds were apparent and the blue changed to mint green. After sitting in the fridge overnight, the shells returned to robin’s egg blue again!

I used up the rest of the strawberry buttercream filling and also used more of the lemon curd buttercream which had been double bagged and stored in the freezer. NOTE: Click links for recipes!

frenchvanillamacs4
Vanilla bean macaron with strawberry buttercream filling

TIPS: Sift the almond flour three [3] times before you make the macarons. The fourth time is when you blend it with the confectioners’ sugar. This is why macarons average $2.00 each – they are labor intensive. Patience is needed for crafting these fancy French cookies. 

Sifting almond flour isn’t tons of fun but the more you sift, the smoother and shinier your finished macarons will be. [Check out the one to your left].

French Vanilla Bean Macarons

110 grams ground almond flour

frenchvanillamacs6
Front to back: almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, blue gel & vanilla bean paste

200 grams confectioners’ sugar

100 grams egg whites (3 eggs)

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste [or extract]

50 grams granulated sugar

3 drops blue gel colorant

Pinch of salt

Oven temperature: 300

Instructions:

* Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. If the sheets are thin, double them up. Macarons are sensitive to heat so they need to be baked on a durable tray that has lots of insulation. You’ll also need a pastry/piping bag with a large round tip ready before you begin.

* Sift powdered sugar with the almond flour. Large grains that don’t make it through can be thrown away or used as a skin exfoliator. I discovered this when I washed the equipment by hand the first time!

* Whisk the sugar and flour to make sure it’s fully blended.

* In a stainless steel or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy like a bubble bath before adding the salt. Then add granulated sugar in 3 batches. Start at a low speed and gradually increase the speed. When finished, the mixture should have stiff peaks. Add color last, but only whip for the briefest amount of time to mix in the color.

* Add dry ingredients to the meringue in 2 batches using a spatula. Fold until the mixture comes together, scraping the sides and flip batter over. When the sugar/flour mixture is blended, the batter will be easier to mix and will look shiny. Lift the spatula and see how quickly batter falls in “ribbons” from the spatula. A ribbon of batter dropped into the bowl should merge with the rest of the batter in 20-30 seconds. Another test is to “write” the number 8 with the batter.

* Add tip to piping bag and then twist near the bottom to prevent any mixture from escaping. The tip should face upwards and that also helps keep the mixture in the piping bag as you place it in a cup and form a cuff over the rim so it’s easy to add the batter.

* Spoon batter into piping bag. Twist the top of the bag and untwist the bottom, gently pushing the just-poured batter toward the bottom. You’ll remove any excess air that way.

* Pipe the batter onto the parchment or silicone mat. With parchment, you can use a template.  

* Pipe batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1.5-inch circles. Keep the batter inside circles if using a template.

* Rap baking sheet several times on the counter. This will further flatten the macarons, and remove air bubbles.

* Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

* Allow macarons to sit for 30-60 minutes until a film forms. Lightly touch a macaron and if no batter clings to your finger then it’s dry and ready to be baked.

* Bake for 12 minutes. The tops should be firm and glossy and the bottoms of the shells should have formed “feet” or frills at the bottom. The risen macarons should be firm with the slightest amount of give. If it wobbles, they require another minute or so. When done, the cookies can easily be removed from the parchment.

* Remove from oven, place cookie sheet on a wire rack or flat surface and let cool completely.

frenchvanillamacs3
Shells on silpat minutes out of the oven

Learn to bake macarons! Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide is available in eBook and paperback editions!

Baking_French_Macarons_A_Beginners_Guide_3da

 

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 4: Pink Lemonade Macarons & Lemon [Curd] Buttercream Filling ~ The Recipe

By Lisa Maliga, Copyright 2016

MacarOncafetrio2
Beautiful French Macarons from MacarOn Cafe

Before baking the macarons, I sifted the almond flour three times and poured it into an airtight container. Now, every time I make macarons, I only have to sift the flour and powdered sugar together once, and whisk the two ingredients in a bowl and set it aside. So much sifting is done to ensure that your shells are smooth and shiny.

When I whipped the [room temperature] egg whites, I added the pinch of salt with the granulated sugar at the foamy midway point. Four minutes later, I had that satiny texture of egg whites that had reached their peak. Then I added two drops of pink gel for a baby pink color.

The flour/sugar mixture was added in two stages and this time I counted how many times it was folded: 63. The texture was just right and I was cautiously optimistic, as I poured the batter into the piping bag. My first few macarons were round and all was going well until I felt something wet on my hand. Ooops, I’d been holding the bag wrong and it was leaking out the top. But I kept at it and wound up with a grand total of 52 shells.

pinklemonmacarons
My Pink Lemonade Macarons 

30 minutes later, the macarons went into a 300-degree oven. Instead of using the center rack, I opted to use the one just below it. This time I turned the tray eight minutes into the baking. There they were: FEET!

They baked for 19 minutes and when I pulled the tray out I saw 26 macarons shells with feet. I did a happy dance, and added the second tray. Meanwhile, I began making the “lemonade” buttercream filling. Actually, it was flavored with Trader Joe’s lemon curd. I used the strawberry buttercream recipe and substituted lemon curd for the strawberry jam.

All was going well until I added the powdered sugar. It flew out of the bowl, on the counter, stove, floor, me…the bowl was too small! Next time I’d mix the softened butter first until creamy and then very slowly add the powdered sugar. More time consuming but no cloudbursts of sugar that way.

Due to using naturally yellow butter and lemon curd, I didn’t need to add color, but I did: 5 drops which didn’t significantly change the color. The taste was a sweet and tart blend that I adored. If you adore lemon, try the following recipe. Let me know how it turns out and feel free to ask any questions or make any comments!

Pink Lemonade Macaron Shells

1 cup powdered sugar [confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar]

¾ cup almond flour [sift 3 times]

4 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 egg whites [room temperature]

2 drops pink gel colorant

Pinch of salt

Serving size: 52 shells or 26 macarons [approximately]

Equipment:

Stand or hand mixer with whisk attachment

2 – 4 large baking sheets

Parchment paper or silpat mat

Large sieve or flour sifter

Pastry/piping bag with large round tip

Measuring cups/spoons/stainless steel or glass bowls 

Silicone or rubber spatula

Large cup or glass to hold piping bag

* Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. If the sheets are thin, double them up. Macarons are sensitive to heat so they need to be baked on a durable tray that has lots of insulation. You’ll also need a pastry/piping bag with a large round tip ready before you begin.

* Sift powdered sugar with the almond flour. Large grains that don’t make it through can be thrown away or used as a skin exfoliator. I discovered this when I washed the equipment by hand the first time!

* Whisk the sugar and flour to make sure it’s fully blended.

* In a stainless steel or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy like a bubble bath before adding the salt. Then add granulated sugar in 3 batches. Start at a low speed and gradually increase the speed. When finished, the mixture should have stiff peaks. Add color last, but only whip for the briefest amount of time to mix in the color.

* Add dry ingredients to the meringue in 2 batches using a spatula. Fold until the mixture comes together, scraping the sides and flip batter over. When the sugar/flour mixture is blended, the batter will be easier to mix and will look shiny. Lift the spatula and see how quickly batter falls in “ribbons” from the spatula. A ribbon of batter dropped into the bowl should merge with the rest of the batter in 20-30 seconds. Another test is to “write” the number 8 with the batter.

* Add tip to piping bag and then twist near the bottom to prevent any mixture from escaping. The tip should face upwards and that also helps keep the mixture in the piping bag as you place it in a cup and form a cuff over the rim so it’s easy to add the batter.

* Spoon batter into piping bag. Twist the top of the bag and untwist the bottom, gently pushing the just-poured batter toward the bottom. You’ll remove any excess air that way.

* Pipe the batter onto the parchment or silicone mat. With parchment, you can use a template. Stay inside the lines as the batter will spread and flatten a bit. 

* Pipe batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1.5-inch circles.Keep the batter inside circles if using a template.

* Rap baking sheet several times on the counter. This will further flatten the macarons, and remove air bubbles.

* Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

* Allow macarons to sit for 30-60 minutes until a film forms. Lightly touch a macaron and if no batter clings to your finger then it’s dry and ready to be baked.

* Bake for 16 -18 minutes. The tops should be firm and glossy and the bottoms of the shells should have formed “feet” or frills at the bottom. The risen macarons should be firm with the slightest amount of give. If it wobbles, they require another minute or so. When done, the cookies can easily be removed from the parchment.

* Remove from oven, place cookie sheet on a wire rack or flat surface and let cool completely.

Lemon Curd Buttercream Filling

1/4 cup softened butter [use a high quality butter like President or Kerrygold]

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar [confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar]

2 Tablespoons heavy cream

3 tablespoons lemon curd

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

5 or so drops yellow gel color [optional]

Whip butter for about 2 minutes before adding some of the powdered sugar. Add the cream, lemon curd and vanilla. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar until the filling is the desired consistency. Add colorant last.

Pair the shells according to size. Spoon or pipe filling onto one side. Gently add the other side. If using a piping bag, start in the center by doing a swirl until you reach near the edges but not right at the edges. You don’t want to overfill them and make a mess with leaking buttercream filling. Gently add the top shell and give it a twist of about a quarter turn to make sure the shells are nicely lined up.

Store your macarons in an airtight container and put in the refrigerator. They should last about a week. Macarons taste best at room temperature, so remove from the fridge about an hour beforehand.

NEW! Get this recipe and many more in my book BAKING FRENCH MACARONS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE

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 Learn more about upcoming releases and win free books & gifts! http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

 

French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 2: More Macarons + Strawberry Buttercream Filling Recipe

 

MacarOncafetrio
What I wish my macs resembled!

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

The macaron baking saga continues as I want to test the King Arthur “super finely ground” almond flour I’d found for a dollar less at Walmart. I also wanted to try a strawberry buttercream filling because I love strawberries and the idea of a buttercream filling seemed decadent to me. I’d written about them in my books but in fact had never made buttercream frosting/filling from scratch. I’ve used containers of Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker frosting. Well, they weren’t actually buttercream, they were called frosting, had a long shelf life, were always at room temperature, and were spread with a knife. At least in my experience they were. While all frostings or buttercreams contain high amounts of sugar, the store-bought variety had vegetable shortening instead of butter so they didn’t contain butter or cream.

At first, I thought the super finely ground almond flour only needed to be sifted with the powdered sugar. Wrong! I ended up sifting it twice. I left the two eggs out overnight, thinking I’d separate them before I made the macarons. When separating the whites from the yolks, some of the yolk dropped into the egg white bowl. Macaron baking experts declared that a NO as fat wasn’t good for macs. So I scrounged around online until I found a website where the author claimed an egg could be aged in the microwave for ten seconds.

 

meringue
A glossy meringue

Most eggs contain a high percentage of water in the whites. When aged, extra water evaporates. Separate the white from the yolk and cover with cling wrap with a small slit to allow for evaporation, then place in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours. You can also leave it out overnight or for about 12 hours if the bowl is covered with a paper towel. The eggs must be room temperature if you want them to whip into a fluffy meringue.

 

This was my worst batch yet, due to the egg problem. The egg didn’t age or do anything other than maybe warm up a bit. Unlike the sunny day where I made my first batch, the weather had gone from early morning sunshine to mid-afternoon humidity and rain. It was a challenging four hours due to:

* Waiting 90 minutes for the shells to dry

* Undermixing the batter

* Clumsy piping of the batter

* Forgetting to remove the paper templates from the baking sheet [see 2 photos below]

* NO feet

On the bright side:

* 1 more drop of coloring made the magenta even brighter

* Remembering to make a cuff with the pastry bag

* Lowering the temperature of the oven

* Making the best strawberry buttercream filling I’d ever tasted

* Able to pipe the buttercream filling onto the macarons

macsbeforeoven
Before going into the oven–note paper template

 

macsafteroven
After being removed from the oven — note paper template

Strawberry Buttercream Filling Recipe

macsfilling
Strawberry buttercream filling–a piping bag’s eye view!

¼ cup room temperature Unsalted butter [use a high-quality brand like President or Kerry Gold]

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons heavy cream

4 Tablespoons high quality strawberry jam

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste

I want to emphasize the importance of using the best and highest quality ingredients in your buttercream filling as you will taste them! If you can use fresh strawberries or strawberry jam/spread that you’ve made, that would be excellent. I used a fruit spread that was sweetened with natural fruit juice and fruit pectin. There are many high quality types available in your grocery store, health food store, farmers market, etc. that DON’T contain high fructose corn syrup.

Here’s a list of preferred ingredients: strawberries, sugar, cane sugar, concentrated lemon juice, and fruit pectin.

INSTRUCTIONS: If using a stand mixer, add the butter to the bowl and mix for about 30 seconds, and then add half the powdered sugar.

If using a hand mixer, make sure you have a LARGE bowl and mix the butter first, then add half the sugar.

When the mixture is smooth, add your wet ingredients: cream, jam and vanilla. Once mixed, it’s time to add the remaining powdered sugar.

The mixture should be smooth and firm but not too firm that it would crush the delicate macaron shells.

If you pipe onto the shells, it’s recommended that you use a large, plain tip, Wilton size 10.

Start by piping in the center and doing a swirl until you reach near the edges but not right at the edges. You don’t want to overfill them and make a mess with leaking buttercream filling. Gently adding the top shell and giving it a twist of about a quarter turn is an easy way to make sure the shells are nicely lined up.

macs1finished
Finished macaron — sans feet!

NEXT WEEK: More adventures in macaron baking! I test my first batch of chocolate macarons with chocolate ganache filling!

Want to read more about baking macarons? Check out my book BAKING FRENCH MACARONS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE.

Subscribe to: 
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
 Learn more about upcoming releases and win free books & gifts! http://eepurl.com/UZbE9