Showing posts with label lavender. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lavender. Show all posts

Monday, April 20, 2015

White Chocolate Lavender French Macarons

Ever since I had my first macaron at Bottega Louie in downtown LA last year - a perfect, powder blue Earl Grey macaron with gold dust on top - I knew I was in love. It was sweet and had a crunchy outside, while soft on the inside, and simply delicious. Macarons are the perfect treat for an afternoon fika, when you just want something little, but sweet, to go with your hot cup of coffee.

This past Saturday, I decided to try making macarons for the first time. I had read countless recipes and directions for making French macarons, so I was well aware of the fact that it would be a challenge. I found one recipe that offers two important things: a) the recipe uses weight rather than volume to make it more precise, and b) it has a useful trouble shooting video and lists the common errors when baking macarons. Still, it took me three batches and staying up till two in the morning, to succeed. Here's what I learned.

Drawing circles using a compass on a non-stick parchment paper will help make the macarons the same size. Make sure to leave some space between them so that they don't bake into each other.

- Sift the sugar and almond flour. This will get rid of any lumps and help you get a smooth batter.

- It's all about how you stir the batter. I knew I had to be careful when folding the batter, but what I also learned was that it's easy to over-mix. The first batch of rose water macarons with a buttercream filling, were over-mixed and turned out flat. With the second batch I was overly cautious and mixed the batter until the dry ingredients had just been incorporated. These guys turned out under-mixed, chubby and lumpy. The correct way is to carefully fold the batter along the sides, until it's slowly running off the spoon like a ribbon. These white chocolate lavender macarons turned out perfect. You know what they say - third time's the charm!

- It's important to tap the baking sheet hard on the counter to get rid off all of the air bubbles in the batter. This will also help the macarons not to crack.

- Leave the piped macarons on the counter for about 20 minutes to form a little dry shell, before putting them in the oven. This will help them keep their shape.

- Make lots of them, because they'll be gone in no time.

The wonderful thing about macarons is that you can make any filling you like, the basic recipe is always the same. I made a rose water buttercream and a white chocolate lavender ganache. Even though the rose water macarons didn't have the right consistency, I still loved the delicate rose flavor. Another great thing is that they freeze well, so you can always make them in advance if you're having a party. 

Bon appétit!

French Macarons
from HowToCookThat

4 large egg whites (or 5 small) 140g (4.94 ounces)
1/3 cup or 70g (2.47 ounces) caster sugar [*US cups 1/3 cup plus 1 tsp.]
1 1/2 cups or 230g (8.11 ounces) pure icing sugar [US cups 1 1/2 cups plus 4 tsp.] 

1 cup or 120g (4.23 ounces) almond meal [US cups 1 cup plus 3 teaspoons]
2g (0.07 ounces) salt (tiny pinch)
gel food coloring (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F (150 grader)
  2. Place egg whites and cater sugar in a bowl and mix with electric mixer until stiff enough to turn the bowl upside down without it falling out, continue to whip for 1-2 more minutes. How long this takes will depend on you mixer. Add gel or powdered food coloring and continue to mix for a further 20 seconds.
  3. Sift the almond meal and icing sugar and salt twice, discarding any almond lumps that are too big to pass through the sieve.
  4. Fold into the egg white mixture. It should take roughly 30-50 folds using a rubber spatula. The mixture should be smooth and a very viscous, not runny. Over-mix and your macarons will be flat and have no foot, under mix and they will not be smooth on top.
  5. Pipe onto trays lined with baking paper, rap trays on the bench firmly (this prevents cracking) and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Check if one comes off the tray fairly cleanly, if not bake for a little longer (make sure you are using NON-stick baking paper or they will stick).

Rose water buttercream
altered recipe from addapinch

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 - 2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp rose water
pinch salt
1-2 tbsp heavy cream

  1. Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on a medium setting and cream the butter until it is smooth and has lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add confectioner's sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
  3. Add rose water and a pinch of salt and combine until well-incorporated.
  4. Add heavy cream until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency. For a firmer frosting, add more confectioner's sugar.

Lavender White Chocolate Ganache
altered recipe from butter sweet symphony

1/2 cup white chocolate
1/3 cup cream
2 teaspoons dried edible lavender

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl.
  2. Heat the cream gently with the dried lavender.
  3. Pour the lavender-infused through a strainer over the chopped chocolate. Mix until it forms a smooth consistency.
  4. Pour the mixture into a piping bag and let chill until the ganache is at the correct consistency to be piped.

French Macarons

4-5 stora äggvitor 140g
70g fint socker
230g florsocker

120g mandelmjöl
2g salt (en nypa)
Hushållsfärg i gelform


55 g smör, rumstemp
2,5 - 3,5 dl florsocker
1 tsk rosenvatten
nypa salt
1-2 msk grädde

Lavendel- och vit chokladganache

1,2 dl vit choklad
0,8 dl grädde
2 tsk torkad lavendel

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lemon Lavender Pound Cake

There are two kinds of dessert I am most likely to never turn down, and that is anything made with chocolate or lemon. Now that spring is here, I feel like my usual baking of rich chocolate desserts are being switched out for lighter, fruity ones. Since I happened to have some lemons sitting on the kitchen counter that looked kind of lonely, I decided to try a new recipe for lemon pound cake. Because honestly, is there anything more wonderful than a perfect slice of lemon pound cake? I think not. 

This weekend we stopped by Union Market in DC and found this amazing little stand, Bazaar Spices, which sell spices and herbs from all over the world. Among other things, I picked up a bunch of dried lavender that I wound up using in the pound cake. By adding a teaspoon of lavender buds to the sugar, and grinding them together in a mortar, it releases the flavor of the lavender into the sugar. It smelled amazing and added a whole new dimension to the cake.

I have tried a couple of lemon pound cake recipes in the past, and I must say this one is one of my favorites. I made a few minor changes, such as using buttermilk instead of milk, adding lemon peel when it only called for juice, and including lavender. The result is a lemon flavor that isn't overpowering, and a crust that gives a nice texture to an otherwise moist cake.

I have found that a lot of recipes call for mixing sugar and lemon juice together, and soaking the cake just as it has come out of the oven. Sometimes I find that it makes the pound cake too sticky, so if you're like me and enjoy a little crust on your pound cake, I would say, just let it be. Sift some powdered sugar on top of the cake and call it a day!

Lemon Lavender Pound Cake
altered recipe from 

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
the peel from one lemon
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 cup buttermilk (milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes before using.)

  1. Put the sugar and lavender in a bowl and with a mortar, grind the lavender.
  2. Run the sugar through a fine sifter to get rid of any big lavender pieces.
  3. Mix together 1 cup lavender sugar and butter.
  4. Add eggs,1 tablespoon of lemon juice and lemon peel; mix well.
  5. Add salt, flour, and baking powder to mixture.
  6. Add buttermilk.
  7. Bake at 325°F in a well greased loaf pan for 1 hour, or until golden brown.
  8. Dust some confectioners sugar on top before serving. Enjoy!

Citronkaka med lavendel
113 g smör
2,5 dl socker
1 tsk torkad lavendel
2 ägg, vispade
1 msk citronjuice
skalet från en citron
1 krm salt
3,6 dl mjöl
1 tsk bakpulver
1 dl buttermilk (mjölk + 1 tsk citronjuice eller vinäger som får stå i 10 minuter innan användning)