Amazing Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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My goal this year is to post my tried and true recipes and this recipe is at the top of my list. I started my food blog back in June of 2019 and I’m not quite sure how I haven’t posted this amazing (it really is!) chocolate chip recipe.
I would like to talk a little bit about using a scale to measure your ingredients.

I made this purchase a few years ago, and I have to say it is one of the best kitchen gadget investments….just saying.
Please trust me on this! The consistency in the outcome of your baked goods will be so noticeable that you will wonder how you ever survived without one. Yes, it is that good!! I use mine for both dry and wet ingredients. This thing is a deal changer!

Next, I would like to talk about the quality of the ingredients you put into your homemade confections. When choosing an extract, be sure to buy pure and not imitation. It is going to make a huge difference in the overall taste of your product!
When I first started baking chocolate chip cookies, like most people my age, I used the recipe on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse bag. There was no Google or food bloggers and according to Wikipedia, the Food Network launched it’s first live broadcast on November 23rd, 1993.

It was over forty years ago when I first started making these very popular confections. They always came out pretty tasty, but they weren’t consistent.  I mean, they tasted really good, but sometimes they were flat and crunchy, and sometimes they were puffy and chewy.  It took me a while to figure out that dough needed to be refrigerated.

Fast forward to around 8 years ago.  After Christmas, when I opened the last tin of cookies, I gave our grandson Seth a chocolate chip cookie (this was his favorite).  He ate the cookie and innocently said, “I just like fresh cookies Mimi”.  My heart sank just a little bit.  He wasn’t saying he didn’t like my cookies, he just likes them “fresh”.  I thought to myself, “I can do this”.  I have been making “fresh” chocolate chip cookies ever since.

A few years ago I found this chocolate chip recipe by Sally McKenney @sallysbakeblog.  I had to get Seth’s approval for this new recipe I had come across.  Sure, I thought they were delicious but I wasn’t sure how well they would be received by my sweet grandson (did I mention he doesn’t like change?).  As he ate the “new” chocolate chip cookie, he immediately gave me two thumbs up…YES!!!  I was very excited!  Thanks Sally!

I have been making these at least once a week (sometimes more) ever since.  I make double batches and keep some frozen cookie dough in the freezer at all times.  The dough can be baked in it’s frozen state at 350°F until golden brown.  This takes around 15 minutes.

Since we have been quarantined, we leave frozen scooped cookie dough on our grandchildren’s doorstep, and their parents can bake it off whenever they would like:).

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (250 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch*
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (170 grams), room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (150 grams)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (340 grams)

Instructions:

Line 2 baking sheets with silicone pads or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and cornstarch and set aside. *The cornstarch makes the cookies so chewy!

Cream butter for 1 minute in a mixing bowl with paddle attachment (you can also use a handheld mixer).  Add brown and granulated sugars and cream for 2 more minutes.

Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.  Scrape sides of bowl and paddle as needed.

Add flour mixture and mix until combined.  Add chocolate chips and mix until chips are incorporated.

Using a medium size scoop,  Scoop onto cookie sheets and refrigerate for at least two hours. This recipe will make 24 cookies.  My husband is usually in charge of this step.  He is very precise and the cookies always come out very uniform in shape and size:).  Thanks Babe!

Remove dough from the refrigerator and cook at 350°F for 11-13 minutes. Cookies will be golden brown.   Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack.  Eat when warm, or “fresh”,  with a tall glass of milk.

You can freeze the scooped dough on a baking sheet.  Once the dough is frozen, transfer to an airtight container or Ziploc freezer bags.  The frozen dough can be kept in the freezer to enjoy whenever you want a sweet treat.

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Keep some frozen cookie dough in your freezer so you can have delicious chocolate chip cookies any time you want!

I recently purchased a couple of miniature cast iron pans by ©Lodge.  I made some cookie dough yesterday and I placed a large scoop of dough (65 grams each) in the mini pans. Gently press the dough into the pan and bake them for 11 minutes.

I scooped some chocolate chip ice cream on top and drizzled with chocolate.  Don’t forget the cherry on top!  Enjoy!!

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If you make these chocolate chip cookies, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi. I would love to see your pictures:)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Milano Cookies

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My daughter-in-love loves Milano cookies.  This year for her birthday I thought I would make some for her birthday.  These cookies were inspired by Tessa Arias @handletheheat.  The recipe is easy and the cookies are so good!! Thanks Tessa!

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick room temperature unsalted butter (113 grams)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar (133 grams)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 1 large room temperature egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (159 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (113 grams)

Instructions:

Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl for 2 minutes.  Scrape bowl and paddle as needed.

Add the egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated.  Add flour and salt and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.

Place batter in pipping bag fitted with a 1/2″ tip.  Pipe 2 1/2″ lines at least 3/4″ apart on prepared baking sheet (line with parchment paper or silicone pad).  I piped 3 rows with 8 lines on each row.

Place piped batter in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C) while the dough is chilling.  After dough has chilled, place in preheated oven and bake for 16 minutes (turn 1/2 way through baking to ensure even baking).  Edges will be golden in color.

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Remove cookies from oven and place on cooling rack.

While the cookies are cooling,  place chocolate chips in microwavable bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and continue until chocolate is melted.  Cool slightly and then spread the chocolate on a cookie and then sandwich with another.

This recipe makes 12 cookies.

I placed 2 cookies in a birthday themed cupcake liner.  I put them in a container and tied it up with red ribbon.

It’s Melissa’s 40th birthday today and times are a bit crazy right now, but I think she liked having some homemade Milano cookies.

Happy Birthday Missy…I love you so much!!!

 

Jammie Dodgers (Linzer Cookies)

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A couple of years ago I started watching youtuber Cupcake Jemma’s videos.  They are not only informative, but she is hilarious and so entertaining!!  Being an American, I enjoy her British slang and accent:)!

I love her recipes!  Jemma has introduced me to a lot of new ingredients and techniques. So many of her cupcakes are inspired by cookies and desserts.  She uses a lot of ingredients and cookies that can’t be found in our local grocery stores here in Cape May County, but there’s a little gourmet shop in Lewes, Delaware (Lewes Gourmet) that carries a lot of British cookies (or biscuits, as they are known), candy, and Lyle’s golden syrup.  This shop was purchased a few years ago by a husband and wife.  The husband is British, hence the merchandise.  I have purchased my baking vanilla there for many years.

Now, back to the reason I made the Jammie Dodger cookies.  Cupcake Jemma made a Jammie Dodger cupcake using the cookie by that name.  I found a small bag of these cookies in the Lewes Gourmet.  I was excited to try one!

I like to have a hot cup of tea at night before I go to bed, so of course I had to try one with my tea.  It was pretty good!

Time passed and the cookies were eaten.  Baking the cupcakes seemed to fade away, but my love for the cookie remained:).  Imagine how excited I was when food blogger Clare Smith @clarescauldron posted her homemade version of these cookies.  They looked amazing and I was sure they tasted even better!

I immediately searched Amazon for a Jammie Dodger cookie cutter, and, you guessed it!  I found the Jammie Dodger cookie cutter and it came with three other biscuit cutters. I can’t wait to make copycats of those too!!

I made homemade strawberry jam and decided to have a shot at making these.  Looking at recipes I realized they are basically a Linzer (shortbread) cookie, so I used my Linzer recipe and I was so happy with how they turned out.  I know a lot of shortbread recipes only have 3 ingredients (butter, confectioners’ sugar and flour), but my recipe uses an egg yolk, almond extract and pure vanilla extract too.  These cookies will melt in your mouth.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter (200 grams) room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240 grams)
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (80 grams)
  • 1 large egg yolk , room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam to fill cookie (you can use whatever jam or curd you would like)

Directions:

Place the butter in a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment,  and cream for 2 minutes until light and fluffy (scraping bowl and paddle as needed).

Add egg yolk and extracts and mix until combined.

Measure flour and confectioners’ sugar.  Sift together and add to butter/yolk mixture (all at once).  With mixer on low speed, mix just until dough comes together.

Divide dough in half and form into two flat discs.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats (I use silicone mats, but parchment works also).

While oven is preheating, remove one of the discs of dough from the refrigerator and roll 1/4″ thick.  Do this on floured surface, using a floured rolling pin.

Cut out 14 cookie bottoms and bake for 10 minutes.  While cookies are baking, roll other dough disc and cut out 14 cookie tops (don’t forget to cut the small heart in the center of the top cookie so you can see the delicious jam peeking through).  Bake cookie tops when the bottoms are finished baking.

Cool completely on wire rack.

Place approximately 1 teaspoon of jam on cookie bottom.  Place cookie top in place and gently press together; sandwiching the jam!

FYI-These cookies are waaay better than any cookie you will purchase in a store!

Enjoy with your beverage of choice.  I’ll be having mine with a nice hot cup of tea:).

Thanks again Clare, for inspiring me to make these delicious “biscuits”!

 

 

 

 

Heart Macarons

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I am excited to share my heart shaped (well, sort of) macarons filled with strawberry Swiss meringue butter cream.

Are you pro or con about this day?  I have always enjoyed this day, but when I had children and grandchildren, it gave it a whole new meaning.  I’ve always loved baking goodies and buying little gifts and trinkets for them.

I taught and worked with children for 29 years (Preschool and Kindergarten age).   It was always fun having Valentine parties, enjoying yummy cupcakes, handing out cards to all their classmates. Making crafts and playing games!  So much fun!!

Speaking of fun, I’d like to share a few fun facts about this romantic day that I found on the internet. You’re welcome!

  • Valentine’s Day is the second largest card giving day of the year, just after Christmas. I love getting homemade cards from my grandchildren.
  • The “box of chocolates” (sorry, I just had a Forrest moment) tradition started by Richard Cadbury in the 19th Century,  jumped at the opportunity to make selling boxes of chocolates as a part of this “sweet” day.  While Valentine’s Day goes back to Roman times, giving candy (conversation hearts, heart shaped boxes of chocolates and truffles) is a more recent development.  More than 36 million heart shaped boxes are sold every year….that’s a LOT of chocolate!!
  • According to Smithsonian, ‘Vinegar Valentines’ (also called penny dreadful) were contradictory to conventional valentines and were used to humorously reject and mock unwanted admirers. You definitely don’t want to get one of those!
  • During the Middle Ages, men would write on their sleeves, the names of the women they would be coupled with in the upcoming year. They would do this while attending a Roman festival honoring Juno. They did this to show their bond during the celebration.  Hence the term “wearing your heart on your sleeve”.
  • ‘Sweethearts’ candies started out as medicine. According to Food Business News, Oliver Chase (a pharmacist and inventor) created a machine that would make throat lozenges quickly.  The machine was later switched to make candy (known as Necco Wafers).  In 1866 his brother came up with the idea to print messages on the candy.  In 1901 they got their heart shape. Appealing to Valentine’s Day Sweethearts.
  • Cupid has two different arrows in his quiver; one (the gold arrow) to cause people to fall in love, and a lead arrow that repels love (or causes one to fall “out” of love.
  • Almost half of yearly marriage proposals will happen on Valentine’s Day and half of women would end their relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentine’s Day (that’s harsh…ouch!!!).
  • All over the world, over 50 million roses are given on Valentine’s day each year. Red roses are most commonly associated with this day because it was the favorite flower of Venus.  My favorite flower is the daisy and my favorite color is yellow, so if my Valentine wants to woo me, that will happen with daisies (not roses).  Take that Venus!!

With all that being said, I think your Valentine would love to receive these heart-shaped macarons, or you could just make a batch for yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large egg whites (100 grams) room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 2 drops pink gel food coloring
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar (198 grams)
  • 1 cup finely ground almond flour (96 grams)
  • pinch of kosher salt

Instructions:

Prepare baking sheets with silicone pads or parchment paper.  This is a matter of preference.  I use silicone mats, but I have had success with parchment paper too.

Wipe mixing bowl, whisks and mats (if you’re using them) with white vinegar or lemon juice to be sure there are no traces of oil.  Oil will break your meringue and it won’t mix properly.  Please don’t skip this step!

Measure the confectioners’ sugar, almond flour and salt and place in a medium mixing bowl (I like to use a scale when I’m baking.  This ensures a consistent outcome in your baking.  They are very reasonable in price and I highly recommend purchasing one).

I don’t use a food processor to mix the almond flour/confectioners’ sugar mix.  I use a hand sifter, and sift back and forth between two bowls (4-5 times).  Discard any large bits.  This makes for really smooth and shiny shells and an overall beautiful macaron!

After sifting, set aside while mixing the meringue.

Place the egg whites in your mixing bowl that’s been wiped with the vinegar.  Start mixing on a low speed for two minutes or until the eggs start to foam.  Add the cream of tartar and mix for another minute.

Gradually add in the sugar one tablespoon at a time.  Increase the speed of your mixer and mix for 2-3 more minutes.  You can tell when your meringue is ready when you have stiff peaks and you can turn your mixing bowl upside down with nothing falling out.  Add the vanilla and food color and mix until incorporated.  Do not over mix your egg whites as this will cause your shells to crack!

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Meringue before the flour/sugar mixture is added.

 

Add the flour/sugar mixture in 1/3 increments to the meringue.  Gently fold and pull the spatula through the batter.  Do it until no dry ingredients are visible.  Continue to fold and pull the spatula through the center. Start to gently press the batter up the side of your bowl as you continue to fold and mix. Do this until the batter flows slowly off the spatula and you can form a figure eight.

Place batter into a decorating bag with a circle tip.  Pipe hearts on silicone mat about 3/4 inches apart.  If you don’t have a mat with heart templates, you can find templates on the internet.  You can place them under your mat or parchment to use as a guide.  Remove the template before baking.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Allow the macarons to dry for 30-40 minutes.  You should be able to run your finger across the top without it sticking.  A thin shell should form.

After the macarons have dried, place them in the oven and bake for 11 minutes.  They will start getting their “feet” around three minutes in (I love watching this!).  Check to see if the tops move.  If they wiggle, bake at two minute increments until they finish baking.  They usually are finished baking in 16-17 minutes.

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Look at those beautiful feet and smooth tops!

Remove from the oven and allow your macarons to cool completely.  The shells should pop off the mat or parchment.

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I brushed some pink luster dust on the macarons.  It makes them look even prettier (if that’s possible)

 

I filled these macarons with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream.  I used my Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe and added 4 tablespoons of Strawberry Filling.  Allow your macarons to mature for at least 24 hours (I won’t judge if you don’t wait to taste one).

I loved sharing these and I think they would make a wonderful gift for your Valentine, but make sure you save some for yourself!

I hope you make these.  Don’t be intimidated by these treats.  With a little practice, you will be making these little gems with ease.  If you do make them, tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I’d love to see your photos!

 

 

 

 

 

Brownie Macarons

 

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Happy Macaron Monday!! That’s a thing, right? Well, if it’s isn’t, it should be! All of my chocolate loving friends know what I’m talking about.  Now, let’s talk about these amazingly delicious brownie macarons!!  YUM!!

I’ve made chocolate macarons before, but these macarons are, well, the best!! I baked these on a silicon mat, and I think it really makes a difference in the chewy texture.  I tweaked my original recipe, by switching out the cocoa for some of the confectioners’ sugar, and I increased the amount of granulated sugar from ¼ cup to 1/3 cup.   I was pleasantly surprised and happy with the outcome.

As  I was folding the confectioners’ sugar, almond flour and cocoa mixture into the meringue, it felt a bit thicker than usual, but I continued until it was completely combined and the consistency seemed right.  Folding until the mixture falls from the spatula into a figure eight works for me every time.  Be careful not to over mix the batter, as this will result in a hollow macaron or possibly even a cracked macaron with no feet!  Let’s face it, nobody wants that (insert winky face here)!

As I mentioned in my last post about macarons, I was struggling with my piping skills. Some were too big, some too small, and some (what I thought) just right.  I purchased silicon mats with premade circles on them.  Yes!! These things were a deal changer!

I let them dry for almost an hour. I was able to gently run my finger across the top without it being wet or tacky.  I only bake one sheet at a time on a rack placed in middle of the oven.  I don’t turn my pans in the baking process.  Bake the macarons for 17 minutes.  I suggest that you place an oven thermometer in your oven to make sure the temperature isn’t off.  If you don’t have one, they can be purchased for under $10.00.  Trust me, it will be money well spent.  A whole batch of macarons can be ruined if your oven temp is off!

Remove the macarons after they have baked for 17 minutes.  You can add a couple of minutes to the time if they don’t look like they are done.  You don’t want to underbake your macarons.  The texture will be off and they will stick to the baking surface!

As these macarons cool, the tops get a slight “crust” making them look like a brownie.  This isn’t the norm for macarons, but don’t panic (I did the first time I made these), this is the way they are supposed to look.  They almost look underbaked, but they are not. Let them cool completely on the baking sheets. They should pop off the baking surface at this time.

Match your macarons so their top and bottom match.  I don’t know why, but this is one of my favorite parts (go figure).

Now you get to fill them with your favorite filling (jams, curds, buttercreams, ganache). The sky’s the limit!! I filled these with a simple 3 ingredient chocolate ganache. I highly recommend this as the filling for these macarons!! It really adds to the brownie flavor. I dusted these with a little cocoa powder to give even more chocolate flavor.  Let’s face it, there’s no such thing as too much chocolate!

I hope you make these, and I hope my pictures and tutorials are helpful! Let me know if you do and post pictures and tag my Instagram page @goodeatsbymimi .

Ingredients:

  • 3 large egg whites (100 grams) room temprature
  • 1/3 cup extra fine granulated sugar (66 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pure chocolate extract (use pure vanilla if you don’t have chocolate)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (171 grams)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (25 grams) plus extra for dusting on top of macaron
  • 1 cup almond flour (98 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt

Instructions:

Wipe down mixing bowl, whisk beater, and baking mats with lemon juice or white vinegar. This removes any  residue that will cause the meringue to not properly mix. Set aside until you are ready to pipe your macarons.

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees  (use thermometer to make sure your oven isn’t running too hot or cool).

Place the confectioners’ sugar, baking cocoa and almond flour in a bowl.  Sift these four times. I use two bowls for this process, sifting back and forth between the two bowls. This is a very important step. It not only incorporates the ingredients, it also gets out any lumps, making for a very smooth macaron.

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Place egg whites and cream of tartar (use a pinch of salt if you don’t have cream of tartar…this helps to stabilize the meringue) in a large mixing bowl.

Using a whisk attachment, start beating the egg whites on medium speed until light and frothy.  Add the extra fine sugar a little at a time, allowing the sugar to slowly incorporate into the egg whites.  Begin mixing on medium/high until peaks begin to form being careful not to overbeat.  You want the meringue to be stiff enough to withstand turning the bowl upside down without falling out (check out my picture).

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Fold in the confectioners’ sugar mixture in thirds.  Gently folding after each addition, making sure not to over mix.  Mix just until the batter falls off the spatula and you can smoothly form a figure 8.

Place batter in a large piping bag with a medium circle tip (I use a Wilton tip #12).  Pipe 1 1/2 inch circles (3/4 inches apart).

Drop baking sheet on the counter (4-5 times).  This knocks the air bubbles out of the macarons.  Use a toothpick to pop any remaining bubbles.

Dry the macarons for at least 30 minutes (this depends on the humidity in your area). This gives it a thin shell. You should be able to gently run your finger across the top without it leaving a mark.

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Bake for 17 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Match tops and bottoms.  Fill with delicious chocolate ganache (see recipe below).  Pipe a small dollop in the middle of the bottom macaron and top with matching macaron. Dust tops with cocoa powder.  This is optional, but it really enhances the flavor!  Refrigerate overnight (of course I never wait that long to taste one).  Enjoy!!

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Ganache Recipe:

8 oz. (227 grams) semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Instructions:

Heat heavy cream on stove until just before boiling.  Pour over chocolate and let it sit for about three minutes.

Whisk together until ganache comes together and becomes smooth.  Cool to piping consistency.

 

 

 

 

Macarons

 

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A few years ago I tried my hand at Macarons for the first time. I watched tutorials and YouTube videos.  Quite frankly,  I was scared me to attempt these tricky cookies, but I was also very determined.  I had never even eaten a macaron up until this point,  but  I was hosting a baby “sprinkle” for my daughter and I wanted these persnickety little gems gracing the dessert table that day.

Every single video and tutorial was telling me that these cookies do NOT like humidity. Well, I live in South Jersey (like, as far South as you can go before landing in the water!), and we have a ton of humidity around here in the summer.  Did I forget to mention the sprinkle was in June?!!  Well, that wasn’t going stop me.  Macarons can be made ahead of time. They keep really well in the freezer.  I freeze mine unfilled in airtight containers.  I remove them from the freezer the day before I plan to serve them.  Let them come to room temperature before filling them. After  filling them, place them in the refrigerator overnight so they can mature (or bloom).   This allows the flavors to develop, and if you overcook your macarons, it softens them right up!

I would like to share some tips that have helped me make uniform, delicious macaroons. They are a tricky cookie to make, but once you get the hang of making them, you will be happy that you have them in your cookie arsenal.  I love making them for friends as presents or just letting them show up on a special dessert table every now and then.

  1. You don’t need to “age” your egg whites. Just use egg whites that are at room temperature. You can help this process by putting eggs right from the refrigerator in warm water for about 15 minutes.
  2. I use cream of tartar in my egg whites to stabilize them.   This will make your meringue results consistent every time. You don’t want to overbeat your egg whites. You want a stiff meringue, but not too dry. This can result in your meringue deflating, causing a hollow shell.
  3. Using a kitchen scale to measure ingredients will help with consistency in your baking also. If you don’t have one I highly recommend you invest in one PRONTO!!
  4. Sift the confectioners’ sugar, almond flour and salt 4-5 times. This makes for a really smooth macaron. Please don’t skip this step…you’ll thank me laterJ.
  5. Don’t over mix your batter. Stop mixing once it reaches the ribbon stage and you can make a figure eight while lifting your batter with a spatula (refer to video).  The batter should be slow flowing and thick. Over mixing will cause cracks on the top, spreading, and no feet. It’s better to under mix than to over mix your batter.
  6. You need to allow your macarons to dry. I allow mine to dry for 30-60 minutes. The longer, the better. You will know it is dry once you can run your finger across the top of your cookie, and if the skin is dry, your macarons are ready. This step is VERY important and neglecting to do so will result in cracked macarons. The top needs to form a skin. If the skin isn’t thick enough, the air from the meringue will expand in the oven causing cracks to form on top, instead of forming feet.
  7. Everybody’s oven is different, but I like to bake my macarons in a 300 degree oven for 17-19 minutes. It is better to over bake than under bake your macarons. If they are under baked, the feet will stick to the parchment paper (or silicone pad) and the shell will peel away from the feet. If they are over baked they will be hard and crunchy, but they will become soft once you fill them and refrigerate (mature) them for 24 hours.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar (198 grams)
  • 1 cup finely ground almond flour (96 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ( or flavoring of choice)
  • gel food coloring

Buttercream Filling

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (226 grams)
  • 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar  (340 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk (46 grams)

Instructions:

Line baking pans with parchment paper or silicone mats.  Wipe bowl down you will be mixing egg whites in with lemon juice so they are totally grease free (this helps the egg whites to whip properly).

Put the confectioners’ sugar, almond flour and salt in a bowl.  Sift 4-5 times to make sure this mixture is lump free.  This is going to make for a smooth macaron.  Trust me, you do not want to skip this step! It really makes for a bit of “Wow” factor.

Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the mixing bowl that you wiped down with lemon juice. Mix until soft peaks form and then gradually add  the granulated sugar until it is completely incorporated and you have stiff (but not dry).  You know you have achieved this if you can turn the bowl upside down and the meringue does not fall out.  Add your flavoring and food coloring and mix until incorporated.

Gently fold the confectioners’ sugar/almond flour mixture into the meringue mixture 1/3 at a time.  Continue to fold until the batter falls into ribbons and you can make the figure 8 (see video).

Place the batter in a decorating bag with a large circle tip and pipe 1 1/2 inch circles on the prepared baking pans.  The macarons should be at least 3/4″ apart.  “Drop” the baking sheets on a hard, flat surface at least five times to remove any air bubbles.  I pop any visible air bubbles with a toothpick.

At this point the macarons need to dry for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour.  This will allow a good skin to form on top. While they are drying, preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Bake for 17-19 minutes.  You should have good feet and the macarons should be dry.  Remove the macarons and allow them completely cool on the baking sheets.  The macarons will release easily at this point.

Make buttercream filling by placing the butter in a mixing bowl and beating until light and fluffy (about two minutes).  Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and milk and beat until fully incorporated.  Place in piping bag and add a medium size dollop in the center of one of the macarons and top with another macaron to make a “sandwich”.  Repeat with the remaining shells.

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Place your macarons in an airtight container.  If you can wait (that’s a big “IF”), allow your macarons to set for 24 hours so they can bloom.  This will not be an easy task, but trust me, it makes a difference.

These little gems make a great gift or special dessert.  They are going to go fast!!  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italian Cranberry Orange Biscotti

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Recently, as I was looking through some old cookie recipes, I came across this biscotti recipe. A co-worker (and friend) gave me this recipe 15 years ago.  This was an old family recipe, and I was very excited and priviledged that she was sharing it with me…Thanks Ann!

If you haven’t already guessed, her family is from Italy.  I have a niece that lives in Italy too!  She is an amazing cook and baker!!! I am hoping to visit her in Italy in the near future.

Now, back to these delicious cookies (or are they biscuits? Hmmm). The definition of biscotti is “twice baked” cookies that originated in Italy, and are not as sweet as traditional cookies.  They are dry and crunchy (not your typical description for a cookie), but they are made to be dunked.

Since they are very dry, biscotti traditionally are served with a drink for dunking. In Italy, they are typically served as an after-dinner dessert with a Tuscan fortified wine called Vin Santo.

Outside of Italy, they are more frequently eaten with coffee, (including cappuccinos and lattes), or tea.

I love the taste that the orange zest gives to these cookies. Combined with the dried cranberries and white chocolate, the taste is out of this world!! Do yourself a favor and make these gems.  Don’t wait 15 years like I did….oh my!  These cookies are back on the top of my list and should be on the top of yours too!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I use Bertolli extra light tasting)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 eggs-room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (120 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Zest of one medium orange (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (roughly chopped)
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone pad.
  • Zest one medium sized orange and set aside
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the olive oil and sugar until well combined (one minute). Scraping sides of bowl as needed.  Add the extracts and the eggs and beat to combine.
  • In smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir into the egg mixture until combined. Fold in the cranberries, nuts, chips and orange zest. Dough will be a little sticky. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into 3 logs (approximately 6 x 2 inches). Place the logs on the lined cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until logs are light brown.
  • Remove the logs from the oven, and set aside to cool for approximately 10-15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 275 degrees.
  • Cut the logs into 1/2- 3/4 inch slices.  Lay slices cut side up on the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Move cookies to a wire rack to cool and dry completely before serving.  Makes 20-24 cookies Enjoy!!!

 

If desired, cookies can be drizzled with white chocolate. They can be stored in an airtight container or they can be frozen and brought to room temperature to eat.