Macarons

Cookies, Sweets

I’ve done several kinds of macarons, which I’ll be consolidating into this one page. Originally, I was interested by the Dungeons & Dragons Podcast The Adventure Zone, and specifically, the wizard Taako. Part of his backstory is that he used to run a cooking show, and at several points in the podcast, he’s either made, or been eating macarons. After about 40 episodes, I was curious enough to actually look up how to make them, and was fairly delighted to see how versatile they can be.

The first time I made them I had issues with keeping the size consistent, which led to some of the larger shells ending up hollow. It was an easy enough fix, though; I began using my wedding ring to trace rings on the opposite side of the parchment paper, so I had a guideline.

These are filled with chocolate ganache, though I dyed half the shell batter to make Pokeball macarons. They came out nicely, and were quickly devoured, though in the future I think I would add a candy button to the front to make the representation a bit more accurate.

These were my lemon curd macarons. I’ll admit, I simply bought the curd, rather than making it. The sprinkles, however, were from the large containers I had collecting dust in the pantry. I’d seen plenty of macarons that’d been dyed, and while they were beautiful, I was curious as to how the batter would take to various sprinkles. When added to the top prior to baking, they came out as I’d hoped, and added a nice crunch to the treat.

These…were a chore.

A friend had given me a hand one day, and, remembering him talking about how much he loved pistachio macarons, set about making him a thank-you gift. The first batch didn’t have as strong a pistachio flavor as I’d hoped, so I ended up eating them myself, and making the macarons in the photos above. For the second batch, I figured I’d use pistachio flour, rather than almond flour with pistachio buttercream filling.

Unfortunately, there was no pistachio flour in the city I live in, so I decided “Hey, how hard would it be to just make it from scratch?” Skip forward about an hour and a half after painstakingly food-processing it in bursts so the oil wouldn’t turn it to mush, then sifting it onto a sheet, and baking it, only to have just enough for what I wanted, despite buying nearly a pound of pistachios.

Thankfully they came out better the second time. A fun, unintentional piece of the baking was that I didn’t have any clean, plain, medium-sized tips to add the pistachio buttercream, so I ended up with one that had some ridges to it. In the end, it ended up giving the filling a nice flair, as opposed to the usual smoothness.

Almond Biscotti

Cookies

This week I made an almond biscotti , something I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time now. Of course, the first thing I had to do was cut the recipe in half, as there’s only so much that’ll be eaten, between me, my friends, and the neighborhood raccoons that hide in the dumpsters. In doing so, it made me realize another reason why many recipes call for grams or ounces, rather than cups – it’s far easier to cut grams in half than 1 and 3/4 cups.

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It was easy enough to mix together, though I was frustrated once I reached the kneading section. Rather than a firm dough, it was akin to a cookie dough, and my wife ended up suggesting adding a bit of gluten to the mix. It firmed up quickly after that, but I still switched to a dough hook on the mixer, rather than my hands.

The biscotti puffed up in the middle nicely during the back. I’d been worried when I was shaping the loaves that it’d end up more of a rectangle. After letting it cool for about 20 minutes, it was simple enough to slice up, and let toast in the oven for a bit longer. It was particularly nice the next morning with coffee, as I’m rather indecisive during breakfast. Being able to simply open a bag was far preferable to the usual “coffee with coffee” I have on my days off.

Lily-pad Cookies

Cookies

This week I wanted to try something a little more extravagant than I usually make. The cookies I used don’t actually have any extra sugar top them, something I was quite pleased with. They ended up being very dense, and while folding them, felt more like a brownie than a cookie.

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They tasted wonderful, and were the perfect pairing top the rather large (for the size of the cookie, anyway) amount of icing I was going top use.

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Honestly, this was the first time I’ve ever made icing flowers. I used a #104 tip, and an icing nail that, frankly, I didn’t even know we had.
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As you can tell from the photos, the icing got warm fairly quickly. Not so warm that I couldn’t use it, but near the end the flowers were getting sorta wilted. I’m still pleased with how they turned out, though it was a good reminder that a cramped kitchen in 85 degree weather wasn’t the best setting to be doing multiple flowers at a time.
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Still, the finished cookie came out just as I’d hoped. The dark chocolate cookie was meant to be mud, essentially, and the blue butter-cream being the water. The flower and leaves on top would complete the lily-pad cookie.

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In the future though, I suspect using a cookie cutter to make uniform shapes for the base would be best, rather than simply smashing the cookies flat. Also, the next time I’m curious to see how it would look with “water” fondant, and perhaps a green fondant pad, to really bring the look home.

Margarita Cookies

Cookies

Truth be told, I was a tad wary of this recipe – I’ve tried making cookies from there before, with disappointing results. This time, however, I was quite pleased.

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I’m not a huge fan of tequila, and the thought of the larger salt crystals gave me pause. I’m glad I went through with it though. Aside from being an easy recipe, the final result was quite tasty, even without the icing (though to be fair, the icing, and extra sugar/salt mix sprinkled on after baking really made it a step above the rest).  The dough also didn’t spread much, though I’m unsure if that was because I baked them right from the fridge, or just the recipe itself.