Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Macaron Day

Did you know March 20 is Macaron Day? I didn’t either until I read about it on MACTWEETS. I’ve been following MACTWEETS blog for a while now. Jamie and Deeba have monthly challenges highlighting macarons. This month's challenge is, MacAttack #27 Macaron Day Macarons.

In honor of Macaron Day, and my first entry in the MACTWEET challenge, I’m showing you my version of the Salted Caramel Macaron.

I’ve been to a few different macaron bakeries and I always check to see if they have salted caramel macarons. They are my favorite because I love the combination of salty and sweet and I want to find a perfect one to try and recreate. 

A friend had macarons all the way from the Ladurée in Paris sent to her and she was kind of enough to share. My favorite salted caramel macaron comes from this bakery, and salted caramel macarons from lette coming in a very close second.

Making my own salted caramel intimidates the hell out of me, and I didn’t have a candy thermometer yet so for my first attempt, I went the Sandra Lee route and did a semi-homemade salted caramel filling.

Have you tried the Salted Caramel Sauce from Trader Joe’s? If you have not, you must. It’s delicious. During the holidays I finished a whole jar in a few days, by myself. Don’t judge me.

For the macaron cookie I followed the recipe from Jill’s Mad about Macarons cookbook adding a bit of brown gel coloring to the mix.

The TJ’s salted caramel sauce is a bit runny for the macaron. I don’t enjoy eating a macaron and having the filling spilling out. I tried to thicken it using cornstarch and cream, a technique I found here, but I may have done it incorrectly because the consistency was not where I wanted it to be. 

I decided to mix the TJ salted caramel sauce with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Once the buttercream is nicely whipped, I slowly added the salted caramel sauce. I didn’t measure how much I added, I just kept adding more and beat it in my mixer until I got the flavor and consistency I liked. Make sure the caramel is at room temperature. 

The cookies came out great and they were part of the dessert table for my boyfriend's birthday.

Don't forget to have a macaron for Macaron Day!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cheers for Beer!

My friend Sha and I helped our boyfriends celebrate their 30th birthday this past weekend. We planned a casual beer tasting party with lots of beer, tacos, snacks and sweets. I got the idea for the Beer Tasting Party from seeing it here on Hostess with the Mostess Blog.

We wanted to keep it manly and going with the beer theme went with the colors brown, tan and touches of red.

I took over the dessert table and created desserts based on the theme colors and the boy’s favorite sweets.  

Salted Caramel Macarons - I made a Swiss meringue butter cream and added Trader Joe's Salted Caramel Sauce to make this. The salted caramel flavor was really light. I'm going to add more salted caramel the next time I make this.

Red Velvet Cake Balls. I flew to Las Vegas and had these cake balls already in the mini cupcake liners. They got screwed up during the travel. Next time I travel with cake balls, I would wait until I prep the table to put the cake balls on the mini cupcake liners.

I love these. 

I used Martha Stewart's Cream Cheese Brownies Recipe found here. Delicious.

This cake was bought at a local bakery in Las Vegas. It was sooooo good!

My friend Gee made an awesome banana pudding. I'm sad we didn't get a picture of it on the dessert table. 

I told my boyfriend we should have a faux photo booth area in his backyard, where people could take pictures with their camera phones. He thought it was a bit much, but Sha loved the idea, and being control freaks we are, went ahead with it. :P 

I had a gold table cloth I used for Thanksgiving and we nailed it against the wall. I had some masquerade masks left over from a New Year’s Party and used them as props and also created personal callouts using Microsoft Word. This is really simple to do and there are so many photo booth prop templates you can find online and print for free. Some of the tutorials used dowels and attached them to the props; you can buy them at your local craft or home good store, like Michaels or Lowes. We were running around during the day and this was something I forgot to get. I was pretty bummed about it until the boyfriend suggested disposable chopsticks. Genius!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I know I’m not the only one, but I am addicted to pinterest.  I love finding inspiration through others and checking out awesome baked goods.  The only problem is I now have a difficult time not wanting to bake and EAT everything I pin, and I can't stop pinning.  Here are two things I have made so far, I’m sure it’ll be two of many to come.

Slutty Brownies

I eat with my eyes and I wanted to make this based on looks alone, and it looks so decadent and delicious.  Cookie dough?  Check.  Oreos?  Check.  Brownies?  Check!  Glass of milk… oh no, that’s what I was missing!  I’m not a regular milk drinker, but you definitely need to have a glass of milk on hand when you’re about to eat this! 

I followed the recipe exactly, except I used unsweetened cocoa powder instead of regular cocoa powder the recipe called for.  I’m not sure if it matters and I’m still trying to figure out if there is a difference, but I’m going to assume the unsweetened cocoa powder used in the brownies helped cut the sweetness.  As decadent and sweet as it looked, it was not tooth aching sweet.  It was perfect.  It would be delicious warm with some vanilla ice cream on top.  

Here is my version.  I got eager and didn’t wait for it to cool all the way.  If you let it cool all the way you can get a nice pretty cut like the picture above.   I plan to make more and just store in the freezer and warm up when I’m in need of a sweet fix.  Which is like, everyday.

Smores Cookies

I love smores!  I can’t get enough of it.  I love the mini Hershey bar on top of the cookie.  Again, I’m eating with my eyes.   I have tried other versions of smore cookies, and my advice, don’t skimp on the graham crackers when making these.  I used Target brand graham crackers and the taste was just of the graham cracker was, eh.  I blame the brand.   Don’t get me wrong, it is a REALLY GOOD cookie, but I think it would have tasted better if I used a different graham cracker.  I like Honey Maid Graham crackers. 

Here is my version I like my cookies soft and I thought the graham cracker cookie would soften from baking (like the Oreos from the slutty brownie) but they remained crunchy.  This is great if you love a crunchy cookie.

I wanted a thicker cookie so I did not flatten the dough that much.  Using my Goldtouch baking pans I made 24 cookies on one sheet and made about 18 cookies with the remaining batter.  That’s a lot of cookies!  

Baking these cookies and brownies was a nice break from my regular weekend of cake popping and making macarons.  My next goal is to tackle cakes, wish me luck!

Find me here on pinterest!


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