January 27, 2016

Macarons and Desserts Book Giveaway

I love making desserts, but mostly enjoy eating them! My family encourages me to bake desserts more than healthy meals :)
paris plates
I find beautiful sets like this colourful 8" diameter porcelain Paris Dessert Plates encourage my enthusiasm to bake desserts. I love serving homemade delectable desserts on this set of 4 plates. The plates have assorted designs with uniquely illustrated vintage Parisian flair and comes in a beautiful gift box.
I checked out a couple of encouraging dessert books from the DK Food and Drink Boutique and tried a few recipes and love the results.

Desserts cookbook by Caroline Bretherton and Kristan Raines has more than 400 delicious dessert ideas and recipes. I enjoyed learning from and looking through 68 classic desserts from around the world such as New York cheesecake, crème brûleé, crêpes, macarons, meringues, and more. Having the step-by-step photography and ideas for variations is helpful for us to master the classics.

mary berry dessert cookbook
I first got to know Mary Berry when I watched The Great British Baking Show. I was excited to go through Mary Berry's collection of sweet and savoury recipes in her cookbook Baking with Mary Berry. The desserts with colourful pictures are encouraging to try, and I am looking forward to make the desserts. There are about 100 recipes for breakfast goods to cookies, cakes, pastries, and pies, to special occasion desserts such as cheesecake, soufflés, Almond Tart.
I have tried different macaron recipes that was a little complicated, and I didn't get results I liked. I am glad the macaron recipe on the Desserts cookbook gave me results that I am pleased with. I still need to practice piping it and getting the shape, but I got the feet and the taste :) I found the macarons that I baked on the silicone macaron mat came out better than the ones on the parchment paper, so I recommend using the mat. 

Important tips...
  • The egg whites must be at room temperature. Keep the egg whites on the counter for at least an hour before whipping it. 
  • Make sure the almond is ground finely. Measure the ingredients and then grind the almonds again with the icing sugar and sift it using a sieve before folding it into the whipped egg mixture.
  • Do not handle the whipped eggs too much when adding the ground almonds and icing sugar.
  • Leave the piped macarons on the counter for at least 30 minutes to an hour, and when you touch the top it should not feel sticky.
  • After baking make sure to leave it on the tray for a few minutes before placing it on a wire rack.
egg holder
In most baking recipes we are encouraged to use room temperature eggs. found using this white porcelain Egg Crate allows me to keep eggs out until I need on the counter without it rolling off.
For this macaron recipe you will need...
2 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup icing or confectioners sugar

Put the egg whites in an electric mixture and beat it till it has soft peaks. Gradually add the white sugar and beat until the mixture is glossy white and holds peaks.

Pulse the ground almonds with the icing sugar until it is fine and sift it. Discard the pieces that do not pass through.

Fold the almonds and icing sugar gradually into the egg white mixture using a rubber spatula just enough to incorporate it, about 30 to 40 strokes. The mixture should be viscous or thick ribbon like consistency and shiny, not runny. Do not over mix or under mix.

Put the mixture into a piping bag and pipe 40 macarons shells. This recipe makes 20 macarons. 

Pipe 1" circles holding the piping bag vertically, leave about an inch apart as it will lightly spread. I found using the mat helped with this process. After piping 20 in each baking tray firmly tap or bang the baking tray on the work surface, so the peaks level. You can also dampen the end of your finger and push the peaks lightly. Leave the macarons at room temperature on the counter for about 30 minutes to an hour. When you touch the top gently the macaron should not be sticky.

Bake on the top rack of a 300F preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. It is baked if the surface of the shell is set, but delicate and it comes out easily from the mat. It is easy to use a silicone mat or non stick baking sheet or the macarons will stick to the baking paper.

Let the baked macarons rest on the baking sheet for about 15 to 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I applied buttercream icing by beating 4 tbsp softened unsalted butter with 1 cup of icing sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Filled macarons can be kept for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container.
desserts cookbook
If you are in Canada and would like to win a copy of the Desserts cookbook then enter the giveaway through the rafflecopter below before February 25. Please leave comments and follow my social media networks to be eligible to win.
Update: The winner is Luzviminda

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