On The Menu :: Macarons and an Orange Chiffon Cake

Hi everyone! Missed me much? 😛

My excuse is that I’ve been busy the last couple of weeks, experimenting with new macaron recipes and techniques, while at the same time, working and doing all other chores!

Although I’m still battling with hollow-ish macarons, I have to say they’re looking pretty damn good 😀 They also taste pretty awesome! I mean, who doesn’t like meringue??!! I’d attribute my macaron success to the Italian Meringue method which really does produce a much more stable batter for amateur bakers to work with. It does take a little more effort, what with having to whip up the egg whites as you’re preparing the sugar syrup but it’s not impossible since you should be using a stand mixer.

After two batches of macarons using the Italian Meringue method, I think I’ve got it down pat and would be pretty comfortable using this very recipe for the future. There’s nothing that I need to tweak really; it’s more my technique that needs to be worked on:

1. I’d like to increase the amount of egg whites I’m currently using because it’s such a small quantity that my stand mixer takes forever to whip it up and that results in a broken meringue and thus, hollow shells.

2. I’ll also pipe my macarons and allow them to rest, one batch at a time. The first time I used the Italian Meringue recipe, I remember piping a lot of macarons out at the same time and the feet turned out fine. The second time, however, some of my macarons had uneven feet which apparently is because of OVER-resting. For my third attempt, I’ll definitely pipe my macarons out one baking sheet at a time and see if it makes a difference.

3. I’ll be checking in on my macarons at the 12 minute mark — 15 minutes produced much too over-cooked macarons, ie some were slightly browned.

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| Raspberry Jam Macarons (above) and Pandan Kaya Macarons (below) |

After a very long time too, I finally baked a chiffon cake, my kryptonite. I think I’ve found THE recipe and will be using this as the foundation for different flavours in the near future because my cake was tall, light, fluffy AND spongey – MMM YUMYUM! Alton noted though that it was SALTY so I may have to go easy on the salt in the future. I reckon instead of 1/4 teaspoon, I should simply eyeball “a pinch”.

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I know I’m no baking extraodinaire but I’ve been toying with the idea of selling some of my bakes. Any one out there with any experience selling to cafes or even to friends and family? I’d love some advice on how else to get started… For now, close friends, family and colleagues have been my guinea pigs/taste testers 😛 I mean, word-of-mouth IS the best form of advertising 🙂

Bon appetit, mes amies et la prochaine fois  🙂 xx

Macarons :: The Beginnings

For months now I’d toyed with the idea of baking macarons but had always put it off because the task just seemed too daunting, what with the thousands of horror stories I’ve come across.

Then one day, a couple of weeks ago, I woke up and thought “Today’s the day – I’m gonna make me some macarons!” And made some macarons I did indeed.

The very first recipe and method I used for that virgin attempt was BraveTart’s French Macaron recipe which can be found here and boy, did the results surprise me because I think my macarons turned out pretty decent!

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| I spy with my little eye… feet! |

What I took away from this attempt was how absolutely tedious making macarons truly are. I was beyond tired by the time I was done baking. It didn’t help too that I started baking after dinner – not the best decision I ever made but my impulses, they do get the best of me.

I wasn’t happy too that my macarons didn’t have nice flat bases. I only later realised that my macarons were actually slightly undercooked! OOPS. Regardless, my macarons were still super yummo and it gave me the confidence to attempt a second batch.

Since BraveTart’s recipe worked for me the first time round, I decided to use it again. This time, however, I did a few things differently:

1. I used non-stick baking paper, instead of my silicon baking macaron mat.

2. I made my own almond meal and used the food processor to mix the almond meal and icing sugar together.

3. I allowed the macarons to “rest” before being baked.

Once again, my macarons were edible – I mean, who doesn’t like sweet baked meringues? But this batch was definitely over-baked because I popped them back into the oven for an extra 5 minutes when they didn’t just slide off the baking paper. Also, I thought I’d “freehand” the piping – BIG MISTAKE because I got BIG MACARONS. OMG, they were massive. Not in the least bit dainty. And euuuww… I got frills! Not feet!

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So, I’ve decided that for my third attempt, I’d like to try my hand at the Italian Meringue method which is supposed to produce a very stable meringue that apparently is almost impossible to over-mix.

Gah! Wish me luck! And if you have ANY tips/advice on baking macarons, send them my way! 🙂 Have a great week ahead, y’all! xx

What’s in a baby person?

I’ll be honest – I’m one of those annoying people who coos over babies, puppies and kittens. I’ll gladly pick up a baby, ANY BABY, and sing to them, cradle and rock them in my arms and pepper them with lots of kisses. 

I suppose that makes me a “baby person”? 

I get that a lot – the whole, “Oh you’re wonderful with children!” I usually just put it down to me currently being a childcare worker but when I think about it, I have ALWAYS loved babies/toddlers/children. I don’t know what it is but I suppose I do have a way with them? And no, I don’t think it’s because of my wide repertoire of nursery rhymes 😛 

So I got to thinking – are you only a baby person because the baby isn’t yours? What if I’m horrible at bringing up my own child when the time comes? What if for some strange obscure reason my baby hates the sound of my voice and my bony arms? Why do I feel as if I have expectations to meet before I even have a child of my own?

Should I start being less of a baby person in public and just coo at baby pictures in private?

I’ve come to the conclusion that just as I’ve learnt to NOT ask married couples why they aren’t popping babies out and to NOT ask when they’re planning on doing so, I reckon we should, similarly, go easy on comments ranging from “WOW! You’re great with babies!” to “You’ll be so good when you have your own children.”

You’re welcome, however, to tell me that I’d be perfect as the next token Asian on Play School and The Wiggles. To that I’d say, hell yea! Call me, ABC 🙂 Let’s talk.

xx