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{The infamous} Pierre Herme Macarons

Whether it's a cute bunny, or a porky pig...

or Hello Kitty, bumble bee, even a caterpillar

or a fruity macaron...

Whatever shape and flavor macarons you are going to make, you must try the infamous Pierre Herme recipe.  So far, it's a fail proof recipe.


You’ll need:
150 grams almond powder
150 grams confectioners' sugar
56 grams fresh egg whites, room temperature
150 grams granulated sugar
38 grams water
56 grams old egg whites, room temperature

Sift the almond powder and confectioners' sugar together. Set aside.

Combine the granulated sugar and water in a saucepan and cook until it reaches 245F. Don't stir the syrup as you will end up with crystallized mass.

While the sugar is cooking, start whipping the aged egg white on medium speed until it forms a soft peak.
When the sugar is ready, pour the cooked syrup in a steady stream over the meringue with the mixer running on slow. It will splatter, but don't try to scrape them into the meringue as you would get lumps.
Increase the speed to high and continue beating until you have a stiff glossy meringue.

Mix the fresh egg white with the almond-sugar mixture and blend together.
Fold in the meringue into this almond mixture in addition.
Add about a third of the meringue and fold progressively, then proceed with another third of the meringue and fold it in.
Don't overfold the batter as you would have a gloppy mess.
Consistency is really important at this point, some people say that it should flow like a lava. If you're not sure, try piping a little dollop and see if it leaves a peak that will not spread or if it spreads too fast. You should still see a little peak after you pipe, but the peak should disappear or almost disappear after you pipe a row of them.

Put the batter in a piping bag with round tip (approximately 9mm in diameter) and pipe the macaron batter on top of silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325F for about 14-15 minutes. Once baked, slide the silpat or parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Peel each macaron shell carefully.

You can fill them with ganache or flavored buttercream. Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften up before consuming.

{Cupcakes}: Boston Creme (Cream)

source: Cupcake Station
It has been a month I haven't been to my local farmer's market.  I am motivated to go, 'not' because of the fresh vegetables and fruits, but for the 'Boston Cream' cupcake.  There are two vendors that sell cupcakes, one sells Salted Caramel Cupcakes and one sells many varieties of cupcakes.  I got to try so many cupcakes every week and Boston cream is my favorite.  It is very simple to make.

Here is my 'quick' version of Boston Cream Cupcakes:
1 package (18 oz.) yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix.
1/4 cup French vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix. You can find this with the Jellos.
2 cup milk
1 T butter
Make cupcakes according to package directions.  Cool completely.
Whisk pudding mix and 1 cup of milk in medium bowl until well blended.  Cover and refrigerate.
Poke a small hole on top of cupcake with spoon or tip of knife.  Spoon pudding into the hole.  You may use a pastry bag or zip -lock bag to fill the hole but I found it faster to just spoon the pudding into the hole.
Microwave dark chocolate on low-medium temperature for 30 seconds.  Repeat until all chocolate melts. Add milk and 1 T butter and stir, if you don't see a smooth ganache as desired, add more milk.  Cool to room temperature.
Frost tops of cupcakes with chocolate ganache.

Tips: When making the chocolate ganache with microwave, it is important to change the setting to low, medium or 50.  Do a 30 seconds increments, stir and put it back in microwave until you get a smooth ganache. High temperature and long duration will cause chocolate to crumble.
You may also do the traditional way to make chocolate ganache, by putting chocolate into a glass / stainless steel bowl over boiling water.  Stir until chocolate melts. add milk and butter as necessary. Cool to room temperature before putting it on cupcakes.

Source: the Kitchn