The Sweetest Crumb

Archive of ‘Recipes and Food Adventures’ category

Got Cracked Macarons?

Macaron Eton Mess

If you’ve tried making macarons before, you probably know how finicky they can be. The smallest variation in temperature, a slight amount of under or over beating the egg whites, or using bowls which aren’t impeccably clean can result in cookies which are far from perfect.

Cracked macaron shells – often result from not piping out the batter into rounds immediately after it is ready

However, the good news is that while the product may look imperfect, the cookies will generally still taste delicious. As my friends know, I can be a perfectionist when it comes to baking and any cookies which I deem unacceptable for others to eat or see are classified as the “rejects” and generally do not leave my house – for fear that someone will see them or, god forbid, eat the second rate baking! However, I am also very against wasting food. Thus, since it is somewhat impractical for me to eat all of the imperfect macarons which have resulted during my experimentation with past recipes, I have come up with a delicious dessert which can be made with the left over macaron shells. (more…)

Got Cracked Macarons?

Macaron Eton Mess

If you’ve tried making macarons before, you probably know how finicky they can be. The smallest variation in temperature, a slight amount of under or over beating the egg whites, or using bowls which aren’t impeccably clean can result in cookies which are far from perfect.

Cracked macaron shells – often result from not piping out the batter into rounds immediately after it is ready

However, the good news is that while the product may look imperfect, the cookies will generally still taste delicious. As my friends know, I can be a perfectionist when it comes to baking and any cookies which I deem unacceptable for others to eat or see are classified as the “rejects” and generally do not leave my house – for fear that someone will see them or, god forbid, eat the second rate baking! However, I am also very against wasting food. Thus, since it is somewhat impractical for me to eat all of the imperfect macarons which have resulted during my experimentation with past recipes, I have come up with a delicious dessert which can be made with the left over macaron shells. (more…)

Lavender Gin Gimlets

It’s the weekend!

Lavender Gin Gimlets

I’ve had a rough couple weeks at work with tonnes of overtime and stress so I was extra excited that the weekend has finally come (even though it will still be filled with work and busy times). To celebrate the weekend, I thought I would share this delicious lavender gin cocktail I threw together quickly. It is so easy and refreshing – a great reward for a long work week!

I picked up the lavender syrup on a whim at an Italian grocery store here in Edmonton. I realized that I have a soft spot for anything lavender flavoured, especially cocktails, because they remind me of my best friend. On a trip to San Francisco with friends a few years ago, me and my bestie had drinks at our trendy hotel bar one night and chatted with the bartender who threw together some cocktails for us. I generally don’t like super sugary cocktails so he made me a lavender gimlet – a drink made with gin and lime juice. I loved it and now the drink reminds me of laughing with my bestie so I decided it would be the perfect cocktail to recreate.

(more…)

Lavender Gin Gimlets

It’s the weekend!

Lavender Gin Gimlets

I’ve had a rough couple weeks at work with tonnes of overtime and stress so I was extra excited that the weekend has finally come (even though it will still be filled with work and busy times). To celebrate the weekend, I thought I would share this delicious lavender gin cocktail I threw together quickly. It is so easy and refreshing – a great reward for a long work week!

I picked up the lavender syrup on a whim at an Italian grocery store here in Edmonton. I realized that I have a soft spot for anything lavender flavoured, especially cocktails, because they remind me of my best friend. On a trip to San Francisco with friends a few years ago, me and my bestie had drinks at our trendy hotel bar one night and chatted with the bartender who threw together some cocktails for us. I generally don’t like super sugary cocktails so he made me a lavender gimlet – a drink made with gin and lime juice. I loved it and now the drink reminds me of laughing with my bestie so I decided it would be the perfect cocktail to recreate.

(more…)

Perfect Pastry Cream

I love pastry cream and am always tempted to eat it in spoonfuls when I make it!  It has the most delicate, sweet flavour and tastes absolutely perfect when made with real vanilla bean. I try and always use vanilla bean instead of extract – it truly makes a difference! The pastry cream can be used in cakes or tarts, to fill eclairs and of course for macarons!

Vanilla bean – scored with seeds removed

Pastry cream is a custard (made through the process of cooking together cream or milk and egg or yolk) and can take a few tries before you feel comfortable with the process. The mixture should be heated over gentle heat – it may clump up or curdle if heated too quickly. If you are worried about heating it too quickly, you can use a double boiler to make sure the heating is slow and even. Generally the pastry cream begins to thicken at about 70°C and should not get higher than about 80°C. A few degrees can really make the difference between perfect custard and a clumpy ruined one so this is definitely not a dessert you leave heating on the stove and walk away. (more…)

Perfect Pastry Cream

I love pastry cream and am always tempted to eat it in spoonfuls when I make it!  It has the most delicate, sweet flavour and tastes absolutely perfect when made with real vanilla bean. I try and always use vanilla bean instead of extract – it truly makes a difference! The pastry cream can be used in cakes or tarts, to fill eclairs and of course for macarons!

Vanilla bean – scored with seeds removed

Pastry cream is a custard (made through the process of cooking together cream or milk and egg or yolk) and can take a few tries before you feel comfortable with the process. The mixture should be heated over gentle heat – it may clump up or curdle if heated too quickly. If you are worried about heating it too quickly, you can use a double boiler to make sure the heating is slow and even. Generally the pastry cream begins to thicken at about 70°C and should not get higher than about 80°C. A few degrees can really make the difference between perfect custard and a clumpy ruined one so this is definitely not a dessert you leave heating on the stove and walk away. (more…)

Making Macarons

I thought it would be fitting to have my first post be about macarons since they are one of my favourite desserts. While the French have been making macarons for centuries, they have only become popular in Canada in the last few years. I became a little obsessed with them partially because they were one of the few things that I attempted numerous times and still did not get right. So naturally I decided that when I was in Paris this fall, it was a great opportunity to take a macaron course and learn from the experts how to perfect the cookie. The macaron recipe from the course is what I’m going to share.

There are two methods for making macaroons: the Italian and the French method. Both are used extensively by Parisian bakers and result in cookies which taste largely identical, but the Italian method yields more stable cookies. As macarons are very finicky, I opt for the more stable method. Regardless, macarons can be tricky to make and will likely require a few tries to perfect them. To help you succeed, read through the entire recipe and tips below before starting. (more…)

Making Macarons

I thought it would be fitting to have my first post be about macarons since they are one of my favourite desserts. While the French have been making macarons for centuries, they have only become popular in Canada in the last few years. I became a little obsessed with them partially because they were one of the few things that I attempted numerous times and still did not get right. So naturally I decided that when I was in Paris this fall, it was a great opportunity to take a macaron course and learn from the experts how to perfect the cookie. The macaron recipe from the course is what I’m going to share.

There are two methods for making macaroons: the Italian and the French method. Both are used extensively by Parisian bakers and result in cookies which taste largely identical, but the Italian method yields more stable cookies. As macarons are very finicky, I opt for the more stable method. Regardless, macarons can be tricky to make and will likely require a few tries to perfect them. To help you succeed, read through the entire recipe and tips below before starting. (more…)