Fried Polenta Cakes with Spicy Tomato-Kale Sauce and an Olive Oil Fried Egg

WOW this name is a mouthful. But trust me, every aspect of this recipe needed to be there, they work together to create one of the most comforting, magical, and deceivingly easy dinners.

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This past week I had a taste of what it would be like to live alone (my family was traveling but I still had work because adult life is nonsense), and wow I just don’t think I’m cut out for it. When left to my own devices, I grocery shop so irrationally it’s just embarrassing. For starters, I dropped $22 on saffron because I’d never tried it before (it was amazing and I made Risotto al Milanese and I regret NOTHING but that’s not the point), bought 3 different bottles of wine and a bottle of cognac for separate recipes and used half a cup of each, AND bought a selection of mixed berries to impulsively bake a pie (recipe for that coming soon!!).

It was only three days someone please help me get my life together. Anyway, let’s break this meal down shall we? These polenta rounds are pan-fried until crispy, then topped with a spicy tomato sauce (almost too spicy because I got carried away but I learned my lesson don’t worry), aaaaand as if it couldn’t get any better, a runny but crispy olive oil fried egg is plopped on top to make you feel like you’re eating fancy brunch while eating dinner on your couch. Topped with a downy sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese, please try to hold back your tears of joy as you eat this.

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Let’s go!!

Makes: 4 dinner servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: about an hour

Ingredients:

1 lb. polenta (I used already made and chilled polenta in tube-form, but you can make your own!)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
½ to ¾ tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
½ tsp anchovy paste
1 can crushed tomatoes
A splash of red wine (since I was already drinking it, but optional)
Handful of curly kale, rib removed and roughly chopped
4 eggs, for frying
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated

Steps:

1. In a saucepan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium and add the diced onions. Cook until the onions become soft and transparent. Stir in the minced garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking for just another minute, until garlic becomes fragrant but not brown and bitter. Add the anchovy paste and mix to combine.

2. Pour in your can of crushed tomatoes and stir, making sure all the contents are incorporated, and splash in the red wine if you want it! Turn the heat down slightly and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Toss in the kale and cook, covered, until it has wilted and softened, another 15 minutes.

3. While the sauce is cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium in a separate frying pan. Slice your polenta into circles about an inch thick, and fry on both sides (about 10 minutes per side), until they are golden brown and crispy. Once the polenta is done, in the same pan, add a tablespoon more olive oil per egg and allow it to get very hot (about a minute). Add your egg for frying (you can fit two at a time if necessary), and fry until the whites are opaque and the yolk is your desired consistency, about 2 minutes. Swirl the pan around as you cook to make sure nothing sticks, and baste your egg with the hot oil as necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

4. To serve, pile 3 to 4 polenta cakes on your plate, smother with a generous portion of sauce, and top with a fried egg. Add a generous grating of parmesan cheese and enjoy!!

xoxoxoD

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Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Blood Orange Buttercream

Hello everyone, Happy Friday! Congratulations on powering through another work week, I’m so proud of you! I don’t know what it was about this week that made it feel so long, even with the holiday Monday, what is that about? But now that we’re approaching the sweet, sweet weekend, why not reward yourself with a slice of this incredible double layer cake, with just the right balance of richness from the dark chocolate and brightness from the blood orange. It might seem like a weird combination, chocolate and citrus, but I PROMISE I’m not leading you astray here.

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Cakes have always been a weak spot for me, I can never seem to get the shape of them right, and stacking is always a huge challenge. I grew up making sheet cakes for birthdays, and only after I really started baking seriously did I dive into layer cakes, and I realized that I didn’t really like them. It always seemed like so much effort for a piece of cake. BUT, then I started to do some research, and I learned a few things. Number one, don’t level or cut your cakes until they’re completely cooled, and chilling them makes it easier. Number two, different cake batters yield different crumb texture, and different crumbs cut better than others. I had always thought that my go-to sheet cake recipe would work for layered cakes, but with a much looser crumb structure, I found that it would just fall apart when I tried to cut it, resulting in crumbly, uneven cake layers.

This recipe produces a much tighter cake batter (does that make sense? Can a cake batter be tight? I don’t know let’s just move on), and the combination of dark chocolate cocoa powder with some instant coffee granules (a secret ingredient used to make chocolate baked goods really pop) creates probably your new favorite cake ever. And, while I discovered that blood oranges don’t taste much different from regular oranges, I have been searching for them forEVER, and the beautiful natural pink color that they give the frosting just can’t be beaten.

Anywho, let’s bake!

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Makes: 1 double-layer cake
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 50-55 minutes
Total Time: ~2 hours

Dark Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

2¾ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line two 9 inch circular cake tins with parchment paper (or generously butter and flour them.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, making sure everything is evenly incorporated.

3. In a heat safe bowl, mix 2 cups of boiling water with the cocoa powder and espresso powder, whisking until completely smooth. Let cool.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or another large bowl with a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and mix. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

5. This next step will be done in parts, with the flour mixture being added in 3 parts, and the warm cocoa mixture being added in two. Start with the flour, add a third of the mixture slowly to avoid the flour flying out of the bowl. Mix until the batter is just incorporated, don’t over-mix!

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6. Bake the cakes (I bake them on a cookie sheet in case of spills), for 50-55 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through to ensure even cooking. Test with a wire cake tester or toothpick before removing.

7. Transfer the pans to a wire rack, loosen the edges with a spatula and let the cakes cool completely in the pans.

8. To level your cakes, use a thin serrated knife (like a bread knife) to cut evenly around the top of the cake to trim off the top dome and give your cakes an even surface for stacking. If it’s helpful, mark the line with toothpicks to keep your knife level. Remember, you can always trim a little more if you need to, but you can’t put it back if you’ve cut too much! Now on to the frosting…

Blood Orange Buttercream Ingredients:
adapted from The Vanilla Bean Blog, recipe here.

3 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
zest of one blood orange
¼ cup blood orange juice
2 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
4 cups powdered sugar
A few tbs milk, if needed

Steps:

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter until it becomes creamy. Slowly add in powdered sugar, cup by cup, beating until fully combined.

2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the zest and juice of the blood orange, vanilla, and salt. Mix until combined, then increase the speed of the mixer to medium and beat for about 5 minutes until fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk or so until you get the right consistency.

3. To ice the cake, place the first cake on your cake stand and add a dollop of frosting to the top, spreading evenly. Place the second cake on top and “crumb coat” your cake lightly, then chill for 30 minutes to an hour. This keeps all the dark crumbs in the first layer of frosting and not on the outside to ruin the presentation of your cake.

4. Use the remaining frosting to generously ice the cake, and top with any decoration that your heart desires- I went with blood orange slices, but you could use sprinkles, rosemary sprigs for color, the possibilities are endless!!

Yay now cut yourself a generous slice and put your feet up because you DESERVE IT! All the love xoxoxoD

French Onion Soup with Gruyere Toasts

About a month ago, my grandpa (one of the smartest cooks I know), gifted me his copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, and wow I have never been more excited or honored. I’ve been steadily building an arsenal of cookbooks, because there’s something really special about flipping through them (as opposed to constantly scrolling through my phone), turning to the same splattered pages to find an especially loved recipe covered in notes and annotations. As I was reading through this particular cookbook, it became more and more clear to me that these recipes were HARD. Like several hours and countless steps and French everywhere hard. BUT, then I came across the recipe for Soup À L’Oignon, and I knew it was the perfect first try. If you’re nervous about taking on a large cooking venture, soup is always the way to start- its recipes often allow for more wiggle room, which means that you’re free to experiment and less likely to make a meal-ruining mistake, plus the options are literally ENDLESS.

Traditionally, French Onion Soup is served “gratinee” with a lid of melted cheese on top and a circle of bread soaking up the liquid inside, but my lack of oven-safe soup crocks made this impossible. Instead, I give you these mini crostinis, brushed with olive oil and toasted, rubbed with a clove of garlic, and piled high with gruyere melted to perfection.

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The more bread the merrier am I right!!

The beauty of this soup is how the flavors develop in the slow 2 hour cooking process, and there just is no way to rush that kind of goodness. The key is the caramelizing of the onions, because obviously that’s the star of this dish and every other ingredient is there to enhance it’s rich, warm flavor. It’s also important to note that aside from the slicing of said onions, watch your eyes btw because I was CRYING, the hardest part about making this soup is opening the bottle of wine (and helping yourself to an obligatory while-I’m-cooking glass).

This is the perfect warming winter soup, and I’m pretty sure it’s magical because almost as soon as we had finished our bowls, we looked outside to see the most beautiful dusting of powdery snow illuminated by the street lamps.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that no matter how many people are actually home, I always cook for at least 10 people, so I was skeptical when the recipe claimed to serve 6-8 but only called for 2 quarts of stock, so I started messing around with the proportions of liquid. In the end, I’d say that Julia Child’s original recipe would probably serve 6-8 in small appetizer portions, but if you are looking to eat this for dinner as I was, this recipe will serve about the same number in larger portions. Let’s go!

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My favorite cooking companions- a good cookbook and yet another episode of The Office…anyone else??

Makes: 6-8 dinner portions
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: ~2.5 hours
Total Time: 3 hours

Soup Ingredients:

6 cups yellow onions, sliced (it seems like a lot, but they shrink a ton)
4 tbs salted butter
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp sugar (to help with caramelization)
¼ tsp ground thyme
4 tbs flour
8 cups beef stock + 2 cups water
¾ dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
3 tbs Cognac (a little goes a long way)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Grated gruyere or swiss cheese (to top)

Steps:

1. In a heavy-bottom soup pot, heat the butter and oil, and add in the sliced onions. Cook slowly with the pot covered for 15 minutes.

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I need to invest in a pair of goggles to chop this many onions again.

2. Uncover and raise the heat to medium. Add in the salt, sugar, and thyme, then stir. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even caramelization. While the onions are cooking, heat the stock and water in a separate pot to steaming, not quite boiling. Once the onions have turned a deep golden brown (to resemble the color of brown sugar), move to step 3.

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This is about halfway there! LOOK how much they shrink as they cook!!

3. At this point, add in the flour and cook for about 3 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste, stirring constantly.

4. Remove the soup pot from the heat and add in the heated stock, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with your spoon to incorporate all the delicious bits stuck to the bottom. Taste test here and adjust your salt and pepper as you see fit. (Tip: though I’ve never tried it personally, APPARENTLY if you find your soup over-salted, toss in a few halved potatoes, and they will naturally soak up some of the salt. The more you know!!)

5. Add the wine, and then simmer the soup partially uncovered for another 30 to 40 minutes. Just before you serve, stir in the cognac. When serving, I like to put some shredded cheese in the bowl before pouring in the soup so that it gets melty, and then top with several of the gruyere toasts (recipe below). Once the toast soaks up some of the broth it gets soft enough for you to break with your spoon and get some excellent cheese pulls. If you want a pop of green as well, you can always sprinkle some chopped parsley on top.

YUM!

Gruyere Toast Ingredients:

1 loaf french bread
2 cups shredded gruyere (or swiss if you’d prefer)
Olive Oil (for brushing)
Clove of garlic, peeled but whole

Steps: 

1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Slice the loaf into thin rounds and brush with olive oil. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, and toast until they begin to get golden on the tops, about 10 minutes.

2. Remove from the oven and rub the top of each piece of bread with the garlic clove (very carefully, the bread is SO hot). Top each toast with a generous amount of shredded cheese, and return to the oven. Broil on high for a few minutes, watching very carefully because the cheese can go from melty to burnt in a second.

3. Top your soup with as many of these as you like, and marvel at how such simple ingredients can taste so magical.

Enjoy!! xoxoxoD

This post is dedicated to Jake, I can only hope to be half the cook you are, thank you for your wisdom and cookbooks!!

Death by Baked Gnocchi (and Garlic Bread)

I don’t know if this is just a thing in my family, but for as long as I can remember, Friday night has been pizza night. It makes sense, the last day of the work week deserves a comfort food treat, but here’s the thing: sometimes you just gotta switch it up. Tradition is great, but a little change never hurt anyone, ESPECIALLY when that change involves a slow-simmered tomato sauce, pillowy gnocchis (okay I know gnocchi is already plural but shhhhh), and bubbly melty cheese.

This week has felt like seven in one, anyone else feel like that? I’ve truly never been more excited for a long weekend, and plan on doing nothing except maybe baking something with the blood oranges that I just had to have last week. Any suggestions? I’m leaning towards some kind of meringue pie maybe? Anywho, this beautiful dish was my reward to myself for making it through the week in one piece, and WOW was it worth it. It starts with the classic and decadent Marcella Hazan butter and onion tomato sauce. If you’ve never made this sauce, I almost envy you for being able to try it for the first time, because you will NEVER look back. It’s simple, a little sweet, and soo smooth. It’s also pretty foolproof, with a grand total of 3 ingredients, the hardest thing you’ll have to do is open the can of crushed tomatoes.

I chose to use store bought gnocchi for this meal, for the reliability and to save time, but if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can make your own! Then it’s really all about assembly, and since each component is cooked on its own, the sole purpose of the baking is to make the cheese all bubbly and golden. Once that’s all done, serve it up with some garlic bread and prepare to lie on the floor in a food coma for approximately 4 hours.

Let’s get cooking!!

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A beautiful mess of cheesy goodness!!

Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Total: about 1 hour 15 minutes

Gnocchi Ingredients:

2 packages potato gnocchi
1 can crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano but don’t stress if you can’t find them)
1 large yellow onion
4 tbs salted butter
2 balls of fresh mozzerella

Steps:

1. Add crushed tomatoes to a medium saucepan. Peel the onion and cut in half (that’s literally it), and drop the halves in with the tomatoes. Cut the butter into single tablespoons and mix everything together briefly. Simmer this mixture on low for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the softened onions before proceeding. Congratulations, you will never buy a jar of pasta sauce again!

2. While your sauce is simmering, bring a pot of water to a boil. When you have about 5-10 minutes left on the sauce, season the water generously with salt and cook your gnocchi. They’re cooked when they float to the top of the water and remain there. Using a large slotted spoon or spider strainer, scoop the gnocchi out of the water and add them straight into the pot with the tomato sauce. At this point, preheat your oven to 350ºF.

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The waiting for the cooking is the worst part don’t you think?

3. Cut one ball of mozzarella into cubes and stir into the gnocchi and sauce so that it begins to melt, and transfer the whole delicious mixture into an 8x8in square baking dish. Cut several slices from the second ball of mozzarella and place on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes, and broil for the last few to make the cheese on top golden and perfect. Be careful not to look away with the broiler on, it goes from nothing to burnt REALLY fast.

4. Serve immediately with one (or 6) pieces of garlic bread (recipe follows below) and a glass of red wine because you deserve it.

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Garlic Bread Ingredients:

1 loaf of ciabatta or italian bread
1 stick salted butter, softened
4 gloves garlic, minced
3 tsp dried basil

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, garlic, and basil.

2. Slice the loaf of bread in half and generously spread the garlic mixture on both halves. Put the halves back together and wrap in tinfoil. Bake for 15 minutes, then unwrap and separate the halves, and bake for another 5 minutes. Slice the halves and serve warm!!

Enjoy!! xoxoxo

 

Valentine’s Day (or Any Holiday or Every Day) Sugar Cookies

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, you know when your weeks just start to get away from you? That’s been me recently, despite how much I complain that I’m bored, I feel like there’s never enough time to get things done. These winter months are always tough, and what better way to brighten your mood than with sugar cookies? But not just any sugar cookies, an amalgamation of the world’s BEST sugar cookies. This recipe that I use is sort of a mix of two of the incredible Molly Yeh’s most beautiful cookie recipes, found here and here. If you don’t know Molly Yeh or her blog found here, 10/10 would recommend, in case you haven’t noticed I’m a huge fangirl. In both of the above recipes, almond and vanilla extract are combined with the optional sprinkling of bright lemon zest to create truly the best sugar cookie you will ever eat. Both cookies are smothered in pretty pastel glaze, but the fun is in the decoration, which is where your creative license comes into play. Whether you feel like adding sprinkles, piping, or leaving them smoothly glazed is up to you, but WOW you’ll never eat a plain sugar cookie again and that’s a guarantee.

I’ve made a variation of these cookies three times now, guess how long on average they last in the cookie jar? If you’re thinking around two days, you’d be right, which is really saying something since this recipe ends up making over 3 dozen cookies.

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In case you’re wondering, I did purchase a marble pastry board for photo opportunities like this.
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Here’s the Christmas cookies, which we chose to decorate with buttercream PLUS sprinkles and glaze, and even though I insisted on millennial pink, look how sweet and festive they are!

Before we get started, a quick note about Valentine’s Day- this day can either be a super bummer or such a happy day, but it doesn’t have to be all about dating. For those who are feeling down or unlucky, I wold just like to say that you don’t need one day to remind yourself how many people love you! You are surrounded by friends and family who love you every day and not just because Hallmark told them to, so treat yourself and your galentines or palentines (or your someone if you’ve got one) to a batch of these cookies and remember that you are LOVED, no matter what! Okay so now that we’re all on the same page here, without further ado, let’s get baking!

*As a side note, I know these posts have been baking-heavy lately, but I promise, savories are coming!!*

Makes: around 3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 1½ hours (including decorating)
Bake Time: 10-13 minutes
Total: ~2 hours

Cookie Dough:

3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 cup salted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup powdered sugar
zest from ½ lemon (if you’re feeling fancy)
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp almond extract

Steps:

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt- almond flour tends to clump easily, if you find this is the case, you may want to sift these dry ingredients together first. Keep to the side.

2. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a separate bowl with a hand mixer), cream the softened butter* and both sugars until the mixture is fluffy, around 3-4 minutes. At this time you can add the lemon zest if you’re choosing to add it, but feel free to switch it up with other flavors too because I’m sitting here thinking to myself that I bet orange or lime would be refreshing too! Add each egg one at a time, and then finally both extracts.
*Forget to leave your butter out to soften? Never fear! To achieve perfect softness every time, place the whole stick of butter (with the paper wrapper on) in the microwave for 15 seconds, turn it over, then microwave for 7 more seconds. Voila! Soft butter immediately.

3. Begin adding your flour mixture into the bowl of the stand mixer (veeeery carefully, unless you want to end up wearing most of the flour). Mix until blended, for me it took about 3 minutes in my ancient Kitchen Aid.

4. If you’re making this dough ahead of time, you can wrap and refrigerate now, but if you’re like me and think waiting is truly the worst, you can actually also get rolling right away. Start by preheating your oven to 350ºF, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Flour your surface and your rolling pin, and roll out a third of the dough to about ½ inch thick- the thicker you roll the dough, the fewer cookies you’ll get, but the softer they’ll be. Cut into the desired shapes using whatever cookie cutters you have on hand (I didn’t have festive ones so these got the biscuit cutter treatment), and lay onto your prepped baking sheets. This dough doesn’t spread very much, so you can lay them out about 1 inch apart or so. Bake the cookies until they’re just about to turn brown, but haven’t yet in order to maximize the softness- start checking at around the 10 minute mark. Let them cool on the cookie sheet at first (they’ll be really soft when they first come out and if you try to move them they’ll most likely break), and then transfer to a wire cooling rack until completely cooled.

Glaze:

4 cups powdered sugar
4 tbs light corn syrup
5-6 tbs whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
pinch of kosher salt
desired food coloring

Steps:

1. Mix all if these ingredients together (or split into multiple bowls for different colors.)

2. Dip the tops of each cookie into the glaze upside down and completely parallel, so that the whole top surface of the cookie is covered. Lift up and swirl off the excess over the bowl, it’s okay if it’s a little uneven, once you replace the cookie on the rack, the glaze will even itself out. (Make sure you put some parchment paper under your racks to catch dripping glaze, you’ll save SO much cleaning time later.) If you’re simply adding sprinkles, do so now before the glaze dries because once it does, the sprinkles will roll right off. If you’re looking for more decorating fun, keep reading!

Buttercream:

3½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
3-4 tbs whole milk
food coloring (if desired)

Steps:

1. Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Add in powdered sugar a little at a time, until all is in. Add in the extracts, and then add the milk as necessary, you may not need all of it depending on your desired consistency.

2. Divide into bowls and add food coloring as desired, then spoon into piping bags (or ziplock bags with the corner snipped) fitted with a piping tip and decorate away!

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You can pipe as little or as much as you want, get crazy with it, because you can never have too much frosting!!

Enjoy!! xoxoxo

(This recipe post on this day is dedicated to Lu, it feels extra far today and I miss you terribly.)

 

Maple Macarons

Nothing was more exciting to me than the day that I realized I could make these exquisite little beauties in my own kitchen. I mean, why wouldn’t I when a single macaron is like $4 otherwise…it’s ROBBERY I tell you. The wonderful thing about macarons is that basically any flavor combination you can think of- it works! Peanut Butter and Jelly? Heck yeah! Toasted marshmallow? SO good. Or literally any fruit- my favorites tend to be raspberry and passion fruit.

A word of caution, the first time I made macarons, it did NOT go well. Not having any reference to measure my success, I didn’t know what the consistency of the batter should be, how much they would spread, etc. BUT, the more I made them, the easier it became, and now I’m here to make sure you don’t have the same troubles that I did. The key is actually piping out your meringue circles, and then letting them sit for at least 20 minutes until they form a “skin” of sorts on the outside, which allows them to bake properly.

Today’s batch of macarons were filled with maple buttercream; now I know ~technically~ the season for maple treats is over, but is it ever really over? I certainly don’t think so. This filling is rich and buttery, the cookies are crisp on the outside and chewy inside, and together, it’s like eating a stack of pancakes in a single cookie, so really, this is me giving you permission to have cookies for breakfast. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

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Makes: around 2 dozen macarons
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 10-12 minutes
Total: 50 minutes to 1 hour

Ingredients:

Macarons:
2¾ cups ground almonds
2 cups powdered sugar
6 egg whites (+ 1 extra egg white)
1 cup granulated sugar

Maple Buttercream:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Steps:

1. Sift together the ground almonds and powdered sugar, making sure there are no lumps.

2. Clean a mixing bowl, making sure there is no trace of grease (a greasy bowl will keep your egg whites from whipping), and beat egg whites until they’re frothy, about 2 minutes. Add in a third of the granulated sugar, and beat until the sugar is dissolved. Repeat until all the sugar has been added, and continue to mix until soft peaks form.

3. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the sifted flour and powdered sugar into the meringue until the mixture is smooth. If the mixture isn’t thin enough, beat the extra egg white until frothy and add sparingly until the desired consistency is achieved. It should be thick enough that a piped circle retains its shape, but thin enough that you can smooth out the top.

4. Pipe the macarons into 2-inch circles with about an inch in between them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Tap the sheets on the counter several times to pop any air bubbles, and then let the cookies sit on the counter for 20 minutes, or until you can touch the tops and the batter stays put. Preheat your oven to 325ºF while the cookies are sitting.

5. Bake the macarons for 15 minutes, until a crust forms. Allow the cookies to mostly cool on the sheets, and then peel away from the parchment paper gently. *If you pull away a cookie and the bottom remains stuck to the paper, it means they haven’t dried out enough, try putting them back in the oven for a minute and then pull away when they have cooled again.*

6. To make the frosting, cream the softened butter and sugar together until smooth, then add in maple syrup, vanilla, and salt, beating until the frosting is thick and spreadable.

7. Match up the cookies so that they are paired with a cookie of the same size. Pipe a small amount of frosting onto one cookie, then sandwich with the second cookie.

Enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee, preferably on a fancy plate because you deserve it! xoxoxD