MMmacarons!

First off, just so we are clear, this post is about the super yummy French “macaron” (pronounced “mah-kah-rohn”), NOT the coconutty “macaroons” (pronounced “mah-kah-roo-ns”). I have nothing against macaroons, they are also yummy, but this post is about macarons. Now that that’s out of the way, on with the post!

I first ate macarons when I was vacationing in Paris, France in 2011. Knowing that they are of French origin, I did my research beforehand and found one of the best places to get them – Pierre Hermé. First thought when I tried them: “these are morsels of heavenly goodness!!!” (Second thought: I want more!!! ..I’m pretty sure over the course of the week I had about 20-30. I would have had more but they are expensive!) Despite this deep love for them, however, I haven’t eaten many since then. Well a few weeks ago, I was visiting a friend and we got on the topic of macarons. Long story short, she had a cookbook all about macarons and asked if I would like to borrow it – naturally I said yes!

Well, I finally got around to making them this week, I was a little disappointed with myself for not checking the actual temperature of my oven (i.e. not what the screen on the oven says but the ACTUAL temperature using an oven thermometer), which the cookbook had told me to do, until I was baking my second batch. My oven is only a year old (or so) so I thought, “set to 320, it will be 320″. Unfortunately this was not the case! So one batch was much more brown than they should have been  – that being said, it didn’t stop me from using them anyways. I made an almond custard filling to go with the almond (plain) flavoured macarons, and oh-so carefully sandwiched the macarons together, then I left them in the fridge for 24 hours. (**NOTE. Don’t eat macarons in the first 24 hours, they need time to set! If you do you will be disappointed as they are fairly crunchy.)

The time finally came to taste my creations. I took a bite… and once again was in heaven!! Even the ones that were overcooked somehow transformed into something yummy (although not as good as the properly cooked batch haha). They were so good in fact I ate 4, and my family had their fair share as well! They aren’t overly complicated and only take about 2-3 hours to make, so I think I will be making a lot of these in the future!

Macarons are really wonderfully. They look cute, taste great, make great presents and you can even freeze them for a few months. Also the variety of flavours is practically endless! Oh and the best part? They are naturally gluten-free since they are made from ground almonds!!!! What’s that? You have a nut allergy? Well it turns out there’s a NUT-FREE receipe, using quinoa flakes, in this cookbook too!! So I encourage everyone to either go out and buy some macarons or make them yourselves, right now! You will not be disappointed!! For those interested in the cookbook I used, it’s called ” “Mad about Macarons” by Jill Colonna.

Cheers and enjoy!
Rhi

Macarons

My Journey with Coconut Oil (Intro)

This is an introduction to a series of posts I will be writing all about coconut oil!

For a long time now I’ve read many blogs and articles about the uses and benefits of coconut oil. However, despite all the talk I can’t help but wonder if it’s really that amazing. Instead of just wondering and leaving it at that, I’ve decided to test it out myself! The list of its supposed uses is extremely lengthy so I won’t be able to try all of them but I shall tackle some of the more popular ones.

Here are some of the uses I will be discussing in this series.
Using it:

  • in cooking and baking
  • on your hair 
  • on you skin
  • dental care 

Although only four points, they can (and will be) expanded further.
I am in no way an expert, simply a somewhat adventurous gal looking for answers and healthier options! So I hope you will all join me as I explore the world of coconut oil! (Feel free to leave comments and questions too!)

Cheers,
Rhi

Quote of the Week

“Even when the sky is heavily overcast, the sun hasn’t disappeared. It’s still there on the other side of the clouds.”

Once again from the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. I thought this quote was very appropriate considering the weather we’ve been getting here in Toronto. Stay positive everyone! 🙂

Baileys Cupcake!

I promised you all a photo of my chocolate Baileys cupcake… well I forgot to take photos of them! I’m sorry! In all the rush to make them and get them to the party I completely forgot! But I do have a photo of the exact same cupcake recipe made by a friend. Instead of adding Baileys to the whip cream she added melted chocolate, but other than that they are essentially the same cupcake!

Here is the recipe for those interested in trying these super yummy, super moist cupcakes!
1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
3 Eggs (at room temperature)
1/4 Cup Oil (I use Coconut Oil)
1/2 Cup Agave or Honey (or combine the two)

1. Mix the dry ingredients.
2. Blend the wet ingredients.
3. Combine and mix the dry and wet.
4. Line muffin tins with muffin cups and scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into each.
5. Bake at 350 degrees celsius. 15-20 minutes.

For the topping, all I did was whip whipping cream and added Baileys. How much you add will depend on how strong you want it.

That’s all for today!
Cheers,
Rhi

So much whip cream!

This past weekend, in celebration of my father and sister’s birthdays, I made something I’ve wanted to make for a long time… Roll cake! Too be honest, I’m not sure what they call it here (maybe Jelly Roll?) but in Japan they called it roll cake. Every where you look in Japan you can find roll cakes (along with macarons and cutely shaped breads). I lived in Japan for a year, returning in 2010, and ever since then I’ve wanted to try my hand at making one of those cakes. Why haven’t I until now? No idea really, but on Saturday I decided to give it a go.

The process wasn’t all that difficult, although I did run into a few bumps along the way.
1. I used my great-aunt’s sponge cake recipe (adapting it to make it gluten-free, of course); and poured it into a 1 inch deep baking sheet.

2. While the cake was baking, I sliced some strawberries and left them to soak in some sugar water.

3. Once the cake was cooled, I whipped some heavy cream (and a little sugar) to use as both the filling and topping.

4.Next came the assembly! I slathered the cake in whip cream (which had thickened up quite a bit) and then took the time to add the strawberries, one by one. I guess in my excitement to finish the cake, I forgot that putting the cream and strawberries right to the edge of   the cake was not a good idea. As I started to roll the cake, there was too much filling at the beginning and thus it got pushed out the sides and further down the cake! “Oh well,” I thought, “it just means I get to eat all that filling now”, and I kept rolling my cake.

5.Once I finished rolling the cake (and after making sure it didn’t want to unroll) I covered the outside in more whip cream! Safe to say, this wasn’t the healthiest of cakes, although it could have been worse… right?

End result: Although it wasn’t a perfectly round roll cake, it definitely was delicious!! I was in heaven! (Although I’m starting to think I’m always in heaven when I’m eating good food haha). The biggest compliment was seeing my father, who is a very picky eater, devour his slice and go back for more! Safe to say that yet again, I was a very happy baker!

Roll Cake!

You would think after making (and eating) all that whip cream, I’d be sick of it? Well, apparently not! This coming weekend I’m off to another birthday event and I’ll be bringing chocolate cupcakes with Baileys whip cream topping! I’ll be sure to post pictures next week!

Hope you are all having a wonderful week!
Cheers,
Rhi