Saturday, March 31, 2012

Marshmallow Madness & March's Funny Food Blogger Posts

A few weeks ago along with my friend Debbie from Ready4Air, I took the crosstown bus to Chelsea Market to meet Shauna Server at Posman Books for her Marshmallow Madness book signing.

The first marshmallows I ever made were from a recipe on Shauna's blog, Piece of Cake. They came out perfect and in the numerous times I have made marshmallows since I have always used her recipe, just switching out the flavors and colors.

Shauna was sweet and gracious and brought samples! There were vanilla bean, concord grape and mint chocolate chip marshmallows sitting in front with a come hither look just waiting to be tried. I sampled the concord grape and was not disappointed. They were lusciously delish.

I bought Shauna's book and have spent a good deal of time leafing through it and marveling at her creativity. Cute Fact: The book itself has a cushy cover that somehow even feels like a marshmallow. Puffy and colorful.  I highly recommend the book if you love marshmallows, are a mallow maker of any level of expertise or are just looking for inspiration. Don't let the cuteness fool you. There is great info in the book. She covers the process from A-Z and from fruity to boozy, the recipes are wonderful. The book is so cute and cheerful, it makes me smile.

Onto other things that made me smile this month. Here are some funny food blogger posts:

If You Can Make That You Can Make This's The Wednesday Tipple - The Steadier, for Frazzled Nerves and Catastrophe.

Food For the Thoughtless' I Won't Eat Kale Poem

Cake Wrecks' Now That's a Bad Day

Lentil Breakdown's My Girl Scout Cookie Cartel Makeover

Anger Burger's My Mother F#$king Weeknight TReat (as much as I love The Kitchen, this cracked me up)

Thursday Night Smackdown's If All My Friends Jump Off a Bridge, I Hope They Have a Collective Funeral.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jeweled Easter Eggs

Ever since I overdid it making candy jewels for these babies...

I have been looking for the opportunity to use up the approximately 1 million I still have. Jeweled Easter aggs seemed like a no brainer.

First I dyed the eggs using glitter easter egg dye.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Peanut Spice Sticks with Orange Glaze

One day last week I was on my way out the door to the farmers market when I turned around still with my empty bags in hand and headed straight for my pile of German cooking magazines. Over Christmas when we were back visiting our home and family I had picked up a slew of them.

There is nothing about these cookies that particularly screams "Christmas" but I was intrigued by the flavors and saved it to try later. For some reason I thought of it out of the blue and sat down with the pile of magazines on my lap and flipped through them until I found it and set it aside to try out.

Finally running down the stairs and mide stride to Union Square, I ran smack into someone who made me an offer I could not refuse. More about that at another time. So if it hadn't been for this recipe I probably would not have had this new opportunity come my way. Funny how life works sometimes.

The dough is kneaded together by hand and it comes together quickly. The cookie sticks themselves are supposed to be twisted. They definitely look prettier that way in the magazine but I found the dough crumbled when I tried to turn them. Net time I will roll the dough thinner and chop the nuts more finely to try and remedy that. These are amazing. Sweet, spicy and flavorful with almost a shortbread-like consistency. Don't let the nutmeg, cinnamon, clove combo deter you from waiting until December to try them out. The spices don't make them taste "Christmassy" but rather add deep flavor.   

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fennel Macarons with Vanilla Fennel Candy Buttercream Filling

Closing out this macaron week are these unusual and flavorful beauties. I was inspired to use fennel in the shells when spotting the powder but when I saw the candy coated fennel seeds in my local spice store market I knew I had to use them to jazz up the filling.

These were fun to make and I just loved the flavor and the extra candy crunch. They looked pretty sans candy as well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kool-aid Lemonade Macarons with Grape Kool-aid Filling: A Guest Post for C&C Cakery

I'm honored to be guest posting today for the funny and fabulous Courtney over at C&C Cakery. She's in Paris and requested a French themed post.  So continuing with my macaron theme this week, I made these for her. 

Hop on over to C&C Cakery to read the full post and get the recipe.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Coconut Macarons with Waldmeister Buttercream

Being an expat living between two countries, I find my heart is in one place and my soul in another. Lately I find myself thinking a lot about our home and life in Germany and the pull is strong to be back in my kitchen in our little piece of the German countryside. Last week I was sorting through pictures of what I baked last summer when we were still living there and finding these Macarons with their unique German filling made me yearn for home. My other home.

They also inspired me to post only French macaron recipes this weekWorld Macaron Day is March 20th. So I'm celebrating the fun I have creating Macarons and especially contributing to the Mactweets monthly challenge.

The literal translation of Waldmeister in German means "Forest Master" but it refers to the Woodruff plant. This plant has a high concentration of coumarin used in perfume production. When consumed, coumarin can have some nasty side effects, everything from headaches to paralysis. So Woodruff is banned in Germany but has been replaced by an artificial taste substitute. I picked up this Waldmeister syrup ages ago out of curiosity.

I find it handy to have a variety of syrups on hand to splash into prosecco if the need arrises (because the need often arrises.) This was a great addition to the collection and it caught my eye when I was looking for a filling for coconut macaron shells. Quicker than you can say "feet", it and so it was turned into a macaron buttercream filling. I wasn't sure it would work but the sweet, almost perfume like flavor turned out to be a perfect match for the delicate coconut flavored shells.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Chocolate Wintergreen Shamrock Cookies for St. Patrick's Day

She's baaaack....with more crazy toothpaste flavored baked goods. This time instead of spearmint, I'm went with wintergreen, another one of my favorite flavors. Wintergreen lifesavers are my favorite. Ok maybe a little over the top for a buttercream flavor.

The verdict? Only one person who tasted them scraped off the buttercream before finishing the cookies. Everyone else loved them. Pinky swear.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Baily's Irish Cream Lace Cookies for St. Patrick's Day

This St. Patrick's Day weekend I plan to attend a party in upstate New York hosted by the Gays of Sullivan County. Yes, that's their name. They even have a website. It might be a reality show soon. You never know. I especially like the idea of attending a gay St. Patrick's Day party because of all the years those idiots in NYC who organize the St. Patrick's Day parade would not let gay people march. It's not the only city that has banned gays from marching that day but wow New York, for a city that prides itself on it's diversity, that's just completely moronic.

Anyway I will get off my gay rights St. Patrick's Day Irish Spring soapbox in time to present these delicious cookies.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Famous Macarons in History for Macaron Day - Mactweets Challenge #27

World Macaron Day is March 20th. To commemorate the occasion Those fun and thoughtful gals Jamie and Deeba over at Mactweets challenged us to come up with an idea to celebrate the Macaron's special day. I actually got inspired by the Mactweets blog logo and thought to breathe some life into these cookies. It sounds strange to call macarons cookies, no? They seem to be in a class all by themselves.

So because I'm nuts and weird things inspire me, I thought what better way to celebrate than to highlight some of the most "famous" macarons in history?

I set out full of passion and ideas for my creations. Unfortunately they turned out looking like a chimpanzee made them. Someone with much better artistic skills could have taken these to a whole other level. So I'm giving myself points for my creative idea but for the result, not so much but here they are...

Marilyn Macroe

Bob MacMarley

Friday, March 9, 2012

Red Velvet Caramels for Rock the Red Pump Day

March 10th is Rock the Red Pump Day. The purpose of which is provide AIDS awareness for women and girls. Many bloggers are turning their blog red for the occasion.

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). Launched by the Office of Women’s Health, NWGHAAD is a nationwide observance that encourages people to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS and raise awareness of its impact on women and girls.

While great progress has been made in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, women still represent 27% of all new AIDS diagnoses, with African-American women accounting for 66% of that group.

“Every 47 minutes, a woman tests positive for HIV in the United States.“

Last year this blog rocked the red pump with red stiletto sugar cookies. This year in continuing my obsession with red velvet flavor, I experimented with making caramels. This batch was pushed into stiletto shaped molds but in the end, it was too soft to work with.

I did leave out the chocolate part of the red velvet flavor. I was afraid the candy result wouldn't be red enough to rock the red pump but next time it's going in as it will probably deepen the flavor. However, these tasted sweet and bright and just look at that color.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spelt Brown Sugar Hamantashen with Red Currant Agave Filling

It's the Jewish holiday of Purim so it's time to make hat cookies....or something like that. 

The Shiksa in the Kitchen wonderful tips on making hamantaschen. I adapted two of her recipes below in flavor only. Her blog is wonderful and I highly recommend a visit over there.

Evil Haman's three cornered hat -  bad never tasted so good. The spelt demerara sugar added deep caramel flavor and the tart sweetness of the red curreant agave filling was the perfect complement. 

Now everyone make some noise.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Root Beer Float Chocolate truffles

I bought this bottle of root beer vodka purely by impulse because of my childhood love of root beer and out of root beer depravation from years of living in Germany.

Before I even started experimenting with making cocktails, my first idea was to make root beer float truffles. It's the whole mind always wandering to baking thing. You know what that's like. In the end the vodka wasn't essential to making the truffles, it was just the inspiration. These taste just as good without.

The taste is not pure root beer float, you can taste the chocolate as well. I initially thought this wouldn't be a good thing and kept adding more root beer flavor to diminish the chocolate taste. I couldn't disguise it and it didn't matter anyway. They are delicious, decadent and a unique treat for root beer freaks like me.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Strawberry Milk Macarons

Since I can't seem to shake this bad cold (thanks for your get well wishes) I haven't made it to the kitchen in a while. These macarons have been hanging out in my draft posts since last July so it's high time I post them as they were created in Germany before we moved to NYC in August.  One day, to my surprise, I came upon strawberry milk powder in a German supermarket.

With more added vitamins and sweetened with grape sugar, The German version seems to have more nutritional value than it's American cousin. Mom would be happy.

Strawberry milk was a rare treat when I was a kid. And to be honest I was probably obsessed with the color more than the actual taste. I grew up with a mother who shopped in the health food store. No chips or soda or preservatives were allowed in our house. Only 100% fruit juice and homemade cookies and ice cream.

I used the powder in both the shells and the filling. The strawberry milk flavor made a lovely tasting macaron and one bite took me back to this rare childhood treat.