Saturday, March 30, 2013

French Macarons

Saw this recipe on "Martha Stewart's site" and had to try them.  There is a video on the web site to help you through it. They are as pretty as they are tasty, you get that light crunch with the sweet filling.  I wanted to try them more for the challenge than anything and with this simple recipe anyone could make them.  My biggest problem was controlling the flow from the pastry bag to get the even round shapes.  I'm thinking of drawing circles on parchment to place under the actual parchment I'm using as a guide next time and cut the hole slightly smaller for better control.

French Macarons


1 1/4 c almond meal
1 3/4 c confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 large egg whites--must be room temp
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
jam or ganache for filling


Whisk together almond meal, salt & confectioner's sugar and sift into large bowl.

In another bowl beat egg whites till frothy.  Slowly add granulated sugar and almond extract as eggs are beating.  Beat until shiny peaks form about 3-5 min.

Fold egg white mixture into dry mixture with spatula until combined well.  Mixture will come together into a smooth mixture about the consistency of honey.  Transfer into pastry bag & cut off tip.

Onto parchment paper pipe mixture into half dollar sized circles and let them dry about 30 min you should be able to touch top without it being sticky or leaving a mark.  Drying time will vary on time of year, humidity, temperature etc.

Bake in preheated 350° oven for 12 min. depending on your oven original recipe said 14 min but that was to long for mine.  Carefully remove from parchment when slightly cooled then let cool completely on wire rack before filling.


this time I used a raspberry jam mixed with some white chocolate to form a ganache

Monday, March 25, 2013

Chocolate Smithwick's Cake

St Patrick's Day Celebration

For us St Patrick's Day lasts more than a day.  My husbands hometown has a strong Irish history, Girardville, PA.  They celebrate with a parade the Saturday after March 17th so this year it was a whole week later.  Why would they wait so long?  Well one of the biggest draws are the bagpipers but this is the busiest month for them so to be able to have more bands available it helps having the  celebration later.  It also gives the bands one more performance on the calendar by being later.  It has become a type of reunion gathering for friends, families, past residents, and those that just love an Irish celebration.  So this cake (original recipe was with Guinness) was the perfect choice for a dessert on parade day.  There are multiple versions on the web, pinterest, many blogs, tv chef sites, the cake is very close to the old fashioned Coca Cola Cake recipe always a favorite & a very moist cake.  This cake would be good with just a dusting of powdered sugar also adding the icing makes it rich enough you need to serve thin slices.

Chocolate Smithwick's Cake

Smithwick's pronounced "smid icks"

preheat oven to 350° prepare bundt or tube pan

2 c Smithwick Beer  (Guinness or your favorite will work along with Pepsi or Coke)
1 c cocoa powder
4 oz unsalted butter
1 1/4 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 c plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
2 eggs
2 c all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt


In a sauce pan heat together beer, cocoa, & butter when butter is melted add sugar and stir till blended--remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a small bowl whisk together yogurt and eggs then mix together with cooled chocolate mixture.

In large bowl mix flour, soda, and salt.  Add wet to dry ingredients and whisk together until just blended it will be a little lumpy don't over mix.

Pour into prepared pan bake for 35-40 min turn half way through baking time.

Cool then turn onto plate.



2 oz chocolate
4 oz unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1/4 c beer
2/3 c cocoa powder
2 1/2 c powdered sugar


Melt chocolate & butter together over low heat then pour into food processor with rest of ingredients pulse till icing has a smooth texture pour over cake let drip over sides.  It is a bit thick so you may need to push it a bit to the edge.

Stir cocoa, beer and butter till butter is melted then add sugar.

Mix yogurt and eggs together then add to cooled chocolate mixture.

Gradually combine mixtures.

Mix melted chocolate mixture with beer blend well for icing.
Ice cooled cake with Smithwick's Icing.

let icing run down sides

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Peruvian Chicken

Sara Moulton's Peruvian Chicken recipe is  great for a change from your usual chicken recipes.  The marinade has a nice spice to it without being hot and the green sauce adds a tangy yet fresh flavor from the lemon juice goat cheese combination.  She used all thighs I used thighs and breasts to have both white & dark meat.

Peruvian Chicken


3/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 C soy sauce
3 T distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 T canola oil
1 T ground cumin
1 1/2 t paprika
3/4 t dried oregano
1/4-1/2 t cayenne pepper
6 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
3 chicken breasts
6 chicken thighs
1 large ziploc bag

green sauce recipe to follow.

Preheat oven to 450°
Place everything down to the garlic in a blender or into a bowl and use hand blender as I did, blend well place chicken in ziploc bag pour marinade into bag seal tight.  Set aside at room temp for about 30 minutes turning bag at least once.

Place an oven rack over a cookie sheet, remove chicken from bag discard marinade then place chicken on rack.  Bake for 20-25 min till crispy and cooked through.  Let rest 10 min then serve with green sauce (recipe below).

***my oven heating element broke right before I was going to make this so I seared the chicken in a large skillet then covered till chicken cooked through, I placed chicken in a baking dish and broiled (that element was still working) and broiled it a few minutes to re crisp it up.  With or without the crispiness the chicken was delicious!

hand blender to blend green sauce
Green Sauce
3 large scallions, trimmed and halved
1/4 c sliced serano chile
1 T lemon juice
2 oz crumbled goat cheese
1 T canola oil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 c half & half
blend together till smooth, refrigerate till ready to use.
Top cooked chicken with sauce and serve. 
This sauce has a very fresh taste to it, goes really well with the chicken.

I served it with Quinoa that has chopped sauteed vegetables in it and Lentil Soup.